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 filled with talented people who possess great knowledge of social media in their local context – one of them being Khyati Gandhi from India who shares some of her great insights on the topic below.
India surely is a developing country but when we see its growth on the digital front, it is incredible. Recently, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Modi, pledged to bring about a digital wave in India, launching a campaign called Digital India. India has the 2nd largest audience on Facebook, with a 9% user base (USA being no. 1 with a 14% user base). Statistics from Internet and Mobile Association Of India reveal the growing number of India’s population using social media.
- 350 million, +44% since July 2014
- Social Media Users: 134 million, +26% in the past year
- Unique Mobile Users: 590 million – a penetration rate of 46%
- Mobile Internet Users: 159 million – 45% of all internet users
- Mobile Social Media Users: 97 million, +5% since July 2014
Here in India, Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform followed by Whatsapp, Google+ and Twitter. The growth of Facebook has been accelerated by Mr. Modi’s campaign and supported by Mark Zuckerberg, with Facebook facilitating state-run BSNL in setting up 100 Wi-Fi sites in rural areas of western and southern India. Facebook are investing Rs 50 million per annum in 100 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. This investment, along with stronger Wi-Fi and 3G networks has led to huge growth in users accessing Facebook remotely from their smartphones.
The majority of content shared by users in India reflects current events and the need for change – from messages that motivate and encourage positive change, to awareness of possible danger. During this year’s festival of Diwali we saw content shared promoting awareness about not bursting crackers to help people stay safe during the holiday.
Many people also love to share content related to their favourite TV shows, movies and songs as well as the events they attend. Content such as interviews of their favourite celebrities, Dubsmash videos and blog links make up the majority of shared content. For example the recent release of the film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has been shared across many platforms thanks to the success of its social media strategy, where the lead actress of the movie, Sonam Kapoor, asked everyone to share a dance (Dubsmash) to the title song from the film and shared the best entries on her Twitter and Instagram accounts. The response was overwhelming, with fans of the film getting involved in the activity, giving Sonam Kapoor further exposure and the public the tools to promote the film.
Social behavior varies across demographics. Teens tend to share content about friendship, movies and game requests – the most popular played game being Candy Crush. Their main use of social is to stay in touch with friends, post photos (including selfies) and share pictures of cute animals. People in their 20’s, 30’s and older will typically share content which spreads social awareness, discussions and debates on political issues.
International news and events from abroad impact social conversations within India to a great extent. For example, the Prime Minister of India’s visit to America or Britain, the birth of the British Royal Baby or the Nepal earthquake. In terms of entertainment, the online community is selective when it comes to international stars, only choosing to discuss certain celebrities they admire or feel strongly about – Kim Kardashian being one of them.
While global brands lack of local market knowledge can sometimes lead to social meltdown, local brands fail due to the effects of changing local mind-sets and the lack of understanding the impact of Western thought on Indians through social media. When Flipkart, an online shopping site in India sent emails out to their female customers to promote its cosmetic range, claiming ‘beauty breeds success’, the reaction on social media went viral in a matter of hours. This is the text of the email Flipkart sent to potential customers:
“Research shows that beautiful women are more successful in their lives. This is because when women improve their appearances, they get noticed, listened to and eventually respected for their opinion. Such women not only become confident but also remain motivated to perform even better in life.”
The Company was forced to make a speedy apology and promise a detailed review of their content strategy.
Brands looking to achieve social media success in India need to focus on emotional touch points. Emotional content that includes much-loved local or international characters is the key to successful marketing in the country that celebrates emotions.