A cursory glance at the Indian social media scenario reveals that it is majorly dominated by big brands. By this, I do not mean just the size of the community; big brands will naturally have millions of people on their Facebook pages.
What I don't see are Indian start ups using social media the same way these brands use it. I don't think they are paying proper attention to social media as a business channel (I'm trying my best to avoid calling social media a marketing channel considering it is so much more than that).
Indian start ups are either making half hearted attempts, or none at all. And it is this habit of ignoring social media by these start ups, that has been bugging me for quite sometime. I feel like it is the best platform for start-ups to tap into; other digital channels, or for that matter, offline channels, either require a good amount of capital, or are simply not as effective as social media.
Allow me to make my case stronger by sharing more concrete reasons.
You probably already know this but I can't help but reiterate it. Social media is definitely a great marketing channel to attract more eyeballs and get people to flock to you. The start-up I work with gets half its traffic from social networking platforms and since it is bootstrapped, we haven't explored other marketing avenues much.
I am not going to bombard you with the statistics of 1 billion Facebook users and 500 million Twitter users. But I want you to realize that social media is an effective marketing channel that you can leverage while you're tight on cash. All it needs is a sound strategy backed up by genuine efforts.
Also, social media has introduced us to a new breed of people known as Influencers. They are the digital equivalent of celebrities (with a comparatively smaller reach of course) and command their own authority. As a start up, if you manage to win the confidence of these influencers, your marketing is more or less sorted.
I'm sure, as a start-up, market research is an integral part of your business plan. You will be constantly looking for ways to explore new avenues and data that adds value to your business KRAs. And this where social media monitoring comes into the picture.
Millions of people are talking about a billion different things online. They are putting their thoughts out there which were previously unknown to businesses. Imagine all the things you could do with such a huge amount of raw data!
Let's say, for example, I am a start up which is in the process of building a productivity mobile app. All I need to do is to monitor conversations for keywords such as 'productivity', 'time management', the brand name of my competitor etc. Within no time I will be getting rich data from my potential consumers that I can make use of to refine my product and market it to my target segment.
You just need a good social media monitoring tool and an analytical bend of mind.
Build Valuable Connections
As a start up entrepreneur, you cannot afford to stay disconnected from people. You have to network as extensively as possible. It is this network of people who will help you rise to the top.
The connections that you build on social networking platforms might introduce you to your new amazing co-founder or help you crack a meeting with this superb investor! Yes, I understand that it's a matter of chance, but the more connections you build the better your chances get.
It usually begins with 4-5 people; well, at least that was the case with me. These 4-5 people on Twitter introduced me to several others who, in turn, introduced me to more people. Now it is this vast network of people whom I turn to when I need some help. And being the awesome bunch they are, they have always been there for me.
But the crux lies in being helpful to them as well. You can't build a network and expect to leech off your connections. You will have to be there and help your people from your network when they need you.
I hope you can see that social media goes beyond just marketing, and it is a huge field that you should explore and play with. The big brands are doing it and are deriving great benefits out of it. Then why should start ups ignore it?
To help start ups ensure that they glean real business results out of their social media activities, Social Samosa is organizing a private one-to-one mentoring session for them.
How will it work?
You can select any of the available speakers and slots
What will you get:
A 30 minute one to one session with the expert where you can ask him/her any question related to using social media for your start up’s business goals. He/she will guide you and help you build a broad social media strategy, which the expert will understand better because we will be briefing him/her about your start up before your session.
You will be the ONLY start-up in the session/slot you have chosen, hence you will get the mentors' complete attention and time. Do make the most of this opportunity!
You can look up the speakers, slots and sign up from here. www.school.socialsamosa.com