Social Beat is delighted to bring on board David Appasamy to head Brand and Strategy for the company. He will be working closely with the core team to achieve the company’s vision of being amongst the top 10 digital agencies in India by 2018.
Speaking on the appointment, Co-Founder Suneil Chawla said, "We not only share the same Alma Mater, IIM Ahmedabad, but also a shared vision of leveraging the digital medium to deliver business results to the brands and companies we work with. We look forward to David driving strategy and growth along with a focus on key client acquisition". David comes with over 35 years in companies like ITC Ltd, Mudra DDB and Sify Technologies covering Business Strategy, Brand & Marketing Management, Digital Marketing and Audience Engagement.
Talking about his new role, David stated, "The Internet, and what it represents for companies as a medium for business and marketing, has always been my passion. I am delighted to be part of a start-up that is firmly established and recognised, and excited to focus on growth strategies and the Social Beat brand as a Digital Marketing specialist."
Co-Founder, Vikas Chawla said “We see David playing a key role in mentoring the core team that the company has built over the last 4 years. As we move towards the next phase of growth, nurturing talent and expanding across the country and globally is going to be key. We are delighted to have David be part of this journey.”
In the past, David has served on the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) advising the UN Secretary General on Internet Governance in 2010 and 2011. He was Co-Chair, International Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force on Internet & Telecoms Infrastructure & Services from 2006 to 2011. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the IIM Ahmedabad Chennai Chapter focusing on making it a vibrant, inclusive and rewarding experience for alumni members. David is also involved in multiple social activities including Roofs for the Roofless and the Appasamy Trust focused on self-employment and education.
About Social Beat
Founded in 2012, Social Beat is South India's leading digital agency which helps companies build their brand and get business results via the digital medium.
Social Beat is a certified Google Partner and a trusted online expert with offices in Chennai & Bangalore. The 40 member team offers integrated digital marketing solutions including website development, app development, user experience consulting, social media marketing, content marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, digital advertising & influencer marketing. Social Beat has two digital products - the first is an influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in and the around user-generated content called Rewardify.
With focus verticals of real estate, e-commerce, healthcare & B2B, they have over 100 clients including Citibank, Saint Gobain, Murugappa Group, Akbar Travels, Sterling Holidays, PN Gadgil, Musafir.com, Casa Grande, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Hospitals, Sterling Holidays, Chain, Olympia Group, Raintree Hotels, Forum Mall, India Home Health Care, Sulekha.com, Cambridge English & JVC Headphones amongst others.
In recognition of its excellent performance and contribution to the field of digital marketing, Social Beat’s co-founder Suneil Chawla was awarded the Best Digital Marketing Professional by CMO Council 2014 and the Outstanding Digital Person Of the Year award at the Digital Marketing Conclave & Awards 2014 conducted by Think Media Inc and VIT University Business School.
Media Contact: Vikas Chawla, email@example.com / 044-42065648
ComScore recently published a report that highlights the advertising benchmarks for the year 2016. As a leading global cross-platform measurement company that accurately assesses audiences, brands, and consumers, comScore has analyzed and published a report on how ad blocking, invalid traffic, and viewability of ads are impacting delivery of advertisements across the globe. The report also lists what the concerned industries can do to tackle these challenges. The following is a brief summary on the key learning from the report.
The digital marketing industry, particularly the digital advertising industry, has experienced constant and powerful growth that has not show any signs of decline, so far. However, in order to continue its global rise, the industry needs to guarantee clean ad delivery, i.e. ads should be viewable to the consumers, and it should be free from fraud. Nevertheless, an ad that is not seen by consumers cannot have any impact.
Based on research and data mining, the comScore report enlightens us with some key learning across the following three extensive categories.
Young users aged 18-24 are more likely to block desktop ads than any other average user. In fact, young males are 100% more likely and young females are 42% more likely to block ads in comparison with other users from the US. Moreover, users from higher income segments block ads more than average users.
The sole way to resolve this issue is to refocus on user experience. These statistics are a wake-up call for all the digital advertisers to improve their ad quality in terms of content as well as user experience. Seeking less invasive options, with or without advertising, can also be a good alternative.
In December 2015, almost 80% of the global invalid traffic (IVT) was sophisticated. Additionally, ads that have less transparency like video ads on programmatic exchanges are almost 4.5 times more prone to IVT than its direct counterparts. In general, with wider CPMs, videos give a higher chance for IVT than display ads.
Sophisticated IVT requires advanced analytics to detect. Therefore, it is very crucial to protect websites and all ad campaigns using latest methods like comScore Triple Detection Technology, which goes beyond the standard filtration. This sophisticated IVT detection tool uses three key data assets, viz. ad tags, census page tags and a panel of humans. Detection methods like these not only measures invalid traffic, but also provides more protection. If sophisticated IVT detection methods are not in place, the whole advertising processes might go into waste.
According to this comScore global report, more than half of ads worldwide still don’t have the opportunity to be seen. The desktop display viewability ranges from 39%-50% across all markets. Video viewability is even lesser; this is due to IVT on programmatic video exchanges. According to research, direct buys see higher viewability than their programmatic counterparts.
For better viewability and impact, one needs to improve delivery. Invalid traffic together with low viewability can create mayhem in any campaign. Therefore, when the performance of a campaign is evaluated only by using ads that have an opportunity to make an impression, advertising can be made two times more efficient. This will help publishers prove the worth of their advertising and marketers measure the true return on investment (ROI).
To summarize, ad blocking, invalid traffic (IVT), and low viewability are the three key challenges in digital advertising. However, by taking the above mentioned steps, clean campaign impressions and potent results can be guaranteed.
Social Beat's Rohit Uttamchandani, Head of Digital Advertising & Real Estate was one of the speakers at the Real Estate Digital Marketing Conference in Bangalore on the 22nd March 2016, where he spoke on how real estate companies can leverage content marketing effectively for branding and lead generation. The conference was attended by key decision makers from some of Bangalore's leading real estate companies and included talks on social media marketing, measuring digital campaign ROI, driving sales through personal branding, Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality.
Rohit's talk focussed on how content marketing, done right, can be a powerful tool to help real estate companies build their brand reputation online as well as generate leads in the long-term. To be successful in real estate content marketing in 2016 and beyond, one has to create content that is not only unique but also ten times better than the best content on that topic, anywhere on the internet. “10x Content” has become the new buzzword amongst advanced content marketers and the session talked about the ideation, creation and amplification of content for real estate with a clear focus on delivering business results. You can view the presentation from the talk below:
We are delighted to announce that Social Beat’s Co- Founder Suneil Chawla, received the “Emerging Entrepreneur Award″ from the Sindhi Chamber of Commerce, held on August 28 2015 at The Savera Hotel in Chennai.
Devoted to encourage young and budding entrepreneurs, the Chamber facilitates emerging entrepreneur every year. The 8th edition of the awards was presented by Governor of Tamil Nadu, Dr. K Rosaiah to young and aspiring entrepreneurs. Speaking at the occasion, Suneil said, “It's been an amazing three years and I am humbled to receive an award for our entrepreneurial journey. We have been able to grow only because of the amazing team that we have and I accept this award on behalf of everyone at Social Beat."
Dr K Rossaiah congratulated the recipients and said, “Be it in providing employment, spread of education, establishing industries or promoting trade and commerce, the contribution made by Sindhis is unique and deserves a special mention.”
Social Beat co-founder Suneil Chawla featured in The Times of India coverage on how companies are leveraging the reach of bloggers and influencers for building their brand visibility online. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in
Social Beat co-founder, Vikas Chawla's article on the advanced ?Facebook? ad techniques to focus on in 2015, featured in the Business Standard.
As the year 2014 draws to an end and we heartily welcome 2015, we bring to you the list of top 5 social media campaigns of the year 2014 that created a huge buzz for all the good reasons. Here goes the list:
When the #IceBucketChallenge was trending across the world, a journalist from Hyderabad, Manju Kalanidhi, had different ideas brewing in her mind. Instead of wasting water in a country where there is a scarcity of this essential life resource, why not do something that attempts to feed the millions of poor and hungry. The challenge put forth by Manju on Facebook required friends to cook or donate one bucket of rice to poor and hungry in the locality and post a picture on Facebook / Twitter doing the same with the hashtag above. Within 4-5 days, the page had more than 40,000 fans and 35000+ mentions. Even celebrities like Priyanka Chopra came out in support of this noble campaign.
When one of India’s favorite noodles brand launched a new, healthier variant – Oats Noodles, they had a tremendous task of spreading awareness about this healthy variant amidst the frenzy for its other cousins. They cashed effectively on the Selfie craze – asking fans to tweet their Selfie having breakfast with the hashtag #HealthyIsEnjoyable. Daily 10 winners were announced, each winning the monthly supply of Maggi Oats Noodles. The campaign reached 2 million+ fans and had an increase in brand engagement by more than 50%*.
Quickr, one of India’s most reputed online classifieds, leveraged content marketing to the fullest for their Diwali campaign “Buyers & Sellers ka perfect matchmakers”. Quickr encouraged customers to blog about their shopping experiences via BlogAdda resulting in immense customer engagement & boost to the traffic to the website. The campaign was extremely successful as it cashed in on the festive shopping season and customers didn’t mind blogging about their experience as they were rewarded with cashback offers and other prizes, resulting in huge buzz creation online.
22nd August, 2014 marked the 375th anniversary of Chennai, earlier known as Madras. As part of the 375thanniversary celebrations, the Murugappa group has launched the #TheMadrasSong to celebrate the occasion & give a fitting tribute to the history, tradition, and culture of this city.
The digital campaign for the song involved a multi-channel campaign, right from evocative content such as Madras Trivia, engaging contests and apps like the Madras Favorite Memory App that asked people to vote for their favorite spot in Madras. The entire campaign was a big success that allowed the video to garner 2.5 lakh+ views on YouTube. You can view the song here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAqtE4KdJL8
Procter & Gamble launched the #MyRoleModel campaign for Gillette during Father’s Day. With the target being men between ages 15-45 years, the campaign asked the father-son duos to put shaving foam and share their Selfie to win exciting prizes. The standout factor for the campaign was the 360-degree approach with even the TV Commericals sporting the hashtag. The blogger partnerships were leveraged in a big way to spread awareness about the campaign, which was endorsed by Mr. Dependable-Rahul Dravid.
Note: Other campaigns could have made to the list and missed out narrowly based on considerations of organic virality created.
Apart from 12th of December being a Friday & the birth day of Rajnikanth & Yuvraj Singh, we all had one more special reason to celebrate this day! It was the second anniversary of Social Beat, the brain child of Suneil Chawla and Vikas Chawla, who dreamt of creating a digital agency that is creative & can deliver strong business results.
In two years, we have grown into a 20-member team handling 75+ clients, keen on exploring new challenges everyday and building a strong-hold in sectors like e-commerce, entertainment, real estate & healthcare. Our journey has been really exciting so far and we are happy to be stepping into the third year of making history in the digital space.
Celebrations at ECR
Team Social Beat headed to East Coast Road, Chennai for a day filled with fun activities and chilled-out conversations. Getting to know the people you closely work with, trolling them, bringing out their hidden talents were some of the most memorable highlights! Not to forget the team building exercises / games that helped us realize our team potential and identify areas of improvement.
Digital marketers at war
Dealing with a client or being in the digital space is more or less like going to war at times. But if you want to know what it really feels like, take your team out for a Paintball game. And guess what, you also get to shoot that annoying team member or even your boss for that matter (Nah, I’m kidding. Or maybe not. *evilgrin*)
After a series of battle rounds, team Red emerged as the winners of that league match. Only to burst their bubble soon enough, they played with paintball organizing team themselves who defeated them in seconds!
Post the numerous fun activities which included Ball in the Air, Ping Pang Pong, Tug of War, Paint Ball, etc. we headed to the beach to get some fresh air & relax. The enthusiastic women brigade of Social Beat went on a photo-clicking spree, post which the Social Beat team played some Beach Volleyball!
It was indeed a memorable day for all of us at Social Beat, as it was not just fun-filled but also improved the team’s bonding, co-ordination and brand ownership. We aspire to grow big & better in the years to come and here’s wishing ourselves some good luck for continued success & happy clients!
Marketing real estate online is known to have shown a phenomenal increase in the number of leads(by~ 300%*) that property sellers have opportunities to convert as current buyers or as potential buyers for future projects. Since, buyers want a more personal buying experience on high monetary value purchases, B2B businesses or even businesses selling higher value products achieve greater impact on branding and lead generation from marketing than directly on sales. This is true to real estate selling, where all the marketing is directed towards generating leads, than on direct conversion
Lifestyle patterns of Key Demographic segments: Property buyers are now relying more on online, than on newspapers and other mediums to gather any information that can help make their purchase decision. This a definitely a true phenomenon when it comes to the metro cities where the target buyers are all hooked on to their smart phones, laptops and tablets. It’s more the “Pull marketing” than the push that seems to be working for this new generation of home buyers.
Cost Effective: Most of the push marketing strategies such as “full- page” advertisements in newspapers, previews in TV and advertising in movie halls cost a lot of advertising rupees. Although they do capture some mindshare and help in brand awareness, they completely fail in executing an immediate “call-to-action”. Also, there are no clear measurable outcomes of the advertising money spent, to keep the ROI to the optimum. Online marketing strategies on the other hand, are more cost effective- they are both targeted and measurable. Both social media outreach and online paid adds reach the right category of target audience- age group, tastes, geography etc. with a dual intent of creating brand awareness and driving prospective buyers to make inquiries
Branding Online is Personal: Reaching out to the target buyers and building an emotional connect on a one to one basis, especially when it involves high value purchases such as homes is imperative. social media serves as a potent channel where the prospective buyers can be educated about the brand, as well as guided through the process of purchasing a home. The emotional connect develops by having a mix of both formal and informal conversations with buyers, thereby creating a brand image that understands the sentiments of its buyers, rather than just hard selling the property
Burgeoning Third Party Platforms in Real Estate Domain: There are various third party platforms today that cater to helping the property buyers and sellers to make prudent purchase decisions by facilitating comparisons or serving as one-stop shop for educating the buyers and sellers about the various trends, pricing and newer developments in the domain. To name a few of them- Magic bricks, 99 acres, India Property, housing.com, etc. Integrating existing robust digital presence (website & landing pages), including an active social media presence with third party platforms, is making conversions much faster and easier.
Measurable conversions: Digital marketing allows to measure the value derived from each peny spent on the advertisements and on digital assets such as websites and landing pages. The key / basic three measures are
An uplift in the first two measures is indicative of the success of the digital campaign and the last measure “Path of traffic” allows to understand where the targets are arriving coming from. This measure allows modifying and enhancing marketing plans to achieve maximum ROI.
* Results from Digital Marketing Activities of Social Beat Client
Social Beat is glad to announce that our co-founder, Mr. Suneil Chawla, has won the award for Best Digital Marketing Professionals by CMO Council & World Brand Congress. The award was given at the Mobile & Digital Marketing Summit 2014 at The Taj Lands End, Mumbai on November 14th.
The list of the past winners of the award include Viviene Maguire (Director- Leo Burnett), Aditya Pawan (National digital marketing manager- Red Bull India), Venke Sharma (VP-digital marketing, STAR India) & Omer Syed (Head–digital marketing, Times Group).
This is a huge honor for Suneil and Social Beat as it comes close on the heels of another award earlier this year. He was named the Outstanding Digital Person of the Year at the Digital Marketing Conclave & Awards 2014 by ThinkMedia Inc. in July.
Our co-founder, Vikas Chawla, was recently interviewed by LSE Alumni Echo, the alumni magazine of his alma mater. The complete excerpt of the interview, featured in the Nov edition of the magazine, is as follows:
What do you find most interesting about working in the digital industry?
The digital marketing industry by nature is ever evolving. Be it user experience, social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, or Google – it is an area of constant innovation. This means that our team has to constantly keep learning and innovating so that our clients stay ahead of the curve.
The industry is nascent in India which gives us the opportunity to make a profound impact in the sales and revenue of our clients. The internet penetration in India is just 20 per cent and the digital marketing industry is waiting to explode once the penetration reaches 40-50 per cent.
Do you think there is an area of digital strategy that organisations often undervalue?
In India most businesses are devoting just 5-10 per cent of their marketing spends to digital media. They tend to undervalue the return on investment even though the measurement and tracking of results is more seamless in digital compared to traditional advertising. They tend to still rely on traditional marketing channels that have worked for them in the past.
While large brands and enterprises have started to measure and understand the ROI of digital marketing, smaller and mid-sized businesses are still coming to terms with it. We demonstrate it can help in achieving long term results of building a community and building the brand and also short term revenue and lead generation.
What has been the best and most challenging part of starting your own business?
Undoubtedly, the best part of starting out on my own is the ability to impact our clients and their businesses. We are partners in growing their business and this makes it exciting for us as we need to continuously surpass their expectations.
We have been growing 30 per cent quarter on quarter, though it’s from a small base. As we scale up the venture, the greatest challenge will be to outperform this growth while simultaneously ensuring the quality of solutions, along with knowledge sharing and training our team members. In a market like India, growth is bound to happen and we must capitalise. Currently we are a 20-member team; we want our clients to get the same high quality service even when we are a team of 100 with an evolved organisation structure.
What is the most important asset in your business?
Talent. Being in a creative industry, what differentiates us is the talent we have and the creativity of the digital campaigns we come up with. We have a fantastic team and finding the right talent to join this team is one of the most important tasks we have ahead of us.
It’s now five years since you graduated from LSE: what are your experiences as an alumnus of the School?
Since I left LSE in 2009, it’s been an exciting journey. I worked for three years in marketing and strategy across different companies of an Indian conglomerate. I then decided to start out on my own. What I took from from MG428 (Entrepreneurship) at LSE has served me well. We looked at the need in the market and started out with the idea of providing integrated digital marketing solutions with a focus on creating revenue growth for our clients. It was the best decision I have ever taken and it’s been exciting building our start-up and scaling up the team and client base. The network of LSE alumni that I have developed helps immensely, as they are a sounding board for some of the ideas we have.
What did you learn at LSE that has helped you most in your career?
One of the key things I learned at LSE was to understand concepts in their base form and then try to understand how they can impact various scenarios. This has been extremely helpful in understanding our clients and what differentiates them in the market. Also, the sense of curiosity honed at LSE is something we are trying to build into our team. We have a weekly knowledge sharing session where we encourage team members to learn, discuss and share ideas.
Who is your LSE hero?
Professor Paul Willman from the Department of Management. We had some brilliant professors but Paul stood out. His understanding of the role and the conduct of traders in investment banks was brilliant. He could convincingly speak for both sides of the coin and have a plausible argument for and against the traders. His style of teaching always sparked interest in the minds of students. While class mates and study groups make a big difference, it was professors such as Paul that made learning at LSE fun and interesting.
You are an active member of the India – Friends of LSE alumni group. What do enjoy most about your involvement?
Our alumni are from different walks of life and it’s been interesting meeting alumni who are into fields completely unrelated to the one I am in. Meeting like-minded graduates and reliving our LSE days has been fun. It has been especially interesting to attend the LSE TRIUM evening that happens once a year in Chennai. The diversity of TRIUM students and what they have achieved is truly inspiring.
Describe the alumni group in three words…
Fun, dynamic and active.
According to a recent study by eMarketer, India records the highest social networking growth as the number of active social network users in the country has grown by 37.4 percent in 2013. Even though the overall internet penetration is low in India, the number of active social media users in urban India is expected to cross 80 million this year, as opposed to 63 million in 2013. From being online platforms solely used for social interactions, to becoming a significant part of the marketing strategy for brands today, the growth of social media networks like Facebook & Twitter has been tremendous.
Twitter joins Facebook in offering “Buy” button to directly buy on these platforms
As the pressure is mounting on these social media networks to prove that they are successful sales channels, they are constantly making efforts to modify & introduce new advertising options. The latest buzz is that Twitter is following the footsteps of Facebook in testing a ‘Buy’ button that will now let users shop from their social media sites itself, without having to navigate to the retailer’s website.
Facebook’s Buy Button – Convenience or Clutter?
Facebook officially announced in July about the testing of a ‘Buy’ button that would appear in newsfeed ads and page posts. As of now, it is only being tested with a few small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.
This is not Facebook’ first attempt to crack e-commerce as they previously introduced the ‘Gifts’ feature which was shut down within a year. Even though the earlier attempts were unsuccessful, the team is keen on working on other commercial purchase features within Facebook, with ‘Buy’ button being the recent result of it.
This button is expected to provide an added level of convenience for online shoppers to buy products from merchants within the Facebook framework itself. The customer can use his credit card on file with Facebook and make purchases directly. The option to save your payment details or just checkout without saving is also available. However, Facebook claims that the entire functionality has robust safety & privacy options and won’t pass on the payment details to any of its other advertisers.
The main objective of introducing this functionality is to increase the conversion rates and the return on investments for its advertisers. Not to forget that this new development will put them in direct competition with e-commerce sites like Amazon, also providing a new avenue for Facebook to gain some revenues through sales and payment processing.
Will Twitter Commerce reveal your identity?
Two months after the announcement from Facebook, Twitter revealed about testing its own “Buy’ button to facilitate sales & increase revenue. This facility to make purchases directly from tweets is available only to a small set of consumers in the U.S as of now. It is now being experimented with selling limited edition merchandises, charities, and concert tickets and is expected to grow with more product options based on the initial testing feedback.
Launching on the mobile platform first, Twitter says the purchase process will only have few simple steps & is completely secure. The user can simply click on the buy button, enter product details, choose payment option, enter shipping details and make a purchase. This payment data used by the user can also help in revealing the real names & details of its anonymous Twitter profiles, a move that can be greatly beneficial for marketers. However, Twitter denied the possibility of this and emphasized on working with Stripe to make the entire transaction completely safe & private.
Here’s how the marketers can benefit
The previous attempts made by these social media platforms to explore e-commerce have not been so successful. Pinterest, the only platform to have topped Facebook in driving referral traffic to retailer sites has made promising developments, but still lags behind when it comes to investment & adoption. If the ‘Buy’ option proves to be highly beneficial for Facebook & Twitter, brands that focus on time-limited offers and on-off promotions have chances of getting high investment returns. However, the performance of direct ‘Buy’ button when it comes to high value products & the ones that need more research & time is uncertain.
Will privacy be a concern for the buyers?
Social media platforms have been playing a major role in influencing the decision making process of its users. These networking sites possess large amounts of data about their consumer preferences which helps them to come up with tailor made posts and promoted ads. The ‘Buy’ option to be introduced will facilitate the quick shift from a promoted post or tweet to a shopping cart which saves a lot of time & effort for its customers. However, privacy & security around financial data is something that these social networking sites are constantly trying to assure its consumers.
Future of Online Shopping is here
For both retailers and social media sites, the objective is to successfully merge online commerce with mobile & social activity of people, without obstructing their user experience with unwanted targeted ads filling their timelines. Hence, if the testing of ‘Buy’ button turns out to be successful, it would open a whole new avenue for these platforms to not only influence our social life, but our shopping patterns too.
The entry barrier to starting a digital agency or an app & web development company is low and this has lead to the birth of companies with different focus and capabilities. So when we started out in 2012, it was imperative for us to figure out what is our USP, leveraging our strengths. We knew we wanted to create a full service digital agency which was not only creative but also delivered strong business results for our clients, in terms of revenue growth and lead generation. Today, our agency is a leading digital agency, with strong results in Ecommerce, Entertainment, Real Estate and Healthcare.
Your Brand & the first crucial steps
The first decision possibly is whether to start on your own or look for Co-Founder/s. While selecting a co-founder, one should be ready to professionally complement each other in terms of working style, team handling style etc. Moreover, one should see if the long term personal and professional goals along with risk taking appetite are in sync with each other. For us it was easier as Suneil (the co-founder and my brother) were involved in another venture and were aware of each other’s working style.
A key element when starting the venture is finalising n the legal structure for the entity, which includes sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership, partnership, or a Private Limited. We finally chose a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) to create the venture as a separate legal entity which ensuring appropriate governance.
Coming up with your brand name (and being able to find that domain), logo & your own website can be a time consuming process. We brainstormed on ideas with the domain registrar’s website open in order to check whether the domain is available. More importantly, the brand name needs to communicate what differentiates you from the other agencies.
Getting the first client
Even before we incorporated the company, we had our first client. Suneil & I had experience in digital marketing and with a small team, the journey of Social Beat had begun. Having worked in different companies prior to starting up, both of us had strong professional networks that we started tapping into to get our first set of clients. Given our value of guaranteed business results from online marketing, we were able to quickly ramp up to a team of 10 members in a year and to 20 members now.
Apart from word of mouth, online marketing proved to be a pivotal tool for us as well and it has helped us scale up our client base. We initial leveraged social media and later on Google PPC, Remarketing and a strong content & SEO strategy. We practice all the tools and strategize that we propose to clients, and we treat ourselves as a client internally so that the content & marketing strategy can help us get more clients.
Scaling up the venture
Growth is the critical oxygen for a startup. The key drivers for the growth in any start-up are the initial team members. For a digital agency, the key roles include a strong design & development team which can create responsive and engaging websites; Social Media & Community Managers who can help build the brand for clients with the support of creative designers; search Engine specialists, Advertising and Analytics Specialists.
Building the team with individuals having the right mindset and skillset is a continuous challenge and needs to be a top priority. At our agency, each team member takes strong ownership. This has resulted in many internal referrals for hiring, which also ensures the right fit for the team. We have also tried other channels for recruitment – HR consultants (some which are specific to start-ups), Linkedin, Word of Mouth and Job Sites etc. Depending on the role, different channels work better.
Given the evolving digital space and the need for strong growth, training becomes a critical role and we are working on putting in practices to ensure cross functional learning.
Being ready for the big challenges
Doing a startup is one big challenge and if you love to take on challenges, there is nothing like starting a venture or joining an early stage venture. We regularly have to address key challenges: Like setting up of processes to scale the organisation, knowledge sharing and training to stay updated on the latest developments in the digital marketing space, surpassing client expectations and delivering strong results. The energy of the team is what drives excellence every day. So, if you’re planning to venture out, choose your team wisely. There is no better day to kickstart than today.
This article was originally published on Social Samosa
In today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape, digital marketing has become an indispensable part of a business’ overall marketing strategy. Most marketers today have understood the importance of digital marketing and the mammoth difference that a well-executed, result-oriented digital strategy could make to the overall growth and profitability of a business. Going by the Marketing Budgets 2014 Report, 71% of companies surveyed are planning to increase the amount they invest in digital marketing this year.
Crafting a Result-Oriented Digital Strategy
Crafting a winning digital plan entails understanding the business in and out, clearly defining its goals and drawing up a profile of its target audience. All these differ from business to business and hence there is no one size fits all strategy. However, there are certain key ingredients listed below which must be effectively incorporated into every digital strategy to successfully drive business growth.
1. Website Design
The website is, and should be, the focal point of every digital strategy as this is where traffic from every other digital marketing channel would be directed. A poorly designed website can ruin most of the effort being put in on the other channels. Listed below are some key questions to ask, while checking if your website is optimized to convert maximum visitors into leads/customers.
2. Search Engine Optimisation
Amongst all other components of a digital strategy, SEO plays a major role in customer acquisition and sales. Almost every customer begins their search for a product/service on a search engine and ranking high in search results, for the right keyword, can drive a large volume of organic (un-paid) traffic to your website.
With paid advertising getting increasingly expensive across channels, it is essential that every business invests in SEO to attract a good percentage of organic traffic, reduce the overall customer-acquisition cost and boost profitability.
Maintaining a blog which constantly shares valuable, informative, engaging and relevant content plays a pivotal role in attracting the right kind of audience to your website. Apart from this, it also establishes your business as an expert or thought leader in the space and builds trust with prospective customers. Apart from the fact that a good blog can be an excellent source of inbound traffic and leads, the content helps your SEO efforts as well.
4. Social Media
Social media is an extremely effective medium for branding as well as lead generation and developing a cutting-edge social media plan should be a major part of your digital strategy. The plan would entail clarifying business objectives for social media, putting together a content plan (audience analysis, content categories, post frequency, post timings) and determining the main metrics and KPIs that would be used to consistently set targets and measure success
5. Paid Advertising – Google Adwords/Facebook Ads/LinkedIn Ads/Retargeting
Paid advertising is essential, especially for businesses that are in the startup stage, to help get the word out and extend their products/services to a greater audience. It can help get consistent and valuable traffic to the website while SEO and offline efforts are yet to begin showing results. For established businesses too, paid advertising is an excellent customer acquisition and branding channel and should be given due attention while drafting the digital strategy.
While paid search campaigns on Google Adwords offer the benefit of being highly targeted - displaying ads to people actively looking for your product/service, retargeting campaigns as well as campaigns on the Google Display Network, Facebook and LinkedIn offer a wide range of targeting that could help you reach out to the right audience with ease. Promoted posts on Facebook and sponsored updates on LinkedIn too help get the message out to a larger audience.
Each medium’s relevance and effectiveness for the business in question must be analyzed and ad spends allocated accordingly. Spends can then be re-allocated to the medium that is performing best and delivering the best results.
6. Email Marketing
With the growing popularity of social media, email would seem to be losing out on its sheen as an effective digital marketing channel. However, this is far from the truth and email marketing is still as effective as ever. If statistics are anything to go by, 95% of consumers use email and 91% check their inbox at least once a day. Also, a recent study by McKinsey found that e-mail is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers with the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases being at least three times that of social media and the average order value too being about 17 percent higher.
7. Analytics & Reporting
As the digital strategy is being executed, it is of paramount importance to constantly analyze results and compare them with the set KPIs to check if all campaigns are on track to yielding the desired results. It is therefore essential to draw up a list of key metrics, for each of the channels listed above, that will be monitored and measured at pre-set intervals.
Keeping a close tab on analytics data can help drive the strategy in the right direction and correct any errors early enough before a considerable amount of money has been spent.
Right Integration is the key
Each ingredient in the digital plan has its own unique benefits and, in order to gain real value, they will have to be perfectly integrated keeping in mind the broader long-term goals of the business. It is this seamless integration that will eventually determine how successful the strategy will be and how quickly it will begin showing desirable results.
Offline Integration matters too
Digital Marketing definitely has its benefits but it still cannot replace offline marketing in entirety, at least for now. Forward-thinking marketers have understood this and are working on integrating offline and online marketing efforts into one synchronous campaign for a powerful lasting impact. Things as simple as on online check-in help customers communicate their physical interaction with your business, to the online world . Ensuring that your digital strategy integrates seamlessly with your offline efforts will go a long way in enhancing the bottom line of your business and boosting your ROI.
The Team at Social Beat is excited to announce that Social Beat is now an accredited Google Partner for Google Adwords/Pay Per click Advertising.
Our newly acquired Google Partner badge certifies us as a company trusted by Google which is capable of providing the highest levels of service to clients.
We have fulfilled Google’s three main requirements for being a Google Partner
Google requires the team handling Adwords to prove their advanced AdWords knowledge by getting certified in AdWords. All team members handling Adwords campaigns at Social Beat are certified by Google to have the required levels of competency and proficiency to run successful campaigns.
Google Partners are required to demonstrate that they have mastered the essentials covered in the Google certification exams and are maximizing their clients' performance by implementing Google’s recommended best practices in client accounts.
Google reviews Partner agencies’ client accounts to make sure that their clients are getting excellent service, including the type and frequency of the changes being made, client retention, and whether they're making the most of their clients' budgets.
A minimum spend of at least USD 10,000 over the last 90 calendar days is required to indicate the state of an agency’s business health.
Being awarded the honour of being in the elite group of Google-approved marketing agencies reaffirms our expertise and ensures that our practices conform to Google’s advertising guidelines and are proven to drive ROI.
Contact us to get your Adwords campaign started or to optimize an existing campaign for better ROI.
Google India has launched an ambitious initiative to empower women in India. This initiative aims to bring 50 million Indian women online by the end of 2014. On August 20th 2013, Mark Zuckerberg released a draft plan titled “Is Connectivity a Human Right?” that explained in depth how to make world more open and connected. Exactly three months later, now, Google India comes up with this commendable initiative to make women aware the benefits of Internet and how it could uplift their lives and their families.
The Digital Divide
As per the IAMAI report, the number of Internet users in India has reached 205 million this October. We are all set to overtake the United States as the second largest country in the world after China in online penetration. Yet, only 30% of the women users in India have access to Internet which is a stark contrast. Google aims to decrease this disparity by bringing 50 million women users online by the end of 2014. But, that is definitely not going to be a cakewalk taking into account the online penetration in rural India. In rural India, there were 68 million internet users in October and it is estimated to reach 72 million by December 2013, says the IAMAI report. Also, 40% of the internet users use community service centers and cyber cafes in rural India. This clearly indicates the lack of access points to surf the web in rural India.
About the initiative
‘Help Women Get Online’ is a website launched by Google to kick-start this campaign. Google has also planned for a mass media campaign including a TV commercial to promote its exclusively designed website. The website has a number of step-by-step guides on various topics including computer basics, internet skills, chat & email and watching videos online. Each topic has different chapters ranging from how to start and shut down your computer, how to create an e-mail account and of course, how to download Chrome. In addition, the website also offers contents on various interests of women such as childcare tips, household tips, beauty tips and cooking/recipes tips. It also provides assistance through toll free helpline at 1800-41-999-77. All learning materials and video tutorials are available both in Hindi and English.
To accomplish the target, Google has joined hands with a number of partners like HUL, Johnson & Johnson, Axis Bank and Babyoye. For example, Shaadi.com is the partner to offer Relationship Tips. So, whenever someone clicks on Relationship Tips, they are bound to visit Shaadi.com which is nothing but more visibility for the partner’s website. Interestingly, Google also has a “Partner with us” option in the website to invite brands to partner with Google to provide internet access points across the country and help spread awareness about the campaign.
All we can do is educate the women in our family and our neighborhood about the basics of Internet. That would be one of the first steps to empower women and for an inclusive growth in the digital world.
Social Beat got coverage in Financial Express today on an article talking about how Diwali 2013 has been for e-retailers. As we mentioned in the article, the festive season this could could be better. While companies are offering discounts and freebies in the hope that the next two weeks are better in terms of a revenue uptick, the overall sentiment has been low.
You can read the full article in Financial Express: Dazzling deals from e-tailers this Diwali
The Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s southern chapter organized a seminar on “Social Networks - Find a new and profitable way to enhance your brand equity, consumer loyalty and your sales" today at The Leela Palace, Chennai.
Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat and Alexandre Dorso, the Production Manager of KRDS conducted the seminar and moderated the panel discussion which had interesting insights and facts on various Social Media platforms.
The meeting of Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1995 at Stanford has to be the most historical rendezvous ever in the online world. Technically, the duo has been in business together since 1996 and that makes it 17 years. But then, Google filed its incorporation only in 1998 and they celebrate 15 years today. From being an academic research project (Back Rub) to literally running a monopoly in the internet domain, it has phenomenally come a long way.
In perspective, we explored few fascinating facts about Google in terms of revenue. Google’s revenue in 2012 was roughly US $ 50 billion and it’s ahead of the GDP of 89 individual countries in the world in terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). And also, Google earns 2.7 % of India’s GDP (nominal).
1998: The Google website originally hosted on Stanford University servers.
Evolution of Google’s search page from 1998 to 2013: In the RHS of the image, you could see the empty space without any information in 1998 for the keyword “google.”
This is how a search page in 2013 looks when you type the same keyword “google” – A revolutionary change has happened from auto complete, universal search, instant search, knowledge graph to finally including intelligence features in 2013.
Google’s first doodle for its birthday came in 2002. There’s an interesting fact about when Google has been celebrating its birthdays since 2002.
2002 – Sep 27
2003 – Sep 8
2004 – Sep 7
2005 – Sep 26
2006 - 13 – Sep 27
Do you guys observe a pattern here? We’re not sure if Google uses a specific algorithm to celebrate its birthday every year :) Since Google has finally zeroed in on September 27th as its birthday for the past 8 years, we hope it continues in the future too. Happy Birthday Google :)
The day started with the long journey to SRM, situated in the outskirts of Chennai. "Aaruush" is SRM's techno-management fest (but they do have a pro show; mind you) and 'Unconference' is the event for which Vikas Chawla was invited to be one of the panelists. Down to SRM auditorium. We're warmly welcomed by the hospitality team and met one of the other panelists, Raghav Srinivas, an interesting persona with interests ranging from neural science to social media to philosophy. And in next few minutes, we're duly joined by the other panelists. One of them is a lawyer in High Court, Aruna Ganesh, who holds the credit for handling Chennai's first cyber crime case. And the other one is a fascinating person, J Walt, a professional who performs on virtual reality video concerts (also, he is the one doing the pro show). And, our own Vikas Chawla, a multi-faceted personality who is experienced in Marketing, Sales, HR and currently the Co-Founder of Social Beat. That's all about the diversified panelists.
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The screen goes up "UNCONFERENCE : Social Media - SOS or LOL" (You guys can always google SOS and find out what it is, I did that too). And the whole conference was moderated by a student called Arvind, who was articulate enough to put forth what the audience thought and kept the momentum going. For most of the time, the discussion was confined only to Facebook and other social media platforms were not exploited at all, let alone twitter.
The debate started off with the clichéd "How many of you check out Facebook the moment you wake up and before you go to bed" question, to which except the wall (not the Facebook wall) in the auditorium, everyone raised their hands. Let me quote few excerpts and anecdotes shared thereafter. Vikas said "Facebook says the most visited page of a user is their own profile." Raghav added the brain connection to this, "The impact of pre-frontal cortex plays a huge role in our subconscious thinking." Then, the discussion gradually moved on to the grey area - the legalities governing internet in India- which was neatly elucidated by Aruna Ganesh. Most of the audience was not aware of the IT Act 66A and the legal implications. Thanks to my Twitter TL during the most happening days, it didn't seem Greek and Roman to me at least. Aruna spoke in length various issues concerning the netizens and quoted few brilliant examples. For instance, she told "A person from Oman filed a complaint with the Chennai police stating that he was guaranteed employment by a party here. He submitted the e-mails sent to him by the employer. The cyber crime branch tracked the IP address to the complainant's personal laptop. Then came the shocking revelation that the complainee was found to be none other than his own son." J.Walt quipped on this bizarre act as "What a rotten kid! How messed up this family is." He pitched in good amount of humor time and again that left us all in splits.
The crux of the discussion and also the crucial takeaway was the IT Act 66A. Our ignorance on the law of the land governing social media was a grim reminder to all. Also, there was an interesting student in the audience who actually echoed everyone's feelings by saying "I post a really good and sensible status - 10 likes. And my girl shares it - 100 likes." And he also questioned why people are not taking responsibilities. Vikas made a quick reply saying "Responsibility has to come from within. You should be the change you wish to see in the world."
Unconference finally came to an end with various thoughts and conclusions consolidated and narrated perfectly by Arvind. So, who had the last laugh? Social Media :)
YourStory.in covers the story of how Vikas Co-Founded Social Beat,
After working for 6 years across different industries and different roles I finally took the plunge into entrepreneurship. When I quit my corporate job in September 2012, I had lots of ideas, but no clue of which idea I would finally embark upon. The ideas revolved around media buying, skill development and some around digital marketing. I finally chose digital marketing after evaluating the market and seeing the dearth of result-oriented digital agencies who don’t focus just on the creative aspect of digital marketing but on the business aspect as well. So, with just one client and no website of our own, Social Beat was born in December 2012 with a focus to create business results through digital initiatives for our clients.
Read the full article on "How did I startup" on YourStory
Digital Academy India as the name suggests is a academy that was started recently to focus on training students and professionals for the internet and digital industry. With Digital Marketing Institute, Ireland and Internet Marketing Association, USA being their program partners they aim to develop the skills and knowledge required for a digital marketeer. The focus of Digital Academy is to blend academic and practical learning so that the trained candidates are industry ready.
As part of their initiative, they have formed the Digital Academy Industry Council, to engage with digital agencies, and digital marketing companies to understand the talent requirement in the industry. The Industry Council of which Vikas (Co-Founder of Social Beat) is a member will be contributing to the learning ecosystem of an ever growing community of Digital Marketing professionals.
Social Beat is privileged to be associated with Digital Academy to build the next generation of digital marketing professionals in India. For more information email Digital Academy India.
Our advisor, Jagdish Chawla was recently featured in the Small Medium Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find the full interview below and can read the article on Entrepreneur India here.
Do you think it is a good idea for retired individuals to go for second employment in start up firms
Startups are usually started by young enterprising individuals. Having senior advisors and mentors will ensure that the young team can leverage their experience and pursue faster and profitable growth.
Since start ups generally face a talent crunch, do you think retired individuals with their age and experience can help in serving the firm on their advisory board or provide valuable mentorship/training?
Absolutely. Experienced professionals have seen a lot of business cycles and have worked with people with different personality types and motivation. Bringing such experience to a startup can only be helpful.
Do you think it is viable to encourage such post retirement opportunities, keeping in mind that India is mushrooming with start ups?
A platform to connect Advisors/Mentors with such young startups would be very useful. There are angel investors and startup communities, but none for retirees.
Do you think there is any downside towards hiring ex-servicemen?
None I can think of. Its a win-win situation for both.
Research shows that there is a wide mismatch, a “generation gap” between the brains behind a start up firm and an ex-serviceman? Have you faced any such notable hindrances? If yes, have you to managed to overcome them and still be an active member of the firm?
Opportunities today are much higher than say 20 years ago. This has meant that youngsters are a lot more ambitious. While growth is critical, young startups should also focus on business fundamentals and cash flow management.
In what measure have you provided growth opportunities to the start up firm and helped it in its foundation days?
End of the day its the founding team which does all the work. As advisors, we can provide a good sounding board for key decisions
Gartner has recently reported that across USA, companies spend 10.4% of their revenue in marketing of which 2.5% of revenue (or almost 25% of their entire marketing spend) on an average is spent on their digital marketing efforts. The more interesting finding of this survey is that this number is expected to rice to 9% this year. The survey was done with over 250 marketing executives from across 6 industries in USA towards end of 2012. The complete findings of the Gartner's US digital marketing spending report can be found on their website.
The largest chunk of digital marketing spend went to digital advertising, possibly with Google Adwords leading on this spend. Such increased spends are increasingly being seen even in India. However this also means that ROI on digital marketing needs to be more specific and tangible than ever before. The digital marketing spends and efforts need to be measured with sales growth, brand recall and actual market penetration.
Gartner also reported an increase in spends on content management and content driving marketing. So while digital advertising pushes customers to the brand, content marketing actually pulls customers and creates a community where brands can interact and excite customers.