How Smriti Irani won the political battle on social media

Irani, Woman and Child Development Minister, posted 3,600 tweets since January 1 and of them 275 mentioned Amethi, her winning parliamentary seat 

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 7:46 AM  | 3 min read

BJP leader Smriti Irani who won the Amethi parliamentary seat, an erstwhile Congress bastion, in this Lok Sabha elections with a margin of 55,120 votes upped her ante on social media to create the right kind of buzz that got her trending on timelines and how.

The 43-year-old leader has the sixth oldest account among the ministers @smritiirani. The Twitter handle was created by the Woman and Child Development Minister on the 6th of April in 2010. “By July 2, 2014, she had 5,06,324 followers and in June 2019 the figure reached 9 million. This means, on an average per day 4K+ accounts started following her. It is amazing to see how Irani has used the social media as a platform to create an influence on social media users. She appears in the top-10 list of all social networks in terms of both likes and followers,” said Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, Associate Professor at IIIT Dehi and IIIT Hyderbad. 

Kumaraguru has also put together a social media report card based on the minister’s social media performance.
A little over 12 per cent of her feed was put out in 2019 alone to get on to the election wave on the social media. According to data shared by the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, of the 29,000 tweets that Irani has posted, 3,600 were done from January 1, 2019. Of this, 1,895 have media content in them (image or a video), 506 of these are original tweets, 1,358 are retweets and 31 are quotes. 

Among the 3,600 posts, 1,000 are original tweets, 2,535 retweets, including replies, and 77 are quotes. While 275 of Irani’s tweets had Amethi mentioned in them, only 3 of Rahul Gandhi’s tweets spoke about the key constituency. 
Among other leaders and ministers, Irani holds the fourth position in terms of followers with a count of 9.3 million on Twitter, 5.6 million on Facebook and 4.4 lakh on Instagram.

She also reportedly set up a special team in Amethi that sent out videos and pictures, especially designed around the constituency, on WhatsApp groups and Facebook. The same team also created a buzz on Twitter through numerous temporary handles and sent out text messages to not just the people of Amethi but across the country to keep the chatter going.

So what makes Irani a star on social media?

According to experts, the tech-savy minister won the hearts of new voters with her quirky and well-informed social media feeds. 

“This was the second wave of digital election and the first one to be fought on mobile phones. In 2014, people were beginning to get a hang of how the political battle was also being fought on social media, but in 2019 it became a fully developed battlefield. Irani used to be an artist and still hones her communication skills which she backs up with data. The fact that she puts up posts backed with information makes her a good social media communicator. This helped her grab the attention of the 12 to 15 million Gen Z population who also happened to be first-time voters,” said Anup Sharma, independent political strategist.

A host of hashtags also made it to the list of most trending ones during the elections. Some of them with Irani were: #AmethiWithSmriti, #SackSmritiIrani, #SmritiForAmethi, #SmritiIrani, #AmethiWithSmritiDidi, #SmritiSeDrtaHai2SeatSeLdtaHai, #SmritiDegreeDangal, #SmritiVsRahul, #FranklySpeakingWithSmriti. #SmritiSpooksRahul and  #SmritiOnRepublic. 

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