Social media has played a vital role in the personal brand building and in the governance of the current prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. From declaring everyday developmental works to solving grievances of the citizens, the current government has rightly harnessed the power of digital media and has been able to emerge as a world superpower. During the tenure of the Modi government, there are definitely a few noteworthy points on how the government and especially, Modi ensured the correct use of digital media and climbed up the ladder of being the most followed political leaders in the world.
Since the beginning of his tenure as prime minister and even before that as the chief minister of Gujarat, there has been a lot of buzz on social media about his activities and interactions with the youth population of India, which contributes to over 60% of voters in India. With the advent of cheaper internet and faster data access, Indians across the globe started connecting more and more over social media and this enabled in a faster spread of information. With the positive development of Gujarat and rapid growth seen in the state, people all across the world observed the transformation and positive effect under his leadership.
“During the election campaign of 2014, Modi used the technology of hologram and addressed over 1000 rallies across the nation. The political party knew where to spend their marketing budgets and used it correctly. Reportedly, their digital marketing spends were in millions of dollars and looking at the results and outreach they were able to cause, it was all worth it” says Anushree Pacheriwal, the co-founder and creative navigator of Gemius Design Studio, a creative and digital marketing agency.
There have been several interactions and controversies over the implementation of social media usage and e-governance schemes by the government. However, it has been proven that the rapid response systems set by the government and compulsions imposed on various government leaders has helped in developing a stronger judicial system, always ready for citizen’s support and offers around the clock service.
“While there are innumerable advantages of digital media implementation which enables a faster problem solving for the netizens, there’s a challenge in ensuring that all the ministers and their offices stay active. There can be a delay in a response or in addressing an opinion and this has caused public rage several times. However, this is surely the way forward and every government should look at being available for the public, digitally or offline.
Modi’s Madison Square Speech was one of the most viewed videos right after he presided over the office and this was loved by followers all over the world. His attempt to connect with Indians worldwide made him not only one of the most loved Prime Ministers but also a social media star, an influencer, who is followed by billions of ignited souls across all social media platforms. He makes this effortless by sharing all the updates, keeping transparency over his activities and involving the public for opinions, suggestions & discussions. This sets everything apart” adds Pacheriwal, who believes that Modi’s strategy and vision for a better India have helped all of grow as citizens of the country.
The prime minister office has launched dozens of campaigns to boost the right use of social media and has been able to increase the interactions multifold. Initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Make in India involved the youth and scaled up digitally. Recent controversies involving cross border security, international trade and diplomatic ties were all addressed clearly on social media and effective use has been done to address the concerns of the public and circulated opinionated views by the leaders.
Incidentally, Modi is the most followed world political leader on Instagram and Facebook and stands in the top three positions on Twitter. His growing fanbase is a true example of what brand building means and how can an influencer & a leader like him become people’s favorite by being available for them, staying updated with the trends and adapting technology as and when required. Even the prime minister office social media accounts are one of the most followed accounts held by the office of a world leader. This speaks volumes about the neoliberal attitude of existing Indian government and the tech-savvy approach towards addressing grievances.
Modi has not only leveraged the power of social media to create a rage in the Indian political scenario but has also used the digital platforms to address the citizens, launch campaigns, issue changes and also communicate with political counterparts across the world. His tweet chats with leaders like Trump and Putin are world famous and he has been fearless in being transparent and expressing his views. This speaks volumes about the true usage of social media and how a political institution can leverage it well.
Modi has been a frontrunner in creating opportunities for the youth and developing connections across borders through the use of social media. His social media accounts are followed by citizens of various other countries, not just by Indians. It is clear that his social media fan following is tremendous across all platforms and he has harnessed the true potential by inviting companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to give their input on how to scale up the social media ecosystem of the country.
One of his very recent #MainBhiChowkidar campaigns is an apt example of one of the many strategic campaigns that have been able to bring a wave of change and involve the youth of the country to create a positive change. His fan following reaches beyond borders and makes billions of hearts beat. PM Modi’s influence on Social Media and online platforms are sure to grow in the years to come.
Saurabh Pacheriwal is the co-founder and captain at Gemius.