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5 Lessons Learned From the Presidential Campaign and Social Media

Posted by Allie Blankinship on October 1st, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Social media is changing the face of communication. It is almost impossible to venture onto the Internet without stumbling onto a social media site of some sort. From the constant status updates of Facebook to the business connections building world of LinkedIn, more and more people are turning to social media when seeking to disseminate a message and get themselves known—and the presidential candidates are no exception. Contemporary politics requires an adept understand—and skillful use of—social media as a tool of communication. Throughout the 2012 election, candidates have done just that: Spending time using this tool.

Relationships are Key

The ever-presence of social media in today’s society makes it easier for candidates to build real relationships with their supporters. Candidates that use social media effectively communicate with their supporters via this medium daily, sharing successes and putting out calls to action. Both sides of the fight for the White House have stepped up to the social media helm, creating Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and using them, at least in some degree, to contact their party followers as well as try to win over those still up in the air as to who they will vote for this fall.

Investing in Technology is a Must

Modern candidates simply can’t be competitive without taking advantage of social media. As Romney and Obama both undoubtedly know, money invested in tech tools is vital to keeping a campaign headed in the right direction. From computers for staffers to VPS hosting services, these technologies allow campaign managers and staffers to effectively utilize social media as a means of disseminating a message and, in doing so, continue to push their candidates into the public eye.

Comments are Forever

Thanks to social media, comments that candidates themselves, or even others within their parties, make are no longer so quickly forgotten. The Romney camp learned this first hand when Republican Todd Aiken made a scientifically inaccurate and highly offensive statement regarding rape and a woman’s ability to prevent herself from becoming pregnant if the rape is legitimate. Even though Aiken had no ties to Romney, the statement that was tweeted and retweeted around the world created quite a headache for this republican presidential hopeful.

Comebacks can be Instant

When one candidate or party makes a strategic move against another, the party at the receiving end of this attempt at aggression no longer needs to wait to respond. Now, candidates can respond just as quickly as their fingers can find the proper keyboard keys. Case in point, when Clint Eastwood presented a meandering speech in which he addressed a vacant seat as if it were President Obama, the Obama camp disseminated a picture of the POTUS himself sitting in a chair with the powerful caption “This seat is Taken.”

Advertising Can Be Free

Though none of the presidential hopefuls are yet ready to scrap their advertising budgets, social media has reduced the amount that a campaign needs to spend on advertising via traditional means. Today’s candidates can get the word out about upcoming events for free via Twitter and Facebook, allowing them to save their advertising dollars and put them where they will count—financing smaller but further reaching advertisements instead of spreading out their money over numerous advertising campaigns.

Social media is an ubiquitous presence in today’s world. This technology connects people, allowing them to share their thoughts, ideas and beliefs. By taking advantage of the opportunities that social media presents, candidates can more effectively connect with the voters and sway these citizens to pick them come Nov. 6.

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