The Government of India has started to embrace the medium of social media, with many departments and ministries using different social media platforms to establish an online presence and conduct outreach activities. For instance, the Ministry of External Affairs has launched a web-based contest titled ‘India Is’ to connect with an online audience.
About the ‘India Is’ initiative
This campaign started in 2011 with a ‘India Is Global’ Video Challenge. This year, it’s back in a new avatar – the India Is Global Photography Challenge.
The contest has three themes – ‘India Is Incredible’, ‘India Is Unforgettable, It Stays With You’, and ‘India is Wherever You Are.’
Participants have to submit pictures based on a theme, and their submissions would be added to a map of the world. The challenge has 4 levels and there are exciting prizes at each stage. You can check out more details here.
Role of Social Media
The ‘India Is’ campaign uses the power of social media extensively to popularize itself. It has established an online presence on all the prominent social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.
Out of these platforms, the campaign has received the greatest response on Facebook with 97000+ likes already. To announce the results of the competition at each stage, the campaign publishes a grid view of all the winning entries on Facebook. Winners are encouraged to tag themselves in the picture, giving them automatic bragging rights on Facebook.
The contest has also had a considerable impact on Twitter with 770+ followers. Contests are held regularly to keep the audience engaged and attract more followers using hashtags such as #IncrediblewalaIndia, and #IndiaIs to increase awareness and generate a buzz around the campaign.
Twitter followers are encouraged to tweet photos based on the challenge theme along with the custom hashtag. Winners are awarded photography workshop passes, or a stay at Taj Hotels etc. as prizes. The campaign also cross-promotes its platform specific contests on other platforms.
For example, when a new contest goes live on Twitter, this is announced on the Facebook page. There are also some independent contests being run on the campaign website (such as the jigsaw puzzle contest). On Pinterest, the campaign has organized 32 boards for the contest, and submitted entries are regularly pinned to them. The Pinterest boards of this campaign are indeed a visual treat.
Thoughts on this campaign
Kudos to Skarma Communications and Consultancy, the social media agency handling this campaign as they are doing a great job popularizing it online. The best thing about the campaign is the fact that it has extended its social media reach to all major platforms instead of limiting its online presence to Facebook. There are regular updates on the contest on all the networks as well as a genuine effort to increase user engagement.
I also liked this hub and spoke model of running a campaign, wherein there is one main challenge held on the website as well as multiple smaller challenges on different social media platforms based around the same theme. These smaller contests really help in increasing the buzz around the main challenge.
What else could have been done in this campaign
I think that the one social media platform missing from the campaign is Instagram. As Instagram is a photograph-centric social media channel, its use would have complimented the nature of this campaign. Through Instagram, the contest could have reached a larger part of its target audience.
Update: Skarma Communications and Consultancy, the agency managing India Is has shared with us that ‘India Is’ is present on Instagram.