[Interview] Dhruv Mathur shares Little Black Book’s social media mantra

Little Black Book

Social Samosa in conversation with Dhruv Mathur, CoFounder – Product at Little Black Book, one of the largest digital recommendations portal in India. Mathur shows us the hows, whys, and whats of the company’s association with social media.

Slightly modest with its name, Little Black Book maintains a comprehensive and specific focus on each of the markets that they operate in. Let us revisit the journey of Little Black Book’s core identity, their social media challenges, their monetization techniques, how they overcome the obstacles of limited organic reach and more.

Would you consider yourself a social media influencer or a publisher on social media?

LBB is a local recommendations platform, where our community of over 1.5 million users discovers and share recommendations for things to do in their city. We primarily use social media as a channel for growth, to introduce more consumers to our website and app.

On social media, interesting targeted content is the best way to achieve organic traction, and get in front of the audiences you want for your product – and that’s what we utilize to fuel our growth.

What were the initial challenges that you had to face when you started off on social media?

Social media is constantly in flux – with everything from feed algorithms to media formats & storytelling techniques evolving rapidly. Our initial challenges were mainly in keeping up with the pace of change on social media, and creating a strategy that was nimble, aggressive and focused on experimentation. Once we had that in place, we were able to amp up both our reach and engagement via constant experiments & high responsiveness to our audiences.

What was the rationale behind creating an individual page for every market? How did it work out for you?

For us, the rationale is twofold – 1) to reflect what our product proposition is about and 2) to connect with the audiences it is meant for. We are a platform for locals with diverse, deep information across every part of an urban consumer’s lifestyle, and we wanted to reflect that on our social media presence.

So it was important to have an individual page for every city, that was relevant to locals in that city, and also offer a diversity of information across different interests and demographics.

How often do you take up sponsored promotions? Which other monetization techniques do you offer?

Less than 5% of our content is sponsored. The other monetization techniques we offer are engagement based activities, lead generation for brands, affiliate sales & event promotions. LBB as a platform is ideal for brands both large and small, and we constantly innovate with monetization techniques that meet their goals.

How do you maintain a balance between editorial content and sponsored posts?

We maintain balance by personalizing what we show users on our website & app. This is based both on the interests they select, as well as by learning from the information they are engaging with over time. This allows us to both ensure relevance for our users as well as balance how much they see that’s sponsored.

We also ensure that there is no difference in the balance of information presented or tonality of sponsored posts (v/s editorial content) and being very transparent to our users about when certain posts are sponsored.

What kind of impact does Instagram’s latest Paid Partnership Tag have on influencers like yourself?

As it is still early days for this feature, we are waiting to see what impact it has on reach & engagement

Looking back, what helped you gain momentum on social media?

As noted earlier, gaining momentum on social was all about creating diverse, interesting content that resonated with our audience, and having a focus on rapid experimentation.

Was overcoming Facebook’s limited organic reach a concern? If yes, how did you move past it?

Facebook will continue to evolve, and hence as will the organic reach potential for brands/ pages. I don’t think a brand every “moves past it”, but needs to constantly innovate and connect with it’s audiences to maintain reach and relevance. It’s also important to activate your own audience and users to become your evangelists on social media.

E.g., users can create interesting recommendations on our app and directly post them to social media, thereby helping us build our reach more broadly, via their social media presence as well.

How much per cent of your total social media budget is reserved for paid promotions?

It totally depends on the partners we work with, and their capacity for the same.

What would be the 5 social media tips that you would like to share with upcoming bloggers and publishers?

  • Always keep experimenting
  • Measure everything, and invest in a good analytics tool.
  • Copying trends only brings short term wins – it’s important to create your own strategies to connect with your audiences
  • Building an audience & engagement is a long game, have patience!
  • Always keep experimenting (can’t stress that enough!)