Indian companies use social media to build communities of online fans rather than focusing primarily on pushing products or generating new customer leads.

Social Media in India : building communities comes before brand promotion

The use of social media has reached a high level of maturity in India, according to a report just published by international auditing and management consultancy firm Ernst & Young. During the survey, 48 organisations in India identified as being ‘social media savvy’ were quizzed to find out how they use this channel. The report shows that these firms are increasingly looking to boost engagement with their communities rather than seeking specifically to highlight brand development or boost product visibility.

Priority to online communities

The Ernst & Young report shows that around 95% of the organisations surveyed use social media first and foremost to build fan communities, and 87.5% said they had conducted campaigns where social media was the “leading component”. In addition, many of the firms organise monthly picture contests or promotional campaigns. More than half of the companies surveyed say they have made “special efforts for their online fans that they wouldn’t normally do for their offline customers”.

Pro-active and responsive social media action

Indian companies focus their efforts mainly on Facebook and Twitter, with use of YouTube and engaging with bloggers in third and fourth position. While the ‘emerging’ social media platforms such as Google Plus, Foursquare and Pinterest are still some way off in terms of company use, they are already being used by around half of the organisations surveyed. In terms of day-to-day activity, more than half the firms polled post updates on social media at least twice a day. They also purport to be highly responsive to their audiences, claiming that they answer questions from their fans within an average of 30 minutes. In terms of strategy, a majority of the social media savvy organisations surveyed prefer to post generic updates rather than brand updates or product promotions, the report points out.