What PR Pros Can Learn From Cory Booker


Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Cory Booker has raised $4.6 million in 3 months for his Senate campaign, according to Politico. That's about $1.5 million per month for the much-loved entrepreneur and mayor of Newark, and it's no surprise: In addition to launching startups like #waywire, Booker has gained a loyal following for his personal acts of kindness (shoveling a man's driveway in December 2010) and heroism (rescuing a woman from a burning building in April 2012). 

Booker is also incredibly adept at social media, particularly on Twitter, where he personally addresses constituent queries and complaints. In fact, Politico reported that 2,027 of the 7,000 donations making up the $4.6 million were from New Jersey residents, and 6,000 of them came from first-time donors. Booker's following didn't happen overnight—he built it carefully, and strategically, over time. Here are a few lessons for communicators.

Pay attention to your feed. Yes, the famous snow-shoveling incident evolved from a Twitter exchange, but Booker regularly interacts with his 1,398,298 followers, no matter how seemingly small the comment or request. Often, it's as simple as thanking them for support.

Don't shy away from the haters. Recently, "@Maz713" tweeted at the mayor "Lost all respect 4 Cory Booker." Instead of ignoring the tweet or lashing out, Booker responded, "Wow "All" respect? U & I may disagree on some issues but I'll always respect u. I wish u the best." It was a strong and effective answer, but not overly aggressive. Plus, it incentivized his followers to rally for him.

Be yourself. Booker is in politics, a sector that is not known for its authenticity, yet he still manages to come across as a real person and not a Stepford automaton. His voice is his own, and people respond to that, whether it's at the ballot or with their wallets. 

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.