Remember the Panchtantra, Tinkle & Suppandi stories? I’m sure if now given a chance you wouldn’t miss grabbing a copy of your favourite series. If that’s the case, Amar Chitra Khatha Pvt.Ltd takes you back in time and helps you reminiscence about your childhood days, making the utmost use of social media.
To know more about AKC, we got in touch with Mr. Manas Mohan, CEO Publishing Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd. and asked him about how he went about this wonderful notion and how important is social media in his business.
How important is it for social media to be part of your communications strategy for the publishing business and the animation studio?
Social media communication is critical as it helps us directly reach out to and connect with our community of readers. Regular conversations on our channels help us get regular feedback and a better understanding of their expectations. With the support of our community, we’re also better able to amplify our message and have more people learn about what we do.
On the other hand, our brands are able to engage with the audiences with greater success and effectiveness than most other brands. Thus the relationship between the more ‘interesting’ publishing brands (like Amar Chitra Katha and National Geographic) and Social Media is symbiotic.
What is your company’s social media policy like? Can you outline a few points in it?
We principally use social media as another channel to tell our stories. And it’s a great place for feedback. It’s fantastic to be in regular conversation with our community through content that we often specially create for these platforms, and have their participation in this process. Our social media channels are owned by our editorial teams.
We have noticed a couple of defunct twitter ids. Is it not confusing for your followers to follow the wrong Amar Chitra Katha when your current and most active id is so full of great information and illustrations to look forward to?
Some of these Ids were created and managed by fans. While in a few cases, we have been able to retrieve desired Ids, in other cases we’ve chosen an alternative Id and we hope the content that we publish on the channel will draw our community to the right place.
Does an external agency manage your social media pages or is it an internal function?
No, we manage social media internally.
What part of your marketing budget is allocated to social media?
Nearly 25% of our marketing budget is now earmarked for social media platforms
Tell us about your app. How popular is it among young readers? How many downloads have you seen since launch? Which is your highest selling product via your app?
The “ACK Comics” app is Amar Chitra Katha’s official comic-store app. It makes the entire catalogue of Amar Chitra Katha digital comics available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 tablets, along with Windows 8 PCs.
The app has had a brilliant start. We’ve crossed 100,000+ app downloads in the last month when we launched it. It was listed as one of the best new apps on the iTunes App Store, and was trending among the top apps during the month.
Tell us about your transition from being a traditional publisher to a social media and digital marketing savvy publisher and studio?
It’s not exactly a transition, and we don’t think a transition in needed. This is an evolutionary process handled admirably by our editors and marketing managers. Our Editorial teams (and we have 4!) have taken up their respective brands in earnest and are now consistently hitting the ball out of the park! Amar Chitra Katha’s post on Facebook for Mother’s Day garnered nearly 13,000 likes and nearly 3500 shares! National Geographic Traveller India is growing massively, and Tinkle is a brand new page that has already touched 25k likes. The traditional story writing principles hold true on the social media platforms as well. Tell a good story, tell it well, and a ‘good’ picture is worth a thousand words! Our studio is working hard on a bunch of animated films. Our last big venture was ‘Sons of Ram’ about 18 months ago… watch this space!
The FB page of the app is quite vibrant both for the publishing and the animation studio, great engagement as well. How best do you think can a publishing and animation company like yourself keep its readers interest high using social media?
We approach social media as one of our principal carrier of our stories. So we’re conscious of creating a great experience. We also understand that each channel requires a certain form of content and serves a certain demand. And we craft our stories accordingly.
Tell us about how you are using the visual media – Youtube and Pinterest to get more visibility for your brand and product? Outline the benefits of such visual media in launching a new product – For eg; your movie ‘Sons of Ram’
We use videos and images extensively in our communications. It just makes the content all the more interesting to experience and also makes it share-worthy. At the same time, it is an extension of the visual storytelling that we employ in comics or animated videos that we produce. We are yet to really utilise the potential that Pinterest and YouTube offers.
How do you engage with bloggers and how often?
Not very proactively at this point. We will start engaging bloggers more going ahead.