How Social Media Played A Vital Role In Imran Khan’s Victory In General Election 2018

Imran Khan has won Pakistan’s General Election 2018, official results finally confirmed, however, he was working day and night to have more constituencies’ winners on his side to work on the coalition to form a government.

Provisional results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) showed Mr. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice Party, had won 116 seats out of the 270 seats of The National Assembly.

Imran Khan along with his political party, PTI, have been using Social Media more extensively than any other political party, mostly Twitter and Facebook, and are followed by millions of Insafians (PTI Supporters) and well-wishers.

Below are some of the interesting facts about the Social Media campaigns that resulted in the Winning of Imran Khan, and will most likely lead him to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan!

Imran Khan Understood the Power of Social Media Before Running for Prime Minister!

Imran Khan, was a cricketer, having millions of followers due to his successful Cricket career. He captained the Pakistan Team in the historic win of Cricket World Cup 1992.

He knew that social media was the one place he could get instant reactions and responses especially the youth of Pakistan. Even now, he uses it to get his name out there. Khan can Tweet, and within minutes every major media outlet is talking about him. He used this strategy to keep his name out there. You couldn’t open a website or watch the news on TV without seeing an Imran Khan story.

Imran Khan As A Humanitarian

Imran Khan lost his mother in 1985 due to cancer. This changed him as a person and cancer hospital became his prime purpose in life. He went to every town in Pakistan in order to raise funds for the cancer hospital. You would be amazed that he receive massive support from Indians in the UK and other parts of the world in order to raise funds.

Lady Diana, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Amitabh Bachan, and Aamir Khan were vital figures in fundraising and also big fans of Imran Khan. In 1994, the first cancer hospital, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH) was inaugurated in Lahore and now by the grace of Allah, there are two more cancer hospitals working in Peshawar and Karachi. There are reports that Imran Khan will consider having another cancer hospital in Quetta.

Khan Was Much Better at Social Media Than Any Other Rival Political Party Leader Was

Khan and his social media crew consistently outperformed Rival’s online presence throughout the entire Prime Minister campaign, leading up to the election.

Interestingly, Rival leaders were better in the debates than Khan was. They were much more polished, but he crushed all of them when it came to social media, and that is where all of the attention is. Opposition Leaders could have released double the amount of heart-touching, development depicting commercials, and it still wouldn’t matter.

People watch News Channels and Political Awareness Advertisements and fast forward commercials. But they are glued to social media, and Khan got his message out throughout his own personal social media, his PTI accounts, and also received nonstop press from every major media outlet imaginable.

Khan’s Policies Resonated With The Frequency Of A Common Man

Having established the highly equipped Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Khan was already popular among the underprivileged segment of the population.

He always introduced policies, reforms, and solutions that were developed with the focus on the common man mindset, few of them are:

  • Refusing to take VIP Protocol which was highly disliked among the masses
  • Revamping of Educational Sector in KPK focusing extensively on Primary Education to increase literacy rate.
  • Developing the positive image of the Police Department by introducing policies eradicating bribe and increasing public service

Being “Updated Desi Pakistani” Works. Being a “Stone-hearted Politician” Doesn’t.

Khan isn’t a politician. He never was and he is honestly the farthest thing from a politician there could be. He is a cricketer & humanitarian first and foremost, and that was a huge advantage. He knew that perfectly timed social media posts would grab national attention and keep the Pakistani public talking.

Rival Leaders had a social media presence but it was dry and boring, and certainly handled by a social media team, and not themselves. Khan was in control of his social media at all times. He might have advisors and consultants of course, but if he wanted to post something on social he was going to do it from the phone in his pocket.

Prompt Response To His Followers

Social Media is already widely used by many politicians in Pakistan, but Khan and his team made sure to analyze public responses and take decision according to it. There have many instances where Imran Khan’s decision was opposed by supporters which were then modified to make them better and acceptable.

This quality wasn’t present in any leader or political party before, and resulted in changing the mindset of common people, that their voice is now heard and noticed!

Beating A Following Of Millions? Think Again.

Khan has a vibrant following of 8.25 million followers on Twitter, as of today, and that proved to be a huge advantage, but that shouldn’t shock you. As he had this following before even Social Media was invented, thanks to his cricket career!

Khan’s massive following was key, but if he didn’t know how to get them to engage it wouldn’t have been as effective. So, while a large following essentially can’t be beaten, Khan made sure his tweets are relevant, thought-provoking and engagement appealing!

Also, large followings must participate. This is why buying fake followers does nothing. If anything, it turns people off. Imagine if Khan had millions of followers but his Tweets only received a few engagements? Buying fake followers can topple branding strategies.

Social Media Contributes to Online Branding

Overall, online interest in candidate Khan was three times higher than any other leaders, according to Google trends analysis. Khan was the most Googled candidate, and also most mentioned on Twitter and Facebook.

Interestingly, despite having favorable online polls and reviews, Khan wasn’t able to pull of General Elections 2013, which resulted in the speculation that most of his followers were comprised of younger generations and weren’t eligible to vote.

During the GE2018 campaigns, Khan and his team introduced clothing merchandise highlighting the Tabdeeli (Change) in Pakistan’s political hemisphere. This smart move not only generated revenue but also engaged the audience in a very sophisticated manner!

Learn, Execute, Improvise, Repeat

Did Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari win the last two elections because they were social media wizards? Did they cause a paradigm shift in the minds of common citizens and get the media talking because of Tweets and Facebook posts? Nope.

Khan was the first to use this approach and he didn’t just ease into it. He went 100 mph from the beginning and never slowed down until he won. Because he wasn’t a traditional politician, he wasn’t afraid to try something new.

If he didn’t use social media as he did, do you think he would have won? I highly doubt it. In fact, I think if he played the campaign like a traditional politician and everything that came out of his mouth was politically correct I believe he would have lost.

Being the Trend-Setter

Khan’s political campaign revolved around several trends that eventually became part of his political identification, some of them are:

  • Khan noticed that driving youth towards his ideology was only possible if they are motivated to bring the change in the system which he often addressed as “Tabdeeli”.
  • As he captained Pakistan Team, he is referred to as Kaptaan (Captain) even by his opposition political leaders.
  • His Azadi March also known as Tsunami March spanned a total of 126 days from 14 August 2014 to 17 December 2014, which associated the word “Tsunami” with his political campaigns.
  • His chant during Azadi March, Go Nawaz Go, surfaced all over the political rallies in Pakistan and Social Media, even around the globe.
  • His goal to revamp Pakistan, as “Naya Pakistan” is now the most used phrase to address his reforms.

Utilizing Social Media Influencers

During the course of 22 years of struggle to come in power, Khan made sure he has enough social media celebrities, influencers, and political leaders that are already having a large following so that his message can be delivered to the masses indirectly too.

  • His official GE2018 song was sung by Farhan Saeed who has already been campaigning for Imran Khan.
  • Singers, Abrar ul Haq and Salman Ahmed were always using Social Media to engage their audiences and were present during Khan’s rallies
  • Actor Hamza Ali Abbasi played a vital role in Khan’s campaigns, actively participating in his political campaigns as well as highlighting the major setbacks of opposition leaders and their parties.
  • He recruited former CEO of Engro, Asad Umer, the highest-paid CEO of Pakistan, who already had masses following him due to his accurate financial analysis as well as predictions.

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