Karthik Nagarajan, National Director of Social & Insights at Group M, a leading global media investment company, shares his views on the scope of social media across various industry segments, ROI measurement and social media investments.
Q.1 - Firstly, congratulations on your new role at GroupM. Could you tell us a little more about it.
It has been an exciting 6 months since I joined the Group M family. The mandate was to build and consolidate a social media practice that helps Brands across agencies, understand and leverage earned media. We have made great strides and have already delivered with some of the largest brands in the country.
Q.2 - Recently, we have seen brands across industry segments embracing social media. What's really fuelling the awareness?
As the social media population in India nears the 50 Million mark (of the 100M plus internet users), It is no more a question of 'why social?' for brands. It is 'how' and 'what'. All brands unanimously want to leverage the media, but have their own perspectives of it and differ in what they want out of it. It must be very similar to how the markets would have reacted to Television, when it opened for advertising!
Q.3 - Are social media investments by brands growing vis-a-vis search, display and mobile?
Yes, to a certain extent. However, we need to realize that Social media is more 'earned' than 'paid'. While advertising is inevitable at some point, it is more about building conversations and engagement.
Q.4 - As a media agency, what sets Group M apart from other social media agencies
As Group M, we are an integral part of the marketing life cycle of brands and are involved from conception. We live and breathe it! So we tend to understand the brand's perspective better than an agency which joins along in the last, social mile!
Q.5 - Measuring ROI on social media has narrowed down to number of 'Likes' and 'followers'. How do you define ROI on social media?
Facebook has always maintained that 'The Like button is an opportunity. Not an end in itself'. The end goal for all brands on social media is to create brand advocates and that can only happen through very high levels of sustained engagement. We also need to remember that social media is an equally (if not more) important medium for listening. The ROI of the finer insights from listening on social platforms is incomparable.
Q.6 - Which are your favourite brands on social media? Any specific brands or campaigns that you feel pushed the bar in recent times?
Quaker's ‘Good Morning heart' is for me a campaign that pushed the envelope in terms of how the medium can be used.
Q.7 - Which industries according to you would gain potential, should they invest in social media?
Very few industries do not have their TG on social platforms today. So the short answer is all of them. However, if you are looking at the volume of conversations in these platforms, then Automotive and Electronics lead the pack.
Q.8 - As a social media and digital marketing leader yourself; where do you see social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in the next 5 years?
I have always maintained that individual networks are mortal. While it seems unthinkable to visualize a world without Facebook today, I believe other platforms will emerge, even if just as niches. The exponential initial growth of G+ is an example. Having said that, I also feel that the ecosystem around the existing platforms like Twitter and FB will keep evolving itself. For instance, social commerce is yet to take off even on FB. So there is a lot to look forward to.