In a report presented at the IndiaSocial Summit 2010, held in Delhi on December 17, 2010, by Blogworks Founder Rajesh Lalwani and Karthik Nagarajan, Director of Online, Nielsen Company, the duo showcased some of the highlights from the second edition of the India Social Media Report. The findings of the report will be available online later, but for now, can be purchased through Blogworks. The highlights themselves reveal a lot of interesting data about how companies that are interested in the digital medium, particularly those involved in social media, are using and planning for the medium.
Nagarajan said, “Until now, we have had to evangelise the market, but we now have empirical evidence to prove the value of social media. We carried out two months of research and have seen significant change in the outlook of brands over the last 12 months. Through the survey, we see that for the first time, there is significant commitment to social media at the CEO level.”
Lalwani added, “Social media was originally just a feel good move for many people. Today though, there is a focus that is moving from brand awareness to leveraging social content. There has been a lot of growth in scale through the changing access to technology and through the growth of user generated content.”
Today, according to Lalwani, mobile was the key to showing the potential of the Internet, and the changing scenario over the next year, he felt, would drive this point home to all industry watchers. The company carried out research across 499 brands and agencies, including some individuals like celebrities, and said that there had been a 74 per cent increase in the adoption of social media strategies over the last two years, and almost 90 per cent of brands now planned for social media.
Of the interactions, the biggest chunk is still directed towards addressing customers (92 per cent of the respondents) and 78 per cent of the respondents use social media for B2C. Marketing, online reputation management and lead generation are the key areas where companies are using social media.
The focus was on consumer driven programmes, Lalwani said, but added, “The B2B services use LinkedIn answers, Answers.com and forums to answer questions as well, which is a promising sign. Forums take more time and effort than microblogging or social networks, but also bring in important long term planning.”
A predictable finding is that mobile continues to grow strongly as a sector, and that SMS is still the top channel for communicating with customers, though the addition of new devices and services has also made an impact, and 40 per cent of the brands surveyed were in a transition phase on how they used technology.
The key right now is growth, not monetisation. As the number of users grows and the communities consolidate, commercial opportunities will only grow in the coming months. Nagarajan said, “Growing participants is more important right now than brand awareness and sentiment. Right now, we need to build to a critical mass of users, and then e-commerce will grow rapidly.”