The online bug has finally bitten Indian politicians, all thanks to the resounding success of the Obama online campaign. Surprisingly, the first adopter is not from the young leader brigade led by Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot, but the 81 years old Prime Ministerial hopeful — Mr. L. K. Advani.
Mr. Advani’s campaign team has launched a 360 degree online campaign in order to reposition Brand Advani as ‘The Leader’ for the young generation. Having started with a Web 2.0 Website and Blog, his campaign is now leveraging YouTube, Facebook, Orkut and Google Adsense to reach out to the young voter.
Impressive in terms of the scope of activity and tactics being experimented with. However, what remains to be seen is whether he can pull it off the way Obama managed. Just to bring all on board…
· On Facebook, President Obama has more than 5.4 million supporters and 570,000 plus wall posts.
· Obama’s YouTube address garnered nearly a million views.
· On Twitter, Obama sent out more than 260 Tweets to 144,000 "followers”, updating supporters on his whereabouts.
· The “My Barack Obama” community beautifully used online tools to organise offline activities and generate donations.
· All in all, Obama managed to raise $600 million from 3 million people, mainly through small contributions made online.
Coming back to the Advani Campaign. It is definitely ambitious but has had mixed results:
· His Google Adwords campaign targeting and image ads are bang on.
· His website is buzzing with activity. Pretty interactive with blogs, online volunteer form and discussion forum having more than 5000 posts. It has achieved an impressive Alexa ranking of 474 and page rank 4 in just 1 year of its existence.
· His Blog has well written posts, albeit infrequent. The last post is dated February 1st.
· His Facebook page has only 140 supporters and not much activity happening. Whereas on Orkut, this number is 531.
· On YouTube his channel has 191 videos and 82 subscribers as of now.
Overall, the mix of tactics is good, but the execution could have been better. His blog could do a lot better with higher post frequency and daily updates. Similarly, he would have engaged far more number of people on Facebook and Orkut, with interesting applications that let youth participate. For example – My expectations from the next Prime Minister?
Nevertheless, a great beginning. Hope to see many more Indian politicians engaging with their voters in the near future.