Sri­hari Palan­gala, Coun­try Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Adobe IndiaLinkedIn

I recently attended a net­work­ing evening here in Mum­bai, and it was great to spend time with fel­low dig­i­tal and social media mar­ket­ing experts from var­i­ous indus­tries. It didn’t take long before some­one raised the hottest topic right now: social media mar­ket­ing and how it’s unfold­ing in India. It was great to hear mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives and ideas on the sub­ject.  I gained some very inter­est­ing insights from this group, includ­ing some wise tips and tricks the best ways to use social plat­forms in India.

Dip­ping your Toes – The Open­ing Game:

Social media mar­ket­ing is still far from being inte­grally woven into the mar­ket­ing mix for most mar­keters. Based on this group’s feed­back, one of the biggest chal­lenges is to move social media mar­ket­ing (and to some extent dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing too) from being an iso­lated, one-off cam­paign to instead deliv­er­ing and exe­cut­ing in a sus­tained, pre­dictable and mature way. Uncer­tainty about the best strat­egy and tac­ti­cal exe­cu­tion means social media mar­ket­ing is still under­rated in the coun­try. The fact that there is often a strug­gle on who ‘owns’ social within the busi­ness does not make things eas­ier: it seems that mar­ket­ing will often be held account­able, but with only pow­ers to influ­ence the out­come at best! By and large in India, social media mar­ket­ing still remains a rel­a­tively smaller per­cent­age of the over­all mar­ket­ing spend to reach audiences.

Stay­ing Afloat – The Mid­dle Game:

As you tread fur­ther on the trail of social media mar­ket­ing, you will find that your goals can be extremely var­ied: from ongo­ing nur­tur­ing (engage­ment or keep­ing inter­est alive, improv­ing the qual­ity of fol­low­ers), to grow­ing the base (acqui­si­tion, increas­ing the quan­tity of fol­low­ers) or around con­ver­sion (reg­is­ter­ing for a prod­uct trial, sign­ing up for an event or sub­scrip­tion). Deep engage­ment and suc­cess around any goal requires cre­at­ing intrigu­ing and up to date con­tent. It is always vital that the mar­ket­ing mes­sage and con­tent deliv­ered through your social plat­form is rel­e­vant for your audi­ence. Take the time to study your social plat­form and under­stand the ways your cus­tomers inter­act. This will allow you to respond in engag­ing ways and push out rel­e­vant con­tent that will help retain fol­low­ers and gain new ones. The chal­lenge, how­ever will be get­ting the right tal­ent for social media mar­ket­ing (either in-house or con­tract) to meet the above goals. Niche mar­ket­ing agen­cies might work bet­ter in this case – you are prob­a­bly bet­ter stay­ing away from the generic mar­ket­ing agen­cies that claim to also do digital.

Win­ning the End Game:

Social engage­ment can gen­er­ate a LOT of buzz – and the key will be to fil­ter out what are gen­uine busi­ness feedback/considerations vs. ‘other noise’ in the sys­tem. If you can find intel­li­gent ways (or tools) to do that, social can pro­vide with direct access to gen­uine cus­tomer feedback.These feed­back and com­ments can then be used for prod­uct enhance­ments, new lines of busi­ness, or enhanced ser­vices and sup­port. In turn, this will allow you to cre­ate active and rel­e­vant social com­mu­ni­ties in adjoin­ing and sim­i­lar areas, giv­ing you a vari­ety of avenues to under­stand yours cus­tomers’ needs and grow­ing your brand further.

What are your thoughts? Where are you in the jour­ney and how have things played out for you? Do drop in a com­ment and let us know