Let me be a little harsh (more than the usual, that is!) in this post. Hear me out. Read it with an open mind. Okay? Also, if you think that I have put a few of my own personally experienced frustrations in the post, that is true. I am sure there are some people out there who will disagree. For the sake of the industry, I truly hope that things will improve; that they are improving, so that I can be proved wrong.
I can’t say this enough – please STOP doing your social media agency bakwaas. Just shut down your shop and sell it off or quit your job if you are an employee. The sooner you do it, the better it will be for you. Your talents can be put to better use than updating tweets and setting up Facebook posts. There are so many beautiful problems to solve, so many things to create and you are spending 16 hours/day on your social media startup sharing mindless updates? I have already cribbed about it before, but let me set up a preamble to this one.
Did you join the advertising world to create beautiful campaigns? Good for you, buddy. But look at the mirror and remind yourself- when was the last time you felt that way about a campaign? Also, please remember that creating 3 Twitter updates every day is not a campaign. Sure, there have been some truly creative and impactful campaigns on social media but that happens mostly if the campaign is deeply integrated.And mostly at social media departments of established agencies like a L&K or an O&M.
Yes, there are 1-2 Indie social media agencies who have done good campaigns (you know who you are!), but is that you? More importantly, as Mohammad Khan said recently, are you strong enough to change a stagnant industry and fight for what it truly stands for? If you are not ready to change the system, then please get the f*** out of it, and be happy that you are out of it.
You love social media and hence you want to join a social media agency? Wrong answer. If you love it, then create a social media product. India needs you to solve problems; the tools that you use for managing your social media clients (Hootsuite, Buffer etc.) need to be built by you.
I get to be the crying shoulder of so many social media agency friends every weekend who tell me that they are sick of it, but do not know what to do about it. Should they go over to the client side? Sure, yes, that too would be better (shameless plug: come join the Digital team at LocalOye, where we are curating the best of banquet halls in Mumbai, conference centers, reception grounds, meeting rooms, seminar halls etc.). But there is no better joy than the joy of creation – ask a mother, a painter, a web designer, an inventor or a techie. Try it once?
If your excuse is that you do not know how to code, then it is not a valid one. There are many non tech founders in the list below (remember Instagram’s Kevin?) and if your excuse is that you do not have the money then there was never a year better than 2013 in India to get funds for your ideas and prototypes.
Are you thinking that you will do services and build a product then please stop kidding yourself. You cannot do both the things together; trust me, I have been through it. Just shut the f*** up and take the jump. Trust me, it will be worth it. Do not believe me? Check out some of these products, out of India, which use social media. The most interesting thing being? 7/9 of these startups came up in 2013!
5 million users. Yes, you heard it. 5 million. Manage your Twitter and Instagram followers and following list using this nifty tool. Ex Burrp.com members..completely bootstrapped (afaik).
Another world class quality product. They provide amazing competitive intelligence for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Linkedin to more than 300 brands. VC funded by Nexus.
Create a social wishlist for life. Follow interesting wishes shared by others. A fabulous product team which has been tweaking a lot. Recently VC (after 1+ of operations I guess) by VC firm India Quotient.
Curates and manages all your event photos, videos, slides, tweets, conversations and much more from social media. A great tool to make sense of the social media chatter generated during the event. VC funded.
A great use of crowdsourcing fashion and decor products. Their social feed is a joy to see, with a lot of good recommendations from other community members. The only product in this list which does not use Facebook/Twitter for anything but distribution of their content. VC funded.
A gem for e-commerce companies, Viralmint widget will allow you to create on-the-fly campaigns at checkout pages which lets your buyers share the products with their friends for getting discounts themselves. Started by an ex-Webchutney guy. VC funded by Seedfund.
Customer support done well. Finally! Airwoot is a beautifully designed tool which helps you listen, identify and respond to issues on social streams. Raised funding from KAE capital and a few angels. VC funded.
Not really a social media product, but they have “social” games which you can play with your friends. These are a big hit in game stores and the Facebook games section. VC funded.
Most of the team is based out of India, bu t the founder is an Indian who has had a string of successful exits and angel investments. Parakweet is a new platform offering social media analytics, recommendations and metadata to media companies.