I'm based in India, the battleground of one of the last few decades' most divisive national elections, and the first one where Social media is arguably playing a big part. Political parties have hired specialist agencies and established large volunteer teams for a wide range of roles: to support their agendas, malign opponents with both propaganda and lies, and to act as trolls and converts as the day turns.
While I try to be nonchalant about their shenanigans, it is near impossible to ignore their efforts from a marketer's perspective. And so far, I think most politicians, whether in India or other regions of the world, fail miserably on social media. Here's why:
Can't be firm on policy: Depending on the way the wind is blowing on a given day, a politician needs to change tack immediately. With multiple stakeholders, and a diverse set of audiences to satisfy, they end up making promises to everyone. With conventional media and one way dialogue, they could take a misstep on a given day and course correct in due time, or simply, say they were misquoted. With social media, the audience hears from the proverbial horse's mouth, and they have to be firm- which simply isn't the way politics is played.
Spend half their time dissing competition: When in doubt, blame the other party- with such rules of engagement, politicians don't have the wherewithal to sustain campaigns by the strength of their manifestos. They necessarily try to malign opponents, and try to convert fence sitters. On social media, name calling and other such activities are frowned upon by people engaging with you, even as your supporters rejoice in your pot shots. With conventional media, one could think of responses and reply with wit, derision or amity in due course. With social media's instant pressure, they can't mostly keep up.
Engage with social in the same way as traditional media: While comparing thesetwo forms would take another blog post, suffice it to say Politicians don't want to appear ill at ease. With social media, their response is to create the same support teams and structures. God help you if you are a politician and not naturally 'media savvy'. Next to your publicist, your social media team will have the toughest task.
Fearful of social media: Above, I cited examples from countries where social media is mainstream enough to congregate voters, and thus politicians. Let's however, not forget a wide swathe of countries, from Turkey banning Twitter to Russia restricting social media usage at the Sochi Olympics. Totalitarian regimes realise the losing battle they fight if they participate on social media. This is perhaps the most important reasons for many politicians' failure on social- they just can't stand to scrutiny.
These reasons, and the examples I cite above, may be limited in their worldview, because, like you, there's only so much of Politics and heated debates I can take on various platforms before I watch the next cat video. I look forward to your thoughtful comments, and examples of social media successes you've seen emerging from Politics in your country.
Companies have spent millions building apps, and then billions (?) trying to get people to download them. The future however, is without apps. It's taking two divergent paths for now, which meet sometime in the near future.
Each of an app's most important functions have to be baked into workflows of other, more popular apps. The same way you get to order an Uber inside Google Maps, or get directions to the cinema hall in the ticket booking app. Context becomes important than the need. There is a reason Google wants you to speak to its assistant to get everything done, or Alexa wants to be your gateway to everything. As technology flattens our interaction with the world (than continue to hold it in verticals of different needs), apps become 'micro services' in our interaction with the world. You and I don't need another twenty apps to get things done. Soon, customers will prefer firms who get things done without exhorting them to download an app sign up, and then ge…
Let's begin this movie review by the climax, and breaking the unbreakable rule of telling you what happens in a movie, I will.
MSG 2's villain, a (what else!) corrupt politician approaches the hero (Pitaji) flanked by an army (a real army) battalion, a clutch of SUVs, and a phalanx of REAL ARMY TANKS. At this time, it seems sure that he will kill the man, once and for all. He also has an 'international drug mafia' man with him.
This is what he proceeds to do- he has a mega phone in his hand, with which he literally speaks out everything that's happened in the past two hours, plus a couple of other things that happened in a parallel universe, where Pitaji managed to break his 'sex racket', his 'drug racket' and a few other things. Nice recap you'd think, because you went numb after the first 20 minutes. But no. He then proceeds to attack with the army, and the entire batallion is decimated, and basically disappears from the scene. Then he asks …
Like every year, you would make a ton of resolutions in the next week, mostly to sigh at them by the end of January. I make them too, and mostly succeed. This year, I want to share some resolutions I made professionally and succeeded at. It helps that I'm a part of a great team, which makes things happen quickly and effectively. More than anything else, we demonstrated value of social media to the business over and over again.
Here are my five new year resolutions for social media marketers: Get your CXOs to use Twitter: I still can't believe I have to add this a resolution for 2017. Donald Trump mostly won the presidency of the United States using this one platform! From Baby-boomers to Gen Xers, everyone needs to be on Twitter if they meet customers and prospects. Help them think about this: today, the average CXO pitches their product to a much larger group at their customer's company. If they aren't visible to each member of that heterogenous group on various platf…