Recently, a friend expressed interest in ‘going social’ for his new HR technology product and asked if I’d help chalk out a plan by first showing him any products that had attracted an unprecedented fan-following in the last couple of years. That set me off on an intense exercise to scour the Net and extricate success stories, and later to draw my lessons for the product in question.
At the end of a couple of days of fierce reading and mulling, I presented him the fruit of my labour in the form of some b2b and b2c product success stories where companies had proved that by engaging with their customers through their websites, focussed discussion forums and social networking channels, they’d succeeded in allaying fears for new technology or using a new idea. I’ve listed out those case study links at the end to help those wading through Netoceanic waters for similar pearls. My takeaways from these case studies are specific to the HR technology product so I’m not including those.
However, these cases are global and not India-specific.
I know that a lot of us would like to figure how a social media initiative by a company or an individual in India managed to broaden its customer base or in the very least connected with its audience. While I’m looking out for such successful programs, I’ve got a small but significant personal experience to share.
Less than two months ago, I’d goaded a friend in Goa into opening a Facebook group to broadcast his store’s product range. I gave him some ideas on getting members for the group and shared with him an article from Mashable on how 5 small businesses had seen success through social media. He was excited at the prospect of making sales without making a huge investment into advertising but so nervous was he about entering untreaded tech territories that I’d to find him this short article on opening a Facebook group. He didn’t just open a group, but he took a cue from the Mashable read and some days later, put up pictures of some colourful but expensive leather boots as new entrants in his product range. A new ‘Facebook friend’ of his from Gurgaon, who’d joined his group through a t-shirt designer’s group they shared, messaged him to enquire about the available sizes and their prices. He responded with details through Facebook and asked her if she’d like any pair couriered but didn’t get a response. What he did get some days later was a visit to his store from an acquaintance of her’s with hand-drawn foot sizes to buy all 3 shoes displayed on his Facebook group!
For some time, the friend could hardly believe what he’d witnessed – a buyer for expensive merchandise in the still non-peak sale period of Goa and that too in the form of an Indian and not a dollar-rich foreigner! His faith in all things technological has elevated since then and he’s all for rustling up resources for a well-designed and populated product gallery on his website, and of course for having a direct hand in promoting it through his new found social networking methods 🙂
They’re right in saying that social media is for anyone with a clear set of objectives and a plan to follow. And, it sure helps that it’s an enjoyable way to further a cause.