Social media is no more a space occupied by a few influential brands. Today every brand wants to be in this space, get the numbers while also striving to bring about meaningful interactions and synergy to its marketing campaigns. 2012 saw quite a few amazing social media campaigns, and so we thought of getting in touch with the decision makers of the industry to know their view points and how they visualize social media in India would shape up in 2013.
Below is a list of thoughts from six decision makers in the social media industry:
1. N.S.Kannan, Executive Director & CFO at ICICI Bank
2013 will be a year, when classical marketing campaigns will see some shift. Campaigns will be more “inbound” rather than “outbound”. This is because more and more customers want to talk when they have a need rather than the other way around.
On social media, the biggest requirement will be to create content that connects with the fans. Fans will dissociate themselves from overall “product” content and engage with content that is “relevant” to them. Brands will have to therefore be highly creative in managing the conversations with their fans. Equally important to understand fan clusters and therefore analyzing what is relevant to these fans. This will be an important parameter in the overall content strategy.
A large part of users today access social networks through their mobile devices. Mobiles themselves have evolved to fit into the social sphere. Therefore, another big development for brands on social will be to meet expectations of fans in terms of delivering experience on mobile.
E-commerce is one of the biggest successful stories recently. It is still evolving in multiple dimensions. Social commerce is the next horizon. While there is already some action on this front, 2013 could see the big action in this space.
2. Gaurav Rajput, Director – Marketing at Aviva Life Insurance
Personalization of messages and adaption of these to various social and traditional marketing channels will be the key focus for building a loyal audience going ahead. Customers place a high value in recommendations of peers while making purchase decisions online and in that sense, building brand evangelists online who will effectively distribute your content across various social networks to people who matter, will take precedence over regular forms of advertising, which are voices of the company.
For a sector like insurance where brand loyalty is largely a factor of great customer experience, unique products, sound counsel and trust in the corporate brand, factoring in a robust social CRM strategy as part of the overall marketing plan is extremely crucial. Creating unique products which can be served through web and mobile for a greater impact in a cost effective manner will be the key to building a loyal consumer base going forward.
3. Manu Prasad, Head – Social Media at Myntra.com
Barring a game changing phenomenon that further complicates the already shifting landscape, 3 areas would cover broad trends for Indian social media in 2013:
1. Content is Advertising: Branded content will continue to rise as the worlds of publishing and commerce collide. Also, paid media (traditional and social) will be used to promote owned media (blogs/twitter/FB page content etc) and we’ll continue to wonder how much was earned by the publisher in supposedly earned media!
2. Revamped Team Social: Silo based approaches for social will evolve into socializing business strategy itself – a horizontal approach (and team) that looks at business objectives more clearly, and encompasses everything from CRM to ORM and beyond. These teams will also be equipped to handle everything from new social platforms to how social integrates/manifests on more advanced devices to technologies from AR to Big Data..
3. Brand Voice: Brands will figure out that they need to craft a voice and tonality that can resonate on social platforms as well. Many of the large brands we see now have grown up on media that never talked back. Despite social media gaining prominence, many brands still adapt a traditional media approach to communication on social. A new approach to storytelling that spans media, understands popular culture and involves consumers better is the brand imperative.
4. Karthik Nagarajan, National Director – Social Media & Insights at GroupM Media India
It was not long before that marketers like me used to present slides titled ‘why social’ to CMOs and brand custodians. While it has been gradual and painfully slow, I think Indian brands have taken the step and moved on to the next level nevertheless. We no longer see those slides anymore and the conversation has clearly morphed into the ‘how’ from ‘why’. I also see many brands being adventurous on this platform and not stick to a rigid script, that is limited by so-called KPIs. This is most encouraging as it befits a medium that is evolving as we speak.
While these developments set up 2013 for an exciting social journey, I still feel there is a lot for us to catch up on, primarily in Insights. Even with an overwhelming volume of brand and consumer conversations online, most brands still don’t feel it is critical to listen and are happy to rely fully on time-tested, traditional market research. May be 2013 will throw a pleasant surprise on this front?
5. LK Gupta, Vice President Marketing at LG India
2012 saw several brands finally taking the social media plunge. While this year was mostly about content marketing, 2013 would command much more as technologies advance and functionality extends beyond just marketing and community building. Trans media storytelling, by using multiple platforms, is slowly finding its way into mainstream marketing. Brands would need to deliver their message via multiple digital platforms- from blogs to YouTube and Instagram to augmented reality. Mobile social advertising would continue its up rise in the coming year.
While traditional and interruptive ads would decline, they would be replaced by innovative ‘native ads’ like Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories which look just like user-generated content. Asia-Pacific is all set to grow its social media users by 21.1% in 2013, which would mean an increased traffic in the digital space.
Social media is also expected to transcend the confines of marketing by helping the HR departments of tech-savvy brands to streamline the application process, and enabling the R&D department to conduct effective collaborative brainstorming sessions. The coming year would also see the development of robust software and tools that would make big data more manageable and easier to classify, helping brands improve customer service and predict future buying patterns.
6. Sridhar Iyer, Head of Digital Banking at Citibank India
Social media is increasingly becoming a key component in the digital marketing and communication mix for Financial Services. As a channel for multidimensional and real-time communication, FS organizations will use social media to engage consumers and obtain valuable insights. However, given the transparency of social media and the sensitive nature of financial transactions, organizations must take necessary precautions while growing this medium.
That’s an exciting set of predictions for the road ahead. Let us be prepared as the year unfolds, to experience the developments in the Indian social media space. Do share what you think will happen?