56. boasts of 2.1-million dedicated followers. The traction

The Indian Army is now the world’s
most talked about government organisation worldwide on Facebook. Its Facebook
page (ADGPI — Indian Army) has stormed Facebook Leaderboards. In the week
ending 15 December 2016, it had the No. 1 position in the government
organisations category, with 9,22,735 PTATs or “People Talking About That”.
According to Facebook Leaderboard data compiled by MeltwaterLLC and Appdata
LLC, NASA was a distant third with 427,396 PTATs. The Indian Army’s Facebook
page, only a year-and-a-half after its social media debut, boasts of
2.1-million dedicated followers. The traction it generates in being the most
talked about is even more remarkable given that it only has the 29th highest
dedicated followers. The only other Indian government organisation which made
it to the first 20 positions was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PMO India with
181,340 PTATs.


The Army’s official handle in
Twitter (@adgpi) has around two lakh followers now. The first among the three
services to break ranks and embrace social media despite security paranoia, the
million-strong Indian Army hopes to ride on its popularity to log about one
crore followers in the coming years, the highest for any armed force in the
world. Regimental histories, information about the Army, training institutions
and even martial tunes are being posted on social media to spread awareness
about the Army. All citations for gallantry award winners are being put on
social media, including tales of valour in operations. However, these posts are
informative in nature and elicit only laudatory comments from the audience with
no productive engagement other than increasing the fan base.

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Around two lakh of the total eight
lakh followers from Facebook are from the six major cities of New Delhi,
Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Although the Army wants to
expand its reach in smaller cities as they are a major catchment area for
recruitment, there has not been a significant shift in pattern. However, in an
encouraging trend, more than half (54 per cent) of the followers are from the
18-24 age group. Analysis on Indian Army’s Facebook site
suggest majority of audience are veterans or serving soldiers, hence emphasis
on military history, achievements, informative posts garner more likes and
shares. However, these platforms can act as an another avenue to communicate
changes in policy to in service/veteran members. The platform can be used for
unfiltered feedback while monitoring posts for patterns in conversations. If
patterns of concern emerge, the ADGPI can take the information and create a
blog or story content to reinforce or clarify policy.


An analysis of the follower base
shows that only eight per cent are women, though there are significant numbers
of queries about the role played by female warriors. A majority of questions
are about recruitment and job prospects in the Army. However, the analysis of
these recruitment posts show very limited to negligible interaction by ADGPI.



Initially hesitant to step on to
social media, the interest generated even by its reluctant first steps has
given the Indian Army confidence. “Last year in December, we had only
38,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook. We’ve come a long way since then. Our current campaign
on the commemoration of the 1971 War and the Great Battle series has generated
a lot of interest,” says the head of the Army’s Public Information
division. The above statement depicts that the evaluation criteria for social
media  campaigns  by ADGPI is based on counting “Hits”, “Likes”
& “Shares”. While its debut has been a resounding success, the Army is far
removed from social media combat. Its presence is soft, and focused on its
image as a reliable, disciplined Army. Although fast pace of progress in garnering
the support base is praiseworthy, but the present multifaceted challenges
demand a better evaluation system and varied objective based campaigns to
holistically harness the power of social media.


The response of ADGPI in rescue operations during
Jammu and Kashmir floods was also praiseworthy. However, these are far and
little as major attention is diverted to dissemination of information rather
than analysing responses. The effective use of
social media has the potential to help the Indian Army to better understand the
environment in which it operates. Social media allows more agile use of
information in support of operations. Moreover, it can be harnessed to achieve
unity of effort with civil administration & other paramilitary forces.
Finding theme that resonates with the audience, using effective analytics and innovative
ways to achieve the desired ends may be the key to success in a continuously
evolving social media environment. 


The present structure of ADGPI
social media cell consisting of only two officers is not geared up to handle
the huge data that social media can produce. In the Social Media space content
generation is a must to ensure running of successful campaigns.  For this
there needs to be a core team that generates the themes and campaigns which are
then taken forward by the next level. Accordingly there is a need for a
structured organisation with campaign specific teams with hired experts to
effectively leverage the growing power of Social Media.  


In today’s world, the response to
any incident or tweet or comment has to be immediate. Any delay will benefit
the adversary who is trying to propagate the false story. Our response should
be truthful and without any delay and accordingly the structures have to be
created for this immediate response mechanism. Presently we are very shy to
respond (e.g. Propaganda by antinational elements in J & K) which cannot
work in the social media space.


Usage of social media in CI/CT operations
is yet to be fructified. As per the rule, AFSPA permits us to use all means to
fight terrorism. Accordingly Social Media is also is weapon that should be used
by the ADGPI to effectively to fight the false propaganda of the militants. Long
Term Strategy.  To effectively leverage the Social Media space a long term
strategy has to be worked out to encompass all facets of structures, policies,
training and oversight mechanism.


 Among the main aims of a
social media campaign is managing the sentiments of the target populace by
running carefully managed campaigns. Victory goes to the player who manages the
sentiments in his favour. Sentiments also indicate the corrective action needed
if any to effectively turn the sentiments in our own favour. Hence sentiment
analysis is a vital aspect of social media domain which needs specialized
attention. The ADGPI should use all means including technical to gauge and turn
the sentiments in our favour by effectively planning and evaluating the


Big Data Analytics coupled with
Artificial Intelligence is the future of all data platforms in the new world of
computing. Social Media platforms and their content are also impacted by these
technologies. The ADGPI need to step into these domains with urgency producing
professionals who will be an asset for managing social media contents and






Like many social media campaigners initiating
social marketing, ADGPI has also made the common mistake: failing to see the
forest for the trees. It has focused on objectives that are measurable without
applying those to larger organisational goals. It can be tempting to opt for
the low-hanging-fruit such as shares, likes, and comments without considering
the bigger picture. However, doing so opens up potential for a disconnect to
develop between the campaign and overall objective. Instead, it should consider
focusing on:-

            (a)       Overarching
brand strategy.

(b)       Point
of view of the leadership. What does success look like to the leaders – more followers, greater awareness or
positive comments and          suggestions?

(c)        Tactics
to support strategies.


            (d)       Desired
action from the target audience.

Once the above factors are considered, the
social media campaigns can be based on defined goals and objectives. However,
the key is to ensure that objectives are measurable by viable audit tools and
the campaign’s success should be determined by its ability to reach
quantifiable goals.


study reviewed contemporary audit measures evaluating success in social media
programs and analysed approach of ADGPI towards evaluating success in social
media programs.  The research notes that,
it’s a challenge to create measures that are relevant and measurable because it
attempts to create outcomes primarily in the cognitive dimension. There is no
official document or guidelines available in ADGPI suggesting any form of
analysis/audit with respect to social media campaigns launched by it. It is
perceived that social media campaign by ADGPI is in a very nascent stage.
Hence, image building, info management can be achieved by unidirectional flow
of information on the social media platforms. However, evaluation of success of
these campaigns at ADGPI is based on a preference for quantitative measurements
(hits, likes, shares, followers and re-tweets) over qualitative approaches
which can be misleading.

It is pertinent to understand that, there is a need
to add social media as additional means for dialogue in communication strategies.
Assessing social media needs a deliberate planning because it is a challenge to
create measures that are relevant, measurable. Moreover, it attempts to create
outcomes in the cognitive dimension. While the Indian Army has developed social
media guides for both the ADGPI and the troops, there is no concrete guideline
on auditing or measuring the impact of social media campaigns.  There are no publications stating how to
assess and measure public affairs activities in the context of present day social


Although there are no set guidelines for
analysis, the unofficial approach of ADGPI suggests a preference for
quantitative measurements over qualitative approaches when looking at the
effectiveness of media campaign initiatives. Moreover, the ADGPI is not using
any analytical tools to identify or measure the trend in various social media
platforms. Hence, output measures or organisational performance measures by
ADGPI are limited in relevance because they don’t look at the target audience
and instead focus on unidirectional dissemination of information. In the
present context, the measures taken by ADGPI to evaluate the success of it’s
social media campaign is inadequate and it is imperative that the ADGPI should
adopt a viable audit mechanism for its social media campaign based on both
quantitative as well as qualitative analysis