International brands are exploring a variety of social networks from Pinterest to Instagram. But in India, apart from a few, most of them tend to go the Facebook way. I share my thoughts on who are the early adopters daring to explore new social networks and what’s stopping the others.
Engaging on networks beyond the regular set is a bold step but at the same time it throws up a lot of challenges too. Today most of the Indian brands are on Facebook and Twitter since the majority of users are on these networks. More than 50 million users on Facebook give more reason for brands to engage uniquely on the platform. We had recently shared a curated list of Facebook campaigns that caught our eyes since they stood out in creativity and implementation. The ongoing Reliance Tweet-a-Tab is a new concept in the Indian social media space and is being well appreciated by fans.
But the bigger question is why there has been no brand adoption for other networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, etc. by the bigger brands at least. International brands have used networks beyond Facebook and Twitter. We saw brands like Ford Fiesta Challenge, Campaign against violence, etc. using Instagram creatively. Additionally, brands like Peugeot Panama, BMI Lottery, etc. have also explored Pinterest extensively to get their fans involved.
Indian Brands exploring new social networks
However, it would be a completely wrong if I say that the brands in India have not been open to new networks. Some time back I had shared a story about Zomato, a foodie network now, that had started a contest to interact with fans via Instagram. Zomato called all foodies and self proclaimed Instagram evangelizers to share their food pictures along with a text associated with #Zomato. The campaign was unique for the Indian social media space and didn’t come as much of surprise to me, since Zomato has been a company that has always relied on tech. Saurabh Sengupta had shared this with me last year during an extensive conversation about Zomato.
Titan Watches India which had built one of the coolest Facebook apps and which is also one of the best augmented apps from India last year, had recently explored Instagram during Friendship Day. The brand blended its Facebook and Twitter presence along with Instagram and asked its fans to share how their friend has inspired them. Fans were asked to tag photos with #FriendsHamesha where one lucky winner could walk away with a cool Titan watch.
Along with Instagram, we have also seen interest for Pinterest which has been a popular network in thee US, but has shown a lukewarm response from Indians. The interest hasn’t been that great apart from few brands like Pepe Jeans, Hyundai India, etc. there hasn’t been much activity. Most of the brands have struggled to get sizeable numbers so most of the contests that have been planned are with an intention to increase the number of followers.
So what is stopping brands to explore?
Engagement on any network will happen if you have fans and for a brand it becomes a challenge when platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are still evolving. For example, there are no quick ways to tell fans about their presence unlike Facebook where you can use ads to target users.
Even though most of them today are using the Facebook Open Graph, the acceptance from fans has been really weak. One of the primary reason that I see here is the brands and their agencies failing to give something new to their fans. A new network always is exciting but as I said earlier, it throws up the challenge of creating unique content. No one would care if you share the same content in all your networks even though you have exciting goodies.
The recent story of Alok Kejriwal shows that your content has to be creative so that fans can appreciate it. Alok is trying to curate a board on Pinterest which is about people who have read “An Autobiography of a Yogi”. The idea is also to reach out to more people so that it could be registered in the Guinness Book of Records. The initiative has seen a lot of response from people. A similar story is being shared in the Pinterest boards of Kunzum and some of the cook bloggers such as Anushruti RK, Lubna Karim, Nandita Iyer, etc. are using Pinterest too. Not only so they have an interesting content mix but also a sizeable number of fans appreciating it.
Early adopters will always be very few but then we can always expect bigger brands to adopt and create benchmarks. Wouldn’t you love it if your favorite brand asks you to share your most heart touching memories associated with the brand on Pinterest?
Possibilities could be endless but the question remains are we going to explore and stretch ourselves to newer horizons.
Slider image courtesy: daytobeyou.com