Pluggd.in is a site that has been nurturing Indian startups and entrepreneurship for more than 5 years now. A one point destination for Indian tech news and the go to site for startups and entrepreneurs, it also earned the title of “Techcrunch of India” but I would prefer to call it the way it is.
Ashish Sinha, the brain behind this amazing site made a decision to venture into the world of entrepreneurship when every other IIT+IIM brain was going abroad to make dollars. Ashish stood back and started the venture in 2007 after serving in companies like IBM, Yahoo, etc. The motive was to support the community of geeks who were developing awesome products and had no one speaking for them. For the next two years, it was Ashish’s passion that grew Pluggd.in and today it stands as one of the most trusted community of entrepreneurs.
Ashish attributes the success to the content of his site and also added that social media hasn’t made much of a difference.
“The focus from day one was the discipline of publishing news. Till date our direct visitors have been growing. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have helped in distribution. Specially integrating Facebook comments have helped spread the content easily”.
Social media carries the message far but what was it like promoting articles when there was no Twitter and Facebook, was my inquisitive query to Ashish. Today as a blogger, I spend a lot of time on marketing our articles. Ashish was quick to explain that RSS feeds and email newsletters were the default technology prior to Facebook and Twitter.
[pullquote id= “lhipull” class=”center_pull”]Email newsletters have always been there and works very well for us till date. Good content will get you people finally. [/pullquote]
Good content is the crux of any form of creativity and online media needs to produce quality content continuously. Pluggd.in has never lacked in quality content and along with content Ashish has built a community for startups. The love for community oozes out in the lengthy discussions that happen in the comments section of an article. The love is also reflected in the quality and quantity of guest articles posted by the community on the site. Every marketing manager today would die for such a community.
Seeing this, Pluggd.in had launched a Forum last year, which in a short time, has become a popular destination of intense and helpful discussions.
“The forum that we have is a place for the passionate community that involves in serious talks, unlike Facebook Groups that are more about ego-boost. So the forum is a feature that has been growing from day one and most liked by startups or entrepreneurs”.
The Pluggd.in forum is all about community help and has less distraction. Ashish shares a recent example of how the community helped a startup through the forum.
“Recently, there was a startup which was desperately looking for some suggestions on the travel app that it had created. Within no time the members started posting useful suggestions in the forum to this startup once it started the discussion thread”.
It seems forums or closed groups will never go out of the fashion since there are many takers for such discussions. Contributors to Wikipedia are one such bunch who update articles religiously and help the community even though they have an active Facebook group.
Ashish vouches for the word ‘Help’. He believes startups that are engaging on social media should embed this word in their hearts. He also adds,
“Social media is not just about opening a Facebook page and startups should focus on a specific network. If you are starting a blog then you need to question the purpose of the blog. Along with that social media should be used to help others”.
You can only start building relationships with people on social media when you build trust and trust happens over a time when you not only talk but also provide genuine help.
However, Ashish thinks that social media today has a lot of noise and loads to consume. He feels that even though the industry is getting conscious about social media, it is still not being sold in a clean way. He further shares that,
“B2B brands are possessive about a Facebook like but the need is that they should be focused on more good content. Along with that the metrics is also not clear”.
We need to evolve from the like mentality and focus on content if we want to build a sustainable community. In a revelation, Ashish shared that Pluggd.in never had the like widget of Facebook on it’s site. He adds that,
“The notion of a simple Facebook like is highly over rated. Facebook is not about like, it is about good content and that will only help you to build engagement”.
Nevertheless, Ashish thinks that the market is still evolving in the social media business and that is good for any industry.