Obama’s social media toolkit

Our colleagues in Edelman Public Affairs in Washington have pulled together a really great analysis of Obama’s social media campaign.  It takes a look at the tools used and the lessons that business can learn from his campaign.  Defiantely worth a read: http://www.edelman.com/insights/



It’s been a long 8 years.

Bush’s time in the Oval Office aside, the last 8 years has seen a boom online (termed clumsily as 2.0). Truly though, the internet has really come alive in terms of social networks and new media services since Bush made himself comfortable in the White House.

Rory at the BBC has posted a really interesting blog, looking at how the landscape today differs from Bush’s inauguration all those years ago.

Coolest of all?  CNN following up their election night hologram, by asking people in DC to take a photo at 12pm (EST), and email their photos in.  Then they’re going to use “Microsoft Photosynth to create what could be an extraordinary 3D image.” This is a fantastic citizen journalist stunt, where ‘old’ media mobilises people on the ground to create something totally awesome.

More info on CNN here.

More info on Photosynth here.

*Disclaimer* Microsoft is an Edelman client.

What does EMI.com have in store?

I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post to EMI says DRM free music boosts consumer engagementand today seemed as good a day as any.  Last night I took a wander to EMI.com to see if there were any clues as to what lay in store but alas no. 

Boosting engagement, for a brand that until recently hasn’t been consumer facing, is important if, as Doug Merrill says, EMI.com will become a place where bands can connect with fans and vice versa.  A modern day fan site if you will.

There are sites out there already that do connect bands with their fans and vice versa.  Sites like US based ReverbNation and former Edelman clients RAWRIP and Myspacehelp artists to connect with their fans, be discovered as well as market themselves using a comprehensive arsenal of tools and widgets.  In turn fans can gain access to the most up to date multimedia content, tour information, can contact artists ‘directly’ as well as show support for their band using some clever widgets.

I’m sure EMI will have a way of showcasing their artists but it will be interesting to see their manifestation of how bands can update and learn more about their fans and also how fans are able to interact with them.  Here are some of my favourite picks from the above:

  • Tunepaks from Reverbnation – a link which when clicked on releases a standalone player so the recipient can listen to the latest releases straight from the artist
  • Show schedule and Map from Reverbnation – a widget that can be embedded into any html page e.g. fan’s Myspace, aritsts’ official home page, that displays tour dates and route
  • Reverbnations’ Tunewidget is a widget that fans can spread and allows the artists to see where it goes, what songs were played most and contains music videos, ways for new fans to sign up to the artists mailing list etc
  • RAWRIP’s RAWSTORES are another portable widget that can be embedded in any html website.  One of RAWRIP’s USPs is that all songs sold through the site give artists 100% of the sale.  The RAWSTORE can be embedded on an artist or fan’s web page, blog or MySpace for example and fans can buy the tracks listed and the artist still receives 100% of the revenue.
  • Myspace celebrity members’ blogs keeping their fans (and media) up to date on their latest musings

One of the challenges that such sites have is the creation of compelling content that will bring users back again and again.  Reverbnation has a solution to this too (and a solution for pretty much everything else). Artists are able to claim 50% of the revenue gained from ads posted on the artist’s homepage.   

Whether any or all of these widgety bits will be deployed by EMI.com still remains to be seen.  Sign up for Beta at www.emi.com

Obama victory + social engagement = ?

Almost a week has passed since Obama became President Elect of the United States. For those of us not lucky enough to be in Chicago to suck-up the potent positivity (my Edelman colleague Jonny Bentwood was fortunate enough to experience Grant Park from the ground), it has been fascinating to read all the accounts, opinions, and theories surrounding an historic campaign.

Before November 4th the use of digital technology, YouTube, mobile phones and specifically the my.baracobama social network, was widely recognised for playing a pivotal role in mobilizing support for Obama’s campaign. Looking back who would have thought two years ago that an American election would become a text-book case-study on how to use ‘new’ technologies to fully engage with an audience? Jemima Kiss’s article in today’s Media Guardian, has a great overview of the campaign and highlights the significance in the intimate dialogue that these new communication channels encouraged between candidate and voter.

Now that the lines of communication have been drawn (in twitter feeds, profile posts, and YouTube videos), Obama will need to keep them open and, crucially, transparent. As David Carr points out, in today’s International Herald and Tribune, Obama is now in control of a powerful database. By using this effectively, we will witness a monumental shift as a previously apathetic public now participate in politics, in real-time.

Adam Ostrow’s article on Mashable (published on the 5th) makes some interesting predictions on how Obama can maintain momentum, and continue to involve the electorate from within the Oval Office. It was a relief to see that Obama’s camp is committed to the intimate engagement they championed on the way to the White House, with the launch of Change.gov this weekend. It will be interesting to see how this commitment plays out. I particularly like Ostrow’s “Call to Service” idea; a social network acts as a facilitator to plough enthusiasm and energy back into community projects. (I imagine this would be invaluable come re—election time, as voters will have felt the benefit of an Obama administration close to home).

With such a high-profile ambassador for the power of engaging with an audience, Obama’s victory will hopefully have a knock-on effect for PR and the way businesses communicate with their customers (and not just inspire game designers). David Carr quotes Ranjit Mathodar in his article. Mathodar wrote a fascinating essay in March, on Obama’s approach to digital technologies, and in the IHT article he makes a valid point “”When you think about it, a campaign is a start-up business”. So why shouldn’t start-ups and mature businesses adopt a similar approach? As proven by the election result, opening up a dialogue, maintaining conversations, and giving an audience the tools to make their voices heard can yield very positive results.


The BBC has posted a story on the Obama Super Mario World game today (which I’ve been playing a lot recently. It’s hard to resist a game that is both reminiscent of my formative SNES years, and also lets you jump on lipstick wearing pigs).

Anyway, the reason I’ve posted again is at the bottom of the story the Beeb reports how the Republicans are responding to Obama’s victory. They have a new found appreciation of the web and all it offers for gathering grass-roots support. It’s going to be an interesting four years…

More digital music shenanigans

Everyone’s having a bit of a play with the digital distribution toys. Radiohead’s ‘pay what you want‘ ploy got a positive response – paidcontent has noted thirty-eight percent of those who downloaded the title indeed chose to pay something, while 62 percent kept their change in their pocket; Madonna’s recognised the changing climate of the record industry and jumped ship from Warner, and more than ever, Record lables are trying to claw back revenue with digital initiatives.

Now DaftPunk has produced an really interesting marketing widget for thei next launch. From Mashable… 

Daft Punk Promotes New Album With A Widget

October 25, 2007 — 03:06 AM PDT — by Stan SchroederShare This

Daft Punk, the French electronic duo known for making music that scares your cat and using robots for live shows, are being hip again. This time, they’ve decided to promote their new live album, Alive, with an embeddable widget, which allows visitors to listen to previews of new tracks, buy the single, read Daft Punk’s biography, read the newsletter, and see a photo gallery of the band.

The widget below is yet another proof that “standard” promotional tools are giving way to web based promotion and social networking. And, since the creation of such a widget costs next to nothing, we expect to see more and more bands take this route and move much of their marketing activities online.

DERTy Link #5: Photosynth (stunning)

Presented at TED in March 2007, Photosynth is one of the most incredible demonstrations we’ve seen, not just for the visual capabilities but the innovative use of photo social networks like flickr.

Seadragon is compelling enough, but using the catalogued images from photo sites to build a composite of a famous landmark (they use Notre Dame here) is utter genius. It’s a great example of how meta-tagging can be used to enormous success; the possibilities a pretty infinate

Watch it all, it’s well worth it.

You’re Rank!


 Edel’ AR man, Jonny Bentwood must’ve been shirking his 9-5 duties because he’s come up with a pretty significant ranking system for the blogosphere!

His Social Media Index attempts to rank blogs not by the basic number of subscribers, hits and links, but by their impact and relevance within a broader range of social media – Facebook, Twitter, del.i.cio.us, etc. His thoughts….

Traditionally, an individual’s web influence was measured by the success of their blog. In its simplest form this was done by counting how many people subscribed and linked to it. However, in today’s Web 2.0 world, this is no longer a credible metric as people are currently using a variety of different social media tools to inform and hold conversations with their audience.

FACT: There is a definitive need to assess any social media publisher’s influence on the market as a whole.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the more engaged an individual is within the different channels available, the broader influence that person has.

I have developed a model, which recognises and attempts to quantify the impact and influence of multiple social media tools.

FACT: This methodology is not the standard.
The standard is a long way down the road. I have selected one way (of many) to analyse different individuals and I would like this post to provoke debate so that together the community can create a standard. This could include what social media tools to analyse (e.g. Facebook or MySpace or both?) and what weighting should be given to each category (e.g. is Twitter just as important as blogging?).

I admit that I am comparing apples and pears, adding them together and giving a total. I am sure that this would make any statistician have a coronary – but without any other scale to work on I have created my own index and hope that it can act as a catalyst to create something better.

 Tables, methodology and results on the Social Media Index after the jump