How would you inspire and mobilize India’s youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014 using social mobile apps?

social election

The Parliamentary elections are coming your way in a few months and the political parties are analyzing and trying out new ways to reach out to the people of India. The India’s youth could play a major role in 2014 elections. Overall, India has 472 million people under the age of 18, and 49.91% of its population is under the age of 25.

64% of our population is in the age bracket of 15-64 years. The median age is 25 years. That is more than 50% of India’s current population is below the age of 25 and over 65% below the age of 35.

We all know that the younger generation of India is addicted to mobile than Television. Teens drive the Smartphone market of India. According to a new study, there are 51 million Smartphone users in urban India today, an 89% increase from 2012, when there were just 27 million users. The study also reveals that the biggest spike is in the youngest age group between 16 to 18 years, where numbers have gone from 5% in 2012 to 22% this year, a four-fold increase. Smartphone’s are used to listen to music, watch videos on the go, games, take and share photos and for messaging apps like we chat.

This reveals that there is a new channel for marketing among the youth of India and the same applies for the political campaigns. Target those 50% of the Smartphone users.

51 million Smartphone users = more than 5 crore people in urban India.

According to the Election Commission, a total of 149.36 million first-time voters will go to the polls in 2014 – making up 20 per cent of India’s electorate. Out of this 150 million people, let’s assume 80% can be a Smartphone user. That is more than half of the Smartphone users in India are youth!!

But does the young India Vote? 

Delhi elections last month has shown that at least 50% of 18-19-year-olds in Delhi haven’t even registered to vote. This is alarming. We are running away from democracy. Until you vote you can’t even raise your vote against corruption or the so called change? A change can be brought only by voting. So every vote counts and you need to vote to select your representative and bring the much needed change that we all are expecting.

Recall Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign — using social media, colleges and a host of youth forums, Obama not only grouped together young voters, he had them volunteering services and persuading communities to vote. Thanks to that organizing effort, the youth vote re-shaped and energized the world’s oldest democracy. It can also do so in the world’s largest democracy. Pro-change and anti-status quo politicians can reap benefits by mobilizing the youth vote. Meanwhile, it’s time young citizen’s exercise more than their right to complain. You want growth, governance and graciousness? Go vote, Young India.

How Social Media apps can help?

The social media apps like We Chat, Whatsapp, and Line can be a game changer for this year’s election. More than Facebook, Twitter, and the youth of India use these apps. The industry is seeing gradual exodus of teenagers from social media to social apps. Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to social messenger apps.

The social apps make the users feel comfortable through group chatting, sharing videos, audio, games and stickers or emoticons. Even the marketers feel the necessity of being on the social apps more than twitter, Facebook. This has become a customer engagement tool.

1.       Customer Engagement Programs

A classic example is of Chatime Malaysia partnered with WeChat offering users an opportunity to redeem and purchase 1 million cups of Chatime worth over RM6 million through digital coupons made available via the WeChat platform. This was a new trend of mobile engagement with customers. Through the Chatime Malaysia’s official WeChat account, the users will be able to receive the latest Chatime Malaysia’s updates and promotions. Customers are also allowed to share their opinions and queries through text, voice, or video messages. The political parties can come up with such programs to be engaged with their voters as this will more of a personalized engagement.

Chatime-WeChat

2.       Games

WeChat introduced a new Game Center for its users. WeChat games provide users with greater social interaction and sharing within their existing social network as well as with new friends. The election commission of India and the political parties can come up with games which can attract the youth and make them engaged.  Like Farmville, which was a hit among the Facebook users earlier, the mobile games can make the Indian youth addicted. Recently there are games available in Google Play in the name of Narendra Modi.  The games like Modi Run, Modi Mario Run, Modi Quotes and Speeches are runaway hit on Google Play. The games which helps the young India to understand the benefits of Voting or which helps them to know how a democracy is run or games which helps them to understand the politics of India are all part of engagement building.

3.       Connect users from offline to online

The social apps are connecting users from offline to online. The same applies for a political party. They need to be connected to their voters. Earlier it was through the local meetings, gatherings etc, later they took it to twitter, Facebook and now to the social apps. The mobile is like a household item nowadays. The first thing that a teenager does early in the morning to check his Whatsapp,  WeChat messages. If a nice quote or a funny picture of a politician is shared on these social apps, it’s shared on the same instant to other users as well. That means the reach is enormous while using these apps. No other marketing campaign can get you a reach like this.

An example here is the campaign for BJP.

Mission 272+

This is a Google Ad by BJP in support of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. You can add this number to your mobile and give a missed call. Once added, you will get notifications from this number through Whatsapp. This is an added advantage of using these social media apps. You are taking one step ahead connecting with the people online as well as offline. This ensures that the messages reach your target customer! Whether this is a spam or not, the user shall determine, but this is a great marketing initiative to say the least.

4.       Turn into a Social Platform

The web platforms like Reboot Illinois have done well in US.  Reboot Illinois aims to encourage citizens to retake ownership of their own government. Reboot Illinois is a nonpartisan website and social media effort dedicated to involving Illinoisans in the key issues facing the state, including state debt, corruption and waste and improving business and schools. If our politicians can come up with such issues and discuss it on social apps like WeChat,  Whatsapp and get the feedback of the people, this could be a platform where the people participation is greatly appreciated. A platform where we can share anything and everything about our constituency, suggestions for improvement and the constitutional changes which could affect the people can be discussed and share on a common platform. The apps can do much more than a website.

Your Voice makes a difference. Vote for India and Vote for the change you want to see.

Facebook likes and Twitter followers are not real anymore. We have seen how political parties are buying these likes and counts. You need real engagements and presence to make your follower count more. This is a virtual world but actual humans run the show here!

Can social media Turn the tables in Indian Elections 2014? Social Media Buzz Analysis Report by @Simplify360

This report is not the ultimate people’s choice. This only talks about the social media buzz. We need to think about the people who are not on social media too. But 2014 elections might be the game changer in the history of Indian politics because of the high involvement of Social Media. But simplify360 has analyzed a good level of social media sentiments of India and highlighted the importance of social media in influencing today’s youth.