Marketing Lessons From Politicians' Social Media Abuse [Marketing Update]

Brian Whalley
Brian Whalley



The social media world is all abuzz with how politicians are using social media and Twitter to engage with voters in advance of the U.S. 2012 elections. This week, Brian Whalley and Sam Coren guest hosted the Marketing Update on HubSpot TV, a privilege they won in the HubSpot Charity Auction. Brian Whalley is HubSpot's SEO manager, and Sam Coren is a content manager at .

The Top 100 Social Media Colleges

This past March, StudentAdvisor, a Washington Post college reviews and information site, announced its inaugural Top 100 Social Media Colleges Rankings. For higher ed marketers, it was the first time there was a scientific benchmark for social media success. To calculate the rankings, StudentAdvisor's scientists tracked over 2,000 schools using more than 100,000 data points daily, including their HubSpot Tweet Grade , to measure social media reach and engagement.

In the inaugural list, Harvard (the birthplace of Facebook) earned the coveted #1 ranking. In the second list that was released in May, Johns Hopkins University climbed to the top after coming in second on the first list. The next update of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges is set for a mid-September release after the new academic year begins. Check out the current Top 100 Social Media Colleges here for great examples of social media use in higher ed.

Did Newt Gingrich Buy Followers?

Earlier this month, one of Newt Gingrich’s former campaign staffers revealed to that most of the Republican Presidential candidate's Twitter following is fake. “About 80 percent of those accounts are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various 'follow agencies.' Another 10 percent are real people who are part of a network of folks who follow others back and are paying for followers themselves.” Newt Gingrich responded by denying that he hired any such agencies .

Marketing Takeaway: Before buying social network followers, consider what is a best practice for your industry first and what’s more important to your marketing efforts: quantity or quality? In general, buying followers is not a recommended social media practice.

Obama Loses 33,000 Twitter Followers in One Day

President Obama has been using his ability to communicate directly to his 9.4 million Twitter followers recently to help build support while negotiating the recent debt bill. But at one point on July 29th, when he posted the username of every Republican congressman, state by state, and asked his followers to contact them and ask them to support the deal, the tremendous flood of hundreds of tweets an hour overwhelmed many of his followers. Over 33,000 people unfollowed Obama on that day as a result.

Marketing Takeaway: Don’t spam your followers. It’s never a good idea to spam people, no matter who you are or what the quality of your message is.

Google Bringing Back Realtime Search?

In July, Google was forced to shut down its Realtime Search product after Google was unable to strike a deal with Twitter. Twitter, who had previously licensed Twitter data to Google, withdrew the data from Google's service. Now that Google's own social network, Google+, and the +1 button is taking off, the search engine giant has a great new source to use for real-time results and has suggested that Realtime search will be returning to their results pages very soon.

Marketing Takeaway: As a marketer, you should strongly consider adding the Google +1 button across your website to help you take advantage of the return of Realtime Search.

Our stories from this episode have all been about how to make sure you have a positive and successful social media presence online. Don’t spam people, be real and honest, and make sure your site is set up to take advantage of social media and real-time ranking factors to help people find you online.

What do you think about the curated list of social media colleges? How do you feel about President Obama's use (or abuse) of Twitter?

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