Narendra Modi’s Facebook page has a big engagement problem

Like karo, share karo, comment karo.
Like karo, share karo, comment karo.
Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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At over 43 million likes, it may seem like Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has by far the most successful Facebook page among all serving world leaders. But looking at likes alone obscures another social media metric that matters: engagement.

Generally defined as a measure of the audience that interacts with you, engagement is often thought to be a more telling metric of social media success. In this respect, Modi’s Facebook presence seems to be lagging, a new study by Twiplomacy, an annual series of studies conducted by BCW, has found.

In fact, over the past year, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro got three times as many interactions as Modi, despite having only around one-fourth the page likes. Twiplomacy defines interactions as the sum of likes, comments, and shares. Even Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, who has less than a quarter of the likes Modi does on his page, got almost the same number of interactions.

Even more concerning for Modi, the past year’s performance of around 47 million interactions was a steep dropoff from the previous year, when his page registered 113 million interactions.

For this study, Twiplomacy measured the total interactions world leaders got in the 12 months leading up to March 01, 2019.

Even simply in terms of page likes, Modi’s Facebook properties are growing quite slowly. His main Facebook page grew at less than 1% over the past year, and his institutional page, @PMOIndia, even saw a decline in followers, losing almost 85,000 of them.

When Twiplomacy ranked the top 100 world-leader Facebook posts with the most interactions over the past year, only 10 from Modi made the list, while 61 posts from Bolsonaro did.

Modi’s engagement statistics on Twitter have recently been seen as lacking as well, compared with that of his chief domestic political rival, opposition leader Rahul Gandhi. In an academic study last year, the median count of Gandhi’s retweets was found to be consistently higher than Modi’s.