With Gujarat state elections round the corner, the principal opposition party Gujarat Congress is pulling out all the stops to dethrone the present government led by Narendra Modi.
On Facebook, the Indian National Congress has come up with ‘Join Hands for Change‘ which is an initiative “to bring facts to light and to the notice of the people of Gujarat.”
While it is great to see some serious political action in the social media, this JHC Facebook Page is a huge disappointment.
Recently Facebook rolled out its Offers feature for all the Facebook pages with more than 400 likes. Now Offers is something that Facebook expects businesses to use.
But what we have here is a political party using Facebook Ads to promote its Offer.
When I saw the ad on my sidebar I was quite surprised. Because the offer read: Join Hands for Change to get a Safe and Successful Gujarat. When I see a Facebook Offer, I expect to see a discount on a product that I can buy.
I don’t expect a vague political message.
The offer expires on 30th November 2012 and the only description it has is: You have to exercise your Right to Vote in the coming elections of Gujarat !
Now I have three questions with this tactic:
- Why would you run a Facebook Offer for a political propaganda when Facebook allows so many other advertising options as well?
- In what planet does one write such a lousy description?
- Who the heck puts a space before an ‘exclamation mark’??
If you have answers to these questions, please do share it in the comments section.
I looked at the Facebook TOS and Page Guidelines but found nothing. So this move is not exactly a violation of ToS, but it certainly exploiting a loophole. There are much better and ethical ways out there.
So…. what does one get after ‘claiming’ the offer? Zilch. Zero. Nada. Shoonya. Mindu (that’s Gujarati for you).
You receive an email which asks you to check out the JHC website and that’s it. The ‘offer’ cannot be ‘claimed’ over there.
Some of you might be thinking that it is a novel idea or something. To me it is pure cheating. You don’t promote your political agenda and drive traffic to your site using business ‘offers’.
The Entire JHC Page is a Travesty
If this Facebook Offer was a #facepalm move, the entire JHC page is a travesty.
Poor Branding: When you know you competitor has branded himself as saffron since time immemorial, why would you choose a similar outlook for your Facebook Page? When I landed on the page, for a moment I wondered why BJP is bashing itself. The confusion dissolves away only when you look at the hand of the Congress.
Pedestrian Communication: The way this page communicates makes me think that it is a fake page started by a Modi troll and is not the official initiative from Congress. It is waaaaay too pedestrian and erroneous. I wonder who’s handling this page.
Banning Members: Being from Gujarat, I can understand how vociferous Modifans are when he is criticized. And this page was bound to face it as well. But banning them is totally stupid.
In fact, if I were the admin I would love to have Modi fans engaging with my updates. I made them checkout my updates and if they are effective, I might convert some of them or at least seed some doubts in their mind.
Moreover, I would any day love a discussion raging in the comments section where my fans would retort to Modi fans. But alas! The page has missed out on it completely.
Now I am not a modi fan (and never will be) so I don’t want you to perceive this post to be written by one. I am writing this as a passionate social media marketer who’s pissed off at seeing such #fail activities.
Time these political parties took a cue from brands.