5 Ways To Engage India’s Fast Growing Online Customer Base

Guest post written by Rishi Malhotra

Rishi Malhotra is President and COO of Saavn, a South Asian online music service. He’s also managing partner of 212Media. He previously was VP of Multiplatform Program Marketing at HBO. 

India is growing, and growing fast. It boasts the fastest growing online customer base in the world, fueled by mobile and PC desktop Web adoption.

India also boasts the largest potential audience in the world for social networks. Nielsen has reported that over 45,000 Indians will join social networking sites each day over the next six months. According to their study, 80% of Indian social media users spend more than 15 minutes on sites daily.

So how can you connect with them?

India is famous for its community-oriented culture. Spending time with your friends and family trumps “me time” and people rely heavily on their personal networks to discover what’s new, what’s cool and what’s worth spending time and energy pursuing. So it’s no surprise Indians have taken to social media with enthusiasm and force. In fact, with almost 50 million registered users, India is the second most-represented country on Facebook and the sixth most-represented country on Twitter.

Here are a few lessons we’ve learned in building our own business, a social music platform focused on reaching and engaging Indian consumers:

  •  Give people something worth sharing

Hoping your audience will tweet or share information is not enough in India. Brands need to associate themselves with or create their own content that inspires audiences to want to share something amazing – content that will associate them with the passion points that matter to Indians.

In India, these passion points are sports, Bollywood and music. For a country of a billion people, it seems simplistic to say there are a few core passion points, but the numbers don’t lie; Bollywood is a $3 billion industry, and over 800 million Indians follow sports. India, in this regard, is not so different than the rest of the world; video and music dominate media consumption and encompass the lion’s share of content shared across the country.

With almost 8 million likes, mobile operator Tata Docomo has one of the most popular Facebook pages in India. All the posts on their page fall into three categories: sports, music and film. There’s not a whiff of cellular plans or mobile contracts, but they do share their television commercials, starring (surprise, surprise) one of Bollywood’s most popular actors. They connect with their fans where it matters most – making a smart play with Bollywood and cricket to increase time spent with the Tata Docomo brand.

When it comes to social, engagement matters above all. Your friends already like you – but interact with them and you’ll show up on their friends’ newsfeeds, tickers, etc. Remember the power of community in India? Indian users are paying attention to what’s going on in their networks. Encourage your fans to interact with your brand and you’ll be able to address more than just your present user base.

  • Turn your audience into business partners

Supply chain management via tweet? Why not?

Social media is enabling brands to turn customers into marketers, distributors and even supply chain managers. A great example is the award-winning Twitter campaign launched by Parle Agro to support Hippo Baked Munchies (a packaged snack food) in India. Due to the inadequate national food distribution structure, Parle Agro couldn’t quickly figure out where Hippo needed to be restocked. To find out where to send more Hippo, they asked consumers and shop owners to tweet where shelves were empty. According to Hindustan Times, sales of Hippo jumped 76% thanks to the “Hippo Fights Hunger” campaign.


Read more at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/06/22/5-ways-to-engage-indias-fast-growing-online-customer-base/



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