Online political campaign is now a necessity for public officials especially this coming 2013 poll elections.
According to Internet World Stats data gathered last March 2012, there are 2.3 billion Internet users across the globe and 33.6 million of them came from the Philippines. These numbers are still expected to rise as more technological advances that increases Online connectivity are being developed.
Because the Internet is becoming a very important touch point for connecting with the Filipino masses, many public officials and institutions alike are realizing the need to establish their Online presence. Conducting political campaigns will not just enable them to provide efficient public service, It will also serve as an advantage to create a better public image and thus increase potential vote shares.
Larger Public Reach
In the survey conducted by TNS in 2012, 45% of Filipinos choose to access the Internet compared to 36% and 12% who preferred the radio and newspapers. This means that bringing political campaigns online will enable the officials to reach a larger Filipino audience and more Filipinos can view their credentials and platforms. Come election time, they have a bigger chance of obtaining higher votes because of their campaign’s wider reach.
The results of the last presidential elections in the Philippines and U.S. showed how important it is for electoral candidates to reach out and tap into the youth sector Online. Of the 47 million eligible voters in the Philippines in 2012, more than half of them are classified as youth voters.
In 2012, study showed that 85% of Filipinos aged 16 to 20 are heavy on computer usage and the same is true for the 74% of 21-24 year-old Filipinos.They participate in various social networking sites, browse through websites to gather information, and read interesting news or topics. If there’s a place where politicians must put their best stake on, it’s no where else but the Internet. The number of youth voters alone can make a politician win the elections by landslide if the candidate knows where and how to reach them. (Link this to tools for Online Campaigns)
Real-Time Public Service
Several government agencies and political figures have put up websites and social media accounts because unlike traditional tri-media, the Internet allows its users to communicate and access information in real time. This enables them to deliver public services in a more efficient and convenient manner. They can keep track of all citizen concerns without much paperwork, provide public assistance and respond to inquiries immediately.
Effective Public Engagement
Online political campaigns are better ways of connecting with the Filipino public. Because of real-time connectivity, the public officials can communicate with everyone and anyone across the country. They can use a host of Online communication platforms (like blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter) which are effective tools for personal dialogues and public engagement.
Through online campaigns, the distance and time limitations which usually hinders effective public engagement goes out of the picture.
Effective Image and Reputation Management
People search for almost everything they need Online, and not all of it can help the image of public officials. Often times, the content from blogs and other Online platforms are destructive statements and negative opinions which can stir doubt and decrease public trust.
By conducting Online political campaigns, public officials can defend themselves and protect their reputation. They cannot control what their critics will put up, but they can make sure that the public will see a fair and balanced version of their person.
Strategies and Tools for Effective Online Elections Campaigns
Reaching through the Internet means targeting the online platforms where most people gather. To be successful in the coming elections, candidates must craft a comprehensive Online political campaigns for 2013 using these strategies and tools:
1. Search Engine Optimization – Get noticed on the Internet by utilizing search engines like Google. When people search information about a candidate or issues relating to him, the user can be redirected to the candidate’s website, articles and press releases.
2. Social Media Marketing – Reach the online community through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. A candidate can post recent updates, announce events and entertain queries from the netizens 24/7. With these, he or she will have more followers and be more influential in the online world.
3. Google Adwords – Advertisements play crucial roles in a candidate’s online campaign. With Adwords, the candidate can target specific demographics and specific search queries in different search engines and websites.