Zubin Sarkari, Founder, Glamrs, in this interview, throws the spotlight on the company’s social media strategy and what it takes to build an engaged community.
Glamrs has been into video content space since 2012 creating 2-way communication with their audience on a real-time basis. Currently, a women’s lifestyle driven digital video content, Glamrs claims to enjoy a reach of over 25 Million women every month and over 100 million video views every month.
Glamrs’ Founder Zubin Sarkari shares the journey from building a startup to a community of millions of women and sustained community management.
What’s in a name?
What’s a name, really? Just some vowels & consonants. We wanted a simple, one-word name that really stood for our brand. Glamorous.com was taken, so the vowels had to go!
What motivated you to start up?
My background lies at the intersection of fashion & lifestyle, video content and technology. Building a great product and impact was only natural. Back in 2010, recognizing the potential of the internet and the growing video space within, I realized the massive opportunity that presented itself through digital platforms & content, especially in India. Moreover, after the birth of my daughter, I was highly driven to do something towards empowering women and believed that the Indian digital landscape provided the perfect framework for furthering that mission.
What was your biggest challenge to overcome?
Back in 2011, when we started Glamrs as a digital video-only platform, people were skeptical of how big online video could become. Moreover, brands were wary about the power of digital video. This represented our biggest challenge, getting brands to buy-in to the concept of engaging audiences through insightful digital video. We stuck to our original plan, and over the last 7 years, we have steadily seen the shift being made across the board. Today, digital video has become a “must-have” strategy for most brands.
How do you use social media for amplifying the reach of your content?
Our entire reach is currently through Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, which form an integral part of our distribution strategy. We optimise our video content to fit the needs of each platform, thereby ensuring that we maximise the amplification on each platform. The viewing patterns on each platform are different, and we modify our videos to suit each audience’s needs. On Youtube, we publish longer form videos in 16×9 format, which tend to have more in-depth information on particular topics. On Facebook, the videos are more concise and are published in square format. The most important content of each video is condensed into a 60-second version, which is published on our Instagram page. On FB and IG, each video is targeted to a different audience, depending on the content of the video, which directly enhances the video retention.
How does limited organic reach of Facebook and other platforms impact social media as a communication medium for the publication? What are you doing to overcome this?
While most brands are seeing drastically declining organic reach on FB, that is not the case with Glamrs, where we have been able to maintain our high reach numbers every month.
If you put out content that actually adds value to your viewers’ lives, you will see your organic reach impacted positively. The only path to long-term success, especially on social media, is to provide your audience with content that they find valuable to their lives.
How would you describe your Target Audience?
Our content is specifically designed for Indian women. Over 90% of our audience is in the 18-45-year-old age bracket, from across the country. This is done with a very clear focus on ensuring we create engaging content that can enrich their lives through education, information, and inspiration.
The core of what we provide, which manifests into the content we create, is that we understand the audience, and their journeys.
Over time, through personal interaction with our audience, as well as through their GLAMRS journey, we have realized that data is more than numbers and graphs. Our team can tell you exactly how our audiences lead their lives, what they want to know more about, what their concerns are, their likes, dislikes, and more. And we like to believe we know how to turn this into more impactful content for them.
Apart from the video data, we also speak to our audiences through comments, messages, emails, social media, and other interactive channels. We listen to what they want and create great products to give them just that.
Through this process, our videos become more relevant, and our understanding of what and how brands need to do becomes better. At the end of the day, we aim to empower and enrich the lives of Indian women through guiding them at every step of their changing lifestyle needs.
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Brands are now keen on engaging with communities and building loyal communities of their own. How often do you work with brands? What kind of offerings do you have for brands from a community marketing point of view?
This is exactly what we have been preaching to brands since we first started Glamrs in 2012. Our monetization model has always been around branded content – helping brands leverage our expertise in video content, as well as our engaged audience. We have worked with some of the world’s leading brands, including Maybelline, Nivea, Flipkart, Garnier, Myntra, Godrej, and ITC to effectively leverage our platform and audience. We have now taken this a step further, and we are providing brands with services that help them build and grow their own digital communities.
This is a huge opportunity for us because we can apply the knowledge we have accumulated and expertise we have developed while growing Glamrs, to help brands maximise their digital initiatives. Developing a loyal audience is at the heart of any digital strategy for any brand, and that is not only what Glamrs is best at, but we are now leveraging this for brands.
What will your tips be to brands/agencies/creators focused on building an engaged community?
Here are my 3 main pillars for building an engaged community: 1. Content 2. More Content 3. Even More Content
If a brand/agency/creator is not consistently putting out a significant amount of content on a daily/weekly basis, then you are never going to be able to build an engaged audience. I would say that it is absolutely essential to create and distribute some form of content on a daily basis to successfully build a devoted audience. Obviously video content is the current “holy grail” of content, but brands have a wide variety to choose from – images, blog posts, podcasts, stories, slideshows, reports.
What are the content consumption trends seen in 2018?
Obviously video content was the star that shone the brightest across the content universe in 2018. To take this one step further, we saw a distinct transition towards longer form video content across the board. Whereas the prevalent skew for most brands and agencies was towards 10-60 second videos, that is now a myth. Even on Facebook, which was always believed to favour “short” videos (under 60 seconds), we are seeing dramatically rising average watch times. We found that the more relevant video was to a particular audience, the more of the video they would watch. As you know, Instagram went from 10-15sec videos to 60sec videos, and then launched IGTV for longer form videos. Glamrs data shows our sweet spot is 3-5 minutes. This shift was the main video consumption trend we saw in 2018.
Any trends you foresee for 2019? What should content creators and community managers be ready for?
From a marketing point of view, I think the adoption of content, especially video content, as a critical element in a brand’s marketing mix is going to be a rising trend in 2019. This is slowly happening already but will start becoming significant in 2019.
Another trend is the rise of regional audiences, which will fuel the need for regional content. This is inevitably already happening in India and will grow in scale exponentially in 2019.
Both of these trends, marketing through video content and regional language content, are critical to building and audience; so brands, agencies, creators, and managers should gear up for a massive growth phase in 2019.