Of likes & love: How brands are using social media for the right connect

A look at how brands are leveraging social media and what experts say are the upcoming trends

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Jul 2, 2018 8:58 AM

While every day is essentially a social media day in the present times, June 30th 2018 marked the ninth annual global celebration of the official Social Media Day.

Social Media Day originated in USA but is now acknowledged worldwide. The idea behind celebrating the day is to recognise and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.

Today, we can’t imagine our life without social media. In fact, marketers and brands are also leveraging it in a big way to reach out to consumers in every possible manner. With mobile internet users in India touching 478 million as per a recent IMAI report, digital media has emerged strongly to become an important element of the marketing mix. It has opened up vast opportunities for brands to reach out to a wider set of audience and allowed marketers to make deeper connections with them.

Indian companies have also moved into this space aggressively, and have been producing good campaigns. In the past, we have seen digital campaigns that were quirky, emotional, and carried message for a good cause. Campaigns such as #MeToo, #TouchofCare by Vicks India, #AlarmBajnesePehleJaagoRe by TATA Tea encouraged people across the globe to voice their opinions.

As the world celebrates Social Media Day, we ask experts from the domain about how the space is evolving; upcoming trends and how brands can use this tool more effectively.

Abdulla Basha, Co-Founder, Social Frontier

Facebook’s organic reach has declined. With the change in Facebook algorithm, trending content has been given more weight. Therefore, audience is able to see the content that is more relevant to them. Instagram has become a compulsory space that brands cannot ignore and has also given them an opportunity to reach audience organically.
The industry will be witnessing changes in Google products that will simplify it. Double Click Advertiser and Google Analytics 360 will be clubbed under one term ‘Google Marketing Platform’, DoubleClick for publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange will become Google Ads Manager.

However, the volatile nature of social media has made digital marketing a challenge. Apart from incurring cost in producing quality content, the marketers will also have to spend a lot on content promotion across social media. With the introduction of more sophisticated ways to reach out to the right audience at the right time, marketers have to rethink their content marketing strategy. On World Social Media day, what needs to be understood is that for a brand, it is the affinity, loyalty and authenticity associated with them that matters.

Gopa Kumar, EVP, Isobar India

Social media is an ever-evolving subject. The way audience communicate and interact with each other has changed ever since the advent of internet. The trends in social media are also changing with each passing day. There’s so much on the horizon in the social media arena now and in future. The need of the hour for brands is to figure out the measurability and ROI of these social platforms. Time spent on social platforms is set to increase. Hence, this will always be the platform of choice for brands. But how one sets out to engage and with what kind of content will be the key to a successful social media strategy.

N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research

Social media has lost much of its sheen in current times. Privacy issues, unrestricted data collection, poor advertising standards, brands abandoning advertisers due to misplaced placements, fake news, spread of social unrest, obtuse online agreements and interventions, selective sharing, are just among a few problems plaguing the social media platform. 

The trust in social media has diminished considerably and people use it only because there are very few alternatives available to remain connected to the larger world. It is only a matter of time when a non-violative social media concept emerges. Once advertising stops being the primary source of income for social media, perhaps a more acceptable model will emerge. Social media should be, as it initially began, to be a social connector, not a personal disruptor.

Take a look at some examples of how well brands are using this medium:


Foodpanda has been looking at innovative ways to engage with consumers, whether it is 25 years of Jurassic Park, footballer Sunil Chhetri’s triumph or viral video ‘Chai pi lo’. The brand usually tries to connect with users through quirky social media engagement initiatives such as Spot the Panda, LSD (Love for Shakes and Desserts), Power Play during IPL or virtual food festival. 

For its ‘Spot the Panda’ campaign, brand mascot panda went missing from all social media properties of Foodpanda. The brand then ran a campaign, both online and offline, and appealed to people to find him. It urged people to click pictures of the panda wherever they could spot him and post the image on their social media handle with #SpotThePanda. The campaign was a hit as it reached out to 1 million+ people. Around 2,500 people participated in ‘Spot the Panda’ contest. The campaign managed to engage almost 30,000 people online and offline.


ixigo has been leveraging social media in terms of organic reach, quality engagement and precise targeting for its train app. Republic Day earlier this year seemed like the perfect time to launch the campaign ‘Train mein hai ghar wali baat’ to celebrate train travels in India. The video celebrates how Indian Railways unites the country and its people. ixigo’s campaign video encapsulates the warmth and emotion of Indians with moments and situations that everyone would have experienced on a train trip. 

The campaign video received over 15.7+ million views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, with a total of 27 million impressions and an engagement of 6,53,000 people across social media platforms. 

According to Shuchi Chawla, Head- Brand Marketing, ixigo, “The brand has experienced sustained growth with an increase in the follower base on social media by creating interesting content around travel. We believe in our philosophy of listening closely to users and engaging with them. This allows us to understand our users better, which in turn helps us develop products and features that solve travellers’ pain points.”

KFC’S 11 Herbs & Spices

KFC last year pulled a marketing stunt by following 11 people on Twitter-- the 5 pop-star Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb--, a reference to the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices in its recipe. This was noticed after 2 months and yielded 2.5 billion impressions for KFC. The person who discovered it was gifted a customized painting with Colonel Sanders by KFC.

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