Can businesses take lessons about social media from politicians and celebrities?
Yes, they can—and they should.
People in politics and global entertainment are on the front lines in the strategic use of social media.
Here at the CDO Club we have been fortunate to have leaders from both worlds share their social media secrets during several presentations given at our 2013 CDO Summit.
Those speakers and panelists included: Teddy Goff, Digital Director of Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns; Harriet Seitler, CMO and EVP for Harpo Studies and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network); Laxmi Wordham, CDO at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; Rosemary Maggiore, former President of Digital for Rachael Ray; and Katarina Markov, Head of Global Innovation at Atom Factory, an agency that represents Lady Gaga, John Legend, and other artists.
Here is a distillation of their social media lessons in one handy info graphic (H/T Sam Kuo):
Here’s a brief summary of the richer content in the videos below:
1. Be Authentic
“Oprah does all of her own tweeting,” Seitler said. “She is out there, honest, and authentic.”
Authenticity and transparency are among the key values reflected in the social Web.
CEOs and other top business executives should strongly consider being “out there” with an authentic social media presence, as well, and should give their organization a more-human face.
When asked what separated Barack Obama’s social media success not only from his Republican rivals such as John McCain and Mitt Romney but also from his Democratic adversaries such as Hilary Clinton, Teddy Goff replied “authenticity.”
Messaging in an online world needs to be as simple and brief as possible. We’re not looking for a 250-page master’s thesis here.
You need to be able to succinctly summarize the issues your audience cares about into a couple of sentences for a Facebook or G+ post, or, even further, down to a 140-character tweet, or, better yet, a simple infographic that can be easily shared.
In addition, technology has obviously changed a lot of the world—yet it has not essentially changed who we are and what motivates us.
“Yes, people are a little busier…and they have a lot more devices,” Goff says. But, he added, people want the same things they’ve always wanted: “to be inspired, to have connections, and to read, watch, write, and do interesting stuff.”
When creating your social media strategies, don’t forget to address these simplest and most-fundamental of human desires.
Click here to learn more about Obama for America’s successful use of technology in their 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
Goff faced a challenge: How could he get the public to read a blog post about tax policy?
He realized that people online have little time to read long white papers.
So his team created a game on its website that prompted users to click a button to get details about the policy—but for the first few seconds, whenever a user moused over the button, it would fly all over the page.
Within 24 hours, Goff said, that blog post had a million “likes” on Facebook and was tweeted 70,000 times.
Going hand-in-hand with the number one lesson to be authentic is to establish trust.
Since Oprah Winfrey’s tweets are her own, Seitler says, her audience “knows they can trust that what she says is for real. It means that when she wants to promote or share something, they know it’s true and will want to pass it on.”
If you create this “fundamental platform of trust,” as Seitler calls it, your words and advice will carry more weight.
Being on social media doesn’t have to mean giving up control.
A while back, online news reports began circulating that Lady Gaga was gaining weight.
So the artist posted on her social network a picture of herself wearing lingerie, announced a “body revolution,” and invited her fans to post photos of themselves and share their own issues around weight.
Thousands of photos and stories were uploaded to the network.
The lesson? While what’s buzzing online about your organization is out of your direct control, a smart, authentic, and strategic response remains fully in your control.
Goff’s team discovered that while its followers cared about a lot of the content it posted, only a smaller set of that content also was something people wanted their friends to know they cared about.
And that’s the kind of content that can go viral.
Do you know what issues your customers not only care about—but also want their friends to know they care about and therefore are more willing to share?
The data you collect on what your customers do, say, share, and purchase can greatly enhance your marketing, customer service, and other business operations.
But to do this, you must own that data.
“Companies like Facebook and Twitter,” Katarina Markov told the CDO Summit audience, “are still intermediaries—they own the data.”
So her firm created its own private-label social network for Lady Gaga called LittleMonsters.com, and now all data generated from the social conversations is kept in-house.
Gaga also has a direct relationship with her audience, which allows her to upsell new music, fragrance lines, clothing, show tickets, and the like.
So who owns your social data?
Click here to learn more about protecting personal brands online from digital leaders for Lady Gaga, Oprah, Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and the President of Rachael Ray Digital.
Goff sent emails to past donors, informing each one precisely how many more dollars he or she needed to donate in order for the Obama Campaign to reap a special additional benefit.
Are there customers you can contact and inform that they are close to an award level, discount, or other special benefit? If not, in your next interaction, can you simply reference something personal—and meaningful—to each customer?
People want to get things done online as fast as possible—which means fewer pages, forms, and clicks.
Goff made donations as easy and fast as possible by creating a safe-payment information site.
Once a new donor input his or her information, the campaign could send that person future email solicitations, with a simple “Click here to donate” button. When clicked, it would automatically and securely charge the supporter’s credit card
Are you making it as fast and easy as possible for your customers to make a purchase?
When it came to sharing content and communicating with the public, Goff said that his primary directive was “Don’t be lame.”
Another way to put that advice is: Do a great job.
On the Web, people want to read and view content that’s engaging, informative, interesting—and yes, entertaining, too. They want good stuff.
But doing a great job and creating good stuff takes work and time.
With a little effort and imagination, the content you publish online can be—and must be— both substantive and compelling.
- By Robert Berkman, exclusively for the CDO Club
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We want to help our members understand the importance of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.
That’s why we’ve arranged for New York Times best-selling author Joel Comm to present a workshop on Social Media for Busy CDOs, designed to help you improve your online influence in under 10 minutes per day.
That’s just one of the dozens of workshops and panels we’ll offer at the second annual Chief Digital Officer Summit, which will be held on April 22–23, 2014, at the Time Warner conference center in New York, N.Y.
Tickets to the next CDO Summit are available now. The 2013 Chief Digital Officer Summit SOLD OUT of tickets, weeks before the summit date, so be sure to reserve your place now.
Digital Media Executive
SVP/GM Reuters Consumer Media
President Barack Obama 2008 and 2012
Senior Vice President/General Manager