The campaigning strategies of the political parties of India have changed, but they can still be connected with the traditional methods. The conventional methods of campaigning which are the broadcast campaigning, door-to-door campaigning, playing TV ads and radio ads to campaigning posters, all of it is still widely used today. These traditional methods have bought huge success to the political parties, and this is the sole reason why these methods are still in use today. So, there is no change in the campaigning strategy from the traditional campaigning methods. Rather, it can be said that the political parties have added an extra strategy to the conventional for staying in pace with the modern world which is the use of the internet. Though many still argue that internet is not a fruitful campaigning strategy since the rural part of India is still deprived off the internet, but the 2014 election result is the biggest witness of the impact of social media on election campaigning.
The social media campaigning strategy first rang the bell of the campaigners after the 2008 Obama campaign where he used a team of the 100-strong analytic team for understanding the behaviour of the voters and working on hem for attracting the attention of the people during the rallies. In 2014, Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of India, hired Prashant Kishor for managing the election campaign of the now ruling party, BJP. Prashant along with his team of data analysts analysed and collected a huge amount of data from the various demographics of India which later then used for targeting the promising voters. With the help of the received data from the election campaign management companies, the party micro-targeted each region separately and curated messages separately for each area based on their interest. This strategy helped the party to raise funds and also helped the party in determining the efficient places for placing their advertisement for increasing the reach of their campaigning.
The usage of social media for politics have dramatically changed the style of campaigning over the years, and the key social media campaigning behind this is the YouTube and Facebook which have built a new bridge of communication between the voters and the elected officials. The usage of social media has made it possible for the political parties to have a better insight of the current scenario of the voters based on which they can push in the content for gaining the attraction of the citizens.
So, how have social media such highly influenced the current campaigning scenario. Well, it is because of the advantages it possesses. Using social media for campaigning will allow the candidates to have:
- Direct communication with the potential voters
The social media instruments such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube enable government officials to talk specifically to voters without spending a dime. By utilising those online networking allows political representatives to evade the common technique for achieving voters through paid publicising or earned media.
- Unpaid advertisement
It has turned out to be regular for the Political parties to deliver ads and distribute them for nothing on YouTube unlike the TV commercials or the radio commercial where they have to pay a hefty amount of money. In many cases, columnists covering efforts will expound on those YouTube promotions, basically communicating their message to a more extensive gathering of people at no expense to the political entities.
Twitter and Facebook have turned out to be instrumental in the campaign organisation. They permit similar voters and activists to effortlessly share news and data, for example, the campaigning events with one another. That is the thing that the “share” option on Facebook and “retweet” option of Twitter is for.
- Tailored targeted messages
Political campaigns can take advantage of an abundance of data or examination that they have gathered from the election campaign management companies about the general population who are tailing them via web-based networking media and alter their messages depending on the need. A campaign may discover one message suitable for voters under 30 years of age won’t be as compelling with more than 60 years of age.
- Raising assets
A few campaigners have utilised alleged “money bombs” to raise a lot of money in a short timeframe. Cash bombs are commonly 24-hour periods in which hopefuls press their supporters to give cash. They utilise the social networking sites, for example, Twitter and Facebook to get the word out, and frequently attach these cash bombs to explicit contentions that rise amid the campaigns.
- Can lead to controversy
Direct access to the voters has its drawbacks as well. Election campaign management companies experts frequently deal with a daily picture, and in light of current circumstances: Allowing a legislator to convey unfiltered tweets, or Facebook posts have landed numerous of politicians in humiliating and embarrassing situations.
Requesting feedback from voters or constituents can be something worth being thankful for. Furthermore, it well may be a terrible thing, contingent upon how government officials react. Numerous election contract staff members to screen their web-based life channels for a negative reaction and scour anything unflattering. However, such a shelter like an attitude can influence an election to seem cautious and shut off from the general population. Well, run cutting-edge campaigns will draw in the general population paying little mind to whether their criticism is negative or positive.
- Gaining Public Opinion
The estimation of online networking is in its promptness. Government officials and candidates do nothing literally without first knowing how their arrangement explanations or moves will play among the electorate, and Twitter and Facebook both enable them to momentarily check how general society is reacting to an issue of contention. Legislators would then be able to change their crusades as needs are, continuously, without the utilisation of extravagant advisors or costly surveying.
- Attract the young generation
One reason online networking is successful is that it connects with the younger generation. Normally, more established citizens will, in general, make up the biggest bit of voters who go to the surveys. In any case, Twitter and Facebook have attracted more youthful voters, which have profoundly affected the elections.
The introduction of social media in campaigning has made it even better and stronger than before. With the help of social media, the candidates have a better insight of the scenario than earlier.