Social media, a global phenomenon, is seeing explosive growth particularly in emerging countries like India, where the growth rate at 51% is much higher than the US at 6.8%. To harness this growth, similar to companies in the US, Indian companies too are looking for innovative ways to maximize the potential of social media.
Often a company’s social media presence is limited to product updates resulting in sporadic customer comments on the brands’ Facebook page or a chance tweet on the brands’ Twitter account. But, one way Indian companies are improving social media’s viability as a marketing channel is by changing the way they market on social media—don’t market to customers, get customers to market for you. This social media approach shifts the focus from low-engagement activities like brand updates to high-engagement activities like contests, brand-centric video creations leading to “fan-led” buzz.
Take a look at how Indian marketers are successfully using social media to engage customers in different roles, to drive product branding and marketing:
- Customers as Creative Partners: Zomato, a leading food and lifestyle guide in India, created a nationwide television commercial, not with an ad agency but its followers! Zomato used Twitter to drive awareness of the TVC contest and a dedicated website to upload ads. Similarly, two other brands, Micromax Mobile, a telecommunications company, used its Facebook page to crowdsource logo redesign ideas.
- Customers as Distributors: Hippo, a snack food, launched in the Indian market in 2010. It started a Twitter campaign–Project T–where consumer “hunger-fighters” would tweet Hippo if the snack was unavailable or not stocked in a shop. This ensured Hippo sales teams promptly restocked and tweeted updates. Soon, word of mouth took over, leading to increased brand awareness and a jump in sales of 76%.
- Customers as Message Amplifiers: Reebok India launched a Facebook fitness campaign—Flex a move–to build awareness for a new lightweight and flexible training shoe, RealFlex. Reebok featured a dance video on Facebook that fans had to copy, record, and upload on Facebook. Two months from the date of launch, these videos were combined to create an online flash mob which became a huge viral success.
- Customers as Judges: Indian Idol held its recent auditions online. More than 15,000 audition videos were uploaded on MyIndianIdol.com. Users could vote for their favorite contestant and also track their popularity on a daily basis through a “Popularity meter” app. In addition, the website was supplemented with blogs and videos that led MyIndianIdol.com to gather more than 21 million views worldwide.
We see that social media marketing can be effective if brands move away from traditional marketing activities to more creative, customer-inclusive activities. And the best part about it all, the promise of a “fun” brand experience that readily pulls customers to participate and spread the word!
Have you heard of brands using innovative social media activities? How are you making sure customers are engaged with your brand on social media?