The country is heating up with political workouts as the 2014 General Elections inch closer. The election fever however starts by this year end possibly from November with elections in five states including our capital Delhi. The Delhi State Assembly elections will definitely see the big titans from the arch rival political parties. Along with the political veterans, for the first time, we are going to see the rise of a new party that has surprised the country with its sheer hard work and intent to remove corruption – Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
AAP or the common man’s party – formally launched on 26 November 2012 – has become one of those parties that is challenging other parties on matters like corruption and good governance. To a great extent the credit goes to Arvind Kejriwal, the social activist turned fierce politician who is today cheer-leading his party with the support of thousands of AAP party workers and volunteers from across the world.
Ankur Shrivastav is one such volunteer who has been working hard to get AAP’s voice heard on social media. An engineer by profession, Ankur is also working at a digital agency while diverting his free time/weekends to the social media activities of AAP, along with a bunch of volunteers who are trying to create an effective social media presence for the party with the available resources.
“I have been a supporter of the Jan Lok Pal movement and when Arvind decided that forming a political party is the need of the hour, I thought of doing much more for the party rather than just voting. So from November, 2012 onwards I have devoted my time for AAP’s social media and online activities,” shared Ankur, who has been keeping really busy with the elections coming closer.
Though the move initially was not that smooth since after differences with Anna Hazare, the supremo of India Against Corruption movement, Arvind had to start from scratch and so was the case for the social media initiatives of AAP.
“There were strong synergies in both but there were problems. Some moved on but a lot of people stayed with AAP since they believed in what we were doing. So starting from scratch was the only way but we had constant support and people came forward to help, which made our presence stronger both offline and online,” he added while discussing the initial days of AAP’s social media build up.
Today the party has a website that is the center focus of the digital initiatives; from regular updates to the funding details you can find everything. Along with a blog, the party has presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube too. On Facebook AAP has got more than 339K fans and on Twitter the party has more than 136K followers. In addition to this, Arvind also has a tremendous fan following on Facebook; he has more than 572K fans and on Twitter he has more than 607K followers. But then numbers alone can’t win elections, if that was the case then the mightier parties would have won the race long back. What is worth noting is that the growth of AAP has been organic, again the same holds true for online as well as offline.
“Apart from running few social ads, AAP’s growth on social has been organic. We have very less money to spend on social media activities,” Ankur shared while talking about how a regular day looks like since most of the team is distributed. Since resource has been a constraint for the party, the team has no strong infrastructure but is making the best with whatever is available.
Talking about the organic growth, Ankur also shared that content creation plays a big role along with the timing of the content. “The content is created with a lot of passion and we try to bring facts while we are communicating with our fans. Besides this we time the content with the offline activities. We are a party that has been on social media to create awareness while backing them with valid facts.”
The growth has definitely been supported by the fans on social by amplifying the message that is shared from AAP’s social media accounts. But the competition and political battles are no more restricted to the Parliament; we are witnessing this on social media especially on Twitter. AAP is no where close to the venom spitted by parties like BJP or Congress on social media but they haven’t been spared too.
“AAP is promoting its thought process and today users are really smart to decide which information to consume and which one it should avoid. Users are thinking when they see a certain message being shared by political parties. So we are not competing with anyone on social and we have grown because of our thoughts,” Ankur pointed out.
Though he feels the present set of challenges for the party online is better infrastructure and expertise. Nevertheless, the sheer support of people coming forward to help is really growing the party on social and making it stronger with every passing day.
With a few months to go, Ankur informed that the party is working really hard to take its voice far enough through every aspect. Going further the social media team would like to gain more reach and advertisements are an option. In addition to this, AAP team is reaching out to different online networks and at the same time also seeking help from various digital experts to make its online presence more effective.
Social dominance might not be enough to win seats at least in India for now but having a voice out there is a must. AAP has its voice on social and then there is the confident voice of Arvind on the medium that can make a difference in the forthcoming Delhi State Assembly elections. What is exciting is that the growth of AAP on social media has been an organic one.