#Election2012: 5 aspects that changed the way we do politics forever

#Election2012, #VoteObama, #VoteRomney, #Ivoted: Political campaigns had to learn a whole new language: hashtag, trending topic, memes and so on. The 2012 US presidential elections found both candidates fighting for a very special spot, the one at the top of the social media mountain. So what can we learn from these Presidential Elections? If you are a part of the digital industry, you can learn a lot! The InPulse Digital Marketing now The Story Room team did the homework for you and these are the 5 most important lessons: #1 – Press conferences take place on Twitter: “Four more years” was President Obama´s victory tweet. Right after, he not only became the reelected President of the United States, but his message became the most tweeted one in the history of the company, with 20 million retweets in one day. To make it even more digital, before announcing his win in front of the anxious crowd in Chicago, he sent an email to his fans saying, “You Made This Happen”. Reaching out to the online audience, even before the press or TV, is a recurring trend that shows the importance of internet followers and their key role in political campaigns. #2 – You can’t come up with social media experience overnight: A candidate’s fans and followers will become a trampoline that will spread out his message fast and efficiently, but those followers and their trust are not won from one day to the next. If a candidate tries to start doing this during the campaign, he will find himself in a bit of a dilemma: there will be no community, only isolated individuals not used to interacting in a trustworthy environment. An example of this were the 2008 elections. President Obama dedicated many resources to the online community and his team did a great job taking advantage of the opportunity found within his digital savvy fan base. In 2012, both, Obama and Romney, added a key element to their strategy, in a country of minorities: community segmentation. Personalized messages were translated into two fan pages: Latinos for Obama y Juntos con Romney. The results validated this strategy: Obama received 93% of the African-American vote; 71% of the Latino vote; 73% of the Asian vote. It is not about how the resources you spend in your marketing strategy; if you are not familiar with your audience and cannot make it feel identified with your message, you will never really get through it. #3 Political slogans are no longer a product of the campaign team: It used to be a catchy phrase or some random words on a billboard and replicated endlessly on TV. Today, the political slogan became a photo, a hashtag, a series of YouTube videos, or a meme. It can be a phrase, a concept, or even a moment. The internet decides what has an impact and takes care of spreading it out. It’s up to the candidates to use it in their favor. When Mitt Romney made the unfortunate “binder of women” comment when asked about fair hiring practices for women, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts were created in this comment’s honor before he even had time to retract. Obama, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on the Clint Eastwood “empty chair” speech. His team quickly reacted via Twitter with a hint of humor. A series of memes and videos were created and the phrase “This seat’s taken” became trending topic on Twitter for several days. #4 – The secret behind the App: Every respectable candidate should have at least one App with his/her name on it, considering how difficult it is to make politics look appealing to many people. This became increasingly relevant with the important role mobile culture earned in the past couple of years. This app has to co-exist with other apps and should be at hand when the user feels a sudden urge to dig into a specific aspect of the candidate’s profile. Among its settings, users can use this political app to find: a list of campaign proposals, information about the candidate, a game in which the candidate fights his opponent, a poll featuring the voting tendencies of the users’ friends. Mobile apps are not only a tool to attract new voters, but also a very valuable data base and information source for the campaign committee. Age, location, and interests are some of the statistics that become available through apps. #5 Traditional media search for trends in social media: The same way candidates can find valuable data about voters through their interaction in social media, traditional media outlets also reach out to the digital world to show trends, opinions, and interests. Tweets, Facebook posts, and viral memes are quotable sources on a daily basis in the most renowned publications. This is why a politician’s online reputation is no laughing matter and it can very well set the agenda of traditional mass media. Ballot boxes name the winner, but there is a battle in social media that sets the tone for the campaign. No candidate can go into the electoral race unprepared or without a digital marketing plan. Likewise, both, the candidate’s marketing and communication teams, must work very hard to position their client at the top of the virtual electoral battlefield.

The Story Room