In 2019, there is absolutely no doubt that social media, and in particular, Facebook, is a necessary tool in governance and political campaigns in Ghana. Having used Facebook successfully during his presidential campaign in 2016, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, has integrated Facebook upon assuming office, to communicate the achievements of his government to the people of Ghana. The President’s social media team has been committed to changing the so-called myth, to wit, “governments are not good advocates of their achievements”.
Since assuming office, President Akufo-Addo’s team has been using Facebook to inform Ghanaians about the numerous policies and programmes that the government has rolled out, to bring prosperity to all Ghanaians. Some of these policies and programmes, including Free Senior High School education (#FreeSHS), One District One Factory (#1D1F), Planting for Food and Jobs (#PFJ), have generated a lot of conversations on Facebook and the President’s team has been able to use some of the feedback from Facebook to address some of the issues raised by Ghanaians on Facebook. The President’s team has also used Facebook to assess the nation’s reaction to certain government decisions and this has helped government in taking the necessary steps to address the concerns of Ghanaians at an early stage, thereby earning the government the nickname, “listening government.”
One of the most effective ways that the President uses Facebook to communicate with citizens is through digital cards. Every speech, statement, remarks or message delivered by the President is reduced to several digital cards with readable quotes for Ghanaians on Facebook. In addition to the digital cards, the President’s team ensures that the President’s speeches, statements, remarks or messages are streamed live on Facebook, for Ghanaian citizens, locally and in the diaspora, to watch. Through Facebook, President Akufo-Addo and his government are bringing governance to Ghanaians everywhere in the world at their own convenience.
With almost 1.7 million followers, President Akufo-Addo is the most followed political personality on Facebook in Ghana. His official Facebook page (@NAkufoAddo) has an average of almost 700,000 post reach per week and almost 5,000 new likes per week. Almost 75% of the people who follow President Akufo-Addo on Facebook are between the ages of 18 and 34. And thus, most of the content uploaded onto the President’s page is targeted at this audience. Going into an election in 2020, the President’s social media team is mindful of the need to let Ghanaians on Facebook know that the President has delivered on the mandate given to him by the Ghanaian people in December 2016. Any social media strategy will be formulated with this in mind.