At the Digital Book World Conference in New York, Teddy Goff, Digital Director, Obama Campaign, led a session on what Publishers can learn from his 2012 presidential campaign. Teddy had a great amount of experience on the issue and worked on both the initial 2008 campaign and then the 2012 followup.
Teddy said that “In 2008, Facebook was much smaller and Twitter was not really around. I mean, the iPhone only came out in 2007, so things changed a lot by 2012. The main goals were the same, however, in both campaigns: register voters, get contributions, get people out to vote, etc. In 2012, Facebook had skyrocketed and grown to such an extent that it could reach almost everyone in the US.” When he looked at the email lists, he found that 99% of young people voted for Obama and felt that relating to these people and using them was their primary goal.
Teddy said that delivering the message was the easiest part, but they had to be careful not to be lame. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to get millions of people to engage in tax policy. They tried to make all their posts interesting and engaging, even though the subject matter was fairly dry and obtuse.
When you are delivering your message to your engaged audience, you have to understand the subtle vernaculars. They accomplished this by making Tweets a little bit more interesting and “native” to the internet so they would be re-tweeted. One of the new forms they employed was taking advantage of Reddit by putting Obama on it and it was the most popular Reddit ever.