Dubbed “the first social media president,” it’s hard to find someone that hasn’t retweeted Barack Obama’s Twitter account.
But come 20th January, Barack will leave the White House after eight years as president. And along with his departure, there’s one question that everyone wants answered:
“What will happen to the @POTUS Twitter handle?”
The sad news is that just like the White House, the account comes with the job.
He may be handing over the login details, but Obama’s digital legacy will stay with us for years to come.
With 13.4 M followers, @POTUS has taken the Internet by storm. So how did Barack’s Twitter game get quite so strong?
Here are the 9 golden rules of his social media marketing strategy:
1. Enter the Twittersphere with a bang
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
Your first tweet is arguably the most important tweet you will ever send. With 350 thousand sent every minute, dull posts will spontaneously combust as soon as they enter the Twittersphere.
From Tweet 1.0, @POTUS coined his witty, “I might be the leader of the free world but I can have a laugh too,” voice that would later gain him the title of the world’s first web-friendly president.
Bonus points for having a catchy handle.
2. Share your opinion on important, trending topics
respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac. onions, garlic, hot peppers. classic. https://t.co/MEEI8QHH1V — President Obama (@POTUS) July 1, 2015
Whether it’s a breaking news event or a popular hashtag, get involved with whatever people are talking about.
The key to a successful social strategy is to look for opportunities every day that align with your brand’s core values and beliefs. And if like Barack, you believe that peas don’t have a place in good guacamole, then let your voice be heard.
3. Interact with your community at every opportunity
Good question, @billclinton. The handle comes with the house. Know anyone interested in @FLOTUS? — President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
Mentions are gold in the world of social media. The more mentions you get, it means that more people are talking about you.
Twitter can’t just be a one-sided affair. It’s about creating a community. You gotta build relationships, and interact with (almost) everyone who tweets at you. Bill Clinton included.
4. Create 10x content
Been waiting to drop this: summer playlist, the encore. What's everybody listening to? pic.twitter.com/mqh1YVrycj — President Obama (@POTUS) August 11, 2016
If content is king and promotion is queen, being president is all about combining the two.
10x content is content that is 10 times better than the top search result currently ranking for a given keyword. Say “Presidential playlist” for example.
Take a leaf out of Barack’s book: create a dope playlist, perfect the design, and tweet about it to your millions of followers. You know you’ve been successful when Spotify offers you a job at the end of it.
5. Develop your social persona
I'll say it: Holy Cow, @Cubs fans. Even this White Sox fan was happy to see Wrigley rocking last night. #FlyTheW — President Obama (@POTUS) October 23, 2016
Why should people follow you? Because you offer them something that no one else can.
The great thing about social media is that you can style yourself as whoever you want, but once you’ve decided on a character, you’ve gotta stick with it.
In Barack’s case, having built up a “president, dad, and just your average White Sox fan” persona, you’re good to tweet away all day long.
6. Be transparent
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
Social media gives your brand the opportunity to interact directly with individual people.
To build successful relationships based on trust, you’ve got to show your brand as a living, breathing thing, rather than just a logo or a retouched photo.
Let your audience know what goes on behind the scenes. You never know, it might end up being one of the most retweeted tweets in Twitter history.
7. Take up any opportunity for guest posting
After eight years in office, @POTUS remains optimistic about the world's future. His essay as WIRED’s guest editor: https://t.co/SawTagzT4Hpic.twitter.com/PIIrCbBX3d— WIRED (@WIRED) October 12, 2016
The idea of guest writing makes a consistent appearance in any “online marketing basics” list you might come across. It may be old, but it sure is gold.
Being the social-media-savvy president that he is, Barack secured himself a nice spot in tech magazine “Wired.” He even signed off the post with his real signature.
8 . Host Live Twitter chats
Alright, let's do this. Ready to answer your health care questions. Keep 'em coming with #AskPOTUS. pic.twitter.com/wK8RDF2H0i— President Obama (@POTUS) July 1, 2015
Your social media strategy must be more than just spewing out posts 24/7.
Twitter is a platform for constant, reciprocal communication that lets you connect on a personal level with other users. And how do you leverage an opportunity like this?
Make like Barack and set up a live chat. Gold star if your concentration face is this good.
9. Go viral
Today Joe received the highest civilian honor pic.twitter.com/clZQPKgcvB— whataboutit (@whataboutitthoo) January 13, 2017
Okay, so virality is arguably more plausible when you’re the president of the USA. But don’t let that stop you.
If you have a picture of you and your best mate somewhere that lends itself to meme-creation, launch it into the Twittersphere.
When you eventually go viral, embrace it with open arms. In a “this gives the internet one more chance to talk about our bromance” kinda way.
What does the end of Obama’s presidency mean for social media? See what’s next for the popular YouTube channel BaracksDubs.