Brands jumping into social media is no more exciting for me in 2012. In 2011, along with the brands we have seen celebs, authors, politicians, etc. all trying it slowly and evaluating it. Along with this, 2011 was also a year where the world and India for the first time witnessed the amazing powers of social media in the form of social revolutions. If Egypt saw it’s mass revolt followed by Lebanon then India saw the power of Anna, which was backed by the IAC’s social media power. Governments who till day ignored it were caught on back foot and now seem to be trying to gain some feet. Interestingly the Indian government is working in two folds: 1) It is trying to make a solid online presence and engage with the Facebook generation and 2) Simultaneously it is also trying to regulate it. Indians have criticized both the moves heavily.
Along with this the government is also gearing up it’s online communities as polls are coming close and the big one that they are betting on is UP state elections. We all know the reasons behind this and to achieve this Congress has already started a social media campaign. ‘Congress For UP’ Facebook fan page has already got a fan base of 20,000, I think it is not a bad move from Congress to woo online people. In fact I was initially driven by a Facebook ad that landed me to the fan page. The initial excitement when viewing the Facebook ad disappeared the moment I saw the engagement on the page.
Congress For UP Facebook Engagement
The campaign adopting our national language tone is a great move and has a presence on social media, though I wonder how much percentage of the online junta on social networks communicate in Hindi. Other than this, there is nothing worth talking about this campaign. The content seems to be clueless since the objective has not been defined well. The objective that oozes out from the page is of hatred and bashing the opposition, which I think is a lame reason to start a community page.
The idea should have been more on highlighting achievements, well doings for the common man, plan of action after coming into the government, etc. The engagement levels should have been driven by talking to people in the community and asking them to highlight their current problems so as to find ways in solving them. However, the Facebook fan page fails miserably. The page admins or the social media managers should not forget that people are on Facebook because it is a fun place and not a place for hatred. Apart from this, if you audit the Twitter account you would be disappointed too. The community manager is just posting the same content on Twitter that is already out there on Facebook. This is nothing but a sheer lack of understanding about how a particular network works.
Political parties and government organizations are already present on Facebook. For example, one can take some advice from the TMC Facebook page, though they are not the best but at least they are not doing a hatred campaign. So if Congress really wants to connect with Indians and the youth of this country then it will have to rethink on their social media strategies. Or else if they are not bothered then it will be one more page of public anger and link junkyard like we already have seen in the Gov2.in page.
What should be the ways for a political party to engage with fans online? Things would be definitely different in comparison to how brands are engaging but I really doubt the effectiveness of the Congress for UP Facebook campaign at this moment.
P.S. Thanks to Syed M Raza for the ‘Story Tip’ on Facebook.