Comms and Branding with Samuel OWUSU-ADUOMI: Votes in the voices


…navigating the political landscape with social listening in the 2024 elections

Dear Esteemed Readers,

As we embark on the promising journey that is the new year, 2024, I extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to each of you. It is with great pleasure and a sense of anticipation that I commit to delivering a series of insightful articles throughout the year, delving into the intricacies of corporate communications and the dynamic landscape of political messaging. With the much-anticipated 2024 polls on the horizon, scheduled for December, our focus will be dedicated to unraveling the nuances of political communications in this pivotal lead-up to the elections.


As we ebb towards the 2024 general elections, political parties must adjust to the changing communication environment. The power of social listening stands out as a crucial weapon that would impact the success or failure of political message in Ghana’s impending 2024 election season. Monitoring and evaluating online discussions, or social listening, is not just a catchphrase; it is a crucial tactic that ought to be the centre around which political parties centre their stories. In the context of Ghana, a nation with a vibrant and engaged online community, social listening takes on even greater significance. Understanding the pulse of the people, their concerns, and aspirations is no longer a luxury but a necessity for any political party aspiring to connect with the electorate on a profound level.

So, what exactly is social listening? In its essence, social listening involves tracking online conversations, identifying trends, and analyzing user-generated content on various social media platforms. This encompasses not only mentions of a particular political party but also broader discussions related to political issues, policies, and societal concerns. Social listening enables political parties to gain valuable insights into public opinions, sentiment, and emerging topics.

Practical examples in the Ghanaian context highlight the relevance and impact of social listening. Consider a scenario where a political party is planning its campaign strategy. Through social listening, they can identify key issues that resonate with the electorate by analyzing discussions on platforms like Twitter (now X), Facebook, and Instagram. For instance, if endemic corruption and high unemployment rate among the youth emerges as a hot topic, the party can tailor its messaging to address the specific concerns raised by citizens.

Moreover, social listening extends beyond the mere identification of popular issues. It involves a nuanced understanding of sentiment, allowing political parties to gauge whether public perception is positive, negative, or neutral. This insight is invaluable in fine-tuning messaging and addressing potential areas of concern before they escalate.

Analyzing social media comments, likes, and interactions becomes the cornerstone of effective social listening in the political landscape. By delving into the comments section of posts related to political content, parties can uncover unfiltered opinions, allowing them to identify prevalent sentiments and concerns. Additionally, tracking engagement metrics such as likes and shares provides quantitative data on the resonance of specific messages.

In the Ghanaian political context, the youth demographic is particularly active on social media. Therefore, any political party that neglects the power of social listening risks missing out on a significant segment of the electorate. By actively participating in online conversations, engaging with users, and responding to their concerns, parties can establish a genuine connection with voters.

The 2024 political campaign season in Ghana must witness a paradigm shift where social listening becomes the heartbeat of political communication. Political parties that embrace this practice will not only stay ahead of the curve but will also demonstrate a commitment to understanding and addressing the needs of the people. As the digital era continues to redefine the dynamics of politics, social listening emerges as a game-changer, allowing political parties to craft messages that truly resonate with the diverse voices that make up the Ghanaian electorate.

Opportunities for political parties

Ahead of the 2024 general elections, the utilization of social listening in shaping political messages can have a profound impact on both the incumbent government and opposition parties vying for political power. Understanding the dynamics of this digital discourse is crucial for both sides to engage effectively with the electorate and secure their support.

Incumbent Government:

  1. Real-time issue management:
    • Social listening enables the incumbent government to identify emerging issues and concerns in real-time. By monitoring online conversations, they can swiftly address public grievances, demonstrate responsiveness, and showcase a commitment to effective governance.
  2. Data-driven policy adjustments:
    • Analyzing social media comments and discussions allows the incumbent government to gather data on public sentiment towards existing policies. This information can be instrumental in making informed adjustments to policies, demonstrating a willingness to adapt to the evolving needs and concerns of the citizens.
  3. Showcasing achievements:
    • Social listening provides a platform for the incumbent government to highlight its achievements and positive impacts. By identifying conversations where citizens express satisfaction or gratitude, the government can strategically amplify these narratives to reinforce a positive image and garner support.
  4. Addressing criticisms effectively:
    • Criticisms and negative sentiments are inevitable in politics. Social listening equips the incumbent government with the tools to understand the root causes of criticisms, enabling them to address concerns proactively. Engaging constructively with dissenting voices can help build credibility and trust.

Opposition parties:

  1. Identifying voter concerns:
    • Social listening serves as a valuable tool for opposition parties to identify and understand the concerns and priorities of the electorate. By analyzing online discussions, they can tailor their messages to resonate with the prevalent sentiments and address issues that matter most to voters.
  2. Crafting alternative narratives:
    • Opposition parties can use social listening to spot gaps or dissatisfaction with the incumbent government’s policies. By crafting alternative narratives that resonate with the identified concerns, they can position themselves as viable alternatives and offer concrete solutions to the perceived shortcomings.
  3. Engaging with grassroots movements:
    • Social listening allows opposition parties to connect with grassroots movements and civil society organizations that may be critical of the incumbent government. By aligning with these voices, opposition parties can amplify their messages and broaden their support base.
  4. Monitoring competitor strategies:
    • By actively listening to the conversations around the incumbent government, opposition parties can gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the ruling party’s communication strategy. This awareness enables them to refine their own messaging approach and capitalize on areas where the government may be perceived as vulnerable.

Shared Considerations:

  1. youth engagement:
    • Given the active presence of the youth on social media, both the incumbent government and opposition parties must prioritize engaging this demographic. Crafting messages that resonate with the aspirations and concerns of young voters can significantly impact electoral outcomes.
  2. Authenticity and transparency:
    • Social listening emphasizes the need for authenticity and transparency in political communication. Both sides must demonstrate a genuine commitment to addressing public concerns rather than merely using social media as a broadcasting tool.
  3. Adapting to shifting narratives:
    • The digital landscape is dynamic, and narratives can shift rapidly. Parties, whether in power or in opposition, must be agile in adapting their messages based on the evolving sentiments of the electorate.

The 2024 general elections in Ghana will be a digital battleground where social listening will play a pivotal role in shaping political messages. The ability of both the incumbent government and opposition parties to harness the insights gained from online conversations will determine their effectiveness in connecting with voters, influencing public opinion, and ultimately securing electoral success.


The supposition of the changing political environment of Ghana is evident: strategic and evidence-based communication must replace the period of overzealous promotion. Political communicators need to understand the narrative-shaping potential of social listening as the country prepares for the general elections in 2024.

Excessive propaganda, often laden with hyperbole and detached from the realities of citizens’ lives, risks alienating the electorate. In contrast, social listening offers a refreshing approach, rooted in the genuine concerns, sentiments, and aspirations of the people. By actively engaging with online conversations, political parties can move beyond mere rhetoric, harnessing valuable insights to tailor messages that resonate with the diverse voices of the nation.

In this era of information abundance, voters are increasingly discerning and demand authenticity from their political leaders. Social listening, as a strategic communication tactic, not only aligns with the principles of transparency but also allows political communicators to pivot towards evidence-based discourse. It provides a platform for fact-driven conversations, enabling parties to present their policies and achievements in a context that goes beyond mere assertions.

The effectiveness of social listening lies in its ability to bridge the gap between political entities and the electorate. It fosters a communication ecosystem that is responsive, adaptive, and reflective of the ever-changing dynamics of public opinion. By giving excessive propaganda a break and adopting social listening, political communicators in Ghana can usher in a new era of dialogue, understanding, and connection with the people they aim to serve.

As Ghana stands at the crossroads of a pivotal election, the call to embrace social listening is not just a strategic imperative; it is a commitment to fostering a political discourse grounded in the realities of the citizens. It is time for political communicators to heed this call, recognizing that in the age of information, the authenticity of their messages will be the driving force behind public trust and electoral success.

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