Brand yourself like Obama: how social media can help you reach new heights.


(Case study on the power of Barack Obama’s political campaign through the use of Facebook and edge-based organizations.)

As an 18-year-old first-time voter living in a swing state with a Facebook, I was the demographic Obama was looking for on Facebook. Obama used Facebook to target the 18-29 year old demographic, which he did well. Obama had unbelievable success with Facebook during his campaign. I witnessed this first hand. As a politician, Obama used a completely out-of-the-box technique to target his audience.

I will quickly discuss how Obama used edge-based Organization. What does it mean to have an edge-based organization? It means that everyone is aware of the situation, is able to take action, share values, and can make decisions that empower the edge to take action. Obama used the Internet and Facebook as a huge way to help with self-organization and edge-based organization. People could use their own personal power to help Obama’s campaign. I will share with you some hopefully helpful examples.

As we have discussed in previous posts there are very strategic ways to advertise yourself or your business on Facebook. Obama used these same exact strategies with some obvious financial benefits, but used them and used them well.

Obama’s support through Facebook was viral and was used as a hugely successful way of brand development. Everything about his campaign snowballed in a positive direction to give him endless amounts of support. There were many things he did, that you yourself can try, or assemble ideas from:

  • Sidebar advertisements, selling t-shirts which immediately gave money to the Obama cause
  • Sidebar video blogs, immediate press release
  • Obama “gifts”, used to create fun viral advertising. (send one Obama gift, your friend sees who you sent it to on their mini-feed. BOOM, its sent again…and again..and again…
  • Obama Supporter groups. Ex) Barack Obama (one million strong for Barack Obama)
  • Obama Applications. Add the app – tell your friends about it. Ex) Obama Facebook Application
  • Bumper stickers — A Facebook application you can add where you can view thousands of “bumper stickers” that can say pretty much whatever you want. Most of these involve the latest pop-culture of funny YouTube videos, but around the election every other sticker was Obama related or McCain-Dissing stickers. Bumper stickers are strictly targeted at the High school and College age group. Just another way to state your political view and most of the time, your love for Obama. The amazing thing about these is that these are free to make and are usually made by the high-school to college age group. Obama’s campaign had nothing to do with making these. They were made completely by Obama supporters and spread by the thousands on a daily basis.

Obama on Facebook is the new political lawn sign. Your Facebook could easily advertise who you support. You could add the Obama apps, join the groups, become fans of Obama. People’s Facebook political views were even 100% in favor of Obama. Instead of saying Democrat, liberal, etc… It simply says OBAMA. People were Obama crazy on Facebook. Articles say that this is the new future of politics. Obama used Facebook to create an amazing tool for Politicians. From now on, if a politician is smart he will use the tools he has on the web to get the attention and press needed. Young voters were huge this year, and Facebook played a large part in that. Facebook made Obama not only the most elligable candidate, but the “cool” candidate. Obama used Facebook wisely and very much to his advantage.

I found one other specific example of Barack Obama’s success on Facebook. The New York Times Magazine sponsored Obama and created Facebook free “gift” that people could send the day after Obama was elected. It was a small cartoon graphic of a NYTimes paper with Obama’s face on it declaring “Obama Wins!”. An amazing example of how Obama’s campaign found big companies who could use their money and power to help his cause.

Another tactic Obama used was on the day of the Election people could dedicate their status to Obama. For example it would say Aurora is the xxx,xxx,xxx person to dedicate her status to the Barack Obama campaign. This was an amazing viral connection that I witnessed sweep through Facebook the day of the election. And on the day of the Inauguration CNN totaled 1.5 million people who had Obama related status’.

Obviously these are not all realistic options for small businesses, or people just entering the Facebook world, but hopefully you see the amazing things Facebook can do, and this inspires you to venture out and try new things.

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