Understanding Burrp’s Social Media Strategy – Interview with Mr. Anand Jain (Co-founder)
Burrp! is an online urban lifestyle guide that helps people find places to go and things to do. It provides a platform for users to share what’s great and not so great about their lifestyle experiences.
In 2006, Burrp! was co-founded by Mr. Anand Jain with the aim of helping people plan their leisure time by carrying reviews and recommendations on the city’s best hangouts, must watch movies, events directory, TV shows, movies playing on tv etc. In April 2009, Burrp! was acquired by Infomedia18 Ltd.
In this interview Mr.Anand Jain , co-founder of Burrp! talks about how social media is an integral part of burrp!
What was your objective when you adopted social media for Burrp? Do you think you have achieved it?
Burrp! has social in its DNA. Community building in an integral part of burrp! We have a vibrant community of users on our website who are also following us on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Our objective was to expand the reach of the conversation and make it more interactive. Today, we have more than 60,000 followers (@burrp_mumbai alone has 45,000) on twitter and almost 150,000 on Facebook.
I think we’ve successfully achieved our objective since people reach out to us with questions, comments, observations and even reviews on social media. We’ve recently also launched our Pinterest boards and are exploring the platform, having fun with it as in all our initiatives.
How important is it for brands these days to be on social media?
I can’t stress enough how important it is for brands to be on social media. It’s an uninhibited place where people can interact directly and converse with brands, whether it is to praise, thank, criticise or give constructive feedback. It’s the most direct way to know what your users are thinking.
Have you hired people from social media platforms such as LinkedIn?
We’ve been approached by many people, including a few of our users, who would like to join us via social media platforms.
What was the idea behind starting know.burrp.com?
know.burrp.com was started to highlight fun things about each burrp! city. It could be food, shopping, events or even some new, local trend. It’s what burrp! as a brand recommends with the aim to help our burrpers make the most of their city.
They say, ‘Content is King’ on social media. Your thoughts?
We think on social media the USER is the King. You could put the best content out there but it’s the User who clicks on those fateful buttons called Follow, Like, Share, Repin.
Hence as a brand we don’t approach different social media platforms with the same game plan.
For instance, on Twitter we have 8 handles, one for each city and it’s very local in its approach, it’s all about the respective city. It’s interactive, there’s constant conversation with our followers whether they are regular users of restaurants & brands.
On Facebook it’s more about burrp! as a whole, it’s about the brand personality and how a user relates to us.
Our boards and content on Pinterest is possibly the only platform where we are going the pure content route by creating boards such as burrp! Eats (pictures of all the food the team tries at various restaurants), Quirky (pictures of restaurants that have fun cutlery or interesting interiors) and Wishful Thinking (pictures of dishes from across the world that we would like to try).
How often do you organize contests on social media? Can you share with us the details of any of your recent contest and the audience response to it?
We run contests on Twitter very regularly. Facebook is used to publicise it further.
We recently celebrated our 6th birthday and as part of the celebrations we ran various contests on Twitter for a period of 2 weeks (15th-31st August). During these two weeks we also ran two hashtag contests – #6Stars (vote for the restaurant which deserves 6stars instead of the usual 5) and #MustTry (dishes you think are a must try and where).
Both hashtags were trending within 15 minutes of starting the activity. While #6Stars continued to trend for roughly 45 minutes, #MustTry was trending for much longer.
What is the best way to engage with your followers on Twitter?
Talk to them. Tweet to them as you would through your individual Twitter account and not just as a brand because on twitter the Users know that they are interacting with the team that handles the brand and not the brand itself.
The perception or distinction is very clear in the users’ minds. Answer questions immediately with proper information.
Thank them for tweeting to you especially if they’ve shared some information. If you made a suggestion make sure you ask them if it was useful at a later date.
You don’t seem to be much active on YouTube. Any specific reason?
Well, we use YouTube more as a facilitator than social platform since all videos posted on our channel are featured on know.burrp.com. So the idea is to drive traffic to the website and allow content consumption on the site itself rather than on other platforms.
We’ve recently launched a new section on know.burrp.com called Chef’s Corner where we have a whole bunch of original videos with Chef’s preparing signature dishes from their restaurants. These are uploaded through our YouTube channel, but we only promote it through know.burrp.com
How do you plan the content that is to be posted on your social media profiles? Do you prepare a weekly post calendar or is it a daily affair?
A lot of our messaging is in sync with our annual content calendar. However, given that any social platform is all about connecting with people and instant gratification in terms of responses a large part of the action is decided on a daily basis and sometimes even impromptu improvisation.
What social media monitoring tools do you use to listen to the conversations going around on various social media channels?
We use what’s available with each platform. Eg: Facebook insights or on Twitter we share a lot of links, so we track those through bit.ly
How do you measure the ROI of your social media efforts? What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that define your ROI?
The most important parameter for us is the user engagement with the brand. On Facebook we also look at what kind of posts got higher number of Likes or Shares
On Twitter we look at more than just retweets and mentions. It’s about how many users speak to us one-on one; if we retweeted a user’s question, how many of other users replied; or if run a hashtag with no incentive how many participants did we get or did the hashtag trend or did any of our handles trend; or we run a contest then how many participants did we.
When organizing an online contest, how do you measure its performance?
It’s measured by the number of participants and by any contribution to burrp’s traffic or the quality of reviews depending on the type of contest.
Do you have any action plan in place for a social media crisis? If yes, what does it entail? If no, how do you plan to face such a situation?
Honesty is the best policy. If you are honest with your users and you can either explain your point of view given the fact that you may not be in the wrong or you can admit your mistake if you have been wrong, then in all likelihood the storm will pass without causing much damage.
How important is social media in your overall marketing mix? What % of your marketing budget is allocated to it?
Social media is extremely important to burrp! as a brand and a product considering it has always been a kind of social platform itself. Our focus at this point of time is organic growth on all our social media entities.
How has your social media budget over the years?
A very insignificant amount considering that we don’t really advertise any of our services there. We use it to interact with our users.
Do you have a social media policy in place which governs how your employees should use social media? If yes, what is the purpose of it? If no, how would they know what to post and what not to?
We don’t have any policy etched in stone as such. However, we do try to maintain the voice of the brand which is fun and local as well as use our social media entities effectively to build and sustain the burrp! community.
Can you introduce us to the team handling your social media?
Our social media is handled by the Content team which we think is the ideal choice given that they are directly in charge of creating new content as well as managing what’s existing on the site. It also ensures that the team is always in sync with the pulse of their respective cities.
You can get in touch with them on Twitter (@burrp, @burrp_mumbai, @burrp_delhi, @burrp_bangalore, @burrp_chennai, @burrp_hyderabad, @burrp_kolkata, @burrp_pune, @burrp_ahmedabad and @burrp_goa)
How do you see social media faring in the future? Do you think it will grow more? Or will it be replaced by something else?
While existing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will continue to grow, there will be newer platforms which will spring up periodically, point in case being Pinterest. It remains to be seen what existing feature can be leveraged upon to create a whole new platform.
Why is it that food and lifestyle brands are more dominant than others on social media?
Well, we at burrp! very seriously believe that gluttony is most people’s chosen sin (it definitely is ours). Food is one thing that can get an immediate reaction – good and bad.
Also, given the growing dining out scene in most cities, for a user it’s very gratifying that they can connect with their favourite hangouts on a one-on-one basis. It’s like on social media a brand is ‘humanised’.
So as a user you can thank or criticise ‘him’, you can give suggestions as well as praise ‘him’. For a user the connection becomes real… it’s their way to reach out to the people that make that restaurant happen.
As far as lifestyle brands go, the word ‘lifestyle’ says it all. It defines who we are, our tastes, likes and dislikes. And ‘lifestyle’ leads to a whole lot of common experiences so as a user you can relate to what is being shared.
What makes a brand successful on social media?
Users make a brand successful. So be useful, honest, smart and fun when on a social platform. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest don’t take to the words ‘formal’ and ‘protocol’ very kindly.
Apart from social media, are you exploring other digital marketing channels such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) and Mobile Marketing?
SEO is a continuous exercise. We work on it whenever we introduce new content or categories on the site. We don’t do PPC or Mobile marketing.
Take-aways from the interview:
- Expand the reach of the conversation and make it more interactive.
- Social media is the most direct way to know what your users are thinking.
- On social media the USER is the King.
- Honesty is the best policy when facing any social media crisis.
- Be useful, honest, smart and fun when on a social platform.
Want us to interview your favorite brand(s) on social media? Let us know in the comments below and we will reach out to them.