The serious side of fun

NET GAINS

The serious side of fun

Barack Obama wouldn’t have won the elections if it wasn’t for the internet: so said the media in America. Myspace and YouTube had a big role to play in his campaign. That was the power of interactive marketing. This doesn’t only mean mailers and text messaging but micro blogging, blogging, social media networks, podcasts, RSS feeds, banner displays, online communities, bookmarking, digital public relations, branding microsites…and so much more.
 
Number crunching

There are more than 250 million active users, and more than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once a day. The average user has at least 120 friends. More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day worldwide. About 70 per cent of Facebook users are outside the United States with more than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries. There are more than 30 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices, and there are more than 150 mobile operators in 50 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook. So this is an idea that is happening…now.

Closer home, several Indian politicians took a leaf out of Obama’s book. Leading political parties launched significant online campaigns during the recent elections. A lot of people mobilisation usually happens through emails and social networking sites. Most of us would have at least three or four groups/communities that we’d have joined for a cause or — more importantly —  for business. There is a lot of buzz around this phenomenon.

Social media marketing is the new ‘it’ thing. We hear success stories of people having launched and built successful business models through Linkedin or Facebook. How does that work?

In a world where we spend most of our time updating our Facebook account, scrapping on Twitter, playing Farmville, and getting new introductions on Linkedin, it’s but obvious that someone had to see the huge opportunity for business on these sites. This is an ideal model, especially for the lifestyle segment where advertising is usually focused and niche.

For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect “fans” the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians and politicians do.

What better way to reach your target audience than to have a discussion page or community page on Facebook without having to spend any money?

The only investment would be your time. And, there’s an additional bonus of being directly in touch with your customers for feedback, say many Indian fashion designers.

Selective sharing

Lina TipnisI have an account on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, and I have my own site. I prefer a private account where I can be selective about who sees what on my page. I have received many business requests and I have taken some queries forward too. It is very important to be a part of the networking world. I would recommend a healthy dose of the online world to all the new entrants in the fashion business but with caution.

Lina Tipnis
Label: Lina Tipnis & Linarika


Start small

I have an account on Facebook which I also use for business purposes. I prefer to have a private account so that I can control the quality of people joining my page. I do create public forums and community pages where everybody who has an interest in the subject can join in. I have actually got queries for documentaries, features, interviews, shows which have resulted in some useful business associations. I think it is imperative to be connected to other parts of the world in today’s day and age. We must not shy away from technology but use it carefully because sometimes it gets difficult to ascertain the credibility of a person on the net.

Nida Mahmood
Label: India Bioscope



Quirky is cool

Nidhi & Gaurav We have accounts on Facebook and Linkedin, and will be opening one soon on Twitter. The idea behind opening an indigreen account on Facebook was networking, creating a buzz and exploring business possibilities for the brand. I believe that any publicity is good publicity. The more people join on the page the better it is for business. You never know where a business opportunity is waiting. For instance, on my Facebook account, my friends get a chance to preview our latest collections and the word gets around — especially when the collections are quirky. Again, in an open account, we get the opportunity to share all that is happening with indigreen to interested people/friends/clients. All our expansion activities, new collections, media stories get an instant platform on the group and the response of members of the group makes the activity all the more worthwhile.

In today’s competitive world online networking is simple, fast and effective. New brands can easily create a niche for themselves through this medium.

All you need is the right attitude and the creative ability to express the right thoughts/ideas at the right time using a combination of visual and verbal stories.
We are thoroughly enjoying the process of building our brand through social networking sites. And when you are new, this always helps you to get out there, promote yourself — free of cost — and also get valuable feedback from your growing fan/client base.

Nidhi & Gaurav
Label: Indigreen


Net gains

I am very active on Facebook and Twitter, but recently closed my account on Orkut. I get lots of invitations from different newly launched business sites for fashion. I prefer a private account rather than a public fan group. Through my account I update my work, events and link them to my reviews. I think Facebook has been more productive than any other networking site since it’s the most popular and you’ll find many like-minded people on it. In fact, I did work out a sales deal in Paris as well as events in Malyasia and Dubai using social networking sites.

Abhishek Dutta

A word of caution...

Megan RyleyI  have a personal account on Facebook and Linkedin while Divine Life of Ryley has a group account on Facebook. I use Linkedin purely for business/industry contacts and to keep in touch with my professional peers.  The DLR group site of Facebook is for networking. I prefer a private group account for DLR.  We invite those we know, and new fans can request access. I prefer this because on open groups, you can get a lot of  ‘cross-promotional’ people trying to join. Also the line of clothing and brand is discreet and not mass, hence would like to be available to the ‘certain set’ who are potential customers and patrons. The clothing is premium and luxury, so we keep it low key. We don’t get many ‘requests’, just a lot of great comments.  We treat the group site like a ‘news link’ to let people know what is happening with the line. Social networking sites are fun and a good way to expand your reach into bigger areas. But keep in mind everyone can see what you are up too as well. 

Megan Ryley
Label: Divine Life of Ryley

Clever medium

I have my page on Facebook and Orkut. I have not really explored any networking site for business purposes but the fact is because it is a social networking site, it ultimately draws some kind of business. Out of all the sites I have an account on Facebook, which would be my favourite. I get lots of queries about my products, appointment requests for customising, design conceptualisation and so on, and that has led to plenty of sales many times. Today, media is a very important tool. If administered cleverly, it can bring astonishing results. It all depends on the understanding of the market where you would want to use this most effectively. One needs to understand the requirements of one’s own brands and figure out whether the online medium is the right fit for the brand.

Vivek Karunakaran

Label: viia

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