Yes We Did; An Inside Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand,
By Rahaf Harfoush

It’s an inside look from an insider – Rahaf Harfoush worked on the campaign for the sixty days leading up to the election.

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 13.46.27It’s a good read, written in a fresh engaging style, with a mixture of detail on what was done, anecdotes, profiles and takeaways or lessons learnt. The online fundraising created by the community was incredible and the motivation of the teams inspiring. There’s a fair amount that can be applied to business.

  • Centre your whole campaign on a hub site – in this case “MyBO“, for companies it will be your corporate or business site.
  • Integrate online and offline – the online platforms had a strong call to action, call electors, organise events and so on, in companies there is often a big split between what is developed online and the on the ground reality.
  • Make small asks of your community – the campaign asked for donations of $5 or for people to make 5 calls. Making the threshold for useful involvement so low meant millions could – and did – become involved. All the online tools were developed with the same philosophy.
  • Straight talking will win fans – the example given was where the online community did not agree with the approach taken by (then) Senator Obama. He acknowledged their concerns but stuck to his decision. It earned respect.
  • Consistency is important – consistent design, approach, tone of voice pull the diverse social media platforms into a coherent whole.
  • Content – highly relevant, timely and short
  • Measure and improve – and keep measuring and improving!

The lesson from the last section on frustrations of working from the inside now that Barack Obama is elected and subject to higher security rules and bureaucracy involvement. The lesson is don’t let the bureaucracy of technology get in the way  – something I struggle with and I’m sure it holds for most companies.

I’m sure that there will be more case studies written, with more depth, but having a first hand take on the campaign makes it all the more inspiring. I want to send a copy to all my colleagues.

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