Transcript of "Foreword by karthik nagarajan india social media report edition 2"
Turning a cornerKarthik NagarajanDirector, Online Division, The Nielsen CompanyWhen Blogworks approached Nielsen to partner on their India Social Reportresearch, I was personally very excited about the exercise. Reason? The Indianmarket today is looking for empirical evidence that the ‘social media opportunity’is real and that there is a real momentum building up for it. This book that you areholding is that evidence, in my opinion. This has been the fruit of an excitingperiod of research, during which the findings have oscillated between pleasantsurprises and reaffirmation of our beliefs in this medium.We believe that the world of marketing in India is undergoing a permanenttransformation and social media is at the centre of it. By fundamentally changingthe way brands communicate with consumers, social media is all set to overhaulthe marketing food chain. This is not a futuristic concept or something that ishappening in a distant foreign land. This is happening in India as I write and Indianbrands have already started realizing and reacting to this.I want to highlight two interesting stories that this research revealed to us. Scenario Consulting Private Limited Business Office #24, Lower Ground, Adchini, Enter from Sarvodaya Enclave – 110017. www.scenarioconsulting.in, www.blogworks.in Landline: +91-11- 41829475
Getting strategic about social mediaThe term ‘social media’ by itself is something that seems to have multipledefinitions within Indian marketing circles. Many brands and sections of the mediaassume it to be synonymous to social networking and micro-blogging. The impactof discussion forums, message boards, review sites, video sharing sites and blogsare often overlooked, primarily because they are seldom talked about inmainstream news. As a result of this, many brands have been quite content withjust creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account and calling it quits, with abelief that they have done enough to have a ‘social media’ existence. This hasseldom worked for them.For this mind-set to change, social media needs the attention and the commitmentof the top management. There needs to be a clear understanding of the relevanceof this medium to the brand in question and a process to leverage it. This cancome about only if there is a plan and resources available within the organizationto support it. When we posed his question to brands, 27 percent of them said thatthey already have a stated social media policy and 46 percent said that they areworking on one.Why is this important? It is not that social media is a structured medium whereprocesses and policies define how you react to and leverage market situations. Thetruth is quite the opposite – it is such a dynamic forum that brands sometimes haveto react in hours, if not days. However, the fact that almost 3 out of 4 brands areserious about having a strategic social media policy, tells me that they recognizethe importance of this medium, right up to the top management and that is aparadigm shift in perception, compared to a year or so back. Scenario Consulting Private Limited Business Office #24, Lower Ground, Adchini, Enter from Sarvodaya Enclave – 110017. www.scenarioconsulting.in, www.blogworks.in Landline: +91-11- 41829475
What defines success?When we asked brands about the top five metrics on which they evaluate theirsocial media success, we got an interesting set of responses. The volume ofinteraction (fans, followers, etc) expectedly and rightfully took the top spot.However, the surprising element here for me was that ‘lead generation’ featuredin the top three. This worries me a bit because it reminds me of a similar trendthat has plagued the Indian display advertising market (and continues to do so) –over-obsessing about ‘performance’.Simply because online is a more ‘measurable’ medium, Indian marketers tend toover-measure it sometimes and bring in impractical ROI angles to their advertisingdecisions. This has led to large scale domination of performance-based advertisingthat assumes incorrectly that a display ad (banner) is only as effective as thenumber of people who click on it. While this might be actually true and eveneffective in some product categories, it is not by any means the best way toleverage the digital medium. The above-mentioned response on ‘lead generation’makes me wonder if we will end up making a similar mistake with social media aswell.The audience you end up having for your brand on social media is ‘earned’. It islike a party that you need to be invited to as a brand. You cannot always gate-crash it by asking your customer to click on an ad or sign up for something that isnot in his / her mind space. This medium is about engaging and contextualadvertising – or in other words, this medium is all about the consumer. This is whyhistorically and even in other countries, social media sites have had the lowestclick-through rates for advertising. So it worries me a bit that ‘lead generation’ isone of the key reasons brands are here. Scenario Consulting Private Limited Business Office #24, Lower Ground, Adchini, Enter from Sarvodaya Enclave – 110017. www.scenarioconsulting.in, www.blogworks.in Landline: +91-11- 41829475
Having said that, ‘Sentiment of the conversations’ and ‘brand awareness’ alsofeatured in this top five list. So I hope my worries are unfounded and we as amarket leverage this medium by playing to its strengths. We need to rememberthat social media in India, is a relatively new trend and the Indian online consumeris just about warming up to it (70% of social networking users in India started inthe last 1-2 years). So if there is inertia and teething problems, those areunderstandable and in some cases even inevitable. Scenario Consulting Private Limited Business Office #24, Lower Ground, Adchini, Enter from Sarvodaya Enclave – 110017. www.scenarioconsulting.in, www.blogworks.in Landline: +91-11- 41829475