Barack Obama has taken to Facebook in an effort to step up his campaign for re-election. His team obviously decided that the social networking site is a good place to recruit followers and ultimately win votes. They aren’t wrong. Through the paid ‘sponsored stories’ feature he was able to gain over one million likes in a day, compared to his usual rate of around 30,000 a day. I have no idea how much they spent on the ads or how many people saw them but its a fair assumption to say that, with 1,000,000 new ‘likes’ the campaign was a success.
However some were not so pleased with the ads that appeared in peoples news-feeds. Many voiced their frustration at being asked to ‘like’ Obama despite never expressing any prior interest in his page or interacting with him. I understand where they are coming from. Having to look at paid for ads in my newsfeed is annoying. Its a long-standing problem for Facebook and their investors. The model simply doesn’t work in the same way that it does for Google as Google can drop paid for listings into natural results.
Both Obama and his rival Mitt Romney are active on a number of social media platforms in this crucial stage of the forthcoming election. Romney has been posting ‘off-duty’ pictures of him with his family on Instagram and both use twitter to communicate with voters.
Facebook is also currently experimenting with a new ‘want’ button, similar to the ‘like’ button. It is yet another commercial move from FB but a very clever one and one that I think could work for them.