Barack Obama and his lesson in Social Media

Barack Obama and Michelle

I probably show too many slides when I give my social media courses.

I always try to communicate my points with visuals using as few words as possible. At all times I will try to avoid slides with lots of text – I get bored with them so I’m sure anyone reading will do likewise.

My usual courses run over either two or three sessions and I normally try to leave it at least a week between sessions so that students and clients can practice in between sessions and get the most from the training programme.

The big challenge is when I am asked to cut the course into one session – this is really tricky as I have to do a huge “cull” of my material to come in at the required time and still cover the ground sufficiently.

I hate losing slides as all the material is designed to make a specific point, so inevitably valuable material gets lost.

There is one slide above all in my presentations that is precious and if I had a situation whereby I had the time to show only one this would be it.

I love this particular image because for me it sums up the magic of social media and teaches a huge lesson in how to use it.

I was asked to make a presentation to Dublin Chamber about the use of Twitter for business and it happened to coincide with the results of the last US election. Due to other commitments the night before I had to travel from Cork early in the morning to get to Dublin for the 7:30am presentation.

Like the rest of world I was intrigued about the result so the first thing I did when I woke was to check twitter on my smart phone and this is the tweet I saw.

This Barack Obama tweet was the most retweeted of all time – even at 4:19 am our time, it had been retweeted 475,000 times.

Why do you think I love using this tweet so much?

  1. It demonstrates how Twitter is now the first port of call for breaking news
  2. It demonstrates the shift from Facebook to Twitter – During his first Presidential campaign he was not using Twitter, it was all about Facebook.
  3. This medium was how he chose to communicate to the outside world that he had accepted he had won the presidential race
  4. The message is really simple and concise (often the best way to use social media)
  5. The picture he chose to accompany the tweet demonstrates the biggest social media tip of all, much better than I could ever explain it

The Picture!

Four More Years

Why is this picture so powerful?

Cleverly he didn’t show a picture of himself in a suit with all of his team – he chose a picture of himself, eyes closed, without a jacket, with his sleeves rolled up hugging his wife in a loving embrace.

The President knows instinctively that showing himself as human, as a family man, even slightly vulnerable is the way to connect with the majority of people and this is a winning formula.

A great way to win on social media is by allowing yourself to be human, personal and even vulnerable at times.

People are intrigued by people and even if you are running the most boring business in the world you can bring it alive on-line by interacting and showing people who you are, what you are all about and giving them a chance to get to know you.

Social media provides you with that opportunity – grab it!

Greg Canty is a parter of Fuzion

Fuzion provide Social Media Consultancy and Training in Ireland from offices in Cork and Dublin 

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