No support from social networks?
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No support from social networks?

In today’s media-driven world, what’s the quickest way to spread news? For most youngsters, the question comes as a no-brainer. Social media, of course! Be it your friend’s one-line status about the latest movie or the flashy flash mob proposal video.

brunch Updated: Aug 24, 2013 09:50 IST
Navleen Lakhi
Navleen Lakhi
Hindustan Times

In today’s media-driven world, what’s the quickest way to spread news? For most youngsters, the question comes as a no-brainer. Social media, of course! Be it your friend’s one-line status about the latest movie or the flashy flash mob proposal video.

So, isn’t it taken for granted that social networking sites could be the biggest tools for promoting student parties in the wake of Panjab University elections? Since HT City spotted the social networking trend in student parties in 2012, we were intrigued as to what new techniques they have implemented to garner votes this year. But, all we came across was disappointment, as student parties resort to the mundane, run-of-the-mill techniques this time around too.

Manveer Bhangu, chairman, Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), also one of the administrators of the party’s page, says, “Unlike other parties, only the main leaders of our party have access to our account. We completely understand that Facebook is the strongest medium for networking; instead of wasting students’ time by stopping them on campus and informing them about our party, we prefer to connect with them through social networking platforms where they can also read our memorandum at ease.”

Harpreet Singh Grewal, chairman, Hindustan Student Association (HSA), says, “Our party does have a page and we make sure that all articles that appear in newspapers get uploaded on our Facebook page. We either give the link to the website or upload the PDF file.”

What caught students’ fancy last year — SOPU’s party songs — are completely missing from the scene this year. Sumit Mehra, SOPU member, says, “This time, we are not putting much effort in songs. Since the whole team is new, except the two leaders, we don’t get time for such promotions.”

Despite it being the most crucial time to be active on Facebook, there are parties that haven’t bothered with social networking at all, last year or this year. As Cherry Brar, ex-chairman, Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) said in 2012: “Online promotions help garner only 5 to 10% of the votes; they don’t play a very big role.”

Another PUSU member, Khushdeep Singh Minhas, finally created a party page on August 13, which has so far managed only 500 ‘likes’. He says, “The page is new and we are trying our best to promote it by word of mouth.”

See for yourself…

They might not believe in social networking sites, but most student parties abide by Youtube. In what is being seen as a growing trend, a voter can now find songs and videos of most student party online.

Brinder Singh Dhillon, national coordinator, says, “The trend of party songs was started by SOPU about three years ago. Since most of the party members have now shifted to National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), almost every student on campus wants to know the reason behind the same. A few days ago, we came up with a 57-second long teaser on Youtube, a video called NSUI PU CHD, which says that the party has one million registered members, 45,000 elected office bearers and 7,500 college committees across the country, and now the party is here at Panjab University. More often, people remember what they see, compared to what they read.”

Bhupinder Singh Batth, chairman, NSUI, adds, “After this, we have three videos of 2.5 minutes each; these videos are bytes by prominent faces of the party. One could call them short films, as they would be registered in everyone’s mind. We also won’t miss out on our trademark party song; instead of one, expect three songs to be uploaded soon.”

Student Organisation of India (SOI) is also planning to record videos. Manveer Chaudhary, media advisor, SOI says, “So far, party songs/videos have been supported by pictures. This year, we want to stand out by recording a video, which would be supported by lyrics of the songs as well.”

PUSU too is all charged up for its song. Gur Arinder Nehal, party president, says, “Our song with lyrics, ‘Assi PUSU de han jawan, mucchh khadi rakhde’ has been sung by a PU student. The song is like an advertisement. We will promote the same through FB and chatting applications on phone.”

Tips for virtual promotion

Sanatan Baweja, director of city-based social media management company, Celeste, says, “We looked after the social media for one of the political parties during student elections last year. Facebook helps build the party’s image online, which is what student parties should focus on.”

Follow these tips/rules:

1) Clearly define your content, strategy and objectives.
2) Update the page everyday.
3) Upload all pictures of campaigning & newspaper articles.
4) Share everything you upload; it will increase the ‘likes’.
5) Get into real-time conversation. The medium is all about creating dialogue.
6) Interact with your Facebook friends by starting contests and asking questions. Answer their queries regularly.
7) Give the link of your Facebook page on pamphlets and stickers.
8) Since all the parties have negligible presence on Twitter, start with making a twitter account and sync it with your Facebook account, so the status messages you enter on one site pop up on the other too.
8) Make the most of ‘check-in’ on FB. The page admin should ‘check-in’ during
campaigns, every few hours.

First Published: Aug 24, 2013 09:47 IST