Decoding: Building a political campaign on social media 101

Creating a political campaign is similar to brand communications, except here, the audiences are too diverse and the agenda too intricate.

Jagruti Verma
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Decoding: Building a political campaign on social media 101

Creating a political campaign is similar to creating a brand campaign, except here, the audiences are too diverse and the agenda too intricate.

The most important determinant for a political campaign over social media is whether the party or individual is in the government or the opposition. “When in government, the focus is on highlighting the schemes implemented by them and the development in the region. In the case of opposition, the focus switches to trending topics and issues faced by the people in the area,” says Shivaji Dubey, Media & Digital Communication Consultant, I-PAC. This is essential to political communication across the spectrum, including traces in news media as well as advertising. 

The core of the campaign is usually driven by an issue faced by politicians in communicating with the public. “The ease with which people communicate with say the Ministry of Railways is not something we saw while researching the communication between the Chief Minister and the people of West Bengal,” he says, explaining how the recent #DidiKeBolo campaign came about.

#DidiKeBolo is an initiative by Mamta Banerjee as an attempt to provide a platform to the citizens of West Bengal to get in touch with her. It includes communication and outreach elements with heavy use of digital tools.

Process in motion

After a topic is picked, a campaign is created around it. This includes hashtags, creatives, and copies, among other collaterals. This aspect is pretty much similar to any brand’s digital campaign.

However, given the diversity of the people being communicated to, languages in which the message is being broadcasted and the geographies being targetted, the kind of insights and research required is extensive. 

“The data is picked and cross-checked at multiple levels. These are taken from official sources like the National Crime Records Bureau,” he says. Though the data is picked from vetted sources, the shortlisted information is one that is in line with the agenda of the party.

The angle changes based on the rhetoric of the campaign. Every news has two angles, positive and negative. The side that favours the agenda of the campaign is chosen he explains.

Quality trumps all

When it comes to creating visuals and graphics, colour schemes that align with the party image are chosen and creative layouts are optimised for the platform they will go on. “There is a great focus on the local language of the area being targetted,” explains Dubey.

On Facebook and Instagram, the strategy is to go heavy on visuals as people tend to share them. Twitter is used extensively for all political campaigns as that is where campaigns trend. The campaign notes are also sent to the news media for coverage.

“Professionally edited visuals are always a plus where quality is good and the text is well aligned. It is always a good idea to invest in such resources,” he says. Data-driven graphics are best-liked and shared among the visuals put up by party pages.

At any point in time, the team driving such campaigns is on the attacking front as well as on the defensive. “Promises and development form the crux of all political communication, something that works very well on social media as well,” he says. 

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