Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of influencing consumers. Social media serves the purpose just right. Due to the newness of the medium, till now marketers had been functioning at a superficial level. However, now they seem to be digging deeper.
According to Farshad Family, Managing Director, Nielsen Media, India, “Measuring the effectiveness of a social media campaign is not just about the number of fans, but about the number of unique people talking about the brands.” Marketers are realising that every consumer is now becoming a storyteller. It was up to the marketer to encourage more engagement and contribution.
“There is a lag between the time consumers spent online and the ad money spent online,” observed Kent Wertime, COO, Ogilvy & Mather, Asia Pacific. There might be an underinvestment in the medium, but certain marketers seem to be getting their approach towards social media right. According to a recent research by Nielsen, Samsung mobile is the top social media brand in the country. It is followed by Ford, Maruti and Suzuki, Nike and Flipkart, which together form the top five socially active and effective brands in India.
The secret ingredient of success
The auto category features in the list of the top 20 brands most frequently. Family attributes this trend to two reasons, “Firstly, people love talking about their cars. Secondly, there is an aspirational element attached to automobiles. So, people love talking about the cars they want.”
The secret ingredient to success for all of these brands has been content. Wertime commented, “Content is the digital bait. The greatest challenge for marketers is that content on the social medium gets worn out very quickly. The solution would be to find more human content.”
Gaining more customer involvement is another way of bringing consumers on board. Once a brand gets its consumers talking, they become brand loyalists and advocates. Every consumer, hence becomes a relevant owner of content and the trust in the brand drives them to sharing their experiences and stories.
Shopping goes social
As marketers build up trustworthiness in social media channels, consumers are becoming comfortable with the idea of allowing social technologies to transform their shopping experiences. There are various players in the e-commerce space who are making the best of this trend.
Ishita Swarup, CEO, 99labels, remarked, “Social is permanent. People might change their e-mail IDs, but it is rare that they change their social IDs. It thus becomes an important platform to engage consumers.” However, Krithiga Reddy, Director Online Operations, Facebook India, felt, “There are over 46 million Indians on Facebook alone, but marketers are using only a fraction of it. Just having a Facebook page is not enough. One has to understand the importance of the unique social ID.”
E-commerce has been dominated by players dealing in low-involvement categories. But this is changing now. Ramesh Chembath, Asst Vice President, Head - Marketing and Global Trade, Godrej, throws light on the change that has occurred in the consumer buying behaviour when it comes to high-involvement goods like electronics. He said, “Consumers today are not mere followers, but are becoming more and more experimentative. They do not ask close peers before buying a product, but go online to read reviews. Social sites serve this purpose much better.”
Reddy recommended learning some lessons from the local ‘kiranawala’, who customised the product needs and conversations to every consumer. She said, “Through social media, brands must create the personal connection like a local ‘kirana’ shop does. Marketers must try driving social campaigns around brand promise.”
Thus, in all social campaigns that brands plan, building trust should be key, because as Wertime said, “70 per cent consumers still say that advertisers can’t be trusted.”
The speakers were part of presentations at Ad:Tech conclave, which was held in New Delhi over two days on February 23-23, 2012.