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3 Social Media Marketing Lessons from the POTUS Joining Twitter

In case you missed the big news, President Obama joined Twitter last week. The 44th President of the United States is now the first to launch the official presidential Twitter handle: @POTUS. By Thursday, he had 2.3 million followers (that’s 2.3 million in 3 days); with that rate, in a month he will be on par with the number of Beliebers following Justin.

While we enjoyed watching him send his inaugural Tweet from the Oval Office on Monday, and his back and forth with former president Bill Clinton, President Obama joining Twitter also offers a few valuable lessons for marketers.

  1. Get your executives on social – The @POTUS handle is not the first instance of the White House presence on Twitter. The Obama administration is very active on the @WhiteHouse account. But a message coming directly from Obama is more powerful then a message written from someone on their communications team. The majority of our society lives in a digital world, and in order for a head of state to connect with their people, they need to meet them where they are. The same applies to your business executives. Messages from your CEO don’t just carry more weight than those from your communications or marketing people (usually); they put a name and a face to your brand. That name and face are most important when major company news breaks and people want to hear it from the source. So get your execs on social.
  2. Go where the conversation already is – Twitter is a hub for news and conversation around politics and world events. The key to any successful marketing and communications strategy is to be where those conversations are happening. For President Obama to offer his input in important conversations, he has to actively participate in them. The same goes with your business’ social media activity. Go where your customers and prospects are, and engage with them on their turf and their terms. It might mean learning to navigate an unfamiliar social network, or use a previously unknown tool, but the payoff will be worth it.
  3. Don’t just post—engage on Twitter. Building on the previous lesson, once you are on Twitter, don’t treat it just as a place for one-way communication. While a 140-character update on the state of the world is important, what will make more of an impact is Obama engaging and replying to his followers. Though this needs to be done strategically, the effort will break down huge communications barriers between the president and his public. Similarly, if your team just posts updates about your company or product and never engages with your customers, you will lose them as followers on social media. Talk to people that reach out to you, help them solve their problems, and ask for feedback. Doing this will make you understand your customer base better and inform your product.

Every week, we take a newsworthy topic and share relevant content and social media marketing lessons that can be drawn from seemingly unrelated subjects, such as Star Wars trailer and hockey beards. Tune in next week for another surprise post.