Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India Social Summit 2010


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Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India
Social Summit 2010

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Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India Social Summit 2010

  1. 1.   Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India Social Summit 2010 Preeti Chaturvedi Warc Exclusive January 2011 
  2. 2.     Title: Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India Social Summit 2010   Author(s): Preeti Chaturvedi   Source: Warc Exclusive   Issue: January 2011  Social media and marketing in India: a report from the India  Social Summit 2010 Preeti ChaturvediOver 40% of brands and organisations in India are spending more than 10% of their marketing and communication budget ondigital media. Within that, 31% of marketers are spending 10% of digital spend on social media; 11% are heavy spenders withmore than 30% of digital budgets going to social media. And 90% of brands and organisations in India have already engagedin social media initiatives.These were some of the findings of the India Social Media Report Edition 2, released by Blogworks and NMIncite (aNielsen/McKinsey company) at the India Social Summit 2010, held in December in New Delhi. The report was compiled fromthe responses of 444 brands, organisations and agencies who participated in a detailed online survey.Speaking about his experiences with the social media research report, Karthik Nagarajan, Director- Online Division at TheNielsen Company India, said: "The findings of the research confirm the fact that social media is no more a concept in India butsomething that brands are investing real time and money into, as we speak. There is an overwhelming acceptance of the factthat there are huge gains from this medium if used correctly, and that is shown in the structured approach that brands areadopting - in deployment as well as measurement."Over the course of the Summit, panelists discussed the impact of changing media vehicles on society, branding in the newdigital age, assessment of return on investment, mobile social networking and the increasing deployment of social networkingplatforms for B2B marketing. They claimed that social media had largely been accepted as an important channel for brandreputation management and sales.Yet marketers obsession with measuring returns on social media investment was quite evident, and a persistent themethroughout the summit. The other debate was whether social media had become part of the mainstream. Other controversialthemes also emerged during the various panel discussions.One of the most "tweetable quotes" of the summit was by management consultant Gautam Ghosh who, while commenting onthe social media policies of various organisations in India, commented, "You cannot be social on the outside and anti-social onthe inside." He was referring to the stringent blogging and online communication guidelines which organisations in India hadlaid down for their employees even as they continued to market their own products and services through online communities. Downloaded from warc.com2   
  3. 3.  Another noticeable trend which was conspicuous throughout the conference was the sweeping presence and popularity thatFacebook has come to enjoy in India.Branding is not sellingOne of the key focus areas of the conference was active branding through social media outreach programmes. FacebooksIndia head, Kirthika Reddy, argued the case for putting people at the centre of all social media campaigns. Case studies frombrands which have used a "social" marketing approach were then presented to the audience.Abdul Khan, AVP-Tata Teleservices, Indias leading telecoms operator, showcased the approach to branding its DOCOMOservice. An integrated approach was used to popularise the brand which went beyond fans and likes.The campaign bagged six of BBC/Campaign Indias Digital Media Awards in 2009. The organisation created a 3G Forumwhich had immense participation from members, building a large repository of 3G knowledge. touched 2.6million unique visitors in November 2010 and recorded 9 million page views in same period. My3GLife, the brand used in thecampaign, soon became one of the most popular tags on Twitter in India.The fact that such online campaigns are driving offline media in India came through as the panellists observed that most ofthese offline programmes could not be imagined if a corresponding online programme was not there to support the activity.Reddy mentioned another interesting case from the Delhi Traffic Police Authority, which had used Facebook to deal withvehicles in violation of traffic rules (for example, cars parked in no parking areas). Facebook members posted pictures ofvehicles in violations and voiced other concerns - an initiative which has led to a substantial increase in disciplinary action andhas resulted in an image makeover for the Delhi Police. It now has more than 42,000 fans on Facebook.The trend towards social media was further corroborated by the Blogworks/NM Incite report. It showed that 77% had come tomanage their social media engagements in-house, thereby recognising the significance of this department in the largerorganisational framework. This was an increase from 2009, when only 55% of the organizations had in-sourced social mediaactivities. Downloaded from warc.com3   
  4. 4.  Q. Whats the nature of your brand/organisations social media engagement programme?However, when the discussion turned towards whether social media programs were influencing product innovations forbrands, Santosh Desai, MD and CEO of Future Brands, strongly disputed the idea. He felt that the nature of social media wasconversational, which made any research-based innovations originating in social media campaigns difficult. "In social media,the nature of feedback is conversational. Therefore, brands find it difficult because they are used to more formattedresponses, and social media feedback cannot be categorised as the hard nuggets of data that marketers are used to" Desaisaid.Social media in B2B marketingThe panel turned towards an examination of how social media is being deployed by organisations in a B2B context. Whatfollowed was a series of interesting sessions on how companies are leveraging platforms like LinkedIn and Slideshare toinfluence their stakeholders. Three predominant themes that emerged from the session were: how social networking sitescould be used for people positioning, change management and crisis management. Downloaded from warc.com4   
  5. 5.  Picture shows: The B2B Panel at India Social 2010From left to right: Gautam Ghosh, Management Consultant and Blogger at; Prem Kumar Aparanji,Evangelist - Social CRM, Customer Solutions Practice, Cognizant; Amit Ranjan, Co-founder, SlideShare; Hari V Krishnan,Country Head, LinkedIn India; Sanjay Sahay, Global Head, Digital Marketing, Infosys; Gaurav Mishra (Moderator), Director -Social Media-Asia, MSL GroupIn his keynote address, Hari Krishnan, Country Head at LinkedIn India, explained how, in a B2B context, it is relevant data asopposed to large quantities of data which facilitates decision-making. Many speakers talked about the challenges involved inmaking social media strategies and insights operational. Sanjay Sahay, Global Head of Digital Marketing at Infosys (Indiasleading IT and IT-enabled services firm) observed, "It was in the year 2005 that people first talked about blogging as a meansof idea-sharing. But it took us two years before we could take our blogs out in the market. It takes time to operationalise aninsight. Today, we have more than 600 bloggers from the organisation who are blogging actively and sharing their thoughts."Krishnan revealed that in the past year the LinkedIn B2B network in India had grown over 100%. When LinkedIn India wasincorporated in November 2009, it had 3.4 million members. It now has more than 8 million. The growth is a clear indicationthat B2B networking is gaining momentum in India, and this finding was also evident in the research conducted by Blogworksand NMIncite. Downloaded from warc.com5   
  6. 6.  Q. Whats the nature of your brand/organisations social media engagement programme?The panellists then reflected on how the very nature of social media programmes made them particularly suitable to business-to-business marketing, because what matters in this context is the quality of leads and real meaningful conversations.Organisations are already using networks like LinkedIn, Slideshare and Yahoo Answers for thought leadership by positioningtheir experts among their target audience.Monetisation: Its always been about moneyThe conference then turned towards answering the critical question for marketers: is online behavior influencing offlinepurchase decisions? Yes, said Dmitry Shevelenko, Online Sales Launch Team, Facebook India, an opinion which AnuragBatra, CEO at publisher Exchange4Media, seconded when he added, "The time for monetising communities is now."Speakers criticised marketers obsession with numbers which they felt was undermining the true benefits of social media -namely, long-term branding and customer relationship management. They criticised organisations that were obsessivelyfocused on increasing the number of fans and likes on Facebook without weaving such followings into any meaningfulprogramme.The panel stressed on how it is imperative to focus on conversations as opposed to focusing on numbers. According toManish Vij, Chief Business Officer at web development company Smile Interactive, felt that the term social media itself was anoxymoron because people associate the word media with a number of transactions. The panellists then discussed how themost successful products are those which people are ready to associate with publicly. They observed that the key to asuccessful marketing strategy is to create products that empower consumers.Nevertheless, it was obvious from the research data that most social media activities in India were sales-focused. Marketing(78%), reputation management (71%) and lead generation (48%) are the top three purposes for which brands andorganisations are using social media in India.Microsofts Regional Director, Jaspreet Bindra talked about entertainment and devices division, Microsoft India, said that socialcommerce is all about putting a social context to a brands online and offline marketing. He talked about their Xbox campaign inIndia from the previous year which was done totally on digital. "Now we are doing 100 per cent activities only on social media,"added Bindra. Downloaded from warc.com6   
  7. 7.  Bindra also talked about how the boom in social media in India was not confined to an increased participation in onlinecommunities. India was becoming home to a lot of promising community based startups like Flipkart and Slideshare.The discussion also focused on the growing ecommerce market in India and how it could be aided by social media campaigns.Panellists reflected on how the size of the ecommerce industry in India was in the region of US$250 million. The commonsentiment was that since in India, cash was the main mode of payment, the Western models of cashless online transactionswould probably not be successful in the Indian market. The overall opinion was that in the Indian market, an integration ofonline and offline approach would work best. This is a feature that Indian startups like Flipkart have implemented by givingtheir buyers options like cash payment on delivery.Mobile Social NetworkingOn the mobile social networking panel, Rajiv Kumar, CEO of Indian mobile platform RockeTalk, shared his insights into userbehaviour in India. He revealed that most of the users of his mobile social network were initially from the smaller towns andhad uploaded over 100,000 videos onto the site already.That mobile and online social networks cannot be viewed in isolation from each other was obvious in the inputs that came fromHarish Gandhi, Executive Director India, Canaan Partners. He talked about the 20% desktop users at the top of the pyramidand how they are pivotal for creating the content which is then used by the huge number of mobile subscribers in India.Key trendsRajesh Lalwani, founder of Blogworks, summarized his learnings from his research and consultancy in social media in 2010 inthe following words, "Social media is clearly getting a lot of mindspace from business. Having seen the impact in their pilots,marketers are clearly working towards critical mass with increased spends."He shared a number of key trends in Indias social space in 2010. These were: l A market in transition, moving towards strategic interventions l A sharp focus on the customer - 92% of brands are using social media to engage customers, compared with 79% in the previous research l Only 23% of social media engagement is being outsourced - this could be a sign of early usage; interestingly, programmes developed by agencies and third-party consultants show greater breadth l The arrival of the sales department in social media programmes Downloaded from warc.com7   
  8. 8.   l Mobile adoption for marketing is likely to shoot up in 2011. In the research, 46% intended to use mobile social networking in the future l A clear need and focus on deeper measurement and analysis l 75% of organisations/brands feel the need for a stated policy on social media, and either have one in place or are working on one l 11% of marketers are already spending more than 30% of their digital spend on social l Budgets are likely to go up over next 2 years l A sharp focus on number of fans reflects an attempt to gain critical mass before ROI from this engagement could be achieved - it is a good sign and shows understanding of social medias impact.© Copyright Warc 2011Warc Ltd.85 Newman Street, London, United Kingdom, W1T 3EXTel: +44 (0)20 7467 8100, Fax: +(0)20 7467 8101www.warc.comAll rights reserved including database rights. This electronic file is for the personal use of authorised users based at the subscribing companys office location. It may not be reproduced, posted on intranets, extranetsor the internet, e-mailed, archived or shared electronically either within the purchaser’s organisation or externally without express written permission from Warc. Downloaded from warc.com8