When Homeshop18 topped the Twitter charts…

Homeshop18’s #18thingsIwant topped Twitter trends globally. N Jayakumar of HomeShop18 says it helped determine what the audience wants

e4m by Deepika Bhardwaj
Updated: Aug 20, 2012 7:29 PM
When Homeshop18 topped the Twitter charts…

A cumulative reach of over 1.6 million people, 1.3 million mentions and over three lakh retweets in just two days – taking these numbers as the statistics brands are now using to access result of their short lived but maximum thrust campaigns online, Homeshop18 seems to have created quite a buzz with their latest #18thingsIwant Twitter campaign. #18thingsIwant remained the top Twitter trend not only in India but the world over on August 8 and 9, giving Homeshop18 a perspective on things people want the most in today’s times.

exchange4media spoke to Narasimha Jayakumar, COO – Ecommerce, HomeShop18 to understand all that went behind creating #18thingsIwant. Excerpts:

How does Twitter activation like this help the brand?
Activations such as these support the brand in more ways than one. First of all, Twitter as a social platform is extremely challenging in terms of achieving new numbers since the audience is quite selective. Activations like ‘#18ThingsIWant’ help in connecting with the audience as the idea appeals to everyone. Almost everyone has a list of things they want, and being able to share the same with the world could be an interesting experience. Also, from a business point of view, it’s important for us to determine what our audience wants.

What was the whole idea behind 18ThingsIWant? Do you plan to add something to this to take the campaign forward or is this a standalone activity?
#18ThingsIWant was a simple experiment with a universal wishlist. We had our mind set on the number ‘18’, which is a common part of all sister concerns under the Network18 umbrella including HomeShop18. 18 is also the most important crossover age in India, which connects us with a younger audience. At the same time, ‘18’ is also a simple number which could encompass 18 of anything. So, basically, we wanted something that could stir an engaging two-way communication, rather than end up as a dull virtual monologue. We plan to come up with many more similar activities for brand connect and also to create an ongoing forum where people can reach out to us.

What was the total impact over the two days when it trended on Twitter?
We plugged in brand connect by asking people 18 things that they want in life. Within an hour, conversations started building up around the website, shopping, etc. In terms of the quantitative effects of #18ThingsIWant, it trended in less than 15 minutes in all the cities in India and worldwide, had a cumulative reach of over 1.6 million, over 1.3 million mentions and over three lakh retweets. We have added hundreds of followers post the activity till now.

How does this activity align with the overall brand thought?
We believe that our presence on Twitter makes a lot of sense in terms of our current audience, which is young, hep, seeks latest products, is savvy and doesn’t shy from using the internet for making purchase decisions.

What are the initiatives that Homeshop18 is taking on other social media platforms?
We also use Facebook actively where we currently have about 3,95,000 fans and adding. In terms of customer engagement, we organise regular contests and campaigns. We engage in a lot of real-time communication with our fans along with exclusive Facebook offers. These offers help us in maintaining loyalty and trust of our customers. YouTube is our newest addition to social media. HomeShop18’s YouTube channel is the first and only, fully customised e-commerce channel in India, with over 22,40,000 views. The main highlight of our YouTube channel is that it features as a repository of interactive demos for products that are available exclusively on HomeShop18.

What, according to you, are some of the dos and don’ts for an e-commerce player’s social media strategy?
Most brands treat social media existence as a magic practice that would earn them global fame overnight. Well, that obviously is not true. In fact, going by the nature of one’s business, it may be quite so that you may not need a Facebook or a Twitter account. Since, e-commerce demands a lot of interaction with customers, there are some and dos and don’ts, one must follow at all times.

Determine why and how a social media presence would help the business
• Is your aim to drive up sales numbers or do you wish to build a trusting relationship with your customer?
• Do you want to reach out to your existing audience or acquire new customers?
Determine the times when the interaction is highest on the posts. Certain time slots in a day or a week lead to poor interactions.

Avoid expenditure on paid ads. The best way to grow is to grow organically.
Make irrelevant posts. Post only when absolutely necessary.
Avoid posting too frequently. Over-frequent posts may flood customers’ News Feeds and lead to ‘Unlikes’.
Do NOT hard sell. Listen to your customers and build up your services accordingly.

Which social media platform has delivered the most for your brand?
YouTube has been the most relevant channel for us so far. Since we are an e-commerce company, lack of touch and feel sometimes proves to be a hurdle. We successfully overcame this hurdle via YouTube videos by posting interactive product demos. Now, our customers can view the demo for any product that they found interesting, view and make a buying decision accordingly. Our YouTube channel also complements our TV channel, where if the customer misses out on an episode, he can log on to the YouTube channel and watch the episodes again.

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