The Importance of Local Activation on Social Media: 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 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.

 

Internet Users:

  • 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.

 

Content Sharing

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.

 

Different Reactions

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 Connections

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.

 

Brand Failure

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.

 

Brand Advice

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.

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!