The Web Elects Obama: Dedication Won The Race
Social media (and Internet marketing at large) proved itself this year by working to elect the next President of the United States. Obama used a variety of social media and Web marketing strategies to spread his message and win votes. His opponent also used these strategies, but to a less effective extent, always a step behind, and his campaign suffered for it.
Obama's team created a Obama/Biden social networking website that worked to coordinate supporters to further his cause by providing phone lists of people to call and doors to knock on. According the the November 19 post on the Obama website's blog, "Two weeks after Election Day, supporters are continuing to use the online tools at My.BarackObama.com to gather together to celebrate, to reconnect, and to find ways to stay involved politics and in their communities."
Obama's team has been prolific in blogging. The Obama blog boasts 623 pages of blog entries, his earliest blog entry dating back to October 2006. McCain launched his blog in April of 2007 and his blog is now offline.
Obama used text-messaging to share updates about the campaign. He also used Twitter (see Obama's Twitter page) for the same purpose and has over 133,000 followers. Impressively, his Twitter account has 14 pages of updates; his first update in April of 2007. John McCain followed suit, but not until mid-September of this year. McCain only has 4,800 followers, just 2 pages of updates, and his last update was on October 24th (lost a little steam at the end), whereas Obama was posting up until November 5th when he posted a "thank-you" update.
Both candidates have Facebook accounts. Obama has 3,174,939 supporters, while McCain has only 607,621. Both launched their Facebook profiles in December 2007.
Obama's popularity also exploded on YouTube. Currently, a search on YouTube for "Obama" returns 124,000 videos, compared to the 71,500 videos returned for "McCain".
All of this worked together to share more about who Barack Obama is and what his vision is about. The social media efforts surely made a difference in electing him to office.
This success online will further the importance of social media when it comes to marketing businesses on the Net. The landscape of the Web was already moving toward social media, but now it's more important than ever. If Obama just had a simple website that didn't reach out to anyone, he may not have won the majority of the Internet vote.
Your website should also feature elements of social media, particularly a blog and website video. Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts are all well and good, but be sure to take care of your website first and foremost. Then you can branch out. Secure listings on highly ranked websites that specialize in your area of practice (see my blog entry about directory websites). No matter what type of practice that you have, create a Google Local account, submit photos, videos, and direct your patients to post testimonials there. Use an online public relations campaign (e-PR) to boost the number of links and the sheer amount of traffic going into your website.
These are just a few things that you can do to make your website a part of the bigger social media picture on the Internet. Just remember that social media is only one aspect of a well-rounded Internet marketing campaign.