So if you look across the country there many people who have already declared their intentions to vie for Presidency comes next year General Elections. The truth is, there are only around four people who have realistic chance of winning the Presidential votes in 2012. At the end the day, the others will be just “also run” or let me call them #nohopers or #nochance . The unfortunate thing is, this group contain some of the most smart and best candidates Kenya have had in the recent times. This group includes Rapheal Tuju a.k.a. man Rapho, Peter Keneth, Martha Karua.
Recently Mr.Tuju was asked to honestly evaluate his chances of winning the Presidency. And he said ( According to SavvyKenya who Paraphrased him)
“In terms of tribal voting blocks, my chances are zero. In terms of wealth (he’s not the richest chap, he says), my chances are zero. In terms of family history in politics (think Uhuru, Raila and Mudavadi whose fathers were political leaders), my chances are zero. However, if we can change people’s way of thinking, then I stand a chance.”
Changing people’s mind is not easy but i think there are crop of people whom these guys can win over. The social media users. The total internet users in Kenya are 12.5 million but the number i am more interested in here is 1,241,720 Facebook Users and around 120,000 twitter users in Kenya. That would mean over a million votes.. Clearly that is a sizable number.
Here are my suggestions on how to go about it:
1. Come up with real social media policies.
On top of using social media as a tool for reaching young people, there is the need for the candidate to have social media policies both for their Political campaigns and the country. There are real people listening to what they are putting out there and what they say needs to adhere to their brands personality and philosophy.
2. Have a real-time social media monitoring tools
Most politicians think they are too busy and have no time to read what the chatters on social media are saying. Strangely they do read newspapers. To be fair that could be true, but just because you are offline and can’t check your online reputation does not mean you leave your online presence in no man’s land. People are talking and commenting about you even when you are not listening. So it is important that you get a real time social media monitor. They are many tools to do this out there.
3. Respond to people concerns, no matter how trivial they are
Social media is about personal interaction. You can’t ignore people in real life when they talk to you.. that is considered rude. The same thing applies to Social media. It is really bad if you don’t respond to what people are saying online, more so if they have legitimate questions.
4. Properly Train your people on Social Media policies and netiquettes.
It is one thing being on social media and knowing how to interact with people, but if people around you have no idea what it is all about, then you are in trouble. Just because your Communication Director has Facebook profile or twitter account, and is on it all day, does not mean that she/he is qualified to handle your brands online persona. Training training and training
5. Don’t focus on shameless self-promotion, build a relationship
We all know you want votes and supporters but you can’t do it over night. In social media people want you to interact with them, or give them value. I don’t think that value would come out if you continuously and shamelessly do self-promotion. There should be a balance between selling yourself as a candidate and building a relationship with people.
6. Coordinating the Different Platforms
The level and type of interactions on MKZ is different from what is there on Twitter and also different from what is there on YouTube and Linkedin. But you can’t just rely on one platform. You have to get a way to coordinate all the platforms and ensure your presence in all of them.
7. Don’t bore the followers
Due to the political nature of Kenya, people can easily tell what a particular politician will say about a given issue. A fact which makes it impossible to make rational conversation about issues. For that it is important that you give people some substance on your interaction with them, far more than the nonsense we have around. Something worth debating thereafter..
8. Have a blog.
You can never communicate your policies within context of 140 characters, but strange enough people can break your brand with the same 140 characters. Blog should be the reference point, the homeground, where everything is well explained.
9. Have your Team create the social media Team account
Update your social media account yourself but let your people create the team accounts on different social media platform. For example if your Mr. Loser. Then let the team create TeamLoser account. The account can be used when you are not able to interact with people online. Plus sometime to test waters with hard and emotional issues. If the team account put up something and people don’t like it, you can overrule it or apologize for the TeamLoser.
10. Be ready to tolerate nonsense.
As more people join Twitter , Facebook and the like, the level of nonsense also increases.. We have seen that on twitter..Be ready for it.