With elections looming in less than a year, the Indian National Congress is strengthening its social media presence. Congress, the largest political party in the world has been struggling to make an effective presence on social media in comparison to its opponent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Additionally, the party has been frequently abbreviated as the ruling government that has been proactive in controlling the speech of common man on social media. However, the party seems to be finally taking things seriously and as Hindustan Times reports, Congress is getting proactive with its latest social media campaign – With Congress.

AICC on social media

With a Twitter account, a Facebook presence and a microsite that is displaying the social stream and asking netizens to subscribe for email updates, the campaign is gradually gaining spikes. The Twitter account has gained more than 860 followers in a short span and the content being shared is nothing surprising. The account has been sharing the positive initiatives that are happening under the current government but at the same time isn’t stopping in pointing out the problems of BJP. A move that I haven’t supported whether it be Congress or BJP.

Facebook has gained more than 8K fans and some credit obviously goes to the Facebook ads that have been running on the social networking platform. The content is more visual but more or less mimics the Twitter content. The content strategy goes like this – 1) Promote the good activities of UPA, and 2) Don’t miss a moment to take a jibe at BJP.

The ongoing efforts from Congress on social media

After getting a setback from Team Anna in 2011 on social media, Congress got serious but till now has struggled in understanding the medium. In fact, that was the time when the party should have been serious about social media. But then they were busy either trying to regulate social media or creating a presence on social media like bots.

Later on, the party got another chance to make social media it’s weapon during the North East problems but instead it chose to blame social media for everything. It started putting pressure on social networking sites, registered cases, planned state specific ban of social media and did everything other than creating positive campaigns to win the confidence of the common man.

However, after failing to control social media Congress started taking baby steps on social media. To start with in the beginning of 2013, Kapil Sibal expressed that the Congress party would require Rs. 100 crore during the next 18 months i.e. till the Lok Sabha elections to counter its main opponent BJP on the social media field. These figures were quoted at the Chintan Shivir, where the party also accepted that the opposition party has been leading the war on social media.

Later we also heard that a 35 member team has been formed to counter the social media strategies of its opposition. In addition to all this, the AICC roped in Twitter influentials like Shashi Tharoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Shabana Azmi and other techno savvy leaders to spread its message.

The idea was to have these eminent personalities, who have a great presence on social media, drive the AICC party’s message. Later in the month of April, it was announced that All India Congress Party, that has been ruling the country for the last two terms, has finally started scouting for a suitable digital or social media agency.

Getting a specialized agency would definitely change things were my thoughts when the Congress had finally decided to give the task to specialised teams and my guess is that the campaign “With Congress” is the outcome of it.

With less than a year for the elections, this might be a delayed move. Besides, taking a constant jibe on the opposition party on social media platforms is not a healthy content strategy. The country has already seen the fight of hashtags like #feku and #pappu which should be restrained at a time when BJP is proposing social media guidelines.

Image courtesy: NDTV

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