This is a part of a series where we pick data from the MTS Election Tracker, crunch numbers and build a graphical representation of them. We have used Konnect Social to track the data along with support from our knowledge partner,Social Rajneeti. Read other articles about Election tracker here.
Indian Democracy is all set to undergo the process of political revolution fueled by Social Media Denizens. An estimate from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) report on Lok Sabha Elections and Social Media, states, that in almost 160 constituencies there is a high probability of social media populace playing a decisive role in unveiling the power that will shape up Indian politics. The strong possibility of a split in the popular vote between Congress, BJP and AAP has added to the importance of digital media users as a community, providing the political parties an opportunity to register their presence in the minds and hearts of the voting population. Almost all political parties have resorted to the medium in the hope and anticipation to discover the fortunes social media has in store. The media over the last one year has been dominated by political discussions, trends and innovative campaigns by political parties to reach out to maximum number of people and connect with them at multiple touch points. The fact that social media has a pivotal role to play in the Indian Political Kaleidoscope got testified with the unflinching victory of Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi State Assembly Elections 2013.
With the 2014 General Elections closing in, the clash of Indian political titans has moved to another level and the advent of new-age, innovative digital marketing strategies have become an integral part of this paradigm shift. As the road to Assembly Elections becomes clearer, extensive use of digital media has surfaced.
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has stormed ahead of its competitors in the battle for political dominance, online. The party has learnt the lesson of resilience the hard way after facing back-to-back defeats in 2004 and 2009 General Elections. Over the years, BJP has become one of the pioneers in tapping the new age media to the best of its potential. Right from having an interactive website, to a dedicated volunteer’s dashboard, mobile apps, extracting the most out of Google Hangouts, Facebook Page, Twitter handle, YouTube Page, Whats App; they haven’t missed a single trick in the book to make sure that they connect with the masses at multiple touch points with a unified tone of messaging and engagement. As a result “Narendra Modi is the most mentioned politician on Social Media in India” according to a report from Blogworks.
Indian National Congress (INC) party in the recent times is facing flak from the masses over allegations of widespread corruption, inflation, economic turmoil which has led to the formation of a strong anti-incumbency factor against the party prior to the General Assembly Elections due by May 2014. After years of ignorance and disdain, the Congress Party has now woken up to the fact that there is a world which interacts with politics through social media. While the opposition BJP and AAP have banked upon the importance and relevance of social media for connecting with the masses, engaging with them using a 360-degree approach, Congress still follows a very simple and straight-forward strategy on social media. Congress started with organized and planned social media operations in mid-2013 after realizing that in the race to win-over online citizens in India, Narendra Modi led BJP, is miles ahead of them. Following the postulate of ‘it’s never too late’ the party joined the social media bandwagon by launching a Facebook page, a twitter handle, reworked the website, YouTube channel, volunteer’s platform Khidkee, Whats App and line extensions.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took the Indian political world by storm when they won 28 seats in the recent Delhi Assembly Elections. The party founded by the Ex-IRS (Indian Revenue Service) officer and (Right to Information) RTI Activist Arvind Kejriwal, finds its roots in the India Against Corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. The outstanding debut by AAP is largely attributed to their expertise in connecting with the youth on social media. In the past one and a half years, the party has launched several initiatives on digital media like the crowd-sourced manifesto, volunteer’s portal, donation application and the use of thunderclap to name a few. The party ensures that their core values of inclusiveness and transparency in the system are communicated to their online followers consistently.
This review entails an account of the array of activities in digital media being taken up by the ruling party INC, the principal opposition BJP and the impressive debutant AAP. It includes an analysis of their social media presence, digital tactics, content strategy, engagement, sentiments and mentions, to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts on digital media space.
Fans and Followers
BJP and AAP have a very strong and active presence on all major social networks. Interestingly, in a short span of time INC has managed to build a comprehensive presence across vital social media networks i.e Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
On Facebook, BJP has the highest number of fans as compared to its competitors (4.45 million). Apart from the official page, there are a number of other pages (Narendra Modi, India 272+, CAG, Friends of BJP to name a few) which assist the party in the endeavour of connecting with maximum number of people on Facebook. INC is not far behind, they have 3.2 million fans with 3.6 lakhs talking about this. The party has second highest number of fans on Facebook leading ahead of AAP which has 2.1 million fans. While AAP lags behind in the race for number of fans, they have the highest engagement as % of fans as opposed to BJP and INC.
On Twitter, AAP leads ahead of the key competitors. Since the party’s twitter handle aims at getting into real conversations with people and has interesting content posted every day,they have managed to build and nurture a community of 674k followers. BJP4India twitter handle lags with 484k followers but again the party has a well-knit network of twitter handles which add to their reach and timeline deliveries at the end of the day. The Prime Ministerial candidate – Narendra Modi’s official twitter handle has 3.9 million followers while AAP’s convener Arvind Kejriwal has 1.7 million followers. On the other hand, the INC India twitter handle is way behind both the competitors with 176k followers; this can be attributed to the late social media journey of the party. To support the movement for INC online, they have influential twitter handles like Dr.Shashi Tharoor (2.11 million followers) , PM Dr.Manmohan Singh (1.13 million followers) to name a few. The party has several spokespersons, state/youth/women congress twitter handles with good number of followers online to assist them in the objectives of their social media campaigns.
On YouTube, again BJP rules the roost with 53,239 subscribers. The party has been able to use the YouTube Channel as the second screen for all its activities; be it inspiring speeches made by the leaders or videos with social messages or a call for joining the rally in a nearby locality.
AAP is inching closer towards BJP’s subscriber base with 42k followers. The party showcases the various aspects of their political journey, live interactions with prospective candidates and live coverage of the party’s political rallies.
INC once again lags with a huge margin.They just have 7632 subscribers on YouTube with an aggregate of 8 million views till date but the party is picking up slowly by sharing videos with several themes. Besides this, the party also shares speeches from Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and event coverage from various rallies and interactions from across the country.
BJP also has a dedicated Internet TV Channel that showcases party ideologies, glorifies past, live streams rallies and campaigns. The initiative is linked with the YouTube Channel and Narendra Modi’s personal website as well. It has received 4.4 million likes and 90k tweets.
INC also organizes webcasts on issues of national importance in association with NIC and Government of India. The party showcases its YouTube channel as INC TV on its website and has categories like Economy, History, Politics, Public Affairs, Public values, etc.
Besides the party’s official channel on YouTube, AAP also has a Live TV initiative hosted on YouTube. The channel has 42,103 subscribers and almost 13 lakh views. The Live TV not only shares videos from the official channel but streams events live; hangouts, press conferences, messages for volunteers, speeches from Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav.
On Google+ AAP has the maximum number of people in circles, 1,98,782 to be precise. The page however is not active since 2013. INC’s page has 1553 people in circles leading ahead of BJP and lagging behind AAP. Congress has never utilized Google Hangouts to the best of its capabilities, in the recent times they have just organized a Hangout with Sheila Dikshit prior to Delhi Elections held in December 2013. BJP Mission 272+ page has 635 people in circles. Here again, the PM candidate Narendra Modi is way ahead in the race with 13 lakh people in circles. The party also uses Google Hangouts judiciously by organizing live chats with Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh.
Apart from the main stream social media channels, BJP relies heavily on India 272+ portal meant to empower the volunteers with an online platform where they can collaborate, contribute and campaign. The portal consists of comprehensive information about election booths and enables the volunteers to come together for booth level organizing. It also entails an event calendar for the volunteers’ reference. At the same time, India 272+ facilitates a one-on-one communication with candidates, leaders and visionaries. Besides housing all the above mentioned facilities the website also has an e-books section where anyone can download books which define the vision and mission of BJP and Narendra Modi. The website has a monthly traffic estimate of over 9,14,000 users.
To expand the reach, a mobile app was launched in the month of January which has already registered 40,000 downloads and has a subscriber rating of 4.6/5 on Android Play Store.
The AAP website plays a pivotal role in the digital media strategy for the party. The website entails all the official documentation for the party. The different sections on the website contain exhaustive information about the party, ideology, candidates, campaigns and social streaming. The website registers an estimated traffic of 47,31,000 visitors every month.
My AAP is a volunteers’ portal hosted on the AAP website itself. The section feeds information about candidates, events calendar and party’s campaigns to the volunteers. It also provides them an opportunity to connect with AAP volunteers in the region and co-ordinate activities towards the umbrella objectives laid down by the party.
The official website for INC is the hub of all the information regarding the party’s campaign online. The website has a simple design layout with options to change languages from English to Hindi/Urdu. The website contains all the information about Congress from its inception to date, the leaders associated with the party, mission, vision, inspiration and achievements of the party. The website houses a resource section which contains documents, press releases, photos, videos, speeches meant to be used by media, supporters and volunteers for dissemination.
INC is the only political party in India to be present on Instagram officially. The party understands the potential of telling stories through pictures. Though the party only has 64 posts, the party has 288 followers on Instagram and looks to leverage the latest trends on social media platforms for its advantage.
Apart from the above mentioned social media entities, INC also nurtures a habitat for the vast network of people working at the grass roots. Khidkee is a party-owned platform aimed at bridging the gap between people from all walks of life, to keep channels of communication open to all.
BJP is one of the first political parties in India to use Whats App for election campaigns, the party has a dedicated number, 7820078200 on which the user can pledge support by giving a missed call, verify their voter id, ask/share/suggest their views and opinions about the party. With this, the party intends to reach out to 450 million-strong Whatsapp user base in India.
In mobile initiatives, AAP uses an extension to register interest in joining the party by giving a missed call or sending SMS to various numbers listed. In the past, AAP had also used a mix of digital activities on mobile, email, website and social media to gauge public opinion over party’s future course of action.
Congress Party uses a line extension 1-800-208-2020, BBM Pin 74835AFE and Whats App 9911984000 or 8398989898 for different purposes like calling up for suggestions to be included in the INC manifesto, connect with volunteers from various cities and provide them content feeds.
Content Strategy and Engagement
After stunning defeats in 2004 and 2009 respectively BJP has emerged as a stronger and accomplished political party focusing equally on conventional and new age tactics for election campaigning. The party has resorted to a radical shift in their approach by projecting Growth and Development as the key agenda. They have adopted a multi-phased strategy with overlapping objectives laid out to fulfill the common goal of winning 272+ seats in the 2014 General Elections.
AAP has been a pioneer in adopting social media strategy in their election campaigning mix. The party has taken up several initiatives on digital media to amplify their reach and connect with the masses on emotional grounds. The party’s communication line focusses on giving power to the common man. To strengthen the impact further, the party’s content revolves around ‘AAP’ that means ‘YOU’. All the posts call for more engagement saying YOU have to decide, it’s YOUR party, contesting candidates are YOUR leaders. It is because of the strong, catchy and appealing tone of communication, the party has evolved as one of the most influential and followed political parties.
The INC in a reactive approach to the online popularity and reach of opposition party BJP, launched a well-organized social media strategy to meet several objectives which assist the party in their overall offline campaign prior to General Assembly elections 2014. The party was a bit late to realize that every single voter counts in a fractious electoral democracy like India and 190 million internet users is not a number to be ignored and disdained.
Here’s a closer look at the objectives of Social Media Strategy for these parties
In terms of social media marketing strategy, BJP has stormed ahead in the race under the leadership of Narendra Modi while other political parties are still working on nascent stages of building communities. BJP already has a huge community of fans, followers and subscribers to assist them in communicating their messages to the masses.
The party has used an intelligent mix of digital advertising, public relations and content marketing to create a community of brand advocates who interact, discuss and share the prospects of voting for BJP with millions of users across various social media platforms leading to a state of positive word of mouth.
There is a seamless integration in content strategy for different platforms right from Facebook to Twitter, YouTube, Google+, India 272+, Whats App and so on. The content posted is relevant and tailored as per the needs of the target audience. It is a classic case of being at the right place, at right time, with the right message to the right people. Each post has a logical connect and extension which propels the party’s proposition towards growth, development and good governance.
The content strategy for AAP is the main axis for their social media campaign. The content varies from pictures of offline events, donation numbers, party’s stand on issues of national importance, profile sketch of political leaders and their speech at different forums. The party maintains a personal touch in each and every post. The party has delivered exceptionally well at several occasions; be it the crowd-sourced manifesto or the thunder clap just before Delhi Elections.
Another insight on the party’s strategy is the connectivity between offline and online campaigns. The party follows a resilient approach to address allegations made against them and is transparent in their conduct throughout. Since the party is one of the early adopters of Social Media, it is able to influence and shape up the thoughts of online users towards their opinions and ideologies
With a well-designed strategy, INC intends to connect with more people online across multiple platforms and engage with them in a polite and informed discussion. The core idea here is to reach out to unexplored constituencies. With the fact check initiative, the party wants to counter and denounce the claims made by Narendra Modi and BJP. Khidkee, the window of opportunities is aimed at bringing all the supporters of the party under one common umbrella and motivate them towards the ultimate goal of winning the 2014 General Elections comprehensively. The party is thus taking every single worker along at every step, and acknowledging their contribution to the party.
The content strategy for the party revolves around covering events/rallies as they happen, fact check to denounce the growth and development claims by Narendra Modi and BJP, powerful quotes extracted from the speeches of Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh, UPA achievements, greetings/testimonials on several occasions, aggressive posts to attack the opposition PM candidate Narendra Modi. The party’s content on Facebook and Google+ is almost similar while the communication on Twitter is tailored according to the medium.
On Facebook, BJP’s communication covers an array of things from proposing models of development in India to demystifying the fake claims of growth and boom under the reigning UPA Government. Posts also include tributes to legends, greetings on several occasions, live coverage of events, infographics of next rally/campaign, videos of prominent leaders like Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.
To connect with new fans and followers, the party calls out to existing fans to share the India 272+ mission membership link and convince their peers to join the party. The mode of persuasion also includes testimonials from existing volunteers and members.To engage with the existing fans the party resorts to several contests and campaigns like Mere Sapnon ka Bharat where in the users are supposed to record and upload their vision for India , the best entries stand a chance to meet Narendra Modi in person.Recently the party launched one of the biggest digital on-ground activations in India – Chai Pe Charcha with the help of CAG where in users could ask, share or suggest their views and opinions on the theme by posting on Facebook as well. Chai Pe Charcha was followed up by Modi 3D Rallies covering thousands of locations across the country.
Besides, the party also seeks donations from the fans on Facebook asking them to contribute for change. The #Modi4PM fund app for donation is hosted simultaneously on the official website as well the Facebook Page. Similar posts and graphics are run as ads on Facebook and Google display networks.
AAP on Facebook is very active with a brilliant mix of posts which are revolutionary and aggressive. The posts on Facebook also talk about the 49 days of AAP Government in Delhi and covers events conducted by AAP in various parts of the country. The content bucket also includes an intelligent proposition of delivering the party’s message as per the occasion. The party posts content attacking the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi for his claims of development in Gujarat and his connection with industrialists and corporate houses. Similarly the party attacks INC on dynasty politics and holds them responsible for the withered state of Indian Economy.
An application was also launched to promote the donation drive. The party is very appreciative towards the donors and they usually express personal gratification to all the donors of the AAP fund. The party sticks to the principles of authenticity and transparency by showcasing the donation count and break up every day. The donation drive is fueled by promotions on Social Media and for those who cannot be a part of the movement physically, contribute with monetary efforts and subsequently the incentive of getting appreciated by the party on public fora also does wonders for the party.The party has launched several campaigns to connect and join hands with volunteers from different parts of the country. One such campaign is #Internship4AAP which calls out for students who are motivated to enter political system and are looking for an opportunity to change it
As the elections closed in, the frequency of violence against AAP volunteers increased multi-fold.The party shares a lot of such instances apart from the appeals and speeches from various candidates. The major focus is on a few high-profile constituencies like Amethi and Varanasi. The approach to communication on social media is very creative and innovative in all means.
INC utilizes the feature of cover pictures on Facebook brilliantly. The cover pictures usually depict a message from the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi or quotes from prominent leaders. Even agenda for meetings, event pictures, infographics comparing parameters in NDA and UPA reign are put up as cover pictures. The current cover picture features Rahul Gandhi meeting the youth along with the motto for this year’s electoral campaign Voice, Opportunity, Transparency and Empowerment for all.
When it comes to overall post strategy , the party’s communication is very touchy and tries to connect with the people using an emotional appeal “Policies have to be framed to benefit poor” says Rahul Gandhi along with an album containing pictures of his meet with the rural folks. Then there are posts which take pot-shots at the opposition, comparing the party’s brighter prospects and denouncing the claims of development in Gujarat by BJP and Narendra Modi.
The party has propounded a range of initiatives to touch upon the lives of people spending their time on Facebook. Some of them are A Billion and One Voice, UPA Transparency Revolution which talks about the introduction of RTI and how it strives for betterment and excellence in governance. The graphics posted on the page are very neat and classic with the footer for Facebook address as Har Haath Shakti Haar Haath Tarakki. Facebook page also has a ‘Support Us’ app which calls out for help from the volunteers as well as supporters of the party. Apart from the above mentioned posts the content from the party also focuses on the achievements in the UPA reign, party’s stand over recent issues and controversies, reinforcing the image of secularism, spreading the message of love and peace, solidarity with people from different sects of the society.
ENGAGEMENT ON FACEBOOK
The Engagement numbers on Facebook for AAP exemplifies the importance of quality content. The personalized tone of communication has done wonders for the party in the recent times since most of the fan base for the party comes from organic reach.The engagement as % of fans is also the highest and way better than the opposition. In terms of total engagement, BJP is not far behind and the engagement figure for the party just tells one half of the story as the social media strategy revolves around Narendra Modi. Most of the engagement on Facebook happens on his page. The lack of convergence in synergies has led to relatively lower engagement figures for the party. The total engagement and engagement % of fans for INC has fallen drastically because of the monotony in the content. Earlier, they used to post compelling content but now they have lost the track again. Moreover, the party is under-utilizing the community of followers by giving out minimal opportunities for a two-way interaction although the INC manifesto was an interesting way to crowd source suggestions, views and opinions for election manifesto but apart from that there is no major event on Facebook which calls out for participation from the followers.
On Twitter, AAP leads ahead with 674k followers, Twitter is all about getting into real time conversations with your followers on a regular basis and AAP does exactly that. Tweets vary from event coverage, to quotes and excerpts from party seniors like Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas and the Bhushan duo. AAP has a strong backing on Twitter through some influential Twitter accounts like Vishal Dadlani, Gul Panag and Arvind Kejriwal’s personal Twitter handle.The party manages to reach out to a large number of people with their precise and transparent communication. The strategy for the party on Twitter is very clearly defined and it includes using hashtags judiciously and run a campaign around the theme with a specific hashtag. For example,when Kejriwal visited Kashi to file his nomination, the party used #AAPinKashi hashtag to converge all the communication from AAP and to keep the followers updated about things as they happen. The hashtag was trending in a neck to neck competition with #NaMoInVaranasi.
Although BJP has dominated the Twitter space for quite some time now, the party still lags behind AAP with 484k followers. The party trends on Twitter almost every day with either BJP or #NaMoInHP or NaMo in XYZ City. Thousands of tweets are posted everyday with #Namo #BJP #NaMo4PM and so on. The tone and theme of communication remains the same as that of Facebook but with more contributors and associates. Here the party runs a live commentary of events as they happen along with posts spreading awareness about voting in elections, complementing offline events, seeking donations, sharing greetings, exhibiting growth facts, membership calls, quotes from prominent leaders, retweets from leaders, members, volunteers and third party information sources. As Twitter involves personal and mature conversations, the party ensures that a human touch is evident in all forms of messaging. Even the pictures shared are targeted to tickle the emotional instinct of the viewers. Apart from #NaMo in a particular city hash tag, the party uses the hash tags of 360-degree campaigns like #MereSapnonKaBharat, #AbkiBaarModiSarkaar, #Modi3D, #SelfiewithModi #ChaiPeCharcha, which received an overwhelming response of 40,000 tweets in a day.
INC has less number of followers on Twitter as compared to the opposition but the party has weaved a good network of twitter handles to propagate their message loud and clear. The party at several occasions has utilized hashtags in a superb fashion. The hashtag #RGExposesBJP was launched as a pre-cursor to Rahul’s rally in Gujarat where supporters blatantly criticized Modi and BJP for alleged false claims regarding Gujarat’s development. Similarly the #KattarSochNahiYuvaJosh was leveraged to the best of its potential for disseminating content which can help the party in influencing the undecided voters. There is a common tone and theme of communication for all the social media networks and the posts are tailored as per the medium. Here again the party posts include fact check on Gujarat and NDA, UPA achievements, impressive quotes from Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and other prominent leaders. An interesting thing about INC’s handle is that they use the promote feature to increase the number of followers. The promote feature is also used for the prominent leaders of the party. The party also manages to hijack trends from the opposition and post content which compares the two.
The party uses hashtags for every rally, interaction featuring Rahul Gandhi with hashtags like #RGinUP, #RGinAssam. Hashtags are used to promote his plans, policies over various issues like education (#RG4Education), soldiers and national security (#RG4Soldiers) and peace (#RG4Peace).
On an average, AAP tweets more than 100 tweets a day, followed by BJP who tweet over 50 tweets per day. Here again, INC lags behind with the lowest number of tweets. Since the approach adopted by AAP relies heavily on conversational marketing they are bound to make hundreds of tweets per day.
An analysis of mentions over time also suggests that AAP is the clear leader on Twitter cause they make the most out of the medium by getting involved into real time conversations, highlighting issues which are critical to a common man. Next in line is BJP as they manage to get a decent number of mentions but the problem with them is the scattered synergies all over the place with several twitter handles although there is a unified tone of messaging but the scatter leads to lesser amount of mentions.
AAP on twitter ranks the highest in terms of engagement levels as opposed to BJP and Congress. Twitter Mentions of AAP are also high in comparison to BJP and Congress. The spike in engagement levels for AAP on twitter comes from the personalized approach adopted by the party on Twitter. The party strives to display a common voice with an emotional touch to entice its followers.
The engagement levels of BJP4India on Twitter is lower as compared to AAP. While AAP has managed to concentrate all of their communication around the AAP Twitter handle and Arvind Kejriwal, BJP has scattered and divergent synergies; this approach definitely adds to the reach and timeline deliveries for keywords associated to BJP. As a result the engagement levels for BJP4India, that is the official twitter handle suffer a jolt. Congress Party records the lowest engagement. The reason behind relatively lower engagement levels is the lack of ability to engage with masses in two way interactions. Moreover the content posted on twitter is very monotonous and has lost the fizz over time.
BJP’s YouTube channel, started in 2010, houses a collection of 6000+ videos. The Channel has 53,239 subscribers, with 120 million views registered till date which is a huge number. There is a mix of videos on the YouTube channel. Some are focused on occasions like voters registration day, videos of press conferences from distinguished speakers, speeches from Narendra Modi, question and answer sessions with prominent leaders, coverages of several events, calls for donation and videos clarifying party’s stand over issues of national importance.
The party makes the most out of YouTube by sharing excerpts of powerful speeches from Narendra Modi, reiterating the party’s agenda for the 2014 General Elections i.e Growth, Development and Good Governance. The cover picture on YouTube also carries a loud and clear message for the subscribers to Vote for BJP and gives them an option to connect using their preferred social network. By posting all the press conferences, events coverage, dialogues with visionary leaders the party not only surpasses mainstream media but also delivers a timely dose of engaging content to the subscribers keeping them glued to the channel.
AAP has two channels on YouTube. The official channel which was started during India Against Corruption movement and the Live TV channel.Both the channels have 42k and 33k subscribers respectively. The total aggregate of views on YouTube comes to be 40 million which is a decent number. On YouTube the content strategy is based on realism so there are no TV commercial type videos. Most of the videos are from the rallies and yatras which AAP does. Apart from that there are appeals, speeches from Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas and YogendraYadav. The YouTube channels also have videos of live hangouts which happened in the past.
The secret to AAP’s success on YouTube is simple-and-easy-to-understand approach to video production.The videos are mostly typography based with interesting revelations about the opposition’s propaganda and developments in the 49 days of AAP Government which has influential appeals from different sections of the society.
The YouTube channel for INC has 7,632 subscribers, with 12 million views registered till date. The channel is home to a collection of over 700 videos which reiterates the fact that the party was too late to start with their social media campaigning. The collection of videos is a wonderful mix including One Billion and A Voice series containing stories of people who feel empowered in the 10 year reign of UPA. There are videos of TV commercials which emphasize the new positoning “Har Haath Shakti Har Haath Tarakki”. Excerpts of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s Speeches, videos demystifying the claims of growth and development by Narendra Modi, videos depicting UPA’s achievements , videos talking about youth empowerment, women empowerment, transparency and Rajiv Gandhi’s dream for India, Know your MP series and so on.
The content from the YouTube channel is also hosted on the party’s official website as INC TV. Videos released by the party are brilliant in terms of the concept, story boarding and direction. These videos are bound to make a difference to the overall campaign. The videos contain the key message of growth and prosperity under the reign of UPA Government. Most of them depict how UPA has touched upon their lives and made a difference. The other set of videos i.e TVC’s talk more about empowering youth and women, how INC aims to provide the benefits of plans and policies to the socio-economically deprived. The videos which are based on the series of Fact Check provide a strong assist to the party’s key objectives on Social Media.
ENGAGEMENT ON YOUTUBE
In terms of engagement levels on YouTube, BJP leads all the way. The gap in lead has multiple factors attached to it. The prime reason is that BJP4India is the only channel other than Narendra Modi’s official channel for communication.The content posted by the party is designed and tailored in a way to suit the needs of prospective target audience. The party has managed to deliver content which mesmerizes the viewer be it Narendra Modi’s speeches, the call for women empowerment video, the Modi aane wala hai video, or cricket based spoofs during World Cup T20. The videos posted, connect with the masses on account of emotional appeal.
INC has a very low value as compared to the other opposition parties despite of the fact that the content on YouTube is very engaging and compelling. This can be attributed to the lesser number of subscriber’s base for the party on YouTube Channel. Still the party has managed to garner 12 million views over such a short span of time which is commendable. Since the party excels in creating rich content for the channel they should work on building a larger community of subscribers for the channel as videos generally have a better impact on the human psyche as compared to images or text.
Although AAP has a unique mix of content, the engagement levels for them on YouTube are very low as compared to BJP. This can be attributed to the unflinching popularity of Narendra Modi and the number of views/shares his videos get on a daily basis.While the party loses out against BJP in term of engagement levels on YouTube, AAP beats both BJP and INC comprehensively in terms of ratings per video. The party’s journey has been beautifully crafted and exhibited using videos. Personalized videos from Arvind Kejriwal on how to join the party or an appeal from Yogendra Yadav to exercise their right to vote judiciously creates a major impact in the minds and heart of common people.
Mentions on Digital Publications
The top website mentions for BJP come from Times of India, Zee News and DNA India.The mentions for the party usually have a neutral sentiment. The negative sentiment in mentions can be accounted to allegations of misrepresentation of facts against Modi by Kapil Sibal, verbal spat with Priyanka Gandhi, accusations by and against Election Council of India.The positive sentiments in mentions is derived from the rising popularity of Narendra Modi and his promises to remove criminalization from politics, restore the glory of Allahabad University and Banaras Hindu University. The news that PM of Sweden is open to engage in conversations with Modi if he becomes Prime Minister, some senior leaders from INC joining BJP has brought more positivity in sentiments for the party.
INC receives top web mentions on Times of India, Zee News and DNA India. The party enjoys a fairly neutral sentiment. The negative sentiment in the mentions for the party can be attributed to the Election Council’s notice to Rahul Gandhi on his objectionable remarks against BJP, the arrest of Congress workers who assaulted AAP workers in Amethi, tiff between Priyanka Gandhi and Smriti Irani during the last few days of campaigning. The positive sentiments for the party have aroused from Sonia Gandhi’s neutral tone of communication asking Narendra Modi to read history again and the good news of Jayadev campaigning for Congress from Bengal. In the recent times UPA Government has been able to pass Lokpal Bill, Street Vendors Bill, AP Restructure Bill and they have also raised the cylinder cap for a household from 9 to 12. It is because of these welfare reforms the party receives mentions with a neutral sentiment.
In terms of mentions in top websites for AAP, Times of India stands tall followed by Kafila and Indian Express. Overall digital publications carry mixed sentiment mentions for AAP. The positive mentions for AAP comes from the news of support from JDU and Sharad Yadav, the arrest of INC workers who assaulted AAP workers and prediction of greater prospects for AAP in the General Elections 2014. While the negative sentiments can be attributed to digs and pot-shots on Narendra Modi, recent ones accusing him of being a ‘nautanki’ propounding helicopter politics. However, the party has been applauded for the outstanding debut in the Indian Political eco system. Even the standards of transparency and resilience have been appreciated by a few publications.
BJP has a neutral to positive sentiment online. The neutral sentiment amounts to 90.7%, negative sentiment is close to 7.9% and positive sentiment is 1.4%. The negative sentiment can be attributed to back and forth accusation amongst the contesting parties.
AAP enjoys a fairly neutral sentiment across social media platforms. AAP has managed to gain a lot of traction from youth who are motivated towards the objective of clean governance and full transparency in administrative issues. The neutral sentiment amounts to 92.1% while negative and positive sentiments are close to 5.7% and 2.2% respectively.
INC on the whole carries a neutral to positive sentiment online. The neutral sentiment amounts to 90%, positive sentiment is close to 1.5 % and negative sentiment is 8.5%. Since Social Media is a platform which envisages the right to freedom of speech and expressions, due to the equivocal presence of opposition any political party is bound to have a fraction of negative sentiment.
BJP has left no stone unturned in reaching out to the new and existing voters population through digital and social media platforms. The key highlight of BJP’s social media strategy is the seamless integration across various platforms with consistent communication and messaging. The party has been phenomenal in terms of the usage of different social media platforms to the best of their capabilities. The party has launched some exceptionally innovative campaigns and initiatives like Mere Sapnon Ka Bharat, NaMo Number, Chai Pe Charcha to register their presence synonymous with Growth, Development and Good Governance.
AAP has turned out to be a knight in shining armour for a few citizens by winning a major share of seats in the Delhi Assembly elections. The role and importance of digital media campaigns in this splendid victory cannot be denied. The focal point of AAP’s digital strategy is inclusiveness and transparency in operations. AAP’s communication on social media has been consistent with their offline communication be it rallies, events, interviews and press conferences. The message is loud and clear that rather than sitting on sidelines and criticizing politicians, come out and support AAP. A party which is actually by the people, of the people and for the people. The approach not only creates a strong recall but also embeds a common thought in the minds of people that come what may, the party will stand in the interest of the general public.
INC has left all guns blazing to combat the opponent’s social media strategy and to earn a fair chance of convincing the tech-savy voting population to vote in their favour. The multi-prong strategy adopted by the party is forthright and focused to specific set of objectives. The spotlight of INC’s social media strategy is the exceptionally brilliant and engaging content posted across social media platforms. The meteoric rise in the number of followers for the party on the various platforms can be attributed to the highly interactive content and the enthusiastic bunch of supporters and volunteers who have taken the onus upon themselves. The party has managed to build a community of followers in a short span of time but they really need to shift the focus from attacking Narendra Modi to exhibiting their ability to lead the nation and strive forward to engage with these followers in an active dialogue nevertheless the recent campaigns done by the party have performed really well especially #RGExposesBJP and #KattarSochNahiYuvaJosh on twitter.
The perfectly judicious mix of grass root offline campaigns and the interwoven digital media strategy have worked wonders for AAP and ensured a smashing victory for them in the past. BJP on social media has reached the pinnacle point, the stage is set for them to engage with users and gain votes by tangible conversions. Having said that, the party needs to work on collating and converging the scattered synergies towards one common goal that is i.e Mission 272+. The brilliant offline-online Integration of the party’s activities has definitely helped the party in expanding their reach. Overall, the party’s approach towards the digital and social media has been outstanding and impressive. INC on social media is still in the stage of spreading awareness and building a community to connect with at multiple junctures. The party really needs to buckle up and introduce campaigns which not only help them to connect but to engage with the online voting population. An integration between offline and online campaigns is imperative for the party’s success in the coming General Assembly Elections. Overall, INC has showcased an extraordinary display with lucid content and a straight-forward strategy. This in turn has paved the way for a formidable social media presence for the party.
Is the Congress quest to win-over online citizens across the country a case of ‘too little too late’ or whether the party has managed to enter ‘just in time’? Would BJP win the majority seats in the parliament? Will the magic of broom work again? The answer to all these questions will unfold come 16thof May. For now, all we can do is just wait and watch what these political parties have in store for the last leg of campaign before the final round of polling on May 12.
All the parties by now have played their cards on social media platform in terms of engaging audiences, conducting online campaigns, devising strategies, responding to the sentiments and much more. We definitely see BJP gaining an upper hand since it is the bearer of the country’s most sought after prime ministerial candidate.
INC has found itself at the far end of the hue and cry pertaining to social media since their overall minimal presence has ensured that they are clearly not the apple of everyone’s eyes. A late arrival on the scene combined with some unplanned strategies has pulled them down to an extent that it has become impossible to find ground again.
AAP, being the latest entrant on the scene, has toppled the current party in power in terms of statistics. Headed by a visionary leader in the form of Arvind Kejriwal, they have managed to stay grounded against the strong Narendra Modi-led BJP on some levels. Definitely having made a mark on the country’s political scene, they still have a long way to go.
The top parties from the democracy have almost battled it out and the D-day approaching in just a few days’ time, it will be time soon to find out whose efforts have finally yielded productive results.
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