As we are fast approaching 2014, it is important to look ahead and see where social media is heading, and how we can get on board with all the happenings. Most Indian brands big or small, now understand the influence social media can have on their business. They have started leveraging the power of the digital world to reach out to their customers but questions remain about the “whys” and the “hows.”
So we reached out to people, who know much more than I do – The Indian Brand Managers. We asked them about the social media marketing trends to watch out for in 2014 and here is what they had to share with us.
Mr. Ashish Gupta, Director, Marketing, BlackBerry India witnesses a convergence in Mobile and Internet
“While the last decade was defined by growth in mobile telephony adoption, the current one is clearly being defined by the need to remain hyper-connected. Consider the fact that more than 50% of Internet users are connected to the Web via their mobiles. Also consider that Indians on the Internet spend 25% of their time on social media platforms. What we’re witnessing today therefore is convergence at its finest. The ability to live your professional and personal lives through a mobile device has transformed the way people communicate.”
Social media will largely be driven by visual content, shares Rishi Piparaiya, Director – Marketing and Bancassurance at Aviva India
“In 2014, social media will largely be driven by visual content. Brands have already started using images, audio and video content as a part of their overall social media communication strategy. This trend will continue through the next year, where multi-media will be a part of daily conversations and interactions with consumers on social media.
With Social media becoming all pervasive, its importance is only going to increase. One of the key challenges will be to derive consumer insights for brand usage from the conversations and opinions posted on the various social media platforms. Data Analytics will therefore play a very important role in deriving these insights. Brands will increasingly have to resort to tools that can help them decipher these data points.
The consumer today in India has evolved from a passive observer to an active participant in building ‘brand voice’ through innovative content. Co-creation and collaboration amongst brands and their consumers to build community driven content will gain momentum.
Lastly, with the advent of alternate currency such as Bitcoin, consumer uptake and interest in being a fully digital citizen will increase. In India, brands are yet to leverage social currency. Its integration with real world consumer interactions will be also be a key focus area in the future.”
Analytics will play a key role says, Mr. Rohit Sharma, Head Online Marketing, Policybazaar
“Increased ROI, focus on performance based advertising and customer acquisition through pure search targeting will be key focus areas for brands in 2014. Analytics will play a key role as predicting consumer behavior and preferences to optimize search ad campaigns will be at the core of the advertising campaigns on digital media. Apart from advertising there will be an increased effort made by brands to understand specifics of user behavior online such as conversation drivers and influencers which impacts the share of earned media online.
This will be equally important as social media has become a platform for voicing strong opinions about a brand, which cannot be ignored anymore. Overall, a mix of performance based advertising, focus on connecting with influencers to build positive WOM about the brand and focus on pure search, over display or other forms of advertising will be at the forefront of changing digital media strategy for brands.”
Here’s what Ritu Gupta, Director – Marketing, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India says
“Social media brings new dynamics to our efforts of continuing to grow the intersection between business value and customer value. At Dell, we have over 2 billion daily conversations with our customers on a global level and these conversations are what drive innovation. Social media has been extremely crucial for us to incrementally succeed at this customer centric approach. Be it customer engagement, customer service, networking or helping us innovate with their feedback, social media tools have been a great enabler in achieving the same. With India becoming one of the largest and fastest growing markets for people active on social media, forums and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn play a major role for us to reach out to our customers and connect with them.
According to a report by IAMAI-IMRB India is experiencing a 40% y-o-y growth in the number of internet users and is predicted to soon take over the U.S. market to become the 2nd largest internet base by Dec 2013. While online travel contributes the largest mix under ecommerce, e-tailing is the next largest contributor. This has had an incremental effect on the digital advertising segment as well, with the total online advertising spend increasing YoY by 30% (source: Digital Advertising in India March 2013 – IAMAI). These numbers have resulted in the modes of interaction with consumers also becoming increasingly innovative. With the versatility of the web platform, it allows for various forms of new innovations to be created, be it via mobiles, tablets or PCs.
We recently launched a Facebook customer engagement program to connect more closely with our Facebook fans in an interactive and rewarding manner. With the inclusion of a strong social media strategy, brands are able to build a closer connect with its audience, transparency of interactions with companies being the attraction for consumer participation, as well as the immediacy of the online platform. Currently we are present across platforms and converse consistently on all subjects topical and non-topical to engage with our customers.”
Mr. Sanjay Chitkara, Head Corporate marketing, LG India, hopes that location-based technology will be a game-changer
“Digital marketing presents a sea of opportunities for companies that enable them to be connected to the global audience. According to a recent report, India’s online population grew to more than 200 million, riding on a 31% year-on-year increase. The market, therefore, is at a peak for online businesses. 2014 will be an interesting year for Digital Media.
The trend of being part of the digital bandwagon will continue with more and more companies, celebrities and people being an active part of it. Also, location-based marketing would become more defined than ever. Brands would start making use of GPS technology and social apps, like Path and Foursquare, to deliver geographically customized and tailored content straight to the potential customer’s mobile device. Digital content marketing, too, would become more targeted, and brands would focus largely on inbound-marketing by creating engaging content designed for a specific set of audience. Also, the large shift from boxy computers to portable devices, like smartphones and tablets also mean that mobile-friendly content would be on a rise in the year to come. 2013 saw a heightened interest in short videos, and the trend would continue to grow in 2014. Apps like Vine and Instagram are re-defining visual content-marketing by creating fun and engaging content on social media platforms. LG continues to invest in this form of media and has done various activities, on Twitter, Facebook, Vine etc. for our last various product launches.”
Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Vice President and Head – Marketing, The Oberoi Group believes that Content will be the King!
“I see 2014 bringing back the focus on content – back to the basics ! Content that is authentic and honest, engaging and co created. Customers appreciate honesty and authenticity and are willing to engage and promote a brand that showcases those qualities. Be real, be empathetic and make ‘brand friends’ for life. I see social media as being the key driver for these conversations and playing a key role in driving brand advocacy.”
Saurabh Srivastava VP Marketing – ixigo has a similar opinion,
“Greater investments in content marketing (people, processes and technologies) to generate meaningful UGC and engagement , ability to be all screens ready and not just mobile with even videos being device agnostic; and profound understanding of customer funnels across key businesses and not just simple web metrics, will be some of the key trends on digital in 2014”
Let us see what Deepika S Tewari , GM, Head Marketing, Jewellery Division, Titan Company Limited has to say,
“The digital and social media scenario in India has seen a sea of change in the recent times. With growing traffic in every social media platform, rise in internet penetration and the advent of 3G in India, brands are getting more active and involved in this space. 2013 has been a year of success on social media for us with over 5, 50,000 likes on Facebook, more than 4.8 lakh visitors to our blog and 3000 followers on Twitter.
The year 2014 will be big for social/ digital mediums as biggies like Facebook and Twitter will be going public. The cost factor of using these platforms will push brands to build their own platforms like blogs, apps, microsites etc. Hence, platforms like Twitter and Pinterest will see more traffic.
Also, content has always been important for digital/social medium, but it will be crucial in 2014. Be it visual or written – this will help brands to reach out the exact set of audience. With successful digital campaigns from Tanishq like Confessions of a Bride and My Expression 2, I am sure, we will see a lot of innovative activity happening around the digital space in 2014. Overall, the mobile medium, influencers~bloggers, strong content and social platforms~Twitter and Pinterest will be the show stealers for the year 2014.”
In India brands are slowly starting to go vernacular observes Anisha Singh, Founder and CEO mydala.com
“Mobile Marketing has been the biggest bet for us in the last couple of years and according to me will become bigger in 2014. Mobile grew at an astounding pace now that brands and businesses are all questioning their mobile strategy and are understanding the power of reaching users on mobile. This is spurring more advancement and relevant content for users in terms of location based relevant marketing.
In India brands are slowly starting to go vernacular, which along with location based services on mobile is a powerful way to reach users. Globally I think we’ll see more development happen in the area of app innovation around wearable technology …think google glass, up band etc. I also feel that innovation in the Near Field Communication (NFC) front will increase in a big way this year.”
There you have it. The brand managers have provided their thought-provoking expert opinions. So what’s your best guess for 2014? The comments section is all yours.