The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in different sectors to reach their marketing objectives is becoming more evident, and the political sphere is no stranger to this initiative. Politicians and public officials increasingly use these new forms of social communication to design and implement strategies of political leadership.
Currently, many of the politicians or public officials make use of technological tools and in particular of digital social networks, many of them without knowledge of how to take advantage of these tools to achieve their objectives, and sometimes their image is affected and reputation for improper use of them. Just as the heart of a political campaign is the candidate, the heart of the candidate is his image and reputation, and these have a very strong influence on the voting decision of the voters. A correct digital strategy can contribute, without a doubt, to maintain and increase the politician’s leadership, through an adequate management of his image and reputation.
Digital Marketing tools offer multiple benefits to politicians, whether they are elected or in the campaign. Some of them are:
- They allow to improve communication and establish trusting relationships with citizens and especially voters.
- The number of users who make use of technological tools (social networks, email, search engines, mobile phones, etc.) grows every day, which allows the capture of followers who ultimately become opinion voters.
- The politician can reach voters directly without the participation of journalists and traditional media.
- The TICs allow bidirectional channels to know the opinions of the voters and invite them to participate and contribute to the formation of projects.
- It is possible to make market intelligence, identifying the weaknesses and strengths of the politician, of his competence, and knowing the needs of the voters, in order to develop their strategies.
- All of the above plus the cost of investment in Digital Marketing, which is significantly lower than traditional marketing practices, makes ICTs essential tools in the campaign of every politician to improve their image and reputation.
While the use of ICT provides benefits to politicians, it is not enough to create a Website, a Blog, send mass emails or create accounts on all social networks. It is necessary to have a strategic plan to optimize its use and develop mechanisms to deal with them, integrating online and offline strategies to develop an integrated campaign.
A common error in practice is the sudden abandonment of digital activity by the politician when he comes to power. It is important that politicians find themselves in a permanent campaign, which allows them to build and maintain a broad and sufficient base of popular support, since not only do they need public support to win elections, they also need to govern. Affirms Dick Morris (2003) “Who does not calculate how to maintain their support every day and on each subject, almost inevitably fall.”
In conclusion, the usefulness of digital tools in politics is unquestionable, it is a natural evolution in which politicians must get involved, because it is clear the evidence of how they allow improving relations and communications, key aspects that directly affect the image and reputation. Now, politicians know that they must be present on the Internet, but do not know how and why.