Today businesses in India are finding exciting ways to make social media work for them. One of the ways has been the trend of conducting social media conference which is projected to be a platform to share knowledge and networks too. Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest NGO which runs mid-day meal program feeding 1.2 million children every day is also doing the same. Akshaya Patra is organizing the 2011 Social India Conference at Hotel Royal Orchid, Bangalore on the 12-13 November, 2011. The event is a massive one bringing the likes of Gaurav Mishra, Kiruba Shankar, Stefan Kolle, Shauna Causey, etc. on board as speakers to share their thoughts and experiences.
A conference is undoubtedly a great medium of proliferation of ideas and generation of funds for NGO’s like Akshaya Patra. But with one or the other social media conference happening frequently, with time and conference costs involved, we thought of getting in touch with Sarmistha Sengupta, Program Officer at Akshaya Patra to know more about why the conference and what can participants take away from it.
The email interview we did is shared below:
1. Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO running mid-day meal programs. Do you want to add the latest happenings at Akshaya Patra?
List of events organized in the recent past:-
Search Marketing summit: India’s first Search Marketing Summit (SMS) was conducted in aid of The Akshaya Patra Foundation on February 2011. The conference brought together the brightest minds and most seasoned thought leaders who shared their knowledge and experience with us.
Bloggers Meet (In Bangalore and Kolkata): Akshaya Patra conducted an online blogging contest ‘Blog & Feed contest’ where 100s of Bloggers from all over the world Blogged for the cause we are working for. The contest was concluded with the bloggers meet in two cities Bangalore and Kolkata where bloggers from across the country came together and stood for a cause.
Code for a cause: Enthusiastic volunteers who are part of the Information technology sector came together to decode the internet for Akshaya Patra. Volunteers who attended ‘Code for a Cause’, an event which aimed to help non-profits get the best out of internet.
2. You are organizing a social media conference on November 12 and 13, 2011. What has motivated you to conduct this conference?
Social media is becoming an important part of our world. People use Social networking sites to get in touch with their friends and people around the world. Social media has become such a necessary aspect of today’s world that nowadays companies started creating a social media department. It personalizes the organization or the service we are doing and helps you to spread your message in a relaxed and conversational way.
Since inception Akshaya Patra has tried to harness technology for social development and believes that its time to reiterate the fact that non profits are one of the greatest consumer of social media. And this realization and the support from the leading Social media marketers motivated us to conduct a conference like this which will be a platform for everyone who are interested to achieve heights through Social Media.
3. These days, one finds a social media conference happening every month. So who should look forward to attending this conference and what would be the takeaways for a participant?
Social India Conference 2011 provides a great opportunity to meet and network with delegates in a specialized learning environment whilst exhibiting your contribution in the industry. Social India Conference 2011 is an exclusive opportunity for you to showcase your company.
Who should look forward: Business owners, practitioners, professionals, NGO’s and others interested in the latest advances in Social Media.
Through this event you will get a true insider’s look at what’s new today, and what’s coming over the next 12-18 months. It’s an exclusive preview of how companies, such as yours, will change the way other companies do business. What’s more, we want to hear your professional views on how we can make the next wave of social media even better.
This is where leaders gather in a dynamic forum for lively conversations and penetrating questions about business, technology, innovation, and opportunity.
The Conference will offer 14 sessions in two days, Day One will be focused on major topics and the “why” & “what” of Social Media, Day Two will be focused on more granular topics & the “how” in Social Media. We have lined up some of the best speakers and the sessions & networking will be of the highest order.
4. As an NGO, how much value addition does social media give to you and how effectively are you engaging on social media at your end?
Akshaya Patra’s aim is to enable hunger free education for the children in India and we are trying to make it possible with the help of social media.
For us Social Media Marketing refers to the process of promoting our website and our services through social media channels like facebook, twitter, blogs and youtube. Apart from generating awareness, increasing the traffic and subscribers, social media marketing is a low cost promotional method. Through these channels we were able to reach our supporters and well-wishers and update them about the latest happenings and requirements. We are also receiving monetary support from overseas through the promotional activities on social media to feed more and more hungry stomachs.
When we started the social media marketing we were having only around 300 friends now we have crossed 5000 friends in our facebook account. This social media platform helps us to spread the information about the latest happenings in an easier and effective way and unlike the traditional method this is a two way communication which helps us to interact more effectively with our friends, well-wishers and donors.
5. Finally, what would be your advice to other NGO’s who are striving to make a presence on social media?
Our advice will be to look forward for new updates and happening in social media which is going to be the future of our online presence. Come forward and participate to know and get more insight about social media. We are also offering a discounted price for the NGO’s who wanted to participate in the event.
The two day conference being divided in ‘why’ and ‘what’ of social media for day one and ‘how’ being discussed on day two makes it quite an interesting one to look forth. I have always believed that India has evolved from the ‘why’ of social media and we need to concentrate more on the ‘how.’ As we all know today the challenge for brands is to keep fans engaged on their networks for longer duration. And conference that foucus more on the how aspect will always be great. Apart from the content the initiative of Akshaya Patra to encourage more NGO’s to take the route of social media and be a part of the conference is really appreciating. Wishing that the conference turns into a great success and Akshaya Patra keeps on feeding more children.
Do you think that these social media conferences really deliver to the growth of social media or just provide a networking platform?