It’s bizarre the way elections come and go in our country. Once in five years we are reminded of our fundamental right to slide our chit into the ballot box (confession of a reluctant voter: I have never voted in my entire life). The whole nation (or the world, given the number of NRIs) is in the grip of election frenzy. It is when Politician’s become marketers, party offices become PROs and no marketing medium is spared. When 2014 General Elections are already beaming on news channels, a certain Mr Modi is working overtime, Congress undertaking redemptive measures, and nation waking up to the inevitable change of government, marketers are in demand. The only new medium this time around is social medium for politicians, and as far as I know, no stone is left unturned. NaMO India on Facebook has a cover image that proudly proclaims “World’s Fastest Growing Fan Page: One Million Likes in 78 Days.” I trust all fans acquired organically. Unsurprisingly, the content is pro-BJP and anti-Congress. The Aam Aadmi Party Page has about 280,000 likes (all organic again) with a picture of Kejriwal with a check mark against it, and Shiela Dixit’s sorry-looking image with a cross against it. A recent post shows Kejriwal propagating Jha’s latest flick Satyagraha. A few scrolls down, and the same-old attack against Shiela Dixit and Congress/BJP is evident. Mamta Bannerjee freely uses social media to share her views on Facebook, and has 355,000 fans. If I recall correct, Rahul Gandhi called a meeting a few days to ago on ways to capitalize on ubiquitous social media.

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It is very clear that this time social media will be used to propagate by politicians. As a marketer (I hate to stereotype, but as a social media marketer), I have talked to two politicians in the past three days who want to set up Facebook pages for their 2014 campaigns. Like most corporate brands, they were absolutely clueless to about the objectives, but now that I am battle-hardened, I guided them through the pros & cons, and of course modus operandi. For me, I believe in social media for politicians, especially in India, where majority population is youth (upto 35), and youth dominates social media.

In my opinion, there are three crisp reasons that social media might be the game changer his general elections:

–       Social Media is an influencer. If it can influence us to buy houses and cars, and vacations, it can certainly influence us to vote or choose our leaders.

–       Social Media creates conversations. I really don’t think there is any other medium where a political party/politician can get one-to-one with such ease.

–       Social Media creates recall/loyalty. If political parties get tech-savvy, then apps can be created to get live updates, manifestos, events, news about parties. Staying connected all time must be the motive.

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