Maharashtra Polls: Which Party Is Winning the Social Media Battle?

As Maharashtra votes this Oct for state elections, The Quint analyzes Shiv Sena, BJP, NCP & INC’s social media game.

Updated18 Oct 2019, 06:59 AM IST
Politics
6 min read

With only a few days left for Maharashtra to vote in the Assembly polls, campaigning by all parties has reached its crescendo. While the election results will be announced on 24 October, social media will offer a clue on who’s leading.

The Quint analysed the performance of Maharashtra’s four major parties – Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC) & Nationalist Congress Party – on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For the purpose of analysis we chose a three-week period starting from 21 September, when the polling dates were announced, to 12 October.

Since Shiv Sena and NCP are primarily Maharashtra-based, their official social media accounts were compared to the accounts of BJP and Congress’ Maharashtra state units.

1. Facebook

We compared the BJP & Congress’ state unit Facebook pages along with Shiv Sena and NCP’s Facebook pages using data available on CrowdTangle.

Which party has the most number of followers?

All data sourced from <a href="https://apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=facebook_page&amp;accounts=373004%2C840678%2C922254%2C375676&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=facebook&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>.
All data sourced from CrowdTangle.
(Photo: The Quint)

Another interesting thing to note is the growth in followers these parties have seen in the observed time period:

While the BJP has emerged a clear winner in this aspect with a total of 980.5k followers, NCP has seen the most growth in terms of the number of followers in the observed time period.

How active are these parties on Facebook?

A total post count of all the four parties on the platform was examined to understand which party is most active.

All data sourced from <a href="https://apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=facebook_page&amp;accounts=373004%2C840678%2C922254%2C375676&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=facebook&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>.
All data sourced from CrowdTangle.
(Photo: The Quint)
BJP had the maximum number of posts at 275, followed by INC with 227 posts. With only 79, Shiv Sena has the least number of posts. 

What is the engagement on these posts?

To understand the engagement on the posts of these parties on the platform, two equations were taken into consideration:

  • Total Interactions of the posts = Likes+ Shares+ Comments+ Reactions (sad, happy, angry etc)
  • Interaction Rate of the posts = Total Interactions/Total Number of Posts.

The engagement was calculated on the basis of the above two equations.

WHAT IS THE TOTAL INTERACTIONS ON THE POSTS?

All data sourced from <a href="https://apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=facebook_page&amp;accounts=373004%2C840678%2C922254%2C375676&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=facebook&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>.
All data sourced from CrowdTangle.
(Photo: The Quint)

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE INTERACTION RATE OF THESE POSTS?

Average interaction rate = Interaction Rate/Total Number of Days Considered

All data sourced from <a href="https://apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=facebook_page&amp;accounts=373004%2C840678%2C922254%2C375676&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=facebook&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>.
All data sourced from CrowdTangle.
(Photo: The Quint)

What Do We Understand From All This?

  • Among the four parties, BJP has the highest number of followers, highest number of posts and most total interactions as well. However, its interaction rate is lesser than Shiv Sena and NCP.
  • On Facebook, the interaction rate of Shiv Sena is at the top even though the party has least number of posts, and is third in line when compared on the basis of total number of followers and total interactions.
  • NCP enjoys a better a engagement than BJP even though the posts and interactions are less than BJP.
  • INC is at the bottom of the ladder with the least followers, follower growth, interaction and interaction rate.

2. Instagram

Which party has the most followers?

All data sourced from <a href="http://https://apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=instagram_feed&amp;accounts=8162533%2C2917902%2C6958305%2C6850717&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=instagram&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>
All data sourced from CrowdTangle
(Photo: The Quint) 

A comparison of growth in followers of these Instagram handles shows:

In contrast to Facebook, BJP has the least followers on Instagram and Shiv Sena the most.

But like on Facebook, NCP shows the maximum growth in terms of the number of followers in the observed time period.

How active are these parties on Instagram?

Similar to Facebook, a total post count of all the four parties on the platform was examined, to understand which party is most active.

All data sourced from <a href="http://https//apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=instagram_feed&amp;accounts=8162533%2C2917902%2C6958305%2C6850717&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=instagram&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>
All data sourced from CrowdTangle
(Photo: The Quint) 

While on Facebook NCP was second in number, on Instagram the party has won the battle with maximum number of posts.

Second to NCP is INC followed by Shiv Sena and with only 22 posts BJP secured the last position.

What is the engagement on these posts?

Similar to Facebook, analyzing the total interactions and the average interaction rate gives us a fair idea about the engagement on these posts.

WHAT ARE THE TOTAL INTERACTIONS ON THE POSTS?

All data sourced from <a href="http://https//apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=instagram_feed&amp;accounts=8162533%2C2917902%2C6958305%2C6850717&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=instagram&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>
All data sourced from CrowdTangle
(Photo: The Quint) 

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE INTERACTION RATE OF THESE POSTS?

Average interaction rate = Interaction Rate/Total Number of Days Considered

All data sourced from <a href="http://https//apps.crowdtangle.com/thequint/reporting/intelligence?accountType=instagram_feed&amp;accounts=8162533%2C2917902%2C6958305%2C6850717&amp;brandedContentType=none&amp;breakdownType=postType&amp;comparisonType=none&amp;graphType=total_interactions&amp;graphVisualType=line&amp;interactionType=totalInteractions&amp;interval=week&amp;platform=instagram&amp;postType=all&amp;reportTimeframe=3months">CrowdTangle</a>
All data sourced from CrowdTangle
(Photo: The Quint) 

What Do We Understand From All This?

  • In terms of followers on Instagram, BJP has the least followers and Shiv Sena the most. In terms of followers, number of posts as well interactions, BJP has been at the bottom of the ladder. However its interaction rate it is higher than INC.
  • Shiv Sena’s performance on Instagram is quite similar to its performance on Facebook. With highest number of followers, the party enjoys a good interaction rate for lesser number of posts.
  • The Nationalist Congress Party has clearly emerged a winner on the platform with the highest number of posts, interaction, interaction rate and second highest number of followers.
  • INC on Instagram like on Facebook, has a low interaction rate, even though it has more followers than BJP. The party is definitely more active on Facebook than on Instagram, but still on both platforms its interaction rate is quite less.

3. Twitter

For Twitter, two major parameters were considered – total number of followers and average retweets. The latter metric was analysed for a 48-hour period.

Which party has the most followers?

All data sourced from official handle of parties on Twitter.
All data sourced from official handle of parties on Twitter.
(Photo: The Quint)

What is the average retweet per posts for these parties?

All data sourced from official handle of parties on Twitter.
All data sourced from official handle of parties on Twitter.
(Photo: The Quint)

What Do We Understand From All This?

  • NCP has the most number of followers on Twitter, followed by the Shiv Sena. BJP and INC’s state units are slightly behind. Of course, the huge following of the two parties’ national handles helps amplify their content immensely.
  • Clearly BJP has the highest average retweets observed in 48 hours, followed by the Congress.
  • Even though NCP has the most followers on Twitter, it has an average retweet of only 40.8.
  • While Shiv Sena had the highest interaction rate on Instagram, it has the lowest average retweets on Twitter.

BJP-Sena Dominate

While BJP & Shiv Sena mostly dominated on Facebook, NCP caught up pretty well on Instagram. However, changing the game on Twitter the Congress made a decent comeback with a good retweet value despite having less followers.

For Shiv Sena, on Facebook and Instagram it is seen for a particular post, Shiv Sena has a much higher engagement than any other party, despite not posting as much as the others.

Most posts of Shiv Sena that have over performed and got maximum interactions have to do with Sena leader Aditya Thackeray.

The Instagram post of Shiv Sena that had the highest interaction and interaction rate is a picture of Aaditya Thackeray taking the blessings of Balasaheb Thackeray on 3 October, when he had filed his nomination from Worli Constituency.

View this post on Instagram

युवासेनाप्रमुख आदित्य ठाकरे यांनी वरळी विधानसभेसाठी उमेदवारी अर्ज दाखल करण्यापूर्वी वंदनीय हिंदुहृदयसम्राट शिवसेनाप्रमुख मा. श्री. बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांना वंदन केले. #shivsena

A post shared by ShivSena - शिवसेना (@shivsena) on

However on Twitter, the average retweets per post showed the party doesn’t enjoy the same engagement on Twitter.

With BJP it’s noticed that most of its posts on both Instagram & Facebook that get highest interaction is a comic series cartoon that takes digs on NCP.

What is interesting to note is the vast difference between the followers of NCP and the other three parties, on Twitter. On Instagram and Facebook, the party has the second most highest followers but even then the difference isn’t this huge between NCP and the party that takes the lead.

The Congress’ performance on all three platforms is the lowest compared to the rest. Even though on Instagram and Facebook the party posts a lot more frequently than the others, it still has the least interaction rate.

While this analysis gives us an idea of how the parties are performing on social media, it’ll be fascinating to see whether these results will actually translate into votes.

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Published: 17 Oct 2019, 07:51 AM IST
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