TOI’s ‘I Lead India’ Reaches Out To The Youth Through Social Media

A look at the social media efforts of the Times of India's youth-led campaign 'I Lead India' to create change makers at the grass roots level.

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If there can be a happy ending to real life stories as in the stories of fairytale characters, life would turn so much more positive and worth looking forward to.  And that requires change at an individual level, where every person contributes to the significant change. As the Times of India Group completes 175 years of existence this year, it hopes to bring about this significant change driven and demonstrated by the youth of the nation.

The giants of print media have launched the ‘I Lead India’ initiative which seeks to mobilise young people in the 18-24 age group and make them agents of change or the ‘Youth Brigade’ working at the grass-root level. Chosen after a rigorous selection process spanning two months, the Youth Brigades – each comprising five people – will operate in 26 cities of India with a mix of Tier I and Tier II cities to solve the most critical issue in their city.

The campaign has been assigned a whopping Rs. 15 cr by TOI group. (News Source: E4M). This is the film created for the campaign where young girls and boys have got all fired up with the urge to change rather than blame the system from their comfort zones.

I Lead India goes social

Beginning with the film, I Lead India has taken up the social media route among other mediums to spread the message. The most widely circulated newspaper in the country has created a social media presence on popular networks like Facebook and Twitter, in a bid to reach out to today’s social savvy youth. The Facebook community has already garnered more than 69K fans of which the most popular age group is in the 18-24 age group.

Content shared on the page focuses on the campaign as well as inspirational quotes about change and related phrases. In addition, stories of positive change brought about by a single individual have been shared from the site. Also, fans have been invited to share their own experiences of positive change. So, in case you know someone who is making a difference in other people’s lives, you can share it on the ‘Change-Maker contest‘ Facebook application. Three best entries in the form of text, images or video will then be featured in the paper.

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Interestingly, the page is running polls too, to find the most critical issue facing a city. Three critical issues in each of the cities has been listed and the most voted issue will form the assignment for the chosen Youth Brigade in that particular city.

I Lead India has managed to collect 700+ followers on its Twitter page and follows some of the influential people in the Government, including the Prime Minister’s official account along with noted people from media, politics, arts, sports, business, etc. But, what fascinated me is that it also follows the US President Barack Obama. Tweets shared ask users about the most deserving concern for the various cities. These can be found hashtagged as #Change<Cityname>.

Going social is the future

Brands going social is the future. A brand can speak much better with its action-oriented social campaigns rather than through advertisements. It is imperative to weave in social media too. And in these times, social media has to be a given in campaigns targeting the youth specifically.

Although most companies have a social media presence in place, these need to be actively engaging with the community to achieve their larger goals. And therein lies the real challenge. I Lead India’s use of Facebook Polls for finding the most biggest concern of a city, is a smart and simple idea. ‘I Lead India’ also looks ambitious on the social media front and does manage to create an engaged community. So, it would be interesting to watch how it is leveraged further during the course of the Youth Brigade’s social change assignments.

For details of the Youth Brigade process and timelines, click here. Do hurry up with your registration as the last date is 15th June.