What is Barack 2.0?
We hope the lessons contained in this workbook will help you understand the impact a social media strategy can have on businesses of any size. This is not about politics; it's about viewing Barack Obama's campaign use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites from a business perspective. These lessons can be used by Democrats, Republicans and/or Independents alike. It's about understanding how we can use technology to meaningfully connect with people to build long-lasting relationships, turning clicks into customers, and using content to convert strangers into collaborators. These are the true lessons that we can take away from Barack Obama's improbable rise from obscurity to the presidency.
How Did Barack 2.0 Begin?
"I'll tell you something about Barack Obama that the media has not picked up on. He has got a very, very powerful presence on Facebook, on MySpace, on a lot of these sort of below the radar social networking sites on the internet." This quote, attributed to BlueMassGroup.com co-founder David Kravitz, appeared in a February 2007 New York Sun article entitled Obama's Facebook. (http://www.nysun.com/opinion/obamas-facebook/48560/)
This was just one month after Senator Obama announced his improbable candidacy for the presidency of the United States, and several months before Facebook opened its site up to the general public. But by then, Obama already had over 250,000 fans on Facebook. Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination, only had roughly 3,200.
The article captured David Bullock's attention, and led him to keep an eye on what Obama's campaign was doing with social media. Brent Leary had also become captivated with Obama's use of Web 2.0 tools and their impact on his campaign. When Brent shared with David the article he had written for Black Enterprise after Obama's stunning victory over Senator Clinton for the Democratic nomination in June, he was reminded of how prophetic David Kravitz was.
The fact that David and Brent were talking at all was pretty amazing, considering they hadn't seen or heard from each other in over 18 years, when they both were attending the University of Delaware. Just the month before in May 2008, they ran into each other at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur's Conference. They both happened to be presenting at the Small Business Boot Camp – David on Internet Marketing and Brent on using technology to grow small businesses. What they observed from the attendees was a thirst for understanding on how they could create a presence on the web that would allow them to reach the people looking for the products and services they provide. They were looking to understand how blogging, podcasting, video and social networks could help them compete in the marketplace.
With huge excitement being generated by Obama's historic presidential bid, and with interest in social media growing daily, David and Brent thought it would be interesting to analyze Obama's use of these technologies, not from a political perspective, but from the perspective of a small businessperson looking to put together a social media strategy of their own.
They decided to turn their personal curiosity for Obama's social media moves into a webinar outlining some of the tools, strategies and methods used by his campaign to meaningfully engage millions of people. Being somewhat overwhelmed by the response they received by the small business community, they decided to create a blog/podcast that would allow them to dig a little deeper into different aspects of the social media strategy being implemented by the Obama campaign, which they began calling Barack 2.0. This led to the Barack20.com website, and the Barack 2.0 Strategy Update podcast series.
The site picked up a loyal following and caught the attention of national media outlets. The interest in Barack 2.0 led to invitations to speak at industry conferences, professional organizations, and university MBA programs. Finally, after Obama's historic victory - and its description as the most successful Internet marketing campaign ever - it led to this workbook.