Social Done Right: A political campaign to raise public awareness using Social Media feauring Jaag Utho
This blog is part of our Social Done Right series where we bring to you some outstanding social media campaigns and our insights into its success!
Last month, I was glued onto Twitter as I saw the official Twitter account of President Barack Obama send out endless tweets with the twitter handles of Republican Senators. The flurry of activity was created to gather support from the citizens of America to arrive at a ‘bipartisan resolution to the US debt ceiling debate’.
The following day the story was covered in all major news papers & websites. As I scanned through each of the news article, I understood a couple of facts –
a. Organizations and Government institutions are using the social media network to create awareness and generate a force in order to bring change rather than just create noise
b. Government social media campaigns have moved beyond just the ‘Like’ button on Facebook
America, in particular President Obama’s media-strategy team has been the forefront runner to use social media in order to build support for his campaigns. Obama’s presidential win is a testimonial to the fact that social media is a powerful tool. In recent times the upsurge in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia scream that change is possible through the use of social media.
This time I wanted to explore a new country and a new campaign. I wanted to understand if there was any other country which was using Social Media to mobilize the mass apart from the above mentioned countries. To quench my thirst for unique social media campaigns I stumbled upon a very recently launched campaign called ‘Jaag-Utho’ or ‘Wake up’.
‘Jaag-Utho’ which means ‘Wake up’ is a political campaign launched by Imran Khan’s party called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Imran Khan a former Pakistani cricketing icon and now Chairman of PTI announced the campaign on 28th of July 2011. “Jaag-Utho” campaign aims to mobilize the youth of Pakistan through the means of social media to bring a change and transformation in Pakistan’s civil and political society. It urges the Pakistani youth to contribute to stand against corruption. The campaign also aims to help re-build Pakistan into a society based on the principles of integrity, sovereignty and prosperity.
Allow me to share some of the major highlights of the campaign with you.
1. An online rally curates more voice in comparison to an offline rally
The ‘Jaag-Utho’ campaign happens to be the first social media campaign by any political party in Pakistan. For young Pakistanis, the virtual rally ‘Jaag-Utho’ is a platform to speak their mind without fear of oppression. As I continued to keep a track on the development of the campaign on Facebook, I was amazed to see the page explode with conversation.
For me reading those viewpoints of common Pakistanis seem to capture the real emotions, not what I always find in newspapers. The pent up frustration with respect to unemployment, government corruption and growing panic about foreign interference were very much evident. Imran Khan and his team seem to have their finger on the pulse of the young generation in Pakistan and the necessity for a common platform for their voices to be heard.
I was pleasantly surprised to find young Pakistani women participate in the discussion forums as well. I had read about the rigid religious customs encircling the life of a Muslim woman in Pakistan. Thus, I was absolutely thrilled to find women actively participating in the page. Such instances truly amplify the power of Social media. The ‘Jaag-Utho’ campaign provides these women with –
a) A subject to discuss, form opinions and debate on them
b) A common active platform where people are listening and acknowledging their views
This lets the common Muslim women from a conservative society, who do not have the opportunity to express themselves freely in public, are able to do so.
2. Ask for viewpoints and opinions rather than imposing them on the mass
Two important components of a successful social media campaign are –
a) Allow your audience to speak
b) Actively listening to your audience
The ‘Jaag-Utho’ campaign has been able to attract a huge mass in a short period of time due to the above stated reason. In a span of twenty days, I have seen the Facebook page grow upto 59,000+ members. While the Youtube page has been slowly moving up the ladder. Till date the ‘Jaag-Utho’ channel on Youtube has 170+ subscribers with total upload views at 15,000+. However, its not just about the growing number of membership its about the roaring conversations in these platforms that caught my attention.
The group, regularly updates its status which would seek for opinions from its members but would never impose them. The wall posts also continue to encourage and reinforce faith among the youth. You definitely won’t be disappointed if you saw the flow of conversation. Each ‘status update’ receives 50+ comments and 200+ ‘likes’. The dialogues in these pages are not just mere noise but the rising voice of a young Pakistan wanting to change itself.
Empowered by social media, the ‘Jaag-Utho’ campaign is determined to make these voices heard. It was also evident that tech savvy youth in Pakistan are regular users of social networks and the campaign rightly provides a podium for the voices spread across the web to come together and form a force.
3. It is important to keep the social networks active with regular updates and usable information
The ‘Jaag-Utho’ campaign has been on their toes with regular status updates, sharing photographs from rallies and conventions of PTI and relevant videos on other political events in Pakistan.
What I really liked about the campaign is the fact that they have been constantly trying to educate and increase awareness about the current political scenario in Pakistan. The ‘Jaag-Utho’ team invites the members to view live sessions of rallies online. Every time I visit the group, I find the page buzzing with conversation and information.
It becomes very important for a common social platform to have useful and valuable information. The usability and value will ensure an enriching experience for the party workers as well as online users. The constant effort by the team to connect and communicate to the young adults are constantly attracting large active audiences to the page.
Following are the few key takeaways from the campaign which can be replicated by other social/political organizations:
a) Provide a common social platform to give momentum to the central theme
b) Be receptive to end-user feedback and opinions
c) Engage the members with usable information and an active discussion forum
The Jaag-Utho campaign showcases that prior to mobilizing a group for a cause it is important that we create awareness about that cause. This campaign sets an example which shows us that by sharing relevant information we can move towards the desired goal.
As for me, I will be happy to see positive changes in society using social media.
About Rita Chowdhury
Rita is a public relations and corporate communications professional who has rich and extensive work experience. She has handled several PR campaigns and product launches for national and international businesses. She is a regular blogger and passionate about the dynamics of Social Media. She is currently helping DigiWhirl as research analyst!