You cannot separate the social from the media or the media from the social. It is so deeply entangled with each other that one cannot survive without the other. No morning begins without a cup of piping hot chai (it’s India silly!) and the little red boxes at the top left of your computer screen that tell you that you were missed. India has arrived on the social media scene and vice versa.

According to a “Study on Social Media Usage” by the Nielsen and Absolut Data, nearly 30 million Indians who are online members of social networking sites and about two-thirds of them spend time on these social networking sites daily. What is interesting to note is that just 8 per cent spend between an hour and three hours on personal email, 20 per cent spend the same time on social media sites. Adrian Terron, VP of Global Communications and Marketing, Nielsen, says in a statement-

Social Media is now ingrained in the way tech-savvy Indians live their lives. With its ability to play multiple roles in an individual’s life by enabling shared experiences, creating linkages between communities and satisfying the need to be networked, its role in creating a deeper engagement is a boon to marketing“.

One reason for the affinity to social networking sites over emailing would be the urge to reach out to a wider audience, the basic human urge to ‘perform & collaborate’; and not merely communicate. Connecting through the social networking sites will kill two birds with one stone, or reach out to many people through one mode. Karthik Srinivasan, Head of Digital Strategy, Edelman India, says,

The earlier way of broadcasting your thoughts through email is outdated — now opinions are flying fast and thick online and as an opinion-owner, I’d obviously be interested to know what people think of it.

The study also estimates about 45,000 online Indians to join social networking sites each day, over the next 6 months.

Indians are now getting more and more accustomed to knowing and getting in touch with their brands online. The perfect connotation of innovation, customer friendliness and a sense of ‘cool’ come with the way companies try to bring in the online presence. If you want to risk it all, ignore the online presence and one might be doomed. The number of ‘likes’ you gather on Facebook or the number of ‘Followers’ you collect on Twitter is directly proportional to the growth of your brand. 60 per cent Indians who use social media are open to being approached by brands, indicating that the relationship between brands and customers has changed drastically. This way of advertising in unobtrusive and informative.

Many brands are now integrating their Twitter feeds into Facebook to create a forum. And, the collection of likes, fans, members, amalgamation of feeds are the targets that social media agencies have in their mind, when they pitch to probable clients. Here, they can launch their new products and information about them will be out in no time.

The basic strategy that most brands are using on social media is to build a community base. This could be of current customers or potential customers. They can then interact with them, dissect the messages and connect with both existing and future customers“,

says Atul Hegde, CEO of Ignitee Digital Solutions, an internet marketing agency.

For those who haven’t gotten on the social band wagon need to pull up their socks and join in before it gets outdated. For reasons as simple & non-mathematical as, companies spending 2 to 5 percent of their ad budgets on social media.

Brands must remember – Herd Mentality won’t affect, if there’s Social Media in your actions.

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