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Are Indian brands smitten by the social media bug?

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are only some of the names which will inevitably feature in the marketing strategy of major brands in India. In the current scenario, marketers attribute social media as one of the most effective marketing strategies to engage the Indian consumer.

As the consumer is constantly on the move, it is crucial that the marketers opt for a strategy which will be available across platforms. In conversation with Digital Market Asia, Deep Sherchan, Chief Marketing Officer of Simplify360 discusses the role of social media analytics and how it contributes to marketers’ decision making process.

Across a wide array of social media platforms joining the party, Twitter and Facebook continue to be dominant players in India. When Simplify360 started its business in 2009, Twitter was the only main player and was not dominated by celebrities as it is now. “India was still figuring out Facebook while we were more active on Twitter so most of our audience was global,” Mr Sherchan explained.

Simplify360 is a software company engaged in the social media product space since 2009. “We have a platform that allows company to engage in social media listening, analytics and engagement,” said Mr Sherchan. It is used by companies like ITC Foods, Star, Malcom, among others, he added.

The social media management platform has garnered interest from digital media agencies as well by offering service in the areas such as analytics which were otherwise not available on the social media platform. “Prior to 2014, we were only facing competition in the global market but lately we have seen some Indian companies emerge in the space. Going forward in 2015, we see competition from existing players picking up as they upgrade their offering,” Mr Sherchan said.

“Going forward, Facebook is expected to see immense traction from brands in India with increased interaction on the platform. They may not have a Twitter account but they will be accessible on Facebook. Facebook ads is one of the most popular mediums now as its reach across platform is seamless,” Mr Sherchan shared. Facebook has now become as priority in social media campaign as marketers in India seek to leverage opportunities in Facebook’s second largest markets besides its home turf in US.

Discussing the challenges of social media marketing, Mr Sherchan pointed out that one of the most challenging part of social media management is the validation of ROI (Return on Investment). Largely in the space, only ecommerce companies can successfully measure the sales volumes driven by the social media campaigns while smaller companies continue to struggle in terms of measuring the success of social media engagement, he added.

Social media engagement is a challenge for smaller brands which are more focussed on daily business activities rather than the social media buzz they are creating. “This is largely because expectation from social media activities in India have not matured as compared to markets such as US,” Mr Sherchan pointed out.

Nevertheless, he continues to remain optimistic and said, “lately we have seen the focus shifting from ROI to getting the social media content viral in the market. Social media buzz is becoming more important.”

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