It is that time again! 2016 is an elections year.
Time for politicians to engage us, time for politicians to convince us and a time for politicians to kneel. Engagement between the political candidate and the electorate is in one direction, with promises being made and us attending rallies. In the 21st century, digital media is the stream; local political aspirants are yet to use it as a winning tool to engage with the electorate. Digital platforms have the unique capacity to enable discussions between the voter and their candidate.
We are aware of the power of the digital campaign, Obama almost single handedly wrote the book. As the first successful digital campaign with a global following, the 2008 general elections in America become our elections, the world would follow and not be spoon-fed from the major news channels. The world was now part and parcel of the American electoral process, capturing our dreams, printing Obama collateral and believing in their Hope.
Not one of us can forget that poster, the books it sold, how us as Africans cheered for Obama and watched him ascend to the Presidency of the United States. Obama and his campaign team, understood that to reach the youth, they had to engage with them on a platform the youth understood. Engaging the youth cost the Obama campaign an unprecedented $8 million or 10% of his advertising revenue. His team understood that the youth are not just teenagers or people in their early 20s but people in their 30s too. Generation X might be shaping the internet, but the children of baby bloomers are driving the economy of the internet, forcing advertising dollars and commerce onto the web.
Turning to Zambia the digital media campaigns are based on Facebook posts, this does not afford the voters the opportunity to engage with political aspirants. If you are brave enough to post a Facebook comment on a post, it will soon disappear behind the noise that is online chaos, reason, troll and ninja! The Facebook post as a means for engagement does not work. Our political leaders need to craft a purposeful digital media campaign and not rely on pictures of themselves with a short copy to gain my vote.
Techtrends 3 suggestion points for a digital media political are
- Hire a digital media campaign company to craft messages for the delivery media; Twitter is not Facebook
- Engage on multiple platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Youtube
- Develop a party app that sends updates and reminds me the voter of your key message
We do understand that the bulk of the electorate is not online but a well delivered message will spread. If you use any digital media to follow your choice for the 2016 elections please let us know what you use.