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6 Video Marketing and Social Media Tips from the Oval Office

By Seth Price

Industry News

What the presidential candidates can teach you about video marketingWhat You Can Learn from President Obama and His Rivals

While traditional media and television still get the lion’s share of campaign advertising budgets, the spin doctors on Capitol Hill are starting to acknowledge that many consumers detest political commercials and frankly don’t trust what they have to say. Because of this, candidates are turning to the web in order to engage voters in other ways.

In a recent article, Jeremy Peters of the New York Times profiled the new 17-minute web video documentary that the Obama campaign is using to begin his general election push. The new online marketing playbook borrows heavily from the world’s best web merchants, providing one-click social sharing opportunities, retaining online credentials or cookies to allow visitors to give multiple donations, and using web video to engage their constituency on a more personal level, free from that taint of direct propaganda.

Social media and video are merely the next chapter in politicians’ ongoing efforts to reach and convert as many voters as possible. Candidates have used behavioral studies, demographic data, surveys, geotargeting, and A/B testing for decades to tailor their messaging and determine where to spend their campaign dollars. Even if we don’t get our guy or girl in office, we can at least learn from some of the best marketing money can buy. Below are a few apolitical tips anyone can use to expand their social engagement on the web.

  1. Make sure your content is easily shared with no more than one click. Don’t make visitors scroll or send them to another page. For an example of one-click social integration, visit Obama’s YouTube channel. Visitors can donate, volunteer and share without ever leaving the page.
  2. Use geotargeting to show specific messaging in language that will be best received by your target audience. What appeals to your visitors in California may not appeal to those in Iowa, and so on.
  3. Integrate Facebook comments and allow your visitors to post content and comments to Facebook without leaving your site or YouTube page.
  4. Create unique videos that are not sales brochures. You must offer the viewer something of interest besides what you have to sell. Consider that the only video and TV ads that get shared socially are either really funny, insightful, or shocking in a Jerry Springer way.
  5. Make it both easy and compelling for your visitors to create accounts on your site.  Use Openauth, Facebook, Twitter or Google Signin. Then, make sure they don’t have to jump through hoops to log in the second and third time they visit.
  6. Keep your content fresh. It’s good for you viewers and good for SEO. Take at look at Mitt Romney’s YouTube page. New videos are posted every week, and they make the guy look human, even approachable.

Jeremy Peters said it best: “[Online video] offers a way to disseminate their (politicians’) messages into online communities where friends and family members share, discuss and debate. Campaigns believe that helps elevate their messages beyond propaganda.” Video and its biggest platform, YouTube, are providing tools that offer a clear call to action for viewers, which means a clear advantage for the savvy marketer.

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