Some Lessons on Social Media from the Obama Team

Kyle Elyse Niederpruem of Kyle Communications (which I saw bring earn a Best of Show designation at the Hoosier PRSA Pinnacle Awards last week) wrote a column for Inside INdiana Business on some social media tips offered by the Obama for America team. Regardless of your thoughts on Pres. Obama's policies, you can likely glean some useful information here:

Here are four important lessons from Teddy Goff, who was digital director of Obama for America.

Experimenting with social media is critical.
Try and try again – and then try some more. Use multiple messages, different landing pages, switch out your word choices, and add lots of images if possible. Goff's team, for example, found that nouns in messages worked better than verbs (and probably counter to what most of us would do). Even word choices made a huge difference in fundraising.
Goff: "The most effective was raising money off the word – should."

Your social media team doesn't have to be large in numbers (or steeped in social).
People of all backgrounds were on the 250-person digital team. Guess how many managed the Twitter feed? Four. That's right. Four. Four people tweeted to the world. That meant consistency in tone, voice and keying in the analytics to push out the right kinds of messages at the right time – including undecided voters who can swing any election.
Goff: "There are three simple words in social – Don't be lame."

Your gut can be your most important guide.
In the bullpen of social media planning and in a group obsessed (rightly so) with analytics, many timely decisions by the digital team were made in the wee hours, without a lot of screening, and after a few beers. And like most good storytelling, an emotional link often gets the best reaction – like the most retweeted tweet of 2012.
Goff: "The most minute things make a big difference."

Being first and trying something new has its rewards.
Remember that in the first election of 2008, Facebook was half the size it is today. Twitter wasn't yet a strategic asset and the iPhone had just come out in the summer of 2007. The relationship between people and campaigns was dramatically changing. A number of tactics, like a website called the created by the Obama camp, had a constantly moving details button that never landed on a real plan. That was a more effective way to share a white paper by Obama than asking voters to read a white paper.