After 5 long years, India witnessed its 17th Lok Sabha elections from 11th April to 19th May 2019. This edition of the elections came with a lot of hype and curiosity among the country’s citizens. Everyone had one single thought in their minds. Can Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) repeat their glorious victory of 2014? Or will the Congress storm back into power with a resounding win?
The election results were declared on 23 May with the BJP winning a crushing victory over their opposition. Out of 543 seats, the party won an incredible 303 seats sealing a remarkable win for Modi for the second consecutive time. How did Modi and the BJP accomplish this feat? Did content marketing play any major role here? Let’s find out.
India’s Internet Penetration and Social Media Usage
India’s internet penetration has drastically increased over the past two years. This is mainly due to the easy affordability of the smartphone and 4G internet services. As of 2019, half of the country’s population has access to the World Wide Web. Last year, the number of mobile phone users in India was 430 million, as per research by Statista. As a result of all this, an average Indian internet user has accounts in all popular content sharing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
India currently has 200 million active WhatsApp users, 300 million active Facebook users, and 34 million active Twitter users. These figures are more than any other democracy in the world. Most of the users consume news and other pieces of information from these platforms on a daily basis. A political party that is able to engage and attract these users to their cause through these platforms is bound to emerge as the winner during the election period.
Ever since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has been the front runner in using innovative digital strategies to win over Indian voters.
Content Marketing: Leveraging the Online Advantage
Marketing expert Doug Kessler famously said “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” This is exactly what the BJP had in mind for Indian voters and executed it to full fruition.
The party had started building its online presence much before their win in 2014. Due to the effective use of the online medium, the party emerged victorious in 2014 as well as in 2019. Today, the BJP is the largest Indian party with an enormous online fan following in the world.
BJP and Narendra Modi together have around 58.6 million followers on Twitter which is four times more than the rival Congress party. Narendra Modi alone has 47.5 million Twitter followers and 43 million Facebook followers globally. After former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump, he is the third-most followed politician on Twitter.
Using this immense social media advantage, Modi and the BJP crafted a number of innovative content strategies on various digital platforms to attract voters.
Let’s take a look at some of their popular content marketing strategies which led to their massive win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections:
- Social Media Pages – The BJP created a number of pages in platforms such as Facebook that appealed to various segments of voters. These pages shared content that attracted voters to engage with them. The various topics that were discussed on these pages were the BJP party’s accomplishments with respect to women empowerment, career opportunities, etc. The party also used the pages to deploy strategic online campaigns which included quizzes and contests with attractive prizes.
Popular supporters and influencers were endorsed on the pages to maximize its reach among voters. Some of the party’s most popular Facebook pages are My Gov India, Nation with Namo, and Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat. The best aspect of these pages was that they were created in the local languages of all 29 states of the country. Along with the primary languages, English and Hindi, each post on social media platforms was made in local languages for all regional pages.
All posts were made in various content formats such as images, videos, infographics, live videos, comic strips, and memes. The posts were also perfectly laced with the BJP branding for high impact messaging.
- Twitter – Modi and the BJP made maximum use of Twitter to engage and attract voters to their cause. The content marketing team of the party ensured that atleast one hashtag such as #ModiHiAyega was trending every day. This feat was not achieved by any of the BJP’s rivals.
The party launched online campaigns such as the #MaiBhiChowkidar Twitter campaign which became a rage among the youth. The campaign was praised by experts as a marketing masterstroke by the BJP. The party scored a major win here as the topic appealed immensely with the masses.
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps that grace the smartphone of every voter in the country. The BJP used this popular messaging app to create thousands of groups that shared content about Modi and itself. The party intelligently used the app by sending content from known users to increase the interest level and attention.
- YouTube – A YouTube channel in Narendra Modi’s name was created to attract the average Indian voter. The channel videos covered every minute activity done by Modi and the BJP. This included rallies, election campaigns, interviews, live videos, events, and even an animated series. Today, the channel has garnered close to 2.6 M subscribers and half a million views.
- Sponsored Ads – The BJP has been a huge spender when it came to sponsored ads. Facebook’s Ad Library Report claimed that the BJP spent over 10 crores for 50,000+ ads between February and March alone in 2019. The page that spent maximum money was “Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat”. It burned a whopping Rs 1 crore per week in Facebook ads. The ads typically contained content that highlighted the party’s achievements.
- NaMo TV – Apart from social media marketing, the BJP launched its own TV channel called NaMo TV to ensure maximum coverage. The channel covered Modi’s election campaign in real-time with plenty of content targeted at various types of voter segments. One of NaMo TV’s popular programs was Modi’s interaction with security guards which was watched by over 10 million people.
- Narendra Modi Mobile App – Modi launched a mobile app a year after his win in 2014 to directly interact with people. Using hundreds of volunteer teams, the app was made popular among people. The Android version of the app has garnered over 10 million downloads. Modi and his aides could also use the app to communicate with booth-level workers. For the 2019 elections, the mobile app was pivotal in increasing direct user engagement by sending customized messages to users based on their preferences.
- Entertainment Industry – Another effort to gain mass popularity by the party was through the entertainment industry. The BJP released an exclusive biopic on the life of Narendra Modi. The trailer of the movie gained a good response from the public and it became viral in no time. Apart from the movie, the party also released a 10-part web series on Modi’s life on Eros Now.
Content is always the King
The above content strategies adopted by Modi and the BJP highlight how crucial content is to connect, engage, and attract voters. The BJP made sure that it understood and segmented its target audience to deliver customized messages. This helped them increase their reach on an exponential basis among the country’s citizens. They ensured that they hit all the right chords of the content marketing realm which in turn culminated in a mammoth victory for generations to remember.