Foreign companies looking to enter the exploding Indian Social Media realm have surprisingly few country-specific leaders to follow. In the “India Social Media Survey Report – Edition 1,” http://www.blogworks.in and http://www.exchange4media.com found that only 15% of Indian marketers/companies had a fairly good understanding (at best) of the Social Media environment and impacts.
Of course, the proverbial wheel has already been invented elsewhere. Can companies simply use tactics that work well elsewhere (e.g., the U.S.) in India? The answer may depend upon how universally held this idea is:
- Social Media brings disconnected people together, allowing them to overcome busy schedules, geographic distances, and otherwise compartmentalized and complex lives to communicate with one another. It also breaks down the walls between individuals and corporations, creating the opportunity for true conversation.
What if people in India are not as disconnected from one another in their non-digital lives as they are in the U.S.? Would real-world connectedness alter the way they behaved in Social Media interactions with companies? In an interview about Social Media between Kamla Bhatt and the authors of the above referenced survey, Anurag Batra and Rajesh Lalwani, the following point was made:
“Indians engage so much with each other offline, online it does not play that important a role as it does in many of the western countries where offline engagement may in fact be less.”
Facebook and Orkut are certainly popular in India, so there’s clearly a desire to continue offline community online. But if we see Social Media interconnectedness in India as a continuation rather than replacement, it follows that social media interactions between individuals and corporations that leverage offline brand touchpoints might be the best approach in that country.