the brand ‘MyBO’ and merchandise flooded the market ahead of the US elections. Similarly, Modi’s team launched the NaMo store (Narendra Modi Store) online, which sold merchandise inspired by Modi’s life and values. Last year in September, team Modi launched the ‘India 272+’ initiative, which resembled the Obama Dashboard. “While the BJP had a strategy and went about it methodically, Modi’s campaign is almost a mirror image of the Obama campaign in tactics. From multiple profiles that tweet to creating multiple sites to generating tweets on subjects that matter to party, everything has been on the Obama campaign template,” said Naresh Gupta, chief strategy officer and managing partner, Bang in the Middle, a digital agency.
The BJP, which was much ahead of its competitors in the game, had identified 150 ‘digital constituencies’ across India. The party used social media and customised micro-messaging such as text messages, emails, WhatsApp messages, Line messages, etc., to reach the voter in constituencies with high internet penetration. “Typically the 150 constituencies are the one with high internet penetration, that is, urban towns. Through content such as jokes, comic strips, etc., and with no counter-response from the Congress which began using social media just four months before the election, the BJP was able to create buzz amongst these voters,” added Gupta.
Analysts believe the other reason behind BJP being able to successfully woo the Indian voter on Twitter is the fact that its campaign was around one man. “The BJP campaign certainly created focus around one man, Modi. This is of course more relevant to a presidential government than our parliamentary system. The risk was that if something was to happen to the man, or if someone else was to be the prime minister from the party, the campaign would backfire. So it’s a calculated risk. It certainly worked to focus the effort on one person,” said Mahesh Murthy, founder, Pinstorm, a digital marketing firm.
Meanwhile, the AAP which tasted success on the social media platform before the Delhi assembly polls, lost its ground once its leader Kejriwal resigned from the Delhi chief minister’s post. “AAP’s entire campaign was based on one big agenda – anti-corruption. However, after the party failed to bring in changes on coming to power in Delhi followed by the abrupt resignation of Kejriwal, the party lost many of its supporters, even in the virtual world,” said a senior executive of an advertising network