The very word “social” brings to one’s mind the web of societal relations that comprises our society. The word “media” brings to one’s mind the medium through which we can reach out to the masses. Hence, the words social media signifies the medium to reach out to the entire global society. The question that is often raised is, “why social media should be used to leverage business?” The question that actually needs to be raised is, “why social media should not be used to leverage business?” The answer is rhetoric, if a business has to survive in the 21st century competitive market they have to inevitably make use of social media.
In this fast moving world, where 24 hours is not enough, how do you reach out to people thorough traditional ways? The answer is you cannot. You have to shift your ways of reaching out to target audience and adopt the means where you need the concentration. Social media and changing the face of the country, where “Like” is no longer a verb, but a means of engaging audience on Facebook.
With the global recession and its long shadows, companies are looking for new ways to sell their products. Most of them have taken digital route, especially social media. Social and digital media in the context of Indian audience is particularly influential because it has an internet user base of approximately 121 million people. The biggest advantage of social media probably lies in the fact that it allows interaction with the audience. This “interaction” factor is absent in the traditional form of reaching out to audience. So companies spend huge amounts of money on banners and hoardings but they will never know the reaction of the audience. But in social media not only the companies reach out to customers but the customers can also get back to the company with their criticisms and constructive feedback. This feedback provides a sample of the need and requirements of the target audience.
With the advent of social media, some companies have done commendable jobs in engaging their audience thus improving their virtual presence. Let’s look at some examples –
Starbucks conducted a campaign in the United States, where people were asked to give their Starbucks idea. The campaign was called “My Starbucks Idea” and conducted via Twitter was a huge success with all the ardent Starbucks followers giving ideas on brands, products and new ways of engaging with customers.
The best part about social and digital media is that allows engagement of the audience. It makes the audience feel heard. Fastrack which is India’s leading youth brand and emphasizes on “Moving on” in life, ran an interesting campaign for its segment of young customers. The campaign was called “Make Hell Cool” and was done in light of the end of the world (on 21st Dec 12) prophecy by the Mayans. This campaign got more than 18 lakh responses.
One of the major success stories in the field of social media is the inspiring story of Dell. Dell which manufactures laptop did more than 6.5 million dollars in sales in just two years. This miracle happened because they used Twitter to leverage their customer base.
In India, Chumbak gets 25% of its revenue from facebook and has 5X ROI (return on investment) on total advertising spent with facebook. For Chumbak 30-40% of website traffic comes from Facebook
Facebook has 1.11 billion monthly active users and 4.75 billion content items have been shared on its platform
Why is it important for personal finance business in India?
- Current Internet user base of 121 Million Indians will increase to 250-350 Million by end of 2015
- Smart phones will be available shortly at a starting price of Rs. 3500 onwards, dramatically increasing internet usage through mobile device
- Aggressive launch of 4G technology by telecom operators will make internet access faster and in theory could be as high as 100 mbps. 4G is the most advanced technology available today which will allow –
- Faster access of rich content, multimedia applications eg: Movies, HD videos, e-learning, HD content and more
- multiple downloads of heavy files,
- Access business applications that require higher speeds and last mile connectivity
- Seamless Face-2-face video chat and online streaming
- High definition online gaming
- It will be cheaper, therefore, increase the internet user base faster
- With individuals increasingly accessing internet, customers will search and expect online service in personal finance domain. The financial services providers will be searched more like any other services. This is already proven in generic search services provided by Justdial, sulekha, gettit, etc.
- Google is and will be the most used platform for searching the financial services providers. A keyword search analysis on Google shows that more than half a million search is done on keywords relevant to personal finance domain. Therefore, there is a great scope for Financial advisors to take benefit of these searches by making their digital presence.
- FACEBOOK IN INDIA – Facebook has total user base of 82,000,000 in India (age13+ onwards). Interestingly more than 70% of these users are from top 110 Cities (as defined by AMFI) where the Mutual Fund Industry has 98% of its AUM (asset under management). The MF Industry has presence at these places through branch & Advisors. Why not leverage this huge social media base? Now, lets’ look at the city-wise Facebook users base (13+ and 21+ age groups vs % of MF AUM in that city) –
|Classification of Cities||Sr. No.||Locations||Percentage of AUM||Approx. Facebook User (13+ age onwards)||Approx. Facebook User >= 21 yrs. Of age|
|Other cities||OTHER CITIES||2.76|
By leveraging the above and other social media the financial advisor can popularise his/her services and attract new investors for his business. Referring and sharing works very well in the social media therefore good and quality financial advice can also have viral effect.
- Policybazar.com already sells 17000+ policies online every month
- Social/ digital media leveraging is mostly free, if not, it is mostly affordable.
What and How to implement social and digital media for IFA’s Business in India? We will discuss that in our next article…..