Social Media: Congress enters BJP territory
The Congress seems to be taking a leaf from the BJP's book. Its latest tweets have been quirky and witty. It has also started using the BJP's Twitter quiz idea "#KnowYourGovt" after tweaking it to "#KnowYourLegacy." The BJP's Twitter quizzes highlight the government's achievements. The BJP has been using social media with aplomb to connect with the people. Read on to know how.
Which Prime Minister demonetised notes in 2016, causing a loss of trillions of rupees to the nation? #KnowYourLegacy— Congress (@INCIndia) August 31, 2017
A Stanford University study revealed that the BJP surpassed other parties during the 2014 LS elections in terms of its followers, retweets and number of positive posts. An analysis of 15.5 million user accounts and 10.6 million tweets revealed that the BJP's ability to move with the times and adopt this new powerful media tool may have contributed to its win.
Three years after the LS elections, the BJP-led NDA continues to rule the social media. Modi has consistently used it to give important updates and highlight India's achievements. When India played the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup final, Modi wished luck to each team member separately via Twitter. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's tweets have made the MEA popular.
In UP, where the BJP secured a three-fourth majority, it used a WhatsApp feeder channel to message voters day-and-night and make itself omnipresent. It had access to almost 9000 WhatsApp groups and its messages were read by about 13.5 lakh people by the time the UP polls were conducted. The BJP plans to use the same strategy for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls.
The BJP has a dedicated IT cell for handling its social media presence. Where earlier it used to work out of Delhi, it's now been given infrastructure at regional and district levels. It has an in-place organizational structure and strategy. After acquiring information about voters, the consumers of the BJP's online and telephonic campaign are identified. Messages are then crafted as per regional needs.
To up its social media game, the Congress also plans to put in place teams at national and regional levels to understand news trends. Earlier Shashi Tharoor was the only Congress politician with an active Twitter handle. Now, other Congress leaders have followed suit. The AAP is active on social media and penetration of its Twitter followers is strong. The SP is gaining ground too.
In the future, political parties will find a huge social media audience. Emarketer estimates India will have 40 million Twitter users by 2018. Parties realize that India's young demography with an active smart-phone generation will necessitate a strong social media presence which made them allocate 2-5% of 2014 election budget to social media (2013 IAMAI report). Social media will probably be the next battleground.