As Arvind Kejriwal gets ready to be the Delhi CM for the third time, we take a look at the AAP social media strategy behind the win.
Political communication is a tough walk on rocky terrain, especially on social media. It is a comparatively new arena for experts to understand and experiment in. Trolling is common and every misstep leads to a plethora of criticism within seconds. This is why those with a winning streak deserve attention. Here we talk a look at the key markers in the AAP social media strategy implemented ahead of its third consecutive win in the capital.
Selling a product is a tough task. Brands need to sweat it out over data, analysis, and content. All to make people open up their wallets. However, what if the transaction at hand isn’t tangible or monetary? What when the ‘thing’ being advertised is a political ideology rooted in a list of promises? The machinery at play here is another ball game altogether.
Hitesh Pardeshi has worked with the likes of AIB and FilterCopy before sauntering his way into the AAP social media control room as a digital strategist. Summarising his experience on the result day, he says, “Today was my 74th day at work without an off.”
With astonishment, he adds how it was surreal to work with so many people from different backgrounds, all working for one single cause — electoral victory.
Dwelling deeper into the hows, whos and whys of the social media strategy, Ankit Lal, SM & IT Strategist, AAP tells us, “Each platform has a different target audience and pitch of communication. Due to the sheer number of people on social media, the top three platforms used by us in the campaign were Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.”
While Facebook helped the party reach the general public belonging to middle and upper-middle-class demographics, WhatsApp played a key role in communicating with lower and lower-middle-class voters. Newsmakers and influencers were tapped on using Twitter.
Likee, TikTok, and Instagram were channels used to target first-time voters between the ages 18 and 24.
Since Delhi has a majority of native Hindi speaking persons, ShareChat was a key platform for APP to communicate in Hindi. WhatsApp was key to internal communication with volunteers.
To communicate effectively, people belonging to the same demographics as the target group was got onboard for acting in campaign videos. “If we were making any content for the Purvanchalis, it wasn’t in Bhojpuri but the Hindi would be like how a Purvanchali would speak. They have a different dialect. We onboarded different actors who were familiar with the dialect,” Pardeshi explains the micro-targeting executed by AAP.
Hits and misses
Dwelling deeper on the use of different platforms, Pardeshi tells us, “What we realized was that you can make news only from Twitter. If you want to reach then we go to Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. Instagram wasn’t as important, it just helps stay connected with the youth.”
“There are a lot of tier-2 and tier-3 audiences on apps like Helo, ShareChat, and Likee and we do get engagement. That’s why we started accounts on all these platforms. In the beginning, it wasn’t that great. For example, TikTok didn’t work well for us because on TikTok, people need entertainment. That’s what we realized later,” he adds.
Further, he explains, “However, platforms like ShareChat and Helo worked really well for us to engage with tier-2 and tier-3 audiences. We used to only promote all the Hindi content over there, Hindi video as well as text. Hindi made up for almost 90% of the communication.”
One man army
Why centre the entire campaign on just one person? Pardeshi explains the phenomenon: Arvind Kejriwal is the most popular leader at AAP. When content is created around him, people tend to engage more. So, we just thought of using more of that. Simultaneously, leaders like Manish Sisodia, Raghav Chadha were also promoted prominently.
“There was this debate clip featuring Chadha that was pushed to be viral. Whenever we had such key moments with leaders, we tried to promote that. However, more or less, it will revolve around Kejriwal only in the end because he is the most popular and it is easier to make him viral,” he adds.
Best performing campaigns
Both Lal and Pardeshi pointed out that Mario and Kejriwal videos were the best performing sub-campaigns under the larger campaign ahead of the Delhi elections. These helped them get the most traction and engagement, especially on Twitter. These were also the most talked about by media.
Geography: Delhi NCR
Languages: English and Hindi
Method: Content created to micro-target voters based on demographics, interests, and issues.
Key strategy: Going live from on-ground events and rallies, live broadcasting speeches.
Social media channels used: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Likee, TikTok, ShareChat, Helo, and WhatsApp.
Facebook: AAP Delhi (1.6M), AAP (4M)
Twitter: AAP Delhi (114K), AAP (5M)
Instagram: AAP Delhi (1.5k), AAP (214K)
Steps to inclusivity: Getting women on board at the top tier to maintain gender balance in the team and put forth mature communication.
Steps against hate: Social media team members kept a check on the communication put forth by the party volunteers, who were pulled up if and when required.