Learning Social Media From President Obama

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 04:31 PM

By Ronn Torossian

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While President Obama may go down in history as the worst president ever, he has done a good job understanding the nature of social media. (Of course, his understanding of politics is another story.) Here are some tips the right may want to consider adapting from the Obama administration.
1. Social media: From the “Obama girl,” to Facebook chats, to Twitter followers, the president blazed new territory in the social media political landscape. Unafraid to trust his advisers, and willing to put himself out there in new media, Obama has reaped huge benefits from his social media presence. A brand that does not have a fully developed social media plan is handicapped in today’s marketplace.
2. Pop culture TV: From Jimmy Fallon, to "Between the Ferns," to "Saturday Night Live," the president has made the most of his pop culture connection opportunities. Where some politicians disdain this sort of pop connection as “pandering,” Obama’s team seems to understand the cultural shift that has happened, and is continuing to happen, in the way people in the U.S. think of, and consume, media. All brands that want to achieve success in the years to come must re-evaluate how they connect with pop culture as well.
3. Understanding the context and the forum: Obama seems to understand the various nontraditional forums created by new media. He’s serious when it’s called for, and playful or sarcastic when the medium or show format calls for it. The performance with Zach Galifianakis on Between the Ferns is a prime example. Obama was poised but acerbic, exactly the tone fans expect from that forum.
4. Addressing their concerns: But, no matter where he is, whether singing the news on "The Tonight Show," or selling the ACA on "Between the Ferns," Obama always manages to get his point across. This is the major message to anyone creating effective PR. You must connect first, or your message will not land. To connect, you must address the concerns of your audience before you deliver your message.
The president — despite his legacy of failure on so many issues — has succeeded repeatedly in the media. While the liberal bias of the media helps, his skill in blazing new trails and captivating new markets has been credited with helping achieve the highest political office on the planet. Can the GOP adapt some of these skills better?  
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.

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