Social media in India is still in its nascent stage. Brands are just beginning to understand the power of social media, both for the purpose of community building and for online reputation management. India right now is on the cusp of a digital revolution, with the digital consumer base expected to grow from 60 million to 200 million in the next 3-4 years’ time. And social media will be leading this digital revolution. India already has the second largest LinkedIn user base and perhaps ranks among the top five countries are far as Facebook is concerned.
Asia’s biggest Marketing, Media and Advertising Congress, AdAsia 2011, will provide the platform to chronicle change of a significant magnitude and provide a glimpse of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for management, marketing, advertising, media and communications professionals. Presence on all the leading social media sites has become the norm for any business. We are living in a highly networked business environment where the consumer is king. Word of mouth, which was always the most plausible and powerful medium of communication, has become even stronger on the back of Internet and social media. Given the speed and magnitude of reach made possible by Internet technology, reputations can be made and broken in the twinkling of an eye. So, you need to be out there communicating your story in real time. I think the evolution from ‘Why Social Media’ to ‘How to get it right’ has already started and we should see the first few success stories come out of India soon.
In the light of the flamboyant emergence of social media in India, the choice was an easy one; social engagement is the way to go and AdAsia 2011 is using social media as a support channel to create a buzz in the run up to the event. Platforms like Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are being used to build a community of branding and marketing professionals and foster active discussions in the run up to the event. Engagement activities have also been launched on the AdAsia 2011 Facebook page specifically targeting young professionals, which will allow participants to showcase their talent.
There are in all three contests using multiple platforms to garner maximum participation. On Twitter, participants are urged to interpret the AdAsia 2011 theme ‘Uncertainty: The New Certainty’ on Twitter: TweetUrThought using the #AdAsia2011 tag.The best tweet will be awarded a Conference Registration Waiver. [Url: http://twitter.com/#!/adasia2011,Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/adasia2011]
Similarly on Facebook, AdAsia 2011 is running a contest targeted at the B-schools, where students need to upload a 10-slide presentation on their take of the theme. [Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AdAsia2011]
The third contest is targeted at the young talent from advertising agencies. Teams comprising three members in the age group of 22-29 years have to create a two-minute video around the conference theme. The videos will be judged by a committee chaired by the Organising Committee of AdAsia 2011. The best video or film will be featured at the gala evening at AdAsia 2011.The objective is to create a buzz around the AdAsia 2011 theme ‘Uncertainty: The New Certainty’ and to infuse the conference with a talk value for a much wider audience. LinkedIn allows a brand to manifest in multiple ways and while a typical page does not allow very active two-way communication. Its manifestation is closer to that of a website. Also, LinkedIn already has many groups around branding, marketing and advertising. On the other hand, a LinkedIn profile allows a deeper level of engagement. Hence, the choice to use a LinkedIn profile and engage with existing active LinkedIn groups.
Another important forum being addressed in the AdAsia 2011 Social Campaign is the Blog. It’s a very important platform from the perspective of generating thought leadership. While Facebook updates and Tweets have a limited shelf life, blog content has a lengthier shelf life and can be used to demonstrate true thought leadership. Well-known industry leaders have been invited to contribute their guest blog on the theme of the conference and these blogs will be showcased on the main blog site. While certain categories like FMCG may not be very amenable to blog-based communication, blogs can play a very important role when it comes to in-depth intellectual conversation... which is what AdAsia 2011 is all about.
(Madhukar Kamath is MD & CEO, Mudra Group, and Chairman of the Organising Committee for AdAsia 2011.)