Ernst and Young (EY) recently launched the a report on trends in social media marketing in India. They went to about 50 companies across the country to understand how are marketers and digital agencies leveraging social media. While most of these companies are mid to large size, it throws up some interesting insights. As EY calls it, these are the "social media-savvy organisations", who are possibly by and far fewer in percentage terms compared to other countries.
The study interestingly also looks at how does an organisation measure social media marketing efforts, and also what could be the future of social media. Though the report is 27 pages long, we have given a summary of the most interesting insights:
Social Media Usage in India
95.7% of the social media-savvy organizations that were surveyed by EY use social media to build communities (more engaging for the consumers), while 76.1% use social media as a platform to highlight brand news (which in our view, may not necessarily be as engaging as building a community). In terms of generating leads, only 43.5% of the organisations use it to actively help their sales efforts.
Not surprisingly, Facebook tops the charts as the most important and most influential social media channel. There is a wide gap in terms of usage between FB and the 2nd and 3rd ranked platforms Twitter & Youtube. The study also shows that around 29% of the organisations don't plan to use Google Plus in the near future. This is in spite of the fact that Google+ Local is increasingly becoming more integrated with Google Search (we will be writing more on this in our future posts). We agree with Prasant Nair of Lighthouse insights when he says "I believe integrating networks over social media is the future for Indian brands.". This is surely the way forward and even all digital efforts need to be integrated with offline marketing efforts.
Content & Consumer Engagement on Social Media
The study validates a known fact that brands in India show special favor for their online fans and consumers. It could be in the form of prompt customer service or in the form of giving special deals. EY also quotes the According to Lighthouse Insights study, where in the period from 1 January –31 May 2012, out of Airtel’s 34,991 tweets, 33,928 were replies. For Vodafone, out of 1,015 tweets,1,013 were replies.
Blogging and Content will be the driver for social media going forward and the study shows that less than half the organisations actively engaged with the blogger community, inspite of a platform like Indiblogger. So what kind of content is currently going on the social media platforms? A majority of the updates are generic updates as opposed to brand led updates. This increases the connect with the fans. This could be showing the tired cheerleaders after Gayle's 175.
Social Media Advertising & Spends
Close to 83% of the organisations surveyed said they advertise on social media to promote their online campaigns and also for overall brand visibility. 89% of felt the results were achieved. But this is an interesting question to ask as to how do they measure the ROI on social media? Disappointingly 81% said that they measure results on social media through platform specific parameters like Likes, Plus Ones etc. Almost half the surveyed organisations have not measured sales, leads or revenue from social media. This lack of clarity on ROI is surprising because they spend between 1% to 5% of their marketing budget on social media marketing. Inspite of there being no result focussed approach, the surveyed organisations are optimistic about the future of social media. It does brands engage with consumers and create communities but a result oriented approach is required. You can see some of our case studies on healthcare and ecommerce of how an ROI approach has helped achieved desired results for client.
More on individual sections of the report soon.