Indian Social Media Landscape
NIMESH SHAH & SANDHYA SADANANDA WINDCHIMES COMMUNICATIONS
PREFACE We hit upon the idea of writing an e-book on social media during one of the countless educational sessions with our clients. We realized that this space requires a more thorough understanding for the marketer to adopt it to his marketing plan. Countless times since our inception we had been asked similar questions on social media and have attempted to answer most of them under the various topics of this e-book. Another issue that haunted us since inception was the cloud of confusion that surrounded social media especially with respect to deliverables. There were several false notions about this medium that have been advocated by rookies and we felt it was time to put an end to it. The objective of this book has been to foster an understanding of the basics of this medium. That there is method in the madness that appears in this medium. That there is a certain understanding required to adapt to this space. Itâ€™s an exciting space to be in and also very rewarding if used in the right manner! With this book, we have shared our learnings and understanding of the medium to help other social media enthusiasts and brand managers to produce optimal results. Also this book gives a regional flavor with context to India. We have seen millions of Indians participating in the various social media platforms that exist â€“ how is it that brands can tap that opportunity of reaching out to them? Our book will hopefully leave you wiser at the end.
Introduction to Social Media
Changing communication trends of our Society
Social Media Platforms
Principles of Social Media
Social Media Hierarchy
Social Media vis-Ă -vis Traditional media
Experience Social Media
Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media
Social Media Marketing
Is advertising on Facebook called Social Media Marketing?
Online Reputation Management
Social Media Research
Case Study on Barack Obama
Connect with Windchimes
Glossary of Terms
Lighter side of Social Media
Introduction to Social Media Social media has impregnated every bit of our lives. Believe it. Or just go ahead and answer these questions below. Where do you go if you want to… Learn more about an individual or company? Watch funny videos, advertisements? Research to buy your laptop or cell phone Plan your next vacation? Ask specific questions about a product If your answers have been Wikipedia, YouTube, CNet (or any other review site), Trip Advisor (or any other travel forum) and Yahoo Answers (or any other Q&A site) respectively or similar to these, then social media is already a part of your life!! So what is social media really? Simply put, social media is creation of information by the ‘wisdom of crowds’ in a collaborative manner. It is about ‘democratization of media’ as no single individual owns or controls it It is about ‘engaging, and not enraging’ the users It is about ‘them’, and not ‘you’; about speaking ‘with’, and not ‘to’ people
Social media is all about seeking participation as everybody is a content creator – after all campaigns aren’t viral, people make them!! The biggest challenge in adopting social media is the ability and maturity of the brand manager to lose control. All these years, mass media has allowed the brand manager to decide what the communication will be on his or her brand – this very premise undergoes a sea change with social media. Only those who don’t fear letting go of control, will be able to find place in the hearts of their consumers.
Changing communication trends of our Society It was important to dedicate a chapter to this section. There have been times where social media has been perceived to be a fad like most other ventures on the Internet. Also the activities that take place in social media platforms are unorganized and hence seen as chaotic. This further lends doubts on the credibility of the medium and the impact it can have for the brand. These are valid observations and must be resolved to win the marketer’s confidence in the medium. Let’s map out few changes that have occurred over the last five years. As a society we have changed in the way we consume media and the way in which we communicate. Marketers have to take these trends into account while rolling out their marketing campaigns. Trend no. 1: Consumers start the communication cycle today by actively looking for information. The need for the product/service makes them look for the appropriate brand to provide the solution in a platform of their choice. And if during that search the brand doesn’t appear, then it loses out from the consumer’s consideration set. So instead of creating silo-ed brand sites, marketers will have to move their communication to where consumers are spending time – on blogs, social networking sites, discussion forums etc. Coz if their brand doesn’t show up there, then it has lost on the opportunity to communicate with those users.
Consumers are searching for information
Trend No. 2: People are moving away from being mere content readers to content publishers giving importance to Web 2.0. This provides an immense opportunity to create experiences for the consumers. The move from passive to active consumption of information presents in itself a big opportunity for the brands. Create applications, widgets, tools that provide genuine value and build engagement with the user. Think of consumers as living, breathing, thinking humans and not mere robotic recipients to whom you intend to sell. Create videos for online users, that engage at a deeper level and use social media to promote it.
Shift from static websites to interactive communities
Trend no. 3: People are forming common interest groups and communities online thereby devoting more of their spare time in those activities. This is the most wonderful development a brand manager could ask for. Segment users on psychographic parameters rather than demographic. The impact of this segmentation is higher and also cost effective. Media consumption and social interaction are moving to global platforms, constrained more by language and not borders! To engage with this targeted group of users, brands will have to create presence in these communities. And presence is not reflected by banner ad on the sites but by building conversations. Listening to what they really want to know and then providing it. Develop networks to distribute content that is relevant to your consumer and then build in brand proposition.
Travel community on Tripadvisor.com
Trend no. 4: People prefer active forms of engagement over passive ones. And this is best reflected with how TV channels have tried to adopt themselves to it. Reality shows have cashed in on user voting; news channels have started citizen journalism to involve the viewers.
Citizen Journalism show on CNN IBN
These trends reveal that brands have to go much beyond the 30 sec TVC to capture the changing consumer. This is where social media scores as it involves brands with users and gets them to participate with them in their communities.
Social Media Platforms: As you have read in the earlier chapters, till a decade back, barring snail mail and then to some extent e-mail, there was no way for people to get together on a common platform and connect with each other. However, the last decade or so has seen a sea change with the evolution of online platforms that allow people to connect at a far more deeper and meaningful level with each other. Online, one now has platforms like discussion forums, collaborative research sites, social networking sites and micro blogging platforms amongst others to reach out to others. And this has given brands a unique opportunity to dialog with and participate with their consumers. In this section we will learn briefly about the platforms that exist online and how each one can be used effectively by brands.
Various platforms of social media
Some of the most common tools that exist online are:
Social Networking Sites: It seems hard to fathom a life when we didn’t scrap each other or feel the urge to put up an update on what we are doing. That’s exactly what social networking sites have done to us. Our playgrounds have shifted online and manifested themselves in the avatars of Orkut, Facebook, MySpace, BigAdda and a horde of others. We connect with likeminded people on these sites to air our opinions, express our desires and vent our frustrations. We join common interest groups; become fans, share videos, pictures and seek out friends! And in all of this lies a fabulous opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences and get to know them better. What’s more, brands are now beginning to regard social networking sites as a gateway to get out of their ivory towers and mingle with their audiences. Brands like Kaya Skin Clinic are creating communities on skincare on key social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut. These groups allow online skincare enthusiasts to learn more about taking care of their skin. By adding value to the lives of their consumers, by sharing the latest in skincare tips, by getting to understand the concerns of their consumers, the brand’s understanding and connection with their consumers has started to transcend the superficial level and becomes more meaningful.
Discussion Forums: Want to know what is the latest gossip in Bollywood or what is the latest phone that has caught the techno freak’s fancy? Want to learn more about the coolest eye makeup trick or which is the hottest new adventure tourism spot? Then head to a discussion forum. For the uninitiated
these are online manifestations of the good old days when people gathered around in a room and talked for hours on end on a subject that caught their fancy. On online discussion forums, there are discussions taking place every minute on a variety of topics. You name it, and it is being discussed. Movies, games, makeup, relationships, TV serialsâ€Ś nothing is too trivial for a discussion forum. Brands like SolidWorks use focussed discussion forums dedicated to CAD to help CAD enthusiasts learn more the latest advancements in the software. SolidWorks representatives join the discussions, giving them a platform to know what is uppermost in the minds of their consumers and in the process of helping them, occupying a valuable space in their minds.
Blogs: Time has come today where everyone from Hollywood A-lister to your best friendâ€™s mom is blogging. Blogs gives a platform for personal expression that beats no other. A blog, which is akin to maintaining a diary in public, allows people to educate and inform from an expert point of view or to merely entertain a larger audience with a unique perspective on a particular topic or on life in general. Never has blogging been more popular than it is now. So much so that bloggers, in certain sectors, are fast emerging as powerful medium of influence. Technology brands like Microsoft and Apple, actively engage with bloggers to bounce off ideas with them or to inform them about new releases. Reports from bloggers have the power to influence the large audience who regularly follows these blogs. Even traditional media has been known to take an opinion of these bloggers. A recent example was of My Fake IPL â€“ a blog that kept the interest in the IPL at its peak by sharing murky inside dope on the tournament! It gained such notoriety that traditional media was all agog trying to unearth the identity of the blogger behind this explosive blog. Another facet that has emerged is blogging by corporate and brands. Some of the most well know examples are by brands like Innocent and Dell that use blogs effectively to stay in touch with and inform their consumers.
Video & Photo sharing sites: An image speaks a thousand words. And this fact is proved again and again online with the proliferation of video and photo sharing platforms. YouTube, the phenomena that has made us rethink all we ever believed about visual content, has proved that brands can use it very effectively to connect. Channels created by companies like Common Craft have over time seen thousands of subscribers, who not only watch the videos but also share it, multiplying its virality thousand fold. An interesting video like Where is Matt has the potential of garnering 20 million hits and even making it to a Visa commercial. A brand idea can manifest in the form of online video to reach out to its potential users. A separate brand channel created on YouTube can build a community of fans for the brand that
seeks to provide value to the users. The impact of visual medium is far higher than reading mere text! After all we remember a lot more of what we see than what we read, don’t we?
Review Sites: Review sites have become the watchdogs for consumers in the online space. They serve to remind brands and companies that consumers have a voice today. Platforms like Mouthshut.com, CompareIndia.com help consumers share their product and service experiences for the world to learn from. These sites help brands and companies even more, since these sites act as ears on the ground for them. If they care to listen carefully they will know what is ailing their consumers and more importantly take corrective action before it becomes too late. It is unfortunate that companies are just about waking up to their potential, since they hold the key for a brand’s online reputation. Evolved companies like HUL and VFS Global actively seek out consumer opinion on these platforms and resolve the issues. They also use these platforms as an important research tool to identify chinks in their products and services and repair them.
Collaborative Research platforms: Where else can one take the benefit of learning from the collective experiences of so many people than Q&A forums? Don’t know why a particular feature is not behaving as it should on your latest camera? Put up your query online on sites like Yahoo Q&A, Rediff Q&A, Wiki Answers and chances are that you will get an answer to your question within a matter of hours if not minutes. The mechanism of these sites is very simple – somebody asks a question and members of the site who have experience on the subject reply to it. Simple it might be, but for brands the implications are immense. It gives brands a chance to go online and figure out what are the common queries that are emerging relating to them. It also gives them a chance to interweave, provide solutions and earn some invaluable goodwill.
Directory Listing: Did you know that on an average journalists are bombarded with 25000 releases in an hour worldwide? Whoa… that is a huge number of releases. No wonder most of these release find themselves in the trash can and the news… well it never sees the light of day. Wouldn’t it be better to put up these releases on platforms where they are segregated as per categories? Where journalists and common people who are interested in a particular category can subscribe to feeds on them and access them.? More and more companies are waking up to the untapped potential of social media releases where news can be put out in a multimedia format. No longer is news restricted to a bunch of words and a few photographs. Now it is a combination of hyperlinks, videos and relevant brand
platform links that make a release complete and social media friendly. So if you want to see your news reach to the right kind of people and not merely get lost in the crowd start using online directories that allow you to share social media releases.
Principles of Social Media There was a specific reason to mention the principles that exist for social media. It is important for marketers to know that there exists a method in all the madness they see in this media. There are certain guidelines that if followed will help brand build equity with the users. It will help them connect efficiently and make ambassadors out of users online. Most importantly it will create goodwill and respect among the users. These principles are not hard and fast rules but more like guidelines for the brand. How does a brand know when it is really practicing social media in a manner that will evoke the most optimal response? For a campaign to effectively use social media, it must follow these four principles.
The four principles are fairly simple but then so is the nature of social media. It is the humaneness of the media which makes it different from the rest. We have included a Barack Obama case study later as one of the chapters. The social media campaign that was planned for him works on these 4 fundamental principles. They outline the campaign on the basis of which other elements have then fallen in place.
The principles are followed by certain caveats that people indulging in social media must be aware of. Few pointers to suggest what works as a good social media campaign. •
Social Media is based on conversation and not on messaging
If you try to stop it, Social media momentum increases
If you try to force it into motion, you will probably stop it or prevent it from beginning
It is not a magic pill that delivers instantly!!
You have to keep at it for long run - just like your real life relationships - can’t give up after a while
Social Media Hierarchy Given the recency of the medium, the social media users can be classified under various segments depending on their level of activity. Unfortunately there arenâ€™t many quantitative studies available at this stage to determine the percentage of people falling under each category. Nevertheless we have classified them under various heads to better understand their profile.
Social Media Hierarchy
The above diagram depicts the classical evolution process of the user with respect to social media. In the initial stages, he is wary of the medium and engages in it more as an observer. This stage allows the user to understand the width of the space and the manner in which it functions. After becoming comfortable with it, he moves on to social networking sites where he first starts creating his online presence. This is the first time when they create something in the social media space for people to connect with them. At this stage, they are experiencing the power (and fun!) of networking with others. The use is restricted to sharing pictures, videos and links.
This comfort level with this medium shoots up phenomenally after this stage. The comfort factor sets in and importantly a desire to find out the other endless opportunities that the medium provides. This makes him move to the next level where he creates presence on several social media platforms. Also he starts using advanced features and applications on his profile. The sheer enormity and extent of information available on the social media space makes him look out for aggregators or tools that will allow him to customize as per his preference. It is important to note that the user is at the cusp of moving to the role of an active social media contributor once he clears this stage. The fourth layer is the intermittent one – a layer which most users cross quickly. The user has moved on to a more active zone now and considers himself worthy of critiquing and commenting on what he reads online. The participation levels increase with the comments and votes that he leaves behind on platforms. A sense of belonging that comes along with the participation is felt and compels him to spend more time on the platforms. It’s the last stage of the creator where the user really starts contributing back to the social media space. He now blogs his views, develops content that will add value to other people online. The joy of seeing his work read by others, being appreciated and commented, seeing himself as someone who is bringing out a change by his writing is what fascinates users in this stage. From here on, the user if he is consistent with this work can become an expert in his chosen field. His writing will have followers and very soon, he will move on to becoming an influencer. Becoming an influencer is not included as a stage because we believe it is more about a part of life – it’s more attitudinal. It’s no more a part of functional learning but more about discipline. Discipline to write consistently, always creating value, reading the feedback – all attributes that make a successful influencer!
How different is social media from traditional media? The biggest difference between the two is the interactivity that social media platforms allow. The dialogue that the user builds with others gives this medium a powerful edge. The interactivity allows for brands to engage with the users. It allows brands to create experiences for the users that will make ambassadors out of them. The diagrams below highlight the basic difference between traditional marketing and social media marketing. As there is high level of participation and interactivity, the scope of building engagement is high. That is what brands must gear towards while planning a social media campaign.
Classical Awareness to Conversion process driven by advertising on mass media
Engagement with users is the key differentiator in social media as it’s a two way process
The other important difference being that there is no audience in social media. So when brands are building engagement remember it’s people whom they are talking to and not audiences. Audience, the way Doc Searls defines is: •
Audience is to whom you announce any activity
Audience is to whom you talk to
Audience is whom you have a monologue with
Audience is to whom you deliver your message to
Audience is to whom you drive your point across
We couldn’t agree with it more. Mind you, this is not about semantics. It is much deeper – psychology of a person. For all these years traditional media has allowed the individual to control the message. Everything is governed, conformed to a norm, a process, a defined technique. However, in social media, there is no control - forcing the individual to be true in its approach.
Having understood the difference from traditional media, there are several distinct advantages that this medium enjoys. Advantages of Social Media: The 5 distinct benefits over mass media: •
Higher credibility: Research highlights that individuals are more inclined to believe other users opinion about a brand over any other form of communication. WOM undoubtedly enjoys higher credibility
Increased engagement: As social media involves participation from all, the engagement levels generated with individuals are far higher than other communication mediums
More Brand Loyalty: Higher engagement levels help in building more brand ambassadors
Higher degree of customization: Brand content can be customized as per the community or groups
Low media wastage: As brand communication is targeted to specific target group, there is no media wastage
Experience Social Media: Enough said about social media. Now it is time to experience some of it. If you would like to do that and understand how social media works, you are welcome to join our communities. We can hear you asking yourself... but what will I do there? Well lots really. You can take part in discussions, leave comments, take part in polls, put up interesting videos and photos and more importantly in doing all this understand how social media works. We love social media enough to start our own groups dedicated to it. One of the earliest groups created on social media on the leading business networking site, was by us. We regularly update the community with new articles and interesting examples of social media that we have come across. Some of the most brilliant minds of marketing are a part of this community and you can not only learn a lot from them but also teach them a few things along the way! You can join our groups on... ‘Indian Social Media Landscape’ on LinkedIn and also on Facebook
Other communities: Since one of our Mavens has a passion for all things beautiful, we also own a couple of groups on skincare on Facebook and Orkut. The air, in these communities, is thick with suggestions, comments and opinions on anything and everything to do with skincare. So if you are into beauty and skincare do join... Skin Care Communities on: Orkut: Simply Beautiful Skin Facebook: Beauty is Skin Deep, but that’s what matters Hair Care Community on: Orkut: Hair Talk Travel Communities on: Orkut: Wise Wanderers
Facebook: Travel Mocha Health & Fitness Community on: Orkut: 360 Degrees Guide to Fitness So join in the fun!
ROI of Social Media To us, ROI of social media would mean Relevance, Originality and Involving. And this is not a mere clever play with words to evade the question of measurement but a true manner of gauging results. Like any campaign, social media too starts by understanding the objectives that the brand seeks to achieve. It is the most pivotal step and any evaluation done to measure its success will be strongly dependent on that. This also helps the company manager in understanding what is possible to achieve using social media and the time it will entail. Having understood those, the entire social media strategy is worked with a specific timeline and media elements. Unlike other mass media, measurement is not done in reach and frequency terms. Those are evaluation terms for advertising. In social media, there is no advertising and it is important to understand that at the very outset. This media is all about building conversations, dialogue, engaging with people, creating value-adding content and participating in local communities. This does not mean that one cannot monitor it or expect any kind of report. On the contrary, the report that is submitted is very detailed and specific. Detailed because it lists out all the sites where the seeding has been carried out, gives out list of influencers reached out to and the content (text, photos, tools or videos) created in the process. Specific because it tells the manager the exact number of views seen if a brand video has been uploaded on any video sharing site unlike a TVC where there can never be any form of exact measurement. So the measurement of social media activity is done both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative measurement would mean the number of people led to the brand website, number of views generated, number of downloads of brand widgets, number of times the brandâ€™s social media release was seen, number of comments and replies received on seeding, number of seeds carried out in various forums, communities and groups. Qualitative measurement includes the kind of content generated for brand, the quality of response and comments so generated, outreach program carried out for influencers, rand reviews received from experts etc. In fact, Internet based activities give out more numbers that any other medium be it print, radio or the truly immeasurable outdoors!!
Social Media Marketing: Word of Mouth Marketing has played an indomitable role in brandâ€™s success since time immemorial. Brands that have acquired the status of super brands or cult brands have had Word of Mouth play a significant role supported by clever communication. People started talking about those brands which led them to gain the top of mind slot at the time of purchase. The trick lied in creating enough talk points about the brand and then getting enough people to talk about them!!
Read the Social Media Research section for more details on this research. Easier said than done, wonâ€™t you agree? Not anymore. With the proliferation of various social media platforms, there are enough opportunities that brands enjoy to reach out to users. While WoM can be done through offline channels too, it is scale that is difficult to achieve. In the online space millions of users log on to various platforms to seek advice, write their experiences, read reviews and in doing so, end up influencing others and getting influenced themselves in their purchase decisions! All this provides ready ground for companies to build their presence online provided they are willing to join the conversation! The big idea is to participate in the online communities and add value to the ongoing discussions and in this process build a brand presence. This is essentially what social media marketing is all about.
So is advertising on Facebook called Social Media Marketing? No. Period. Advertising is not social media marketing. Not by a long stretch. There is a distinct difference between ‘broadcast’ of advertising and ‘engagement’ of conversational marketing. For a company to engage in social media, it has to start building conversations. It is no more about controlling the message or the medium but about participating in it. Because in order to influence a conversation, not only does one have to be a part of it but also get to the root of what is being said.
Online Reputation Management: It was not too long back when the only way people could publicly share their brand experience was through ‘Letters to Editor’ column in newspapers and magazines. That too was left at the discretion of the editor who decided which reader’s letters should be published! Fortunately all that changed with the advent of various social media sites. These gave people a platform to share and discuss anything they liked. There was no control or restriction on them. The reader could now decide who to read and believe. These online reviews, consumer experiences, user ratings and votes on products and services have started influencing the purchase behavior. After all it is very natural to believer a peer opinion over the supposedly biased communication of a marketer.
Read the Social Media Research section for more details on this research. It became evident that while companies spent millions on advertising their brands, they were losing out by not listening to what consumers had to say about their brand! It was imperative to not only listen to what was being spoken but also reciprocate with prompt and relevant action. Fixing online reputation works on the ‘Broken Window’ analogy. It’s best to address the issue on the first sign of damage before it escalates further.
Every company has various stakeholders who would be commenting about it and in the process of affecting its reputation. See diagram below on various stakeholders of the company
Unlike the print medium, tracking the online space is very different and fraught with challenges: 1. There are not only vast numbers of platforms that consumers could use to voice their opinions on but they also operate on different technologies 2. The number of blogs or groups in networking sites to be tracked runs into millions unlike few hundred print publications 3. There are comments on each blog post that also need to get tracked along with the post itself! 4. Content on each social media platform is changing 24X7 unlike print where it happens once a day However what is important is for companies to realize that they are being spoken about in these communities. Itâ€™s equally important to have a feel of the pulse of online buzz on the company.
Click here to find out what people are talking about you. All you have to do is register and we will let you use our search engine for free!!
Social Media Research There is absolute dearth of statistics on social media with respect to India. It is important to understand the prevalence of social media in our lives. There are studies indicating that close to 40 mn Indians are online. But really nothing beyond that!! So what are these people doing online? How important is social media to them? How do they consume social media? How is social media impacting their purchase behavior? How are their decisions and thought processes being impacted by social media? How can marketers leverage social media platforms to reach out to their potential consumers? We carried out research to find out answers to these questions to help us understand and give an insight from an Indian context. The research data that we are presenting is representative of 3 Indian cities; Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. While we have received responses from people from other cities but they weren’t statistically significant to the research findings. The responses have been collated as a whole and not individually of 3 cities. Details of the respondents: Total respondents – 105 Cities: Mumbai – 40 Delhi – 40 Bangalore – 25 Gender: Males – 60 Females – 45 Age groups 18-24 yrs group – 40 25-35 yrs group – 65
Objective of the research: 1. To understand the significance and role of Social Media in current scenario 2. To map out the current usage pattern of social media of Indians 3. To study the impact it has in our purchase behavior
Part 1: Significance of social media in current scenario: Q1) If you had 30 minutes of time, which activity would you be most likely to do?
ÂŠ Windchimes Communications Pvt Ltd Surfing Internet scored as the 2nd most medium to be used in spare time overtaking reading newspapers or listening to music. Even when the users have only 30 minutes, they would rather go online than plug into their MP3 players or read a newspaper, clearly indicating that Internet / Social media is highly involving and has captured valuable mindspace.
Q2) Which medium do you use when you want to get 'news'?
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Q3) Which medium do you use when you want information on new products or services?
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Q4) Which medium would you use to find out about latest trends?
ÂŠ Windchimes Communications Pvt Ltd The replies to Q2, Q3 and Q4 clearly indicate the significance online medium has in our lives. Websites, Blogs, Social Networking Sites, Wikis etc clearly are becoming the places to look first - whether it is about new products or about new trends. Companies and brands will need to have significant online presence to ensure that users find them when they are searching or researching online. Mere website presence won't be enough it will require sustained presence in communities, discussion forums, blogs, networking sites etc. The presence will have to be genuine, value adding and continuous. There is no end date to it. Also it has to be value adding for users to refer and recommend it to his friends. Companies will have to not merely indulge but wholeheartedly invest in the social media marketing space to make it work.
Part 2 - To map out the current usage pattern of social media of Indians Q5) How much time do you spend everyday on blogs, social networking and uploading photos and videos?
ÂŠ Windchimes Communications Pvt Ltd It is really surprising to note that more than 1/3rd of the respondents spend more than 30 minutes everyday on social media sites. Q6) What do you do when you are online?
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Distinctly, people have started engaging in active forms of engagement. From reading and commenting on blogs, to creating profiles, to uploading photos and videos â€“ all signs of people moving away from passive to active forms of engagement. There is a need to involve them if brands want to retain their attention. Q7) What do you write about in the communities and groups?
ÂŠ Windchimes Communications Pvt Ltd When it came to participating in conversation and discussions online, majority preferred associating with a cause or cause led approach by a brand. Next in line were the celebrities or movies that people preferred commenting and talking about.
Part 3 - To study the impact it has in our purchase behaviour Q8) Do the comments left on blogs and in communities influence your purchase decision?
Q9) For which categories will you online reviews before doing actual purchase?
The replies for Q8 and Q9 clearly highlight that people are more prone to reading reviews online before carrying out actual purchase. They would carry out the first level of research - fact finding and opinion seeking - on social media platforms to narrow down their choice.
The categories most influenced by this behaviour are: 1. Travel 2. Consumer Durables (I am including Cell Phones in this category too) 3. Automobiles - Both cars and bikes
To Summarize the survey: 1. Surfing Internet scored as the 2nd most medium to be used in spare time overtaking reading newspapers or listening to music. 2. Internet and social media sites are the first places to seek news, products and services related information and to find out about latest trends. To that end, instead of being afraid of social media, marketers must embrace it. 3. Social media is becoming a part of daily lives. Even if it means just updating profile on social networking sites or reading blogs. It is more involving and will eat into the time that was earlier being spent on other entertainment mediums. There are already YouTube meet ups being organized where in groups of people play their favourite online videos. 4. There is a distinct preference over getting associated with a cause when online. Possibly another reason why online activism is becoming so apparent in modern times. Besides that its entertainment and brands that take the next two slots. The important thing to notice is that if brands or companies adopt the role of thought leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach, then they are much more likely to succeed. 5. The most critical aspect of the survey is the impact of social media in our purchase behaviour. It is clearly evident that comments left on the blogs, review sites and discussion forums impact the manner of purchase. Lot of brands make it to the consideration set of the consumers while others are dropped out on the basis of those reviews. It is important for brands to reach out to those users - be present where they are. They will have to build a dialogue with them in those forums and get them to review their product or service. 6. Another fallout for the companies is to track what people are talking about them. They will have to maintain their reputation online. It will be important to listen to what people have to say and act accordingly. That will start by first tracking the social media platforms and then analyzing the information to take strategic decisions.
Barack (Social Media) Obama – Case Study
I just had to use social media as his middle name. It is important to analyze how Barack Obama could leverage his views and personality to reach out to voters using social media tools. American elections created history of sorts – one and the most obvious one being USA getting its first African American as President. Second and not so obvious one being an election won by capitalizing the power of social media. Let’s break it down into steps. 1. Voter Generated Content: First thing that stands out is his website. It allowed the voters and fans to not just learn more about him but organize meetings and fan clubs on his behalf. Voters could download tools and use them in a manner they felt best to organize Barack Obama meetings. There was a high level of customization possible with voters being able to generate their own Barack Obama emails id. The downloads section allowed users to use the donation widget, get campaign material and Obama badges. The campaign managers hosted the blog on the website which is more personal in nature and allowed the president elect to share his views and thoughts in frequent intervals. Users could upload their photos and videos of the meetings they had organized on his blog for others to see. Allowing people to create their own content is the golden rule of social media. Barack Obama got more people to participate in his campaign because of this. 2. Generate more funding: It was clearly evident at the primaries stage itself that Barack Obama was generating a high level of funding. There were times when Hillary Clinton was reported appealing to her supporters "I hope you'll go to my Web site. Share your thoughts with me, and help in any way you can". Obama on the other hand had used his immense fan following to generate online donations. He created donation widgets and placed them on all of his profiles on various social media platforms. I am sure people wouldn’t have felt an easier way to
contribute towards their leader. As a matter of fact, majority of his donations were in lots of sub $200 This worked right through even while contesting with Senator John Mc Cain. The ‘Obamaeverywhere’ strategy raised more than $105 million in the first six months of the year, compared with Senator John McCain's $76 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama's campaign said that as much as 88% of donations stemmed from online sources. 3. Voter Segmentation: On Age: It was hard to believe that a US presidential candidate actually had a profile on Facebook and then on MySpace. His profile on Facebook was interactive giving his fans an opportunity to interact with him – much different from just placing banners ads that are barely effective. On the other hand, he created his profile on Eons – social networking sites targeted to the boomers. On communities: Besides having his profiles on Facebook and MySpace, Obama also created them on Black Planet, on MiGente, on GLEE (Gays, Lesbians and Everyone Else) targeting the African Americans, Latinos and Gays and Lesbians. The campaign managers also created a separate section for AAPIS Asian Americans Pacific Islanders on his website. For professionals: It was even more surprising to find his profile on LinkedIn where I am sure he would have discussed his view points on business and finance. There were separate groups created on LinkedIn too.
4. Use of Audio Visual Media: Then came in the visual element. A page on Flickr where people could see the pictures of his campaigns, personal moments with his family and as a candidate reaching out to people. All these visuals created a sense of him being there everywhere. It gave people an opportunity to get to know him better virtually. A picture speaks a thousand words. With clever pictures & videos, Obama made a place for himself in the average American’s heart. On his separate channel on You Tube, there are more than 1800+ video snippets uploaded with close to 20 million views. These numbers may still look small when compared to TV but remember all this publicity is FREE. So famous were Obama’s videos that it prompted Will.i.am to come out with a music video “Yes We Can” 5. Voter Participation: Barack Obama aimed at targeting the 18-25 year olds to vote this election. And this strategy paid off. People from that age group got interested in the election process and came out in large numbers for the first time in America. He created a big voter base for himself that otherwise didn’t exist for all this time. He made them participate in this election. He made
them realize that their individual vote can â€˜make a changeâ€™. Because he made the effort of reaching out to them, young voters started running campaigns for him in their own way 6. Customized Content: Care was taken to customize the content on each of his profile towards the target audience of that particular site. So on Eons, he mentions about his parents and how he was raised. Also mentions the different places he has grown up in and the community work he was involved with in Chicago. It is impossible for someone who is part of that community not being moved or connected with the writing that was put up on his profile. He created a widget that would help the boomers track where they had to go to vote. On his site for Latinos, all mentions are in Spanish so that he can reach out to more people 7. Use of widgets: Not to be done with just social networking sites, Obamaâ€™s profile was created on twitter which got used more for announcements. The Obama campaign's social network, MyBarackObama.com, includes a page that specifically invites users to copy codes that install campaign logos, photos, and icons on their personal Web sites, which then link back to a campaign donation page. He also created widgets on myth and rumour busters about elections. People could stay up to date on the latest events unfolding in the country. Well, while social media has definitely helped Barack Obama become the President, it is not to undermine his own charisma, his views and stand point on several issues and his ability to connect with the people. Without these basic human qualities, all of the above remain nothing but tools.
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Glossary: Aggregator – It is also called as feed reader or news reader. An aggregator makes a collection of web feeds accessible in one spot. They can be scheduled to check for new content periodically. Audio blog - A blog where the posts mainly consist of audio recordings is called as Audio blog Blog – It has been derived from the term ‘Web log’. It is usually maintained by an individual, with regular posts containing text matter, pictures or videos. The key feature of blogs is that readers can leave behind their comments thereby making it interactive and participative. Read our Windchimes Blog Blog Post - An entry written and published on a blog is called as blog post. Blogroll – It is an individual’s favourite list of blogs that are mentioned on the sidebar of each blog. Blogsite – It is the location of a blog on the web. Blog can have either a dedicated domain or be embedded within a web site. The latter are usually more used for corporate blogging and are part of corporate website. Category: - It is possible to categorize the various topics the blogger writes on. The categories if displayed on the blog can help the reader select his or her favourite section Collaborative blog – It is also known as group blog or multiple user blog. As name suggests, multiple users can write posts on one blog. Community – It is a group or forum of people with some similarity between them (could be same city, school, interest, hobbies etc) come together on social networking site or any other platform and share their ideas and views. Join our community ‘Indian Social Media Landscape’ on Linked In and on Facebook Feeds - Feeds are XML-based files that keep the audiences constantly updated about new posts on the blogs. They allow people to see the blog’s content without having to go to that blog every time it is updated. Subscribe to Windchimes Feeds Flog - It is contraction of two words 'fake' and 'blog'. A blog that has been ghost writing by someone else is called as Flog. Some of the Bollywood celebrities have been accused of flogging. Hits - Number of users visiting a web site or blog is referred as hits. Keyword - The word that a user enters into a search engine to gather information on. Link - An element on a web page or blog that can be clicked on to move on to another page or another section of the same page.
Micro-blogging – It is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means like text messaging or from that site itself. People ‘add’ other people and companies as friends when they want to learn or stay up to date with their activities. Follow our tweets Micro site - It is a supplementary web page that is a part of the parent web site. It is typically used to highlight specific information or purpose as compared to the parent web site that would be more generic in nature. MoBlog - It is a contraction of two words ‘mobile’ and ‘blog’. A blog featuring posts sent mainly by mobile phone, using SMS or MMS messages is called MoBlog. Page Rank - A value between 0 to 10 assigned by the Google algorithm that quantifies a particular link’s popularity and trust. Permalink - It is unique URL of a single post and is used when you want to link to a post somewhere. For eg the permalink of a particular post is http://windchimesindia.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/blogterms/ The first part is the address of your blog. Followed by the date of the post and then the name of that particular post. You can then cut and paste it to link it with some other post or comment. Photoblog - As the name suggests, this is a blog where a users posts his photos and images most in a chronological order Ping - The alert in the TrackBack system that notifies the original poster of a blog post when someone else writes an entry concerning the original post. Podcasting – It is a contraction of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcasting’. However it is not restricted to iPod only. Unlike a broadcast, podcast can be downloaded to any MP3 player and then viewed at any time later without Internet connection. Portal - A site or service which offers a wide array of features to users in an attempt to make that portal their ‘home page’ on the web. There are two kinds of portals – Vertical and Horizontal. The former has more in depth information and links related to a particular sector while the latter covers topics that are more generic and broad in nature. Rediff, Yahoo, and MSN are examples of portals. PPC (Pay Per Click) – It is a contextual advertisement package wherein the advertiser pays the channel (such as Google, Yahoo) only when an user clicks on their advertisement link that appears on relevant sites. ‘Adwords’ is the most common example of PPC advertising. Search Engine – It is a program that helps a user search for a document by using specific key words or key phrases.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – It is a form of paid Internet marketing that promotes and increases visibility of a particular website when people use in specific related key words. It is usually on the right side of google search page is marked in different colour. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - It is the process of increasing the volume of traffic to a web site from search engines for targeted keywords. In our searches, the higher a site lists, the more searchers will visit that site. Site map – It is a page on a website that links to every other page on that site. It helps user by clarifying the data structure of the site. See Windchimes Site map Social bookmarking – It is similar to ‘favourite’ in Internet explorer just that here your bookmarks are stored on Internet with you. That way you can access them from any computer. Also you can share them with specified group or with all. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine. Subscribe to Windchimes Bookmarks Social Media Optimizing (SMO)- It helps the user increase his own blog visibility and presence on web space. This can be done by adding links / back links with other blogs, using user voting services such as Digg, Reddit and social book marking sites like Del.icio.us so that their pages can be easily searched for Social Media Release (SMR) – It is designed to get the conversation going by providing readers with the ability to disseminate information and multimedia, bookmark and share the content, and in turn, spark threads. It also serves a purpose of providing information to new media influencers in one package Social Networking Site (SNS) – It is place where people can register and upload and share their personal information including photos, audio and videos with friends. Best examples of SN sites are facebook, orkut, big adda etc Subscribe – It allows readers to receive notification when there are new posts in a blog. Subscribe to Windchimes Feeds Tags - Tags help user in defining what they have saved so that they are easy to search later. Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags. Template – These are the background of your blog and present information on the blog. Any blog hosting site will offer a host of readymade templates to select from to customize as per the user’s style. TrackBack - A system that allows a blogger to see who has seen the original post and has written another entry concerning it. The system works by sending a 'ping' between the blogs, and therefore providing the alert. Viral Marketing – The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to create messages that appeal to a particular segment of the population and have
a high probability of being passed along. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive games, ebooks, images, or even text messages Voting Sites – Sites like Digg, Reddit allow users to vote for their favourite content. As more and more users vote on it that particular news item starts appearing on the top of searches and eventually landing on the front page. Connect with us on Digg and vote for our posts. Vlog - A blog that has mostly only videos on it Web 2.0 – This term has been coined for websites that encourage user interaction, participation and collaboration. Widget – It is also known as plug in. Widgets are codes that can be embedded within a web page or blog. These are usually made by third party. Wikipedia – (Definition taken from wikipedia itself) It is a free, multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. The name is a contraction of the words wiki and encyclopedia. It attempts to collect and summarize all human knowledge in every major language Word of Mouth - Information that is passed on between individuals, especially recommendations, in an informal, person-to-person manner is called as word of mouth. WOM is typically a face-to-face spoken communication, although phone conversations, text messages, blog posts, message board threads, instant messages and emails are now included are part of it.
The Cluetrain Manifesto by Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Rick Levine The Cluetrain Manifesto is the bible of social media. These four authors have very articulately captured the changing market. Quote from their website “A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies”. The 95 theses of Cluetrain Manifesto 1. Markets are conversations. 2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. 3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. 4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. 5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. 6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. 7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. 8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. 9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge. 10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally. 11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products. 12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone. 13. What's happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called "The Company" is the only thing standing between the two. 14. Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman. 15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. 16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone. 17. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves. 18. Companies that don't realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity. 19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them. 21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor. 22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view. 23. Companies attempting to "position" themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about. 24. Bombastic boasts—"We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ"—do not constitute a position. 25. Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships. 26. Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets. 27. By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay. 28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what's really going on inside the company. 29. Elvis said it best: "We can't go on together with suspicious minds." 30. Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the breakup is inevitable— and coming fast. Because they are networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships with blinding speed. 31. Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own "downsizing initiatives" taught us to ask the question: "Loyalty? What's that?" 32. Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language. 33. Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can't be "picked up" at some tony conference. 34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. 35. But first, they must belong to a community. 36. Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end. 37. If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market. 38. Human communities are based on discourse—on human speech about human concerns. 39. The community of discourse is the market. 40. Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die. 41. Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than against their own market and workforce. 42. As with networked markets, people are also talking to each other directly inside the company—and not just about rules and regulations, boardroom directives, bottom lines. 43. Such conversations are taking place today on corporate intranets. But only when the conditions are right. 44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore. 45. Intranets naturally tend to route around boredom. The best are built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate conversation. 46. A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the word. Its effect is more radical than the agenda of any union.
47. While this scares companies witless, they also depend heavily on open intranets to generate and share critical knowledge. They need to resist the urge to "improve" or control these networked conversations. 48. When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and legalistic rules, the type of conversation they encourage sounds remarkably like the conversation of the networked marketplace. 49. Org charts worked in an older economy where plans could be fully understood from atop steep management pyramids and detailed work orders could be handed down from on high. 50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority. 51. Command-and-control management styles both derive from and reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of paranoia. 52. Paranoia kills conversation. That's its point. But lack of open conversation kills companies. 53. There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market. 54. In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete notions of command and control. 55. As policy, these notions are poisonous. As tools, they are broken. Command and control are met with hostility by intranetworked knowledge workers and generate distrust in internetworked markets. 56. These two conversations want to talk to each other. They are speaking the same language. They recognize each other's voices. 57. Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner. 58. If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up. 59. However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from intersecting. 60. This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies. 61. Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings falseâ€”and often is. 62. Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall. 63. De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you. 64. We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will not settle for the 4-color brochure, for web sites chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance. 65. We're also the workers who make your companies go. We want to talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes written into a script. 66. As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other? 67. As markets, as workers, we wonder why you're not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language. 68. The inflated self-important jargon you sling aroundâ€”in the press, at your conferencesâ€” what's that got to do with us?
69. Maybe you're impressing your investors. Maybe you're impressing Wall Street. You're not impressing us. 70. If you don't impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don't they understand this? If they did, they wouldn't let you talk that way. 71. Your tired notions of "the market" make our eyes glaze over. We don't recognize ourselves in your projectionsâ€”perhaps because we know we're already elsewhere. 72. We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it. 73. You're invited, but it's our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel! 74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it. 75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change. 76. We've got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we'd be willing to pay for. Got a minute? 77. You're too busy "doing business" to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we'll come back later. Maybe. 78. You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention. 79. We want you to drop your trip, come out of your neurotic self-involvement, join the party. 80. Don't worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it's not the only thing on your mind. 81. Have you noticed that, in itself, money is kind of one-dimensional and boring? What else can we talk about? 82. Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We'd like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she's not in? 83. We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The
Wall Street Journal. 84. We know some people from your company. They're pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you're hiding? Can they come out and play? 85. When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If you didn't have such a tight rein on "your people" maybe they'd be among the people we'd turn to. 86. When we're not busy being your "target market," many of us are your people. We'd rather be talking to friends online than watching the clock. That would get your name around better than your entire million dollar web site. But you tell us speaking to the market is Marketing's job. 87. We'd like it if you got what's going on here. That'd be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we're holding our breath. 88. We have better things to do than worry about whether you'll change in time to get our business. Business is only a part of our lives. It seems to be all of yours. Think about it: who needs whom? 89. We have real power and we know it. If you don't quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that's more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with. 90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we've been seeing. 91. Our allegiance is to ourselvesâ€”our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.
92. Companies are spending billions of dollars on Y2K. Why can't they hear this market timebomb ticking? The stakes are even higher. 93. We're both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they're really just an annoyance. We know they're coming down. We're going to work from both sides to take them down. 94. To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down. 95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
Lighter Side of Social Media