Social Media 2012 Election
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, whether you watched the inauguration on television or skipped it entirely, there’s plenty of cutting-edge social media knowledge to be gained from looking at how the White House’s social media staff communicated with over 1.6 million followers during the recent presidential inauguration. While exact replication of this approach may not be feasible for small to medium businesses due to the investment of time and manpower required, adopting some of the techniques on a smaller scale may work well to capture the attention of viewers and social media users in a unique and exciting way.

The Approach

Instead of using each social media tool in isolation, social media experts took advantage of the increasing number of consumers who “media multi-task” – that is, consume media output using multiple channels at once. Examples of media multi-tasking include watching television while checking Facebook on a smartphone, or surfing the Internet while listening to the radio.

Staff created a live experience across channels during the event, so that people watching on television could access additional information and images using their smartphones or computers. The strategy used was to flood all channels with content so that people accessing information in all forms would be exposed to news of the event, both during the buildup and the event itself, and create a virtual experience of “being there.” The aim was to include social media users in the day’s events and leave a lasting sensation of participating in history, in joining with a community of other people celebrating the same thing.

Staff posted videos, photographs and messages across channels, but they also innovated by pairing different types of communication. They pulled together key quotes from the President’s address and used these to overlay accompanying images. These were carefully deployed via social media at specific times during the address. A video of the address was immediately uploaded as soon as the President had finished speaking, further reinforcing and cementing a consistent message.

The Content

High-quality, simple and powerful visuals, videos and messages were used, to be consistent with the White House’s previous social media presence and to link users back to messages that they may have encountered previously.

Applying this Strategy to Your Business

To use this strategy, choose a special or significant event for your company. Put together your key messages and think about how these could be pushed out using various social media channels – what works for Twitter won’t work for Instagram, and vice versa. Enrich your message with imagery, video and links to your website. The aim is to allow social media users to capture the essence of the experience, what it feels like to attend the event in person. Carefully tailor your approach to your company’s image or brand, and remember not to oversaturate followers – not every organization has the same gravity or pulling power as the White House, and your strategy should reflect this.

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Co-Founder & COO at PageLadder, Inc.
Entrepreneur, inbound marketing professional & outdoors enthusiast who finds joy in overcoming obstacles.
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