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I loved this recent post from Paul Isakson. There’s a big danger for businesses of all sizes to look for “shortcuts” into the world of Social Media.  Here is some gentle advice for businesses of all sizes:

  • Quit trying to "join the conversation."
  • Stop trying to be everyone’s friend.
  • Don’t shove your marketing messages at people.
  • Just listen to what people are saying about your product or service and apply what you learn to making it better. (Feedback is King)
  • The same goes for your marketing.
  • Make your message worth talking about.

Focus on your key messages and less on jumping on the bandwagon!

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One question with a great range of great answers. This video was shot by Christian at Amplified 08.

What is the future of Social Media?

I think the future of social media is mass adoption by the masses. In recent weeks we have seen UK users jump on the Twitter bandwagon following celebrities such as @wossy and @stephenfry. I see this trend continuing. However, as the number of followers/friends increase for everyone, I see a dynamic shift.

Traditional principles of networking and word of mouth become energised once again. Real people – Real Recommendations – Real Time.  I see a future where crowdsourcing becomes the norm, we won’t rely on search engines such as Google, rather we will rely on the ‘wisdom of the network’. This won’t be a single network but a complex social graph of people we know and people we don’t know.

A focus on technology will be less – devices and services will just work, connect and fade into the background. Just as we carry our phone numbers and emails today on our mobiles. In the future, we will capture ‘conversations’ and take them everywhere.

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With just under 24 hours to go till the American Presidential Campaign, I thought it apt to review how Barack Obama’s campaign has been using social media technologies to raise funds and to engage with younger voters.

Obama has taken grassroots campaigning into the digital age by embracing Web 2.0 and using it as a central platform of his presidential campaign. From YouTube to social networking, Obama has navigated Web 2.0 and turned it into a major force within his campaign.

Obama and Social Media

The first rule of social media marketing is to put yourself “out there”. This can be achieved by becoming an active blogger, establishing a presence on the major social networks, and embracing new forms of communication. Obama has done just that. From social networking to his blog to his Fight the Smears campaign, Obama has made his Web 2.0 presence known. Obama is using a number of tools including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter

At the time of writing, Jeremiah Owyang compares Obama’s social media presence with that of John McCain. The statistics make interesting reading.

Facebook
Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain


MySpace
Obama: Friends: 833,161
McCain: Friends: 217,811

Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain


YouTube
Obama: 1792 videos uploaded since Nov 2006, Subscribers: 114,559 (uploads about 4 a day), Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain: 329 videos uploaded since Feb 2007 (uploads about 2 a day), Subscribers: 28,419, Channel Views: 2,032,993

Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 905% more viewers than McCain


Twitter
Obama: @barackobama has 112,474 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain (is it real?) 4,603 followers

Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain

This personal activity in social networks allows Obama to quickly get the word out across multiple platforms.

It’s clear that Obama is dominating the social media activity, this could because of two reasons: 1) Obama campaign moved quicker to social networking and social media, McCain only recently launched his own social network with KickApps. 2) The Social Technographics (behaviours to adopt social media) skew heavier towards demographics, yet these percentages are far greater than the margins shown in technographics.

Obama and YouTube

Barack Obama has done an amazing job of making sure his speeches sound as good on YouTube as they do on the evening news. Obama’s campaign has also gambled on YouTube’s audience by creating a strong presence on the website. Historically, younger voters have been high on enthusiasm but low on voter turnout. But Obama has been able to utilise the power of social media to challenge that trend.

The popularity of YouTube gives a global audience access to the entire speech, not just a brief segment chosen by the news editors. This allows the full power of the entire speech to resonate with the audience.

Obama and Social Networking

Obama’s social networking success can be attributed to Chris Hughes. Hughes, was one of the founders of Facebook and with Mark Zuckerberg. Hughes has the knowledge and the experience of building social networks and may prove to be a major factor in Obama’s Presidential success.

Obama is not the first to politician to use social networking. Presidential contender, Howard Dean used Meetup.com to become a serious contender for his party’s nomination in 2004. However, Obama also decided to build his own social network. which was simple to use, rally supporters and proved vital in fundraising. The jewel in the crown is My.BarackObama.Com

As a fully fledged social network, My.BarackObama allows users to create their own profiles, friend lists and the ability to write their own personal blog. They can also join groups, participate in fund raising, and arrange events all from an interface that is both easy to use and familiar to any Facebook or MySpace user.

FightTheSmears.com is Obama’s initiative to address the many rumours that circulate the internet about him.

Here’s an example:

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If Obama continued to let these rumours spread and grow, they would become facts in the eyes of the voting public. By hosting the conversation, the campaign can respond to rumours on individual blogs and forums.

 Obama and the iPhone

 

Obama’s campaign also released a free application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The application allows the user to organise contacts by key battleground states, and measures statistics to see how the user is doing compared to other leading callers.

The application provides information about the campaign via text messages and e-mail, offers coverage of national and local campaign news. The application also helps the user to find local events, share information by e-mail, view campaign videos and pictures.

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Win or lose, there is absolutely no doubt that Barack Obama has changed the face of politics in America today. Now it’s up to the voters to decide if he will win the election.

Obama on the Web

[BONUS]

12 Viral Videos from the 2008 Campaign

 

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Warning!  Cringe factor VERY HIGH.

Hat Tip to David Brain

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Some more wise words from Gary Vaynerchuk. For people starting out in social media, trying to build their online brand. Time, is a valuable resource.  You’ve read the books, heard the success stories from others and now you want to harness the power of social media for yourself.

The problem is time. When can I find the time do this ‘stuff’? As Gary points out, many people in business suffer from a lack of patience. Building an online brand takes time.

Gary, does go on a bit in the above video. However, the key message in building your online social capital is two-fold:

  • Patience
  • Everything is better than zero

Short and to the point.

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Take a look at the Virgin Eye, as mentioned by Alex Hunter at Fuel. The Virgin Eye scans the Internet looking for news, pictures and stories from the Virgin Empire. 

The Virgin Group are taking Social Media technologies VERY seriously.

Very cool.

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A solid Social Media compendium from Chris Brogan and Alexa Scordato, which I have reproduced below. This is a great collection of Chris’s insights into social-media and is worthy of being a reference for you to return to when you are tracking down any related materials or seeking answers.

Check out Chris Brogan.com for some other great insights. I’m adding the blog to my Google Reader. I think you should too!

Community Development
Social Networks
Social Media
Twitter
Personal Branding
Making Media
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