Resources to create a political social media campaign include plenty of non-political entities, often in creative and ORM capacities.
In a political social media campaign strategy, data, creatives, and language play a major role. Quite a few non-political persons become a part of the process when external agencies are hired for specific tasks like data collection, strategy, creatives, online relationship management, and promotions. On the creative front, the process begins with research.
“We talk to people in the constituency to understand local issues. These on-field insights help us understand the local issues,” says Akshay Popawala, Co-founder & Director of Digital Communication/ Strategy, Togglehead.
The agency has been involved in creating campaigns for individuals as well as party profiles in the two cycles of elections — in 2014 and 2019.
In the case of individuals, a major chunk of the political social media communication depends on their individual image and data has to be collected on-ground because the information is often not as extensively available online. When it comes to political parties, the number of agencies involved is much higher and the scale of operations is unparalleled. Here, the research is significantly a combined effort of the agency and the party. Social listening plays a major role for too many people are already out there, sharing opinions, where the geographical area is known.
“Depending on how big the constituency and the audience is, we can choose to interact with a representative sample. Sometimes the party helps us get access to a certain number of people for insights about the market,” Akshay tells us. The range of the people to be communicated to is huge and communicating just once is not enough. “Mistakes in gathering these insights can make or break the campaign,” he adds.
Understand political audiences
Reach and visibility are primary objectives, something that these campaigns have in common with brands. However, here, the audience is too broad and you are dealing with the Indian mass, across demographics. “The strategy needs to be very detailed and sensitive too,” says Akshay.
Though there are mass creatives that go out, the most important ones are those that are optimised for geographies, demographics, and interests. Here, language plays a major role and the best option is the one people prefer most. “A CEO of a company is likely to be more interested in the business angle, whereas a working-class person would like to know about housing policy and government support. We need to talk to incorporate both in our strategy,” he explains.
Gather required resources
The task is to give out the same message in different languages. For this, the agency has to put in efforts in preparation and to get the relevant resources on board. This is an important factor as a major chunk of the agency’s resources are usually people who deal with brands and create content in English and Hindi, even when there is a specific team for political content.
Checkboxes have to be ticked before getting a political client on board. This includes preparation in terms of checking one’s political ideology. “It is not always possible to be in total in line with the client’s work, on a personal level. This is true for brand communications too, let alone political clients. However, the persons partaking know what they will be dealing with beforehand and the creative process is not compromised at any level,” Akshay explains, adding that if there are any red flags, they are raised at a much initial stage.
Communicate well on social media
Though there is a creative room in terms of colours and design, care has to be taken that the creatives don’t deviate from the main communication traits of the party. He tells us, “The briefs we get are similar because everyone is trying to address the same issues. However, the political strategy of our client and how we communicate it makes all the difference.”
When asked if it’s tough to see their work get trolled amidst the tussle of abuses online, Akshay explains how the team is always on the two ends of the table. “If you are putting someone down, you should be ready to face it too.” In fact, a lot of damage can be done if you are not fighting it out fast enough, he concludes.