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In times of digital campaign, AAP’s CM pick keeps his social media followers ‘engaged’

According to a study, during 2017 elections, user engagement rate on Mann’s FB page was 122%; it is 119% this poll season.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
Updated: January 18, 2022 7:52:29 pm
Mann will be sworn-in as CM at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) district. | Twitter/@AamAadmiParty

As Punjab heads for an election dominated by digital campaign, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its CM face has a leader with notable social media engagement skills. While he has been less active so far during this poll season, his popularity has remained intact in the online world.

Dr Gurpreet Kaur, who did her Ph.D. on ‘Effectiveness of hypermedia in political communication: A study of Punjab Assembly Elections 2017’ from Punjabi University Patiala, found that Mann was cut above his rivals in user engagement rate on his Facebook page during the previous polls. This even while his follower count was not the highest among top political contenders in the state.

She found that Bhagwant Mann had 17 lakh followers on Facebook back during 2017 Assembly elections compared to Capt Amarinder Singh, who had over 10 lakh followers on social media, but went on to become Chief minister of the state. Though his party ended at the third place, Sukhbir Badal had 24 lakh followers, more than both Bhagwant Mann and Capt Amarinder Singh in 2017.

However, it was not the followers, but the user engagement rate on his FB page where Bhagwant Mann led in 2017. Study conducted between November 9, 2016 to January 4, 2017 found that Mann had engagement rate if 122% which was much higher than the 54.53% for Captain Amarinder Singh and just 7.19% for the Sukhbir Badal. Bhagwant Mann had uploaded 209 posts in the same period against 155 by Capt Amarinder Singh and 151 by Sukhbir Singh Badal.

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Engagement rate reflects the intensity of the “like, share and comment” usage on posts on FB page or profile.

It is surprising that Bhagwant Mann has renamed less active on Facebook in this election season.

“Against 209 posts in 2017 election season, Bhagwant Mann posted only 64 posts between November 9, 2021 to January 4, 2022. However, his engagement is still around 119% which is very near to engagement rate in 2017,” said Dr. Gurpreet Kaur.

Popularity on the social media was never a big problem for the Bhagwant Mann, who is two-time MP with excellent oratory skills.

Dr Gurpreet Kaur, however, pointed out a crucial difference. She said, “In this election season, Bhagwant Mann is focused more on live videos. He is communicating in the form of interviews and discussions. During last elections, his Facebook page was loaded with more quantity that quality. During 2017 Assembly 2017, he was treated more as entertainer by the public of Punjab but now during the Assembly elections of 2022, he has worked more on the serious issues. He has given quality to his content instead of uploading just anything on his page.”

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