Saturday, March 5, 2011

Does Indian Inc understand social media?

Social media has become a fad. Everybody wants to be seen out there, listen to what everybody else is saying. Same is the case with Indian Inc. Not having a facebook or twitter profile seem similar to committing a ‘harakiri’.
Most head honcos or marketing heads of consumer driven enterprises when asked about their exposure to social media typically have this to say: “….Oh we do social media. We have a profile on facebook, twitter……..” However their journey into the social media world gets abruptly halted once they get a decent fanbase.
Looks like Indian Inc have not understood the power that social network tools command. A mere presence on facebook or twitter seems to suffice for most. Engagement with customers is usually limited to a one-way news bombardment or responding to audience or running a poll.
Engagement and outreach is much more than this. Try innovative means to engage with your community and treat them with the same respect that you would offer a customer who walks into your store. For if your community members do not like what you dish out for them, they will run away and never return.
My advice to all those who have created a present on any social media platform –do not take your community for granted. Do you think a trainee you hired the other day or your PA can do this job. Think again! Hire a social media expert even if you do not see immediate returns coming your way and invest in your future community.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Facebook Valuations: Cloud computing gone amok!

Haven't written anything much for a very long time. My job seem to be keeping me too busy, leaving me no time for "being social,..." not an apt excuse for being just lazy.

However the news on facebook valuation has jerked me up from a deep slumber. Facebook valued at $65 billion..., a whopping jump of 30% from its previous valuation, just a month ago (in January).

Wonder if the Investment firm General Atlantic has overvalued the firm's equitable value or is it a case of cloud computing gone amok.

According to news reports General Atlantic is purchasing a block of roughly 2.5 million Facebook shares from former Facebook employees, giving the firm a 0.1 per cent stake in the company.

In January, Facebook said it had raised $1.5 billion from investors including Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, as well as through a private offering to overseas investors conducted by Goldman Sachs, at a valuation of roughly $50 billion.

Well I am still waiting to know the money spinning business model that both the social media bigwigs-- Facebook or for that matter Twitter are looking at adopting going forward.

For the moment, I am busy thinking about the number of zeros that Mark Zuckerberg can add to his already balooning networth if he decides to go public (an IPO).

For now I am thinking of creating a social network titled "the Valuation Game." Join me in my endeavour!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Facebook enters Indian shores!

Facebook has become a phenomenon lately in India. Companies are slowly but surely decking up their facebook profile pages to have informal chat with their loyal customers. With the growing demand for facebook users in India and Asia in general, do we need a Facebook representative office in India! Well Facebook believes so.
Facebook today announced its intentions to open an office in Hyderabad. Facebook’s new center in Hyderabad will support its head office at Palo Alto, California. The Hyderabad office will house online advertising and developer support teams.

Facebook's entry into India will most likely develop and expand India's nascent social media industry. Whats more, we can expect other bigwigs to setup shop here!

Don Faul, Director of Global Online Operations for Facebook, said: “People in India and around the world are using Facebook to do everything from voicing their opinions on national issues, to connecting with fellow cricket and hockey fans, to sharing photos with their friends and family. We expect our new office in Hyderabad to tap into the region’s strong pool of talented people who understand operations and technology, and help us more effectively serve the needs of our users, advertisers, and developers around the world.”

Watch this space to know more about the happening in the social media industry!

Friday, January 22, 2010

IPL-Google deal to forge Indian Inc to take up Social Media as a branding tool!

I have a confession to make! Lately I have been neglecting this space as I have been extremely engrossed with my client’s social media portfolio management and that too, a very demanding one. In developing economies social media strategists like me find it difficult to close a deal fast vis-à-vis my colleagues in the USA as educating and making my customers aware about social media as a branding tool takes a large amount of my time (a non negotiable currency in today’s world).
Never-the-less, companies in India are getting used to the idea of using social media tools for brand building. The latest case in point is the BCCI promoted Indian Premier League (IPL) which has inked a deal with Google for telecasting IPL matches live on the top video sharing site –You Tube. What the IPL-Google deal does is make geographical boundaries irrelevant in the area of live sport. This is the first time that Google will be streaming a major global sporting tournament live.
For India and Indian companies this is good news as we will see other Indian companies coming forward and joining the Web 2.0 revolution by becoming social media savvy. Till then my job will comprise educating corporate Indian about social media big time.
This is all from me for now! Watch this space for news and views on social media.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Indian Companies Jump onto Social Media Bandwagon

Haven’t written anything for quite sometime. I don’t want to make any excuses but when you are busy handling the entire social media portfolio of a big client and handling an outreach program for a month long event, where is the time to pen down thoughts or memories.

Finally it is over and we have been extremely successfully in grabbing eyeballs. The experience has been awesome. Promoting a month-long event in the social media space has indeed been a learning experience.

I am happy to note that companies in India are ready to experiment with social media however they need to be educated about social media. It is a great beginning in itself. It is interesting to note that some companies like Kingfisher, Deccan Chargers Sports Pvt ltd, Club Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and others have made a beginning by opening a Twitter or a Facebook account but must say… it is a long road ahead of them.

I would say TCS will surely achieve success in social media space as they have realized quite early that they need a social media specialist to take forward their SM initiative.

Companies must understand that just by jumping onto the social media bandwagon by setting up account will not help them. Success will only come to those who will be able to choose the most appropriate social media platform, handpick social media specialists who understand the finer nuances of social media and then embark on the social media blitzkrieg.

Among the three companies mentioned above, I would say TCS will surely achieve success in social media space as they have realized quite early that they need a social media specialist to take forward their SM initiative. It is probably the first company in India to have placed a social media specialist vacancy on a job board. Look like a beginning has been made.

Companies like kingfisher Airline and Club Mahindra have although created a presence on the micro blogging site -- Twitter however the profile pages of both these companies look lackluster. Look like they do not know how to use Twitter to their advantage. I think they are in desperate need of a social media strategist. In my next blog, I will discuss these two twitter profiles and how they can use twitter to their advantage.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tata Nano--how global markets are reacting to it?

I am quite curious to know how people will take to Tata Nano globally, especially in a downturn. Is it really the right time to launch a product which may not find takers globally. Well, guess time will tell. One can gauge the response and reaction the vehicle is generating in Europe. Any thoughts or updates on that!!!!

Lets hear it from the market.

If you have any comments, post it on the Tata Nano group on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tata Nano's social media efforts ineffective

Indian Companies are taking baby steps in adapting themselves to “becoming social” or Web 2.0 compliant by engaging with social media tools and networks. An interesting case in point is Tata Motor’s NANO—‘the poor man’s savari.’ The product, having attracted eyeballs internationally owing to “the affordability factor’ is nearing its launch date.

Given the potential market for “the people’s car” (domesic/international) one would have expected Tata Motors to be a little more social media savvy. It is surprising that given the potential of the market and inspite of having a dream team (branding and marketing), Tata Nano website looks lacklustre in terms of social media usage.

The website has a link only to social media networks such as Facebook and Orkut. Agreed, these are the two social media networks that have large number of Indian users. But, well I didn’t expect the website to be so boring.

Moreover, the facebook page of Tata Nano does not meet the expectations. I wonder whose artwork it is anyways! Although Indian companies have to be educated about what social media can actually do for them, one would expect a brand like Tata Motors to be more social media network savvy.

The next questions any reader would want to ask is how they could have been different?

Better pictures, display interesting discussion among users, fans, better and more interesting postings on their wall. And yes, they could have easily integrated Tata Nano application available on the Tata Nano website on to their official facebook page.

Facebook offers API’s to create smooth integration and interface to link websites with user accounts on Facebook. This means, you could bring your entire facebook crowd onto your website and vice versa.

I would say they have also missed out on twitter as a tool to brand and promote Nano. An inclusion of a mobile application would have surely added glitz to Tata Nano’s Social Media Campaign.

Although Indian companies are trying to understand what social media is, they are a way too slow in learning the art of implementing social media strategy.

On a positive note, a beginning has been made. I am happy to see Indian companies making an effort to connect socially.