The first presidential debate flooded Twitter in a way never before experienced in America, changing not only the post-debate conversations, but the way we experience the debate itself in real-time. The aftershocks of the debate, with sound bites, new reports, and the all important fact-checking dominated the Twitterverse for hours and days after. Personally, I loved it! When the stage started feeling just too darn uncomfortable to watch, I turned to my phone to see what other people were thinking and tweeting about the #debate.

“Twitter was home to a staggering 77% of total online conversations about and during the debate.” Mashable noted according to a social media analytic report by Attention. So while like it or not, the candidates have to deal with Twitter’s 140 character soundbite-centric world, what can we B2B social media marketers learn from the #debate?

1.Both candidates have a five point plan to fix the economy

Five points to fix the economy. FIVE. If it only takes five points to fix our economy, then you never need a B2B social media blog post, marketing plan, or white paper with more than five points. I mean, sure there are exceptions to every rule, but the candidates seem to understand that we’ve come to a point as a society where if information isn’t short, sweet and easily digestible- your audience will up and leave for another source providing them with what they want.

2. Body language counts for almost as much as what was coming out of the candidates’ mouths.

I keep hearing and seeing the comparison of the two candidate’s body language. Mitt, head up, smirking smartly. Obama, head down, writing, thinking or as Saturday Night Live parodied, being distracted by forgetting Michelle’s anniversary present. What is “body language” to a B2B company with 1:1 social media marketers? I’d say it equates to company culture. Your company culture infiltrates the emails sales people are sending to clients, the tone marketers use to write copy that goes on the website, blog as well as social media marketing. It’s not just what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it.

3. No matter how big the gaffe, the news will go on.

Sure Twitter was abuzz about the debate in a way never before seen, and it was talked about a LOT, and is still being talked about. However, once the Jobs Report was released the very next day announcing that the unemployment rate is now 7.8%, the lowest level since almost four years ago in January 2009, did you notice what the Democrats did? They focused most if not all energy on highlighting this key indicator of Obama’s abilities, drawing focus away from his failed performance at the debate.

Life goes on, the world keeps turning, and there’s always new news. If your B2B social media team find itself caught between and a miss-tweet and a social media snafu- say your apologies, to be sure- but change the subject! Attention spans are short and if the debate can show us anything, it’s that no matter how big or bad you think something has gone, take a deep breath and change the conversation, because people will be talking about something else… tomorrow, if they aren’t already.

Did you follow the #debate on Twitter? Did you enjoy it for it’s “comedy gold” like @EricBoggs? Did you join in the debate chatter yourself? Did you find yourself on a Storify account of the debate the following day, as I did? I hope you’re looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate as much as I am! Should be a doozy, and at the least, there will most likely be more B2B social media marketing lessons to learn! Feel free to follow my (warning: highly partisan) tweets @CMBlog and let me know what you think!

Images via Digital Trends, Rollins College Facebook

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