Since joining Ernst & Young India to help establish the digital advisory stream, one of the projects we have been involved in was a study on how some of the biggest and most popular brands in India are conducting their social media initiatives. While as industry watchers and digital professionals, we had a lot of insights on social media users and usage, we wanted to get a collective feedback from organisations on their social media objectives, tactics, who all uses social media in organisations, measurement and the agency scenario.
While the study has taken bit more time than we initially anticipated, the results we got now are interesting. The study provides answers to some pertinent questions around social media marketing among social media-savvy organizations in India. We also added our perspectives and findings from E&Y thought leadership papers and secondary research to provide depth.
As you go through the study, you will realise that while answering some of the key questions, the study also highlights opportunities as well as areas where organisations need to work on. It sort of attempts to set a benchmark in the industry and will help organisations that want to leverage social media better. For social media savvy organisations, it also prompts a look inside to see where they stand and how they can go forward.
We just published the first edition of ‘Social Media Marketing – India Trends Study 2013’. These are the top findings. A detailed version of the study is available here at the E&Y website.
Why social media:
1. Most social media-savvy organizations in India use the medium to build communities
95.7% of the surveyed social media-savvy organizations in India use the medium to build communities and advocate usage while 76.1% use social media as a platform to highlight brand news. Around 16% of organizations, which use social media for both the above reasons also use it for customer service, lead generation, and research indicating high social maturity and moving toward getting business meanings out of engagements.
Which social media platform:
2. Facebook most important platform for marketers in India for engaging customers, followed by Twitter, YouTube and blogging
Almost half of the social media-savvy organizations are already using emerging platforms such as Pinterest, Google Plus, and Foursquare. More than half of the social media-savvy organizations surveyed regularly engage with bloggers or online influencers who have authority and strong following.
How does social media fit in with other marketing/communications campaigns:
3. Social media-savvy organizations in India have conducted campaigns where social media is the leading component
Social media-savvy organizations in India speed up processes or show special favor for online fans
Social media formed a leading component of campaigns of 87.5% of the respondents. More than half of the surveyed organizations have speeded up processes or have shown a special favour for their online fans and followers that they wouldn’t normally do for their offline customers.
How do organizations engage with their social communities:
4. Popular practices
a. Type of content: A majority of social media savvy organizations prefer to post generic updates instead of brand updates.
b. Frequency of updates and responses: Social media-savvy organizations posts multiple updates a day
Majority of social media-savvy organizations respond to fan queries within 30 to 60 minutes on Twitter and within 30 minutes to a few hours on Facebook.
c. Contests/promotions: Picture contests are the most popular contests among social media-savvy organizations in India — most contests are organized monthly.
d. Policies: Majority of social media-savvy organizations in India surveyed have social media guidelines for better governance and online monitoring programs to listen to conversations; however, less than half have crisis manuals.
e. Tools used: Many social media-savvy organizations in India use tools for online monitoring, response management, or managing social media platforms.
f. Social media for research: Almost half of the social media-savvy organizations in India have conducted research using social media tools to get customer feedback and understand more about customer behavior.
g. Mobile: Half of the social media-savvy organizations in India have created mobile phone apps and one-fourth plans to create one.
How do organizations use social media ads:
5. Majority of social media-savvy organizations use social media ads to promote online campaigns and brand awareness, and find them beneficial
83% of the social media-savvy organizations surveyed said that they have used social media ads, with majority of the ads being used to promote a contest/promotion or for brand awareness. 88.6% said they find social media ads to be beneficial in achieving those objectives.
How do you measure social media success?
6. Majority of social media-savvy organizations in India measure social media efforts through platform-specific parameters
81% of the social media-savvy organizations surveyed said that they measure their social media efforts through platform-specific parameters such as likes, people talking about this, etc. 46.7% of the organizations surveyed said they have not measured revenue from their social media efforts. On the positive side, some organizations are already measuring social media efforts through leads, sentiment, brand visibility and have seen increase in revenue from social media efforts.
Social media budget:
7. Almost half of social media-savvy organizations spend 1%–5% of their marketing budget on social media, most social media budgets are below INR10 million
41.5% of social media-savvy organizations said that around 1%–5% of their marketing budget in spent on social media. Three-fourths of the organizations surveyed have their social media budget below INR10 million, while a little above a quarter of the organizations surveyed have social media budgets exceeding INR 20 million.
Which department manages social media:
8. Majority of social media efforts in India are managed by marketing teams
76.7% of social media-savvy organizations said they have their marketing department handling social media with the rest being handled by a cross functional team/across functions or by the PR/communications team. Other than marketing, 34.6% said they use social media for thought leadership and 26.9% said they use social media for CSR. A majority (70.2%) said they have an in house social media expert in middle management.
9. Majority of social media-savvy organizations in India use standalone digital agencies as compared to PR or ad agencies
73.8% of surveyed social media-savvy organizations have chosen standalone digital agencies as compared to PR, ad agencies, or freelancers. 59.1% of the organizations surveyed also said that they are happy with their current agencies while 40.9% responded with either a ”maybe” or a ”no.”
10. Future of social media:
Social media-savvy organizations in India are very optimistic about the future
Social media-savvy organizations are very optimistic about the role of social media in their organizations. Though measures such as sales and leads are not very evident for all organizations, they have realized that it plays an important role in generating insights and engaging with customers on a continued basis. Social media has helped organizations to create their own communities of fans, customers or prospects. In the future, organizations hope to focus more on social media and are looking forward greater adoption within their organizations.