The growing impact of Social Media on our everyday lives
Day by day the importance of an effective social media campaign is on the rise and almost all brands are jumping onto the bandwagon. We bring to you a story on 'how much' social media is impacting our everyday lives.
If you have used a social networking website before, it is likely that you are already fully aware of its popularity and the reason for it. Social media in India is growing at 100 percent and is likely to touch 45 million users by 2012. One third of India’s online consumers are aware of brands that have an online presence. Social media has now become part of everyday life for a majority of us. According to a study on social media usage by The Nielsen Company conducted in collaboration with AbsolutData, nearly 30 million Indians who are online consumers are members of social networking sites and about two-thirds of them spend time on these social networking sites daily.
The age of Facebook and Twitter
More importantly, Indians spend more time on social media than they do checking personal email. According to the study, an equal number spend up to an hour on social networking and email. However while just 8% spend between an hour and three hours on personal email, 20% spend the same time on social media sites. Social networking websites are, for the most part, easy to use and especially Facebook and Twitter have a huge fan following world over.
“I have been using Facebook actively since June 2007 when I moved to it from Orkut; as FB gave more better privacy options and better features than Orkut. I have been actively using Twitter since June 2008 when I realized how useful it is to follow tweets about a particular event or conference when you can't attend it. Twitter became mainstream in India and among my friends during Mumbai terror attacks in Nov 2008 when people shared information and sheltered strangers who were in trouble.” says Hrish Thota, an entrepreneur.
In fact social media has become so powerful that the news spreads much faster than any other medium. There have been times when most of us have found out about many national/international news after logging onto Facebook or Twitter. Recently after the Osama Bin Laden’s death story broke out, CNN anchor Piers Morgan tweeted saying, “Sign of our times: I heard news of Bin Laden’s death from Twitter when I landed in NY last night. Just a random tweeter #primarynewssource.”
Talking about this growing phenomenon Adrian Terron, Vice President, The Nielsen Company. says “Social media is now ingrained in the way tech savvy Indians live their lives. With its ability to play multiple roles in an individual’s life by enabling shared experiences, creating linkages between communities and satisfying the need to be networked, its role in creating a deeper engagement is a boon to marketing.”
Brands join the bandwagon
According to the study when asked about the awareness of brands on social media, a fourth of online Indians were able to recall brands using social media. Of those consumers who are on social networking sites, a small but growing number claim to be following brands on these platforms. “This indicates that no single brand ‘owns’ the social media space and that the opportunity to become a ‘social’ brand is overwhelming. Given that, having a social media presence connotes ‘innovation’ ‘customer friendliness’ and a sense of ‘cool’, brands should only ignore this aspect at their own peril” continues Terron.
“Businesses have used social media in two ways, first in their inherent form to promote their brands and build a fan-following, and secondly, using the different advertisement options they provide to directly target users. Examples of the first type are Facebook pages and twitter accounts of specific campaigns or brands. Examples of paid promotion include Facebook ads and twitter promoted tweets.” says Sumit Gupta, a social media enthusiast.
Social Media gathers momentum
Nearly 40 million Indians are using online reviews to inform purchase decisions – 67 percent of Indians who are on the web use online reviews to help them make purchases. As personal opinion gains currency on the social web, online users are seeking various outlets to express themselves, be it blogs or social media sites. Increasingly, Indians also want brands to communicate with them using social media.
“Social media in India has taken off in a big way with Facebook but Twitter still has to make major in-roads as it could be not clear to many people how to use it for themselves and for their brands. I feel Social media in India will enable us to get more freedom in expressing our opinions about products and services.” adds Hrish.