#SAMMIE2019: Experts discuss how content community leads to commerce


From creating micro-communities and getting influencers on board as sub-channels to going the content syndication way, content communities can be leveraged for commerce, say experts at #SAMMIE2019.

At #SAMMIE2019, Suchita Salwan, Founder, Little Black Book, Gaurav Bansal, Marketing Head, Indiatimes Lifestyle Network, Nowshad Rizwanullah, Co-Founder & CEO at MissMalini Entertainment Pvt. Ltd and Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces, discuss the relationships between content, community and commerce. The panel was moderated by Sandeep Balani, Head of India, Outbrain.

Community building

Local discoveries mean different things for different people. Suchita explains how Little Black Book has been investing in the community for the leverage it brings along. “It takes us less than 15 days to launch in a new city because of the community we have created,” she says, adding that about 75% of their content comes from the community.

Suchita further explains that the number of followers a creator has is not important to them. “For us, exclusivity and authenticity in terms of content and formats are what trumps everything,” she says. With the help of Facebook and WhatsApp groups, they have been able to build micro-communities that are then engaged with the help of pop-ups and other offline events.

“Treat them like real people. Reward them not just for posting, but for enhancing the experience for everyone on your platform. Tell them that you would like to give back by helping them explore brands with discounts.”

Suchita Salwan, Founder, Little Black Book

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Sub-channels are key

Indiatimes Lifestyle Network has been dealing with publications that deal with information as well as entertainment. This gives them room to experiment and gain insights. Creating sub-brands and sub-channels has helped them strengthen their community base. “We created sub-brands to the big brands we have under our umbrellas and with the help of influencers, sub-channels came into being,” says Gaurav.

“Stop looking at people as cohorts, look at them as individuals. You will be able to build a better community.”

Gaurav Bansal, Marketing Head, Indiatimes Lifestyle Network

Creating safe spaces

Girl Tribe came into being when the team at MissMalini noticed a need for creating a safe space for their community. “We could see that women commenting on our content were getting trolled. It led us to create a highly moderated space where they could express freely,” says Nowshad. The idea was to ensure that the communication wasn’t one-way.

“We were blown away by the interaction between our audiences on Girl Tribe. We are working to foster more interactions between the community and learn from them.”

Nowshad Rizwanullah Co-Founder & CEO at MissMalini Entertainment Pvt. Ltd

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Shareable content helps

When you create content that has enough value to be shared organically, there can be no better way to create a community. It helps to be present on all platforms where people already exist instead of creating exclusive content. Regularity and consistency come are key to do so, says Ashwin, adding that content syndication business helps as content can be put elsewhere, like in Ola cabs, which helps create more communities and influencers.

He adds that they kept their audiences broad enough to ensure the possibility of monetization. “What starts as a push, becomes a pull,” he adds, explaining that they soon realised that though advertisements were considered bad when they are integrated into content seamlessly, people don’t mind consuming them as much.

“Our memes get shared widely because people look at them as tools of self-expression. We are happy to lean into whatever platform people are using by taking a share of those platforms and expanding presence on them.”

Ashwin Suresh Founder, Pocket Aces

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