Post By Mustafa Stefan Dill
As I wrote earlier on four principles for small businesses using for your business, effective use of social media involves analyzing:
1) what consumer needs are trying to be met through social media and
2) what platforms are they using in that process.
This approach focuses on the consumer first, allowing you to keep in mind that social media is not a strategy in and of itself: it’s one of the many tools of your overall marketing mix.
Businesses of course reach out to traditional media outlets at a local level for advertising and exposure, but often don’t view social media use with the same kind of detail. If you’re reaching out to global markets, then it’s important to identify the most applicable platforms and social networks for your target market and implement your campaign accordingly.
Taking India as an example, here are some important trends to keep in mind:
According to a report by Analysys Mason and detailed by this Tech Eye article, most people in India will have their first social networking experience on their mobile phone. The report projects that the number of mobile social network users in India is expected to reach around 72 million by 2014. This in turn offers potential for such social networks as Foursquare, also gaining traction in India, according to Forbes.. As Foursquare itself reconfigures to be more global firendly, powerful marketing opportunities are possible.
Depending upon your service or business, you may need to go deeper: the race to be the dominant mobile operating sytem in India is highly competitve. That said, and with no implied endorsement, Android is gaining ascendacy, but more interestingly, Google seems very keen in establishing a long-term presence at the ground level in India, according to this Wall Street Journal article. That might be worth noting if your business involves long term presence and/or specific mobile apps.
Knowing that India is going mobile isn’t quite enough, however– we still don’t know who’s going there or what they like to do. There are some studies and resources that shed some light, such as this report by Nielsen . According to their research, Indian males ages 15-24 are twice as likely as their female counterparts to use text messaging and four times more likely to use picture messaging.
You also have to look at what are the most prevalent platforms in your projected market. As this beyond bricsarticle notes, Facebook is beating out Orkut in India (it also notes the rise of LinkedIn and DesiMartini), though Orkut still has 14.6 of the social media segment in India, so you may not want to ignore it completely.
Another analysis of social network use across the globe can be found on Vincenzo Cosenza’s blog , and the Global Web Index offers some free preliminary global social network data for user behavior (more stats can be purchased, according to the site).
Your business’s social media component is no less deserving of the same kind of attention and detail you would apply to the rest of your marketing research. Its worth the time to take a granular, detailed approach to your social media efforts!