With their canny knack of using social media to engage with people, much can be learned from the outgoing US president and first lady in terms of using social media to create a more 360 degree view of a life less ordinary.
The president used social media and the data behind it to help him reach the US electorate, and people around the world, when he was running for the biggest job in the world in 2008.
Whether he's tweeting out to his 78.3 million followers on Twitter, broadcasting live to his 50.3 million Facebook followers, sharing highlights of his day with his 9.6m Instagram followers, Google+ing with his 6.4m followers or sharing thoughts on lessons from his first job with his 93K LinkedIn connections, he's using a variety of channels to positively reinforce his agenda and messages even when the news agenda is leading on something else.
It makes him seem accessible to people despite a handful of people really only being able to engage with him on a personal level. Few could fail but to be humbled when he delivered a eulogy and sang at the funerals of the nine people shot dead at the South Carolina church in June 2015. He delivered a powerful speech when he presented to the leaders summit on refugees and peppered his presentation with real life stories, including a letter received from a 6-year old boy offering a home to a blood-stained child filmed in the back of an ambulance in Syria. He uses a uniquely privileged position to put a spotlight on issues in need of global attention, in a way that few others can.
So what relevance does this have to law firms? It's a powerful message that there are different channels out there for you to deliver key messages about your business in different ways. Not everything needs to be a press release, especially when you most likely have many different people and stakeholders to influence. Just think about how you communicate or digest news outside work.
YouTube can bring your people strategy to life and provide an insight into a day in the life of a graduate trainee. Facebook can help you to connect with and talk to people about what you are doing in your local community. Twitter offers the opportunity to quickly respond to news developments and flag developments to your clients. And Instagram enables you to show off the new office or the big sponsorship you are involved in supporting through a powerful photo rather than a 1,000 words.
Social media is a powerful way to connect with people in a different yet relevant way. It brings your brand to life in more ways than a press release or internal comms channel can. President Obama has shown how well it can be used to build his brand. Isn't it about time you did the same for yours?
Obama was an early adopter of a more sophisticated digital approach, beyond having a Facebook page. He recognised the transformative potential in fostering a broader technological campaigning culture. In 2008, he experimented with innovative ways to model his target voters, employing labour-intensive methods to build unparalleled datasets of potential voters likely to be receptive to his candidacy.