Dentsu Webchutney Research Labs report reveals Twitter strategies of politicians

Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy ahead of PM Modi in ‘The Politics of Twitter’ report 

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 25, 2019 4:43 PM  | 5 min read

Dentsu Webchutney Research Labs, the research arm of digital agency Dentsu Webchutney, has commenced a report titled ‘The Politics of Twitter’ unveiling the top 50 politicians on Twitter and the engagement strategies used by them for Twitter users. 

Through this research, thousands of original tweets of 50 political leaders were analysed.  The report measured the performance of the political leaders on Twitter and mapped their civic engagement. Hence, for the purpose of indexing these shortlisted profiles, Dentsu Webchutney defined 5 Twitter KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that showcases the performance of a profile on the platform: 
•    Follower Rate: total number of followers  
•    Activity Rate: total number of original tweets posted (excludes retweets and replies).
•    Engagement Rate: engagement per original tweet 
•    Response Rate: replies to the public   
•    Retweet Rate: total retweets 

Here are the top 5 profiles of politicians on Twitter:

1.    Number one on the index is Subramanian Swamy, the firebrand BJP leader, who joined Twitter early in July 2009. He is amongst the earliest of all indexed leaders. With an average of six original tweets a day (and close to 20 per day with retweets and replies factored in), he ranks highest on the axes of Response Rate. 

2.    Second on the list is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is amongst the most followed Indians and the third most followed world leader on Twitter behind US President Donald Trump. Basis the index, Modi has the highest following count of all political leaders in India and makes the broadest use of languages across the spectrum, covering English, Hindi, and International languages. Modi leads total engagement, but the rate of engagement is noticeably behind Rahul Gandhi. Modi has built a brand on creating content across the spectrum and using Twitter as a means to get the message out to his large base of followers. 

3.    Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress Party, Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress and National Students Union of India lands very close behind Modi in the third place — and with very good reason, leading the index on engagement. During the course of the study, Rahul Gandhi tweeted just 39 times, but his overall engagement rate is 65 per cent higher than Modi’s. The biggest impact for Rahul Gandhi, one that could potentially propel him to #1, is simply engaging more on Twitter. Rahul Gandhi averages one tweet a day — without the support that his opponent receives from his own party on the platform.

4.    Smriti Irani is amongst the most followed women leaders on Twitter in India, with close to 8.8 million followers on her personal account. Averaging 25 tweets a day, close to 80 per cent are retweets of other members of BJP. Irani serves as a valuable amplifier of information for the agenda set by the BJP.

5.    Devendra Fadnavis is the lone Chief Minister in the top ranks, despite falling in the lower decile of the followership on Twitter in the top 10. Fadnavis has the highest Twitter activity of all tracked leaders in the Webchutney Political Index, averaging 27 tweets a day. An astonishing 90 per cent of all his tweets contain some media, dominated by photos and videos, followed by links. Video content is 46 per cent of all media posted. Top leaders posting in Marathi leads with Devendra Fadnavis (143 posts), followed by Sharad Pawar (24 posts) and Aaditya Thackeray (19 posts).

Sidharth Rao, Co-Founder and CEO, Dentsu Webchutney said, “Twitter is the most useful online public platform for representing the politics of building a brand for politicians. While Twitter is mandatory for leaders representing the public, other leaders have used it as a means to raise their profile in a new medium altogether.”

“With all the noise and potential issues around information warfare and ethics of social networking sites being called into question, this report takes a look at some underrepresented facets of using social media to build a brand. This report goes back, in some respect, to questions of how social media is being deployed basis the platform’s features and capabilities,” Sidharth added. 

The report analyses the behaviour of political leaders on Twitter by segregating in the following categories – Union Ministers, Regional Leaders and Young Leaders. 

The report states that the bracket of ranks between 16–22 is dominated by ministers governing the country right now. The common thread in use for the Union Ministers is retweeting activity from other ministries. However, it is surprising to witness that Sushma Swaraj (#20), Minister of External Affairs, has been hailed in reports as the most approachable politician on the platform. However, her activity during the study period was surprisingly low with just 13 original tweets recorded over the period. 

Taking into consideration the regional leaders, they ended up forming close to 40 per cent of all users on the Political Index. Politics at the regional level is strategically activated during the General Elections, but they’re undeniable forces on their own. Regional users bring out the diversity in claims across the country when it comes to use of Twitter. 

As per the report, young leaders are not behind in growing their followership on Twitter. The 29-year-old Tejashwi Yadav (#28) leads the pack with an indexed score exceeding Nitish Kumar (#43), his opposition in Bihar. He joined Twitter at 23, and is fluent on it as the youngest opposition leader in the country. Anurag Thakur (#37) has been a voice for digital India, and is amongst the youngest leaders in the government, as the chairman of the Parliamentary IT Committee. Also, Aaditya Thackeray (#41) has a respectable presence on Twitter, and he’s all of 28 years old. 

The insights have been developed thoroughly with its technology partners, LocoBuzz, bringing sound understanding of the datasets available for use, and helping access them. 


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