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The first presidential debate of the 2012 election season saw the rise of Mitt Romney’s buzz words like “Big Bird” stealing the light from the real issues and the second one was even more of a twitter frenzy with “Binders Full of Women” taking center stage. Tonight, Obama spoke about “Horses and Bayonets“. These trending statements and distractions were welcomed by consumers as well as media outlets everywhere.
Information Overload leads to Humor-Driven Social Media Buzz During Elections
In this day and age where we have real-time fact checking available and full access to all the information we could ever want at the slide of a thumb 24/7/365, the formality of the presidential debates seems a bit staged and expected. So the general public has responded by finding new ways to relate to the candidates and the elections in general – by leaning on humor to create the story. When you think about it, humor is a main staple of social media today. Be it someecards current event postcard images, Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World or even just silly captioned photos of cats on iCanHas.cheezburger.com – people and brands are connecting most successfully when they use humor to drive their messages and nowhere is this ringing more true than in the current presidential election of 2012. It is a way to stand out, to break through the information overload of so many competing messages and to potentially make your brand stand out from the pack. This is a universal lesson for all of us to learn from when thinking about how to communicate effectively and truly engage our audience in social media and on our own websites.
Binders Full Of Women – The Social Media Story
So, what happened last week after Mitt Romney told Barack Obama that he reviewed “binders full of women” to assist in filling cabinet seats as the Massachusetts governor? Within a matter of minutes, a new website was launched with the newly purchased domain www.BindersFullofWomen.com, new binder-related twitter handles showed up in everyone’s feed (@RomneysBinders and @womaninabinder), a Facebook page was created and a Tumblr site was created. There may be even more out there but these were the big ones that hit everyone’s radar that very night! Talk about instant reaction and captivation of an audience who was hungry to eat this story up and participate in it first-hand! In fact, the Facebook page had close to 300,000 likes by the next morning. Who doesn’t wish this could happen to their new Facebook fan page? And imagine how much traffic the website got?
Binders Full of Women – The Website Story
The website referenced above (BindersFullofWomen.com) was bought within less than two minutes of the infamous quote from Governor Romney at the Town Hall Presidential Debate on October 16, 2012, by a Democratic Super PAC backed by George Soros for American Bridges 21st Century. Mr. Soros is the largest donor to American Bridges and is a heavily left-leaning billionaire. After acquisition of the domain (which was not owned by anyone else and thus bought directly from a registrar – what a deal!), they quickly filled it with news stories that shed a liberal light on Romney’s and Ryan’s true position on women’s issues. They continue to operate with a full informational site today. This is proof that having a strategy to not only buy the domain but also a plan and content ready to execute quickly pays off.
Traffic for BinderFullofWomen.com
Sure this was quick thinking and a smart move but how much traffic did it really equate to for American Bridges and its liberal political stories? According to alexa.com, a web information company that provides limited public access to traffic data and other statistics on websites that are highly indexed in Google’s rankings, reports that in less than a week’s time, the website is already ranked as the 228,162nd most visited website globally and the 16,661st most visited site in the US! But, if you look at the traffic, you will note a huge spike the day of and the day after the debate which has since dropped to close to zero.
Horses and Bayonets – What Not to Do
Someone was on top of the debate tonight and pounced on the purchase of the domain www.horsesandbayonets.com. However, this is where the good execution stopped. They did not actually put any content up and as of right now the page is a GoDaddy parking page. This ads are not related to anything about the subject of the debate or even vintage weapons. As in anything marketing and business related, have a strategy and execute well or you will not succeed and money will be wasted. So learn from this and next time you buy the right website domain or procure that perfect twitter name, be sure to actually use it and use it wisely.
The Moral Of the Story: Topical Buzz Words
Whether a presidential debate, the Olympics, a tropical storm or some other topical story that results in buzz words that can be used to capture an audience at the height of the discussion, we are reminded that:
- Stay on Top of Current Events: Come on people. If you are watching on DVR or streaming video you don’t even have a shot at being timely with your audience.
- Act Quickly: If you are not moving at the speed of light to capture the opportunity to turn a nation’s catch phrase into a traffic driver for your business than you can guarantee that your competitors are (perhaps Romney’s marketing team will be thinking about this during tonight’s debate ;))
- Be Funny: Boring does not stick but humor does so if you are trying to make the right choice of which phrase you should run with, do not hesitate on deciding between “women work flexible hours so they can cook dinner” and “binders full of women”, you have already missed your chance. Think about it… binders full of women has an SNL skit written all over it and will remain in the public’s mind much longer. Which one did you hear more about the next day?
- Plan Strategically: The best buzz words and execution in the world will lead you nowhere if the concept you are building does not coincide with your business strategy. So, think through what you are doing and make sure it fits with your brand. If it does not, do not waste your time on the effort. If it does, plan for seamless execution, learn from your mistakes and always stay on strategy.
So, listen actively, act fast and be smart – you will be rewarded. This is true in all aspects of marketing and business. Sign up for our newsletter today to get more helpful web, social media, marketing and business insights to help grow your business.