For Companies: 10 Questions to ask yourself before entering social media

One of the things I get asked the most when a conversation hits the subject of social media is what my best advice is. “How can we do something that will create value through social media?”

Over time I have come up with the following 10 questions you should ask yourself before entering the landscape of social media – that’s my best advice.

1. What do we wish to gain?
Be clear on your overall objective or else it’s impossible to say if social media even is the right place to put your efforts.

2. Who are we targeting?
In general online is very transparent, be clear on your target group.

3. Are there alignments and are we supporting the overall corporate strategy with our initiative?
Without alignment with the corporate strategy, there is no chance that you will be truthful towards your target group or stand a chance in supporting the company with the initiative.

4. What are our resources – manpower and financial?
Its not for free to create value within social media, and often it’s advisable to make long term plans.

5. Do we have the necessary insights and knowledge about the media?
It’s not enough having a hunch or being a media user yourself. Would you ever start buying and using a TV or Radio without understanding and maybe counselling from your AD- and your Media agency? I’ve been working with TV & Radio for 10 years, and I can guarantee you that the complexity of social media is 10 time compared with TV & Radio.

6. How do we enable interaction and dialogue – how do we handle interaction and dialogue?
One of the larges values lies within creating interactions and dialogues, so ask yourself – do you want it, how do you get it and how do you handle it.

7. Who is responsible for the project in the organisation in the long run?

All initiatives need a sustainable plan and often, social media initiatives fall in different parts of the organisation. If it’s a marketing department initiative, who will maintain it for 6 months, most likely not marketing.

8. How can we ensure understanding and collaboration within the rest of our organisation?
like all other initiatives that are successful in a company is successful, it’s a team effort.

9. How do we integrate the project into other communication, marketing or company activities?
It just makes sense to integrate and make synergies between social media initiatives and other activities, but no doubt it’s seldom being done.

10. How do we secure distribution?
NO it’s not just going viral, one in a million initiatives might create a buzz, go viral, act like word-of-mouth on ecstasy. All other initiatives need a distribution strategy. This can be everything from integration in other activities, SEO, SEM, Social Ads, other online ads and so on. You will need a distribution plan!

Social Media Trends, Prospects, and Challenges in India

Our ever-growing global network of Local Social Media Managers around the world helps us ensure contextually relevant content through social listening, content production and response management. It’s a network of very talented people who possess great knowledge of social media in their local context – one of them being Nishanth Krish from India who shares his insights into the social media trends, prospects and challenges in India right now.

 

 

India is a mobile first country where 41% of total mobile users are active on social media. And it remains the fastest growing market for social networks in the world. The increasing affordability and use of Smartphones as internet devices means India is serving data to almost one billion mobile phones, and an individual spends an average of 3 hours on social media every day irrespective of device.
However, this rise of social media adoption among Indians has led to a growing concern over poor Internet speed in the country. Internet access is still unevenly distributed with connection speeds remaining disappointingly slow at just 2 Mbps on average, far below the global average of 4.5 Mbps.

Digital India, a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by the government is expected to enable high-speed Internet connectivity across the length and breadth of the country, which will ultimately join the social media bandwagon and create a positive network effect for further growth.

 

Personalized Content is the Key

As much as our counterparts in other countries do, we consume content, but are averse to sharing. We Indians are conservative by nature and often not as open to sharing content online. Brands have realized that social media is not only about posting brand updates, but also about driving engagement by creating meaningful conversations. In our country of diverse culture, language and practices, brands are developing customized content, which is both relevant and appealing. Top brands such as PepsiCo and Bharti Airtel have integrated regional languages into their digital campaigns, resulting in more than 150% engagement compared to identical English posts.

Indians today are looking for a more personalized social networking platform where they can communicate with different groups of people. As eyeballs have shifted into the digital world, media spend has been following suit. Indian advertisers are spending far more on social media ads compared to their global counterparts. India is projected to be amongst the top three countries in the APAC region as regards its CAGR (2012-2016) in digital media ad spend and many brands have effectively developed tactics to enhance visibility by investing in promoted posts/tweets that carry targeted information about offers, coupons and contests through custom targeting.

Social media platforms have been a melting pot for running promotional campaigns for e-tailers understanding the different user behavior attributes, interests and changing buying behavior patterns. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and e-commerce brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are blending their assets across platforms to tap into customer preferences. Moreover, e-tailers are reducing the length of the purchase cycle by using features like the ‘Get Deals’ button.

 

Catching the Eye Balls

Images and short format videos are gaining traction in India. Visual rich media content clearly dominates the social media space and gains the majority of engagement with Indian audiences as more people than ever before are sharing, discovering and engaging with videos on Facebook and as content creators build and engage a global audience. From increasing audience traffic to digital publishers and the high level of online conversation during major events, this growth in content discovery and discussion is taking place across social platforms.

 

Reaching the Rural 

The soul of India lives in its villages with 60 percent of the population residing here. To reach the under-penetrated areas, Facebook has initiated the Internet.org project with a vision to provide basic mobile Internet services for free. The service is run by Internet.org in collaboration with a number of telecom players. This service is available in English and six local languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi — and can be accessed via a dedicated Android app.

Facebook is by far the social networking platform with the widest reach, boasting of 118 million monthly active users in India, out of which 55-60 million are daily active users. 95 per cent of these users are ‘mobile-also’ users.

Twitter has specialized its service for the Indian audience with hashtags in regional languages and the ability to support regional language scripts, which has helped the social networking giant to reach out to the large number of non-English users in India who were previously untouched by the phenomenon of micro blogging.

Twitter in India takes center stage for breaking news and special events, bolstered by its partnership with broadcasters and media distributers. These partnerships have allowed Twitter to make the most of product innovations like polls, audio cards and the ability to share videos on the platform. Its rich media tweets gain far more reach than standard text-only tweets.

 

Focus on Social Mobile

Whether it’s discovering information about a breaking news story or an upcoming TV show, an exclusive screening of a movie trailer first or celebrities engaging with fans in authentic and meaningful ways, people converse on social media around the things that matter most.

As Indians continue to gain access to cheaper smartphones and data plans, with shifting platform preferences, it is imperative that brands shift focus to social mobile communications to reach out to an audience that are always on the go.

The future of social media marketing is expected to be mobile driven and in the year ahead it is most likely that we will be seeing more contextual and location centric content, helping brands to evaluate the different platforms better with accurate reporting capabilities for tracking engagement.