From the beginning of his candidacy for president in 2007, Barack Obama and his political team have demonstrated a digital savvy that gave them a big edge at targeting voters with custom messages that helped him win two terms in the White House.

Dr. Pamela Rutledge, who writes the Media Psychology Blog, calls Obama the first social media president.

It should be no surprise that, from the outset of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, digital specialists with ties to Obama’s success began lining up for some of the more than 700 jobs that support the Clinton campaign.

Clinton no doubt will adopt much of Team Obama’s successful digital strategy. Digital savvy gave Obama a big edge over John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney. Obama used social media not only to convince potential voters they should vote for him, but also to get them to the polls and stay there despite the long lines, especially in hotly contested precincts in key counties of battleground states.

It was no surprise that Obama on June 9 turned to YouTube to issue his long-awaited endorsement of fellow Democrat Clinton. By using YouTube he not only got to control the message without political reporters peppering him with questions at a White House press conference, but he also got to reach large populations of voters he wanted to reach — especially younger independent voters. (YouTube has more than 1 billion users, and more than 4 billion videos are viewed there each day).

The takeaway: regardless whether you are a non-profit trying to expand its services or influence public policy, or a for-profit business looking to grow customer and revenues, a smart social media strategy can make the difference between winning and losing.

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