11 Things George W Bush Taught Me About Social Media

bushconfusedSocial media represents a large void in my digital marketing knowledge. I set out to get better in this space and learn more so that I could be a more well-rounded digital marketing specialist. I thought about approaching one of our outstanding Social Media Specialists here at SEP but then I had a moment of realization. Who could teach me more about social media than a social icon like George W Bush?

1. Have An Active Social Presence & Solve Customer Concerns Online

"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here." --at the President's Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

You do not need to be in front of your customers in order to engage with them. Social media provides the perfect platform for you to give a higher level of service and delight your customers. Respond to complaints in a timely fashion and provide real life solutions. Solving problems quickly on social media will always resonate better than burying them and hoping they go away.

2. Be Mindful Of Your Social Reputation

"I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." --presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

Rumors can spread like viruses in the social world. Be mindful of what your online reputation is. Do not be afraid to join conversations and clear the air when false information is an issue. Owning up to mistakes and atoning for errors in other instances will help lend credibility to your denial of false claims.

3. Pick Your Battles Wisely

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

Pick your battles. There are several social media platforms and you do not need to be on all of them. Think of your target market and where they spend their time online. Pick only the most relevant channels and deliver on them with laser like focus.

4. Keep It Light

"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." --as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

People skim their social profiles looking for little nuggets of information. Constantly hitting them over the head with heavy information is frustrating. Ultimately they will become blind to your activity. If you have to bring heavy content from time to time make sure it is surrounded by lighter pieces that feed into the intent of the larger piece.

5. Be Consistent

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." --Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002

Too many companies are focused on appealing to everyone with their social content. This can create a cloudy picture of who you are. You have buyer personas for a reason. Focus your voice on your demographic. You can still hit your market without alienating those who do not fall into your buyer personas.

6. Updates Become Old News Quickly

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

With the volume of social media updates that take place your tweets and posts get buried quickly. If you want your message to stay relevant you need to bring it to market more than once. This does not mean that you should send out the same tweet or post several times. Try changing the messaging and imagery that goes along with it.

7. Use CTAs

"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." --Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

If you are looking to monetize your efforts on social media you need to tell people what you want them to do. Without a CTA (Call to Action) people will simply read and leave. There is nothing wrong with adding CTAs via social media as long as you are not overdoing it. Consider utilizing more content offers in the B2B space ie. Want to cut your labour costs by 9%? Download This Great Guide!

8. Face Your Problems Head On

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." --on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina

Hiding from your problems is not an option on social media. When your company makes an error that spreads through social channels step up and take responsibility. Social media users general appreciate accountability and attack those who shy away. Acknowledge your mistake and provide a solution or a timeline for which a solution can be expected.

9. Spelling And Grammar Still Count

"They misunderestimated me." --Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

The fact that you can update your social profiled in 3 seconds does not mean you should update them in 3 seconds. Take time to review your messaging. Spelling and grammar mistakes will jump off the page and cause your brand to lose credibility.

10. Do Not Drink And Tweet

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." --LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

It is Saturday night and you have had a few wobbly pops. Suddenly you are struck with a great idea and think your followers would love to hear it. That is a bad idea. Big brands have had problems with drunken tweets (mostly accidental). Do not add your name to the list otherwise you may end up sending out an incoherent message that does not appeal to your market.

11. The Technology Will Not Fool You

"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again. "Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

Some people are inherently afraid of the technology social media platforms run on. They have a fear of appearing foolish. It is important to keep in mind that social media is all about conversation. Furthermore social media providers generate more revenue when users are actively engaged. They have a vested interest in making their platforms as user friendly as possible.


You shouldn't be afraid of social media. It can be an outstanding tool when you put together a plan of execution and follow it. Take your time and work towards a predefined goal. Provide value to followers and do not be afraid to ask for something in return.

Thank you George W Bush for all that you have taught me.

I will leave you with this, simply because it is great.

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." --Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

If you liked this, you might also enjoy The 15 Greatest Google Autocomplete Fails.

About the Author: Andrew Marsh

Andrew is an Account Manager with Search Engine People. He is passionate about digital marketing and traditional marketing (but to a lesser extent of course).

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