India is a significant market for social media giants. We have 100m+ users on Facebook and over 33 million users on Twitter. Mobile web penetration has also been one of the main contributors in the active social media usage. Almost 84% of the 100 million users on Facebook access it through their mobile phones. Keeping all of the above mentioned facts in consideration, it is fair to conclude that the reach on social media is exponentially huge and for brands to tap on this opportunity would result in a vital growth for their businesses
Ernst & Young have released the second edition of the Social Media Marketing Trends in India. They collated data based on the insights shared by top brands in India that are social-media savvy. The previous Ernst & Young study was centered on how brands explored social media to build communities online & sustain engagement. This time, the key focus was on understanding how far have the brands come in the digital space and also the social media maturity levels with respect to the processes and policies, technology and governance across organizations in India.
Let’s have a look at what has changed since 2013!
(Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)
- Reputation Management, Thought Leadership & Recruitment have been added to the objectives to achieve alongside community building & brand engagement on social media.
- Facebook continues to be the predominant social media platform for engagement. Google+ and LinkedIn evolved as social media platforms to reach out to professionals across the country (highly relevant for B2B industries). Apart from these two platforms, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest have also emerged as highly engaging & crucial platforms to spawn conversations with the TG.
- Brands have become observant of the frequency of updates on social media channels & response time from the audiences. Most of the top social media savvy brands in India engage with their fans once a day through multiple platforms. The point worth noting here is that the average response time is 1-5 hours per engagement.
- The study indicates that with the popularity and expanding reach of social media, around 90 per cent of Indian brands plan on dedicating 15% of their annual marketing spends to social media.
- The top 3 challenges have been narrowed down to not being able to successfully measure effectiveness of social media engagements, and creating/curating content & sustaining or increasing engagement rates.
(Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)
The study also highlighted that brands across various industries have realized the implication of tapping on social media channels and understood its peculiar demands.
How do brands in India function digitally?
- Most of the Indian brands have their social media strategy & content aligned to meet their business goals. However, there are brands that have their social media strategy in place but do not have it linked to any specific goal.
- Many companies have an internal team dedicated for curating social media content & strategy whereas there are few which outsource them from agencies. Mostly Indian brands work on a hybrid model where the internal core team is supplemented by social media agencies & consultants. However, when it comes to the execution part of a social media campaign/strategy the brands turn to social media agencies which run the campaign online.
- Market trends and Customer Insights are the key drivers for the brands to formulate their strategies for social media.
- Brands are looking at a 360 degree marketing approach and are including social media as a key channel for deploying campaigns along with traditional channels.
- Mobile app development is an area that is being explored aggressively since it adds another advertising medium in the bag. Considering that a lot of users access social media channels through their smartphones & tablets, mobile advertising will emerge as a crucial channel for marketing.
How do brands measure success on social media?
- Engagement level, traffic growth rate & social media reach will be the main metrics to measure the success of social media campaigns deployed by the brands.
- It is important for brands to tie their social media efforts with their business goals and these goals are measured by the conversions, leads, ROI & sales.
- Radian6 and Meltwater emerged as the most popular tools to measure the brand sentiment.
- Most of the brands focus on listening to the customers instead of bombarding them with information. And this resulted in companies paying more attention to what their customers had to say about their brand.
- Understanding customer perception of the brands, effective monitoring of the brand sentiment, efficient handling of customer queries and better customer insights are some of the benefits that the brands have secured by integrating social media marketing with social listening.
What’s the next big thing?
The study also states that Social CRM, Social Commerce & Gamification will be the future for the brands to explore and harness their growth on.