At some point in time, I had read about social media channels being deployed by governments in developed countries but never gave much thought to what our government may be doing in the same domain. Then recently, while researching about the Census 2011 study, I came across the Census Facebook page and I have to admit, I was surprised (pleasantly) to see one!
Who would have expected that the central government would use social media channels to garner awareness and emphasize importance of the exercise? Seems like social media has spread so far and so fast, that it hasn’t gone unnoticed by anyone! Facebook, Twitter & YouTube are the channels deployed by Census 2011.
Varsha Joshi, Director of Census Operations in Delhi said “Facebook is being increasingly accessed by the youth and the upwardly mobile section of the society, and it was necessary to reach out to them … and attempt to make them understand why it is so important to be counted. That is why there are posts giving out information about the census.”
So far, the Facebook page has 14,324 fans and the Twitter page has 497 followers. To keep followers engaged, Census 2011 also ran a national photography contest with the theme “Strength in Numbers”. They received an overwhelming response with over 600 entries submitted and hundreds of people voting for each entry.
Census 2011 also used a YouTube channel to upload commercials and videos covering various themes in various languages. So far they have uploaded 76 videos on the channel which garnered 8,837 views.
In addition to social media, Census 2011 also used the digital space to post ads across popular websites in India such as Yahoo.co.in, MSD India, Rediffmail, Makemytrip, and news websites.
The 360⁰ marketing campaign is estimated to have cost Rs.30 crores which includes outreach, PR, digital & mass media (including these Sachin Tendulkar and Priyanka Chopra ads) [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RRzl0hJtos&w=320&h=240], [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMeaBqxQ6Uw&feature=related&w=320&h=240]
Though viewership figures seem a bit low, well begun is half done, as the popular saying goes.
Keep up the good work!