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      Marketing Social Media Marketing

      Role of Social Media in the Indian Elections 2009

      Jun 24, 2009

      2 minutes read

      India saw a new beginning when almost all political parties jumped into social media to establish their visibility and woo their voters. It was interesting to see the clash of political titans as well as novices on the Internet arena to win over netizens.

      Among all the political parties, BJP was the most active party on all social media platforms, including Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. whereas Congress was largely active on Twitter. BJP leader LK Advani came off as more web-savvy as compared to his other political counterparts, however the BJP also spent a lot on paid campaigns on banners, adwords and affiliates. BJP tried to mimic Obama’s campaign strategy and ran an aggressive social media campaign to reach out to urban voters, but unfortunately they failed to taste victory. Even independents like Ajay Goyal (Chandigarh) ran social media and email campaigns – however even Ajay lost his deposit.

      There are many reasons for the failure of the BJP and independents like Ajay – despite being so active online. First, the internet has still not penetrated the rural regions that constitute 60-70% of our population. Second, they tried to woo urban voters who hardly come out to vote, unlike rural voters. Third, the issues they highlighted were not appealing enough for urbanites to support them. Even Barack Obama won due to the message he wanted to spread out to his audience not because of his political campaign on social media. A Social media strategy can be a success when teamed with a relevant and interesting message and targeted at the correct audience, till then India will probably need to wait till rural internet usage becomes widespread enough.

      The table below compares some of the social media activities of political parties on various platforms.

      BJP Congress Others Independent
      Websites BJP main site
      LK Advani site
      Join BJP
      Gujarat BJP
      Karnataka BJP
      Main AICC site
      Congress Media
      Vote for Congress
      CPI(M)
      Shiv Sena
      Samajwadi Party
      Mallika Sarabhai
      Politicians Active on Twitter Narendra Modi
      VK Malhotra
      Rahul Gandhi
      Krishna Byre Gowda
      Rajeev Gowda
      Shashi Tharoor
      Suresh Kalmadi
      SM Krishna
      None Captain Gopinath
      Mallika Sarabhai
      Meera Sanyal
      Groups on Facebook Friends of BJP
      BJP Supporters
      None None None
      Politicians Active on Blogs LK Advani
      K. Raghupati Bhat
      DR VS Acharya
      Sanjay Nirumpam Lalu Prasad Yadav
      Omar Abullah
      Suresh Kumar
      M.K.Stalin
      Rajeev Chandrashekhar