41.5% spend around 1-5% of their marketing budget on social media: E&Y

MUMBAI: 41.5 per cent spend around 1 per cent to 5 per cent of their marketing budget on social media, as per the Ernst & Young‘s new report titled ‘Social Media Marketing - India Trends Study 2013‘. Most social media budgets are below Rs 10 million.

The findings of the report are based on a survey of 48 social media-savvy organisations in India as well as secondary research. The key questions that the study attempts to answer include what is the business objective for using social media, what are the commonly used strategies and measures, the average social media budget and its future prospects.

Community building and highlighting company news are the top reasons for social media use by organisations in India. They are also increasingly using social media to generate leads, provide customer service, conduct research, get customer feedback, understand customer behavior and do competitive benchmarking, according to the report.

The report further states, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in India with more than 62 million users, and is the favorite playground for social media savvy organisations to banter in everyday conversations and engage in promotions and contests for its fans. Additionally, almost half of the organisations surveyed are already using emerging platforms such as Pinterest, Google Plus, and Foursquare.

"Social media is fast emerging as a means of partnership between organisations and their customers, leading to continuous engagement and deeper loyalty. Many Indian organisations are already using social media in an advanced manner, even though there are ample growth opportunities. The future is looking bright with increase in scale and sophistication; however, social media savvy organisations need to analyse their maturity level and explore new opportunities. They can move beyond marketing and see which other departments can benefit from using social media. Clarity of purpose and engaging universally accepted approaches in calculating ROI from social media marketing will help organisations make bigger investments in this area," Ernst & Young advisory director and leader - customer practice Dinesh Mishra opines.

More than half of the social media-savvy organisations in India, who participated in the survey, post two to three updates on their Facebook pages a day. A quarter of the organisations surveyed said that they post one update per day on their Facebook pages. About one-third said that they post more than three tweets a day on Twitter, while 28.9 per cent said they tweet two to three times a day. On the speed of response - one-fourth of the surveyed organisations respond to fan queries on Facebook within an average of 30 minutes of the query being posted, which indicates a robust monitoring and response structure in place. On Twitter, 28 per cent respond to their fans and followers within 30 minutes. However, 14 per cent of the organisations still take 13-24 hours to respond.

With social media becoming a key component of the marketing strategy for companies, the need to appease online fans comes as a natural extension. 64.6 per cent of the surveyed organisations said they have organised exclusive deals for online fans and 20.8 per cent said they are likely to organise such deals in the future. 83 per cent of the surveyed said that they have used social media advertisements majorly to promote a contest/campaign or for brand awareness and 88.6 per cent said they find social media advertisements beneficial in achieving their objectives.

Almost all of social media efforts in India are managed by in-house teams: 76.7 per cent of the surveyed expressed that social media is handled by their marketing department with the rest being managed by a cross-functional team or by the public relations and communications team. Other than using it for marketing activities, 34.6 per cent said they use social media for thought leadership while 26.9 per cent use it to promote corporate social responsibility. A majority (70.2 per cent) said they have an in-house social media expert in middle management.

Knowing how the social media governance situation looks like within an organisation comes with many benefits such as recognising strategic opportunities, enhancing competitive advantage, conducting efficient recruitment, cost reduction, generating revenue, creating valued relationships and controlling strategic, operational, reputational and legal risks.

"Social media-savvy organisations are very optimistic about the role of social media in their organisations. Organisations have realised that social media generates great insights and helps engaging with customers on a continuous basis, and in some cases also generates sales and leads. Social media has helped organisations to create their own communities of fans, customers and prospects. The huge growth and demand of internet connected devices in India is only going to further strengthen the influence and power of social media in customer engagement, and organisations may well look at meeting their strategic goals and business needs through this channel in future," Mishra concluded.

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