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Facebook: New Vote Bank For Indian Political Parties?

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Social Media is no longer a play ground of the geeks. It is now main stream, and has the power to influence general elections as well.

After IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India) announced that social media can greatly influence the results of 160 constituencies all over India, debate has started whether it is possible or not.

Facebook elections

First Post vehemently opposed this report, stating, “While networks are awesome at asking people to raise their hand to say they care, they don’t have the offline, reality check of asking people to take a bullet.”

Interesting debate going on, I must say.

After reading this, the marketer inside me finds this a good opportunity to ponder over the question: If we assume (ask any marketer, he is always positive!) that social media will influence the election results and voting patterns, then how can a political party make themselves popular on social media? It calls for a comprehensive Social Media Outreach campaign for maximum visibility and maximum eyeballs.

As of today, more than 71 million Indians use Facebook and for reaching out to potential voters and influencing their decision making process, we will focus on this social media giant.

To understand and analyse how Facebook can influence an election result, let us take the example of Thane constituency.

In the year 2009, there were 18 lakh registered voters in Thane, out of which around 7.5 Lakh used their electoral power and came out to vote.

Vijay Chaugule of Shiv Sena polled a total of 2,51,980 votes out of these 7.5 Lakh votes. But the election was won by Sanjeev Naik of NCP who got 3,01,000 votes; just a margin of 49,000 votes. As per the report by IAMAI, Thane is a major constituency wherein social media can influence the overall results.

Now, let us find out how a political party from Thane can make use of Facebook to garner maximum eyeballs and maximum visibility.

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Facebook ads is one of the excellent ways to target the exact demography which we are seeking. And when it comes to Thane, then we can use the existing tools available for any Facebook advertiser to target and reach our preferred audience.

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If we choose all those who are above 25 years of age and living in Thane, then we can find out that there are around 1,44,480 people active on Facebook.

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Now, once we have identified this data and empowered with the knowledge that so many adults from Thane are active on Facebook, then all we need to do is create a Facebook campaign and target this audience via relevant advertisements.

The concerned parties can focus on the local issues which are hampering the growth of this constituency and share their vision of the future.

Just imagine, even if half of this 144,480 people do actually gets influenced decides to vote for a particular party, then the previous election’s victory margin of 49,000 votes will be overcome and a new electoral mandate may emerge.

Here is a wonderful illustration of this whole Facebook advertisement method, created by The Hindu.

Votebank illustration

Before discarding this theory, we should remember that social media played a very crucial part in deciding Obama’s victory last year.

[box type=”shadow” ]Millions of fans on Facebook and Twitter actually helped him to prove his mandate online as well as offline. And 80% of his $639 million donations came via online channels. Nothing is impossible in this age of connected economy.[/box]

And Indian elections are not different.

What do you think of this theory? Will Facebook prove to be the new battle ground for Indian political parties? Would love to hear your views on this…

  1. Rohit says

    Kindly post the link of Page of Shashi Tharoor having 1.72 million likes.

    1. Mohul Ghosh says

      Hi Rohit.. Actually its the twitter profile of Shashi Tharoor with 1.7 million ‘followers’: https://twitter.com/ShashiTharoor

      His Facebook page has around 25k ‘Like’..

      The Hindu article showed his social media reach, actually..

  2. Aditya Kane says

    Indian elections are different from US elections. Obama used social media to micro target potential donors rather than use the old system which was not target online.

    In India FB and Twitter can at best at the moment serve as a bit of a weather wane – see where the political winds are blowing. I do not think it can really win or lose anyone an election as yet.

    1. Mohul Ghosh says

      Thanks for your views on this one, Aditya.. yes, Indian political system is vastly different. But as per the study, there are these 160 constituencies wherein social media can play an integral part.. maybe micro-targeting the voters in these locations will do the trick! As shared in the example, there are 144000 odd adults in Thane who use facebook.. and 7.5 lakh voted last time.. the difference between victory and defeat was just 49k votes! So, basically I am interested in this social media figures and the margin of victory.. I mean, just a theory as of now.. but hey.. just like cricket, anything can happen!

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