Creating and Managing a Political Campaign on Facebook

If you are not on Facebook you are not on this world. With 82 Million active users, India is catching pace with the world to be on the social network. Most of these 82 million are young aspiring Indians, who do not believe in obstacles and really want to bring change. Facebook is the best platform to connect and engage them into a meaning full conversation. Every politician, brand manager is eying Facebook penetration to get access to this young brigade, which will soon be the face of India. 
Barack Obama exploited Social Network in 2008 elections and showed that marrying technology with basics yields a healthy offspring called “success”. Within months his popularity reached to pinnacle, thanks to his strategic online media campaign especially on Facebook, his own website and twitter. In comparison for Indian politics, Facebook is fast becoming the only online media to reach electorate.

Making a political campaign click
Facebook campaign for political activities should follow CARE- Clear Goals, Alignment, Relate and Revise, and Emotional and Ethical Engagement.
Clear Goals– Facebook campaign should have clear goals, whether to make people aware about the stand on prevailing issues or to associate people against a cause or to make people volunteer for spreading the message among their contacts, friends and relatives e.g. Obama team had a clear goal to associate more and more people and make not voting youth to come and vote.
Campaign should be focused and be never allowed to deviate from the set goals, there may be some fans / miscreants who may try to pull down by negative commenting, better to ignore them or at the most thank them for their healthy criticism and requesting them to keep following.
Alignment: Facebook campaign should align the campaign and holistic political strategy of the party or of an individual so that Facebook campaign and political party both supplement each other and gain with collaborative effort of successfully executing the party strategy. Facebook campaign can be a part of party or an individual’s strategy but a misalignment in each other can cause an irreparable damage.
Facebook campaign should also align with other social media campaigns like blog, website and twitter. More of advertisement and less of execution can malign the campaign and may result to failure; social media campaign of Shri L K Advani is a testimony to this, too much importance to advertising and not leveraging the content with respect to alignment with other media plans and prevailing issues lead to the comparative lower outcome than anticipated.
Relate and revisit
Posts on Facebook campaign should be timely and relate to ongoing activities in the constituency and country. Before posting, revisit the content to ascertain any possible controversy areas, if there, avoid it or dilute it to the possible extent. Always be ready with a recovery plan to mitigate any controversy arising from a misunderstood post. A public apology may also be considered in a most untoward outrage about the controversial post.
Emotional Ethical Engagement  
A good Facebook campaign will engage fans emotionally as well as ethically. Emotional engagement will come from authentic, transparent replies to the comments posted and observations reported on the campaign. Just having a Facebook campaign and being happy about the likes is not important and is not going to produce the results required for a political campaign. A political campaign will be a success if a like is changed to followings, following is changed to recommending and thus bringing the individual to vote. Each individual keeps an implicit leadership image in his mind and correlates that images with the existing leaders, one to that image matches becomes his choice. Each individual should be emotionally attached to the Facebook campaign, which will come from the ethical posts and answering the comments in earnest manner.  Engaging the Facebook fans to ask questions, give opinions and replying to support or putting the right point is most important and the reply should come directly from candidate, too much of delegation may misalign the  whole communication. 
Spreading the Facebook Campaign 
Advertising through mass media indirectly in all party advertisements, links to Facebook page through blogs, website are all basic ideas. To further increase involvement posts should be made in local Facebook communities, commenting on prevailing issues, providing opinions in the community discussions will help people to associate with the campaign.
A good campaign based on environmental, local infrastructure, corruption, health facilities, public transport system, safety of women, elderly and children, development and maintenance of parks, water and sanitation issues will involve the general public and may also make them to engage themselves in propagating the message further.
Making Youth register and vote in election 2014
Along with Facebook campaign emphasis on social development by making people to come for voting is also important. This will make the campaign more trustable and will be taken more seriously. Most of the people are also not registered for voting, campaign should also focus to make people register for voting using election commission of India’s online portal. The volunteers should also be requested to vote early in the day and post their photographs of voting ink mark or queue photograph to inspire others to vote as well. It has been observed that probability of an individual to vote increases if he sees or knows that his friends / colleagues are voting.
[The article has been written by Ajatshatru Kaushal. He is presently pursuing his PGPX at MYRA School of Business.]

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