India Trending topics
Marketing, Strategy

Are Facebook updates and Tweets equal to Mass media popularity

Over the past few months, I have been trying to gauge if yesterday night’s top program was indeed on twitter or not, in its Trending topics section I mean. As an example, Sunday Night’s top Program in Mumbai was the Champions Trophy final, billed as the last clash between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Empirically, the correlation stands. Even at 7.45 AM on Monday, these programs were on Trending topics of twitter. Check it out –

mass media to twitter trends

Trending topics on Twitter and correlation to Mass media spends

The real question here is – Can & should mass media be swayed by the “socially” active programs? Should mass media advertisers truly ascertain value to such twitter trending topic presence or Facebook Trend presence? Lets look at both sides of the coin here –

Continue reading

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Strategy

Opportunity hunting on the Internet

You have heard of so many things that the Internet has been promising to change for more than 15 years now. Whether it is the dream of online quality education, or finding dream job vacancies in Mumbai , or finding out amazing travel hotspots, Internet / companies doing online business has/have always tried to position themselves as ‘cutting edge’. I define this as ‘opportunity hunting’ – in essence Opportunity hunting is finding or discovering exactly what you want online!

Opportunity hunting has evolved –

One indicator of opportunity hunting online is the number of search visits on Google. How you may ask? Since the internet has evolved, there has been the phenomenon called the rise of platforms which unlock opportunities. Right at the start of Internet revolution in 1995, yahoo unlocked the opportunity of finding every important thing or ‘opportunity’ online on one single page. Then as the Internet started expanding and opportunities started getting created all over the place, there was the rise of the search engines, which can now be effectively put as the rise of Google circa 2002. Perhaps Google is the biggest ‘opportunity hunting ground’ on the Internet even now.

primary search engine interest graph

Number of searches of key search terms on Google since 2004

Then, in 2004 something happened. Internet started connecting people – first with the rise of Friendster, then orkut and then finally came Facebook. Facebook was a pioneer in what is called web 2.0 today and it unlocked a lot more and different ‘opportunities’ on the Internet. For one, it created social experiences – Check the Facebook widget on the right side of this page to know what I am talking about. Strat.in becomes a great place to hangout because of the people who read our posts, and that also excites authors to contact us!

Parallel to all of this, there was a rise of Wikipedia which unlocked Internet’s opportunity hunting from a knowledge perspective. Who would have imagined that the world’s most diverse encyclopaedia created is by a non-profit organisation? Or that Internet would crash the glass ceiling of knowledge which was till now reserved only for the privileged few who could attend universities? Similar examples of opportunity hunting include other such big platforms!

Right, so there are these opportunity hunting destinations – so how can you leverage them for your benefit ? Thats the moot question, isn’t it?

Here are my tips for opportunity hunting on the Internet

1. At least have a faint idea what you are looking for – That always helps! Even if you are looking for a date or an opportunity to work on a research paper with a professor from a top school in the world – knowing what you want always helps!

2. Start with Google & check out review sites – Typically, on the social web today, there are amazing review sites. Right from imdb or rottentomatoes for movies, to several book review / shopping sites for books – there are amazing ‘opportunities’ that have already been uncovered by people! Do not reinvent the wheel for opportunities such as these – to save time and even money!

3. Do not get overwhelmed with choices – Many a times, people get overwhelmed with choices. When you log on to a job site, do use filters well enough so that you can narrow down to a decent number of filters . Avoiding this situation helps when it comes to opportunity hunting!

4. If an opportunity is good enough, act on it – Indecision or not taking a decision is also a decision, remember that. Like in real life, opportunities do not knock everyday. If there is an opportunity you feel should be taken, then go for it! All great men/women have necessarily taken opportunities which others before them spurned !

What are your tips on opportunity hunting? Let us know in the comments section!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Joglekar 984
Business, Technology

Five ideas to grow revenues on the Internet

Recently, the Gulf Maharashtra Business Forum ( GMBF ) organised a fantastic conference cum exhibition at the DWTC – World Trade Center in Dubai. The conference was an avenue for Small businesses from Dubai and India to know more about the markets from a market entry and business expansion perspective. This was of particular interest for small businesses from India. I was invited there to talk about Case studies of Startups and Small Businesses which are using Internet as an effective marketing medium. Here is the presentation I made there.

A quick jist –

1. Internet can change lives – Who in India knew of Psy before Gangnam Style went viral? Today, the video has more than 50 Crore views online, and thats a huge achievement. Psy has become a world figure because of Internet. A similar story with Kolaveri Di.

2. Don’t go by the buzzwords – All the high flying buzzwords should make little difference to startups. Don’t go by the hype. Just do one thing, but do that one thing really well.

3. Email Marketing – Groupon and Snapdeal did one thing perfectly, that was Email Marketing. Just use Email marketing to tell your customers that you care about them, that you are doing something new and you will be rewarded.

4. Facebook marketing – Quite a lot of innovative companies are investing heavily into Facebook marketing very intelligently. Facebook builds engagement, which is vital for startups. Check out Chumbak, Mirraw and Bewakoof for knowing what these companies are doing.

5. SMS and Mobile Marketing – Building a connect via SMSes is something the Banks and Mcdonalds have done well. No reason why startups cannot replicate that aspect.

As said in the last part – its all about dangling the right carrot!

To know more about how these ideas can be implemented for your startup – please write to us at siddhesh AT strat DOT in

Here are some pictures of the convention – Mahabiz 2012 –

Chief Guest Jayantrao Patil

Mahabiz conference

 
Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
social-media-waste-of-time_large
Public Issues, Web

Controversies and social media – how to react?

The year 2010 will be remembered for its controversies that has put the ruling government in particular and the nation in general under considerable distress. It started with the Commonwealth Games scam, then the Adarsh scam that has forced a Chief Minister of Maharashtra to resign and now has reached newer heights with the 2G spectrum allocation scam. So much so that the INC president had to comment about the same in a function –

We are right to celebrate our high rate of economic growth. We must do all that we can to sustain it. However, let us not forget that growth is not an end in itself. Much more important to my mind is what kind of society we aspire to be, and the values on which it should be built. Our economy may increasingly be dynamic, but our moral universe seems to be shrinking. Prosperity has increased but so has social conflict. Intolerance of various kinds is growing. Graft and greed are on the rise. The principles on which independent India was founded, for which a generation of great leaders fought and sacrificed their all, are in danger of being negated.

Whats been most interesting is the way these scandals have reverberated in the new tool in the hands of (mostly) affluent Indians – social media . A recent Rediff article about 10 ways to fight corruption had a discussion board that has readers commenting about issues right from the Government’s moral right to rule the country to how nothing concrete will happen out of these scandals. On Twitter, #BarkhaGate has been a trending topic for more than 48 hours now. Barkha Dutt is a popular person on twitter and she has been constantly trying to answer(?) pretty acidic tweets directed at her over the weekend.

BarkhaGate on Twitter

Trending topic on Twitter - BarkhaGate

While social media is viral, realtime and often the quickest mode of communication, there are some issues with controversies arising in the social media. What if the anti-social elements of the society try to malign a clean individual using this medium? There is a danger that a reputation built very carefully over the years could be irrevocably damaged due to a social media spat. Besides there is a risk that if the vibes going around social media are rumors, one can lose his/her own reputation in one’s social circle if one has shared something about that issue…

Clearly, while referring and using social media is great, the reputation of the source needs to be taken into consideration as well in this context. Simply retweeting or resharing should be avoided in the context of a controversy, else you run the risk of flowing with the ‘popular’ current which may have a crushing impact on an honest individual/firm in question.

To conclude, social media is revolutionary in some respects, but give some importance to the credibility of the source before sharing something in your social circle.

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Public Issues, Web

Humans, Social media and Schadenfreude

Cross posted on Superchooha blog.

schadenfreude

When it comes to Human behavior enough is never enough.  One of the most  interesting traits of  human behaviour is situations we tend to find comfort and solace in. More then the situation its the conversation that happens that has a pacifying effect -but then conversation do not necessarily have to be relevant.  History has it that nothing is as pleasurable then watching your best friends fail at things – while I tend to disagree with that there have been cases where if not friends, but yes people have derived utmost pleasure from incidents absolutely irrelevant to them.

Welcome to whole a new world of human behavior – “Schadenfreude”

Here is a classic explanation of the german word – (More details here)

Schadenfreude — by Si Frumkin

Germans have a way with words. They created words that other languages simply do not have.

Schadenfreude takes 7 English words to define it: “malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others”. The dictionary explains it with a quote from historian Peter Gay — who felt Schadenfreude as a Jewish child in Nazi-era Berlin, watching the Germans lose coveted gold medals in the 1936 Olympics; he said that it “can be one of the great joys of life.”

Now picture this – 50 Million tweets per day. 60 Million Status Updates on Facebook  PER DAY.  Clearly we live in a world where reviews are written before a movie release, debates are held on naming of a product, and kids are named before a couple even has sex.

On a serious note, we are surrounded by opinions –  Good,bad,neutral and extreme,soft, hard. Opinions of every kind.  Thanks to the ease that platforms like twitter and facebook have provided to voice one’s opinion. While these tools have enabled companies to interact with their end customers by tracking their views about their brand, there have been cases where these opinions have created lead to PR nightmares. The human tendency of replicating negative emotion more vehemently over the positive one is not unknown any more.

For instance the Cleartrip Kiruba Incident (Cleartrip’s  Stand and Kiruba’s Stand ) was a issue between a company and a normal customer but the fact that Kiruba’s single tweet reached 1000’s of timelines and was further retweeted n number of times required the CEO of the company Hrush to step in and explain every action over a blogpost. Amidst all this close to 40 twitter updates were made that literally crucified Cleartrip for no good reason.  For some reason people RTed Kiruba’s tweet, while some enjoyed the drama – Amidst all this Cleartrip was defamed. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing but what the heck- people RTed whatever little they knew about the acutal story. Damage beyond repair was done to Cleartrip.

Chetanblock -Another classic example where people drew pleasure from a conversation between Chetan Bhagat and Fly youfools. Consequences – #chetanblocks trended for almost a day on twitter. Some body went on the extent of buying a domain chetanblocks.com. What next – they now intend to make tshirts saying #chetanblocks. All this while hundred’s of people used the hashtag #chetanblocks and thousands of tweets were  exchanged with very few people actually understanding what happened.

While there a dozen other stories where brands have been crucified, people have started deriving sadistic pleasure out of this trend of defaming. I still believe that most of the people don’t actually read facts before they actually share a negative opinion, without actually understanding the consequences their actions might have. They just do it. And yes as a friend of mine puts it – Sadistic pleasure is better then the real version of pleasure. Welcome to the world, the world you live in surrounded by Schadenfreude

I am no expert at understanding the human psychology but then yes Humans are Humans and social media platforms are no exceptional places for them to behave differently.

The next time you retweet a negative thought or share one on FB, for a moment put yourself in the shoes of the brand manager of the brand and ask yourself – Is this what I actually signed up for – To give justifications to people who believe that their brand is bad.  Food for thought.

From my personal experiences on twitter and facebook

Vivek Khandelwal

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Entrepreneurship

Facebook-focussed startups

(This is the first article in our Startup September series announced on September 1.) It is indeed amazing how fast applications on the internet evolve. We already know of the speed at which facebook is growing . It has crossed 250 mn UVs , with ever growing penetration in the Indian market. However, there is another direction in which facebook is evolving – as a Platform for app developers.

Till now, the most popular facebook applications have been games like Farmville, Mafia wars etc. The parent company, Zynga, which makes most of its money from these games, has revenue figures in millions of dollars. Taking cue from Zynga and other such firms, a lot of facebook-focussed startups have eveolved and they are getting huge VC support as well. Here are a few startup pitches to the VCs at the fb Fund REV social incubator organised by Facebook themselves.

Facebook quotes examples of successful VC fundings-

Thread.com $1.2M seed round of financing. The seed financing included participation from fbFund and was led by First Round Capital. Thread.com uses Facebook Connect to create a site for social dating via friendly intros. Nutshell Mail raised over $500k in funding. Nutshell Mail uses email to help you manage your social network activity. RentMineOnline raised over $300k in funding have been profitable for the past 4-5 months. They combine the success of resident referral programs with the power of your friends on Facebook.

We, at strat.in, are already using the services of one of these startups – Networked Blogs on our strat.in facebook fan page. The service that they provide in simple terms is to connect a blog with the facebook community. In future, they plan to enter into content disovery area from a blog perspective leveraging the social graph on facebook. Check out their presentation to VCs in the presentation pack above.

While it is interesting how startups are leveraging the power of facebook and social graph of its users, the question of sustaining growth still remains. It would be interesting to follow these startups and how they evolve over the course of time.

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Business, Entertainment, Strategy, Technology, Web

Facebook Lite!

Facebook has no doubt been an innovation engine in the past few years. The site has always brought out features which have led in innovation and later copied by other websites. A few examples are 1) The security features in facebook, which ofcourse were later copied in Orkut. 2) The ability to make applications and allowing such applications to be on facebook, and ofcourse Orkut made an unsuccessful attempt at copying this as well. 3) Facebook Chat, Quizzes, Pictures, Personalized Links. Now the latest news from Facebook is … not friendfeed but rather Facebook Lite! Aimed to be a fast loading, simplified version of facebook. Copying from a statement made by facebook

The new service would be a “faster, simpler version similar to the Facebook experience you get on a mobile phone”. “Facebook Lite is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept friend requests, write on people’s walls, and look at photos and status updates,” the statement continued.

Now I can see 2 wonderful uses of Facebook Lite! Firstly targeting the third world countries where broadband has not spread completely. Secondly the mobile phone networks which are now providing internet service but not the best speeds. Capturing both can be quite easy and strategically important.

Capturing Third World Countries: The third world countries can now be better called the Emerging Markets. Over the past few years the focus has shifted significantly with studies like Bottom of the Pyramid, the EM stock markets doing very well and ofcourse the current recession. Still the focus on the internet has traditionally been on developed world and mostly the US, why? because that is where companies advertise on the internet. Orkut can be seen as a crown jewel of a website which became successfull in emerging markets by capturing Brazil and India. Yet Google never really developed it further, did not have any good developments, anything to develop the EM audience better. Now Facebook is making a challenge to Orkut and Google. By capturing these markets they are kind of 1) securing the future as people call it 2) making a global space where everyone can connect.

Mobile Phones: Not everyone has a computer but almost everyone today has a mobile! To capture this market will make Facebook ubiquitous. The cellular networks are trying to provide faster internet but with limited success. If fb lite can capture this market then it captures everything. More importantly this is going to spread facebook even better in third world countries, for example India, where the number of mobile phone users is exploding and cellular service providers are now allowing internet access at much cheaper rates.

Inspired from Twitter? Maybe this is true, maybe this isn’t but I get the feeling that fb lite might have got some inspiration from Twitter and its layout. Twitter has been applauded for its simple layout and ease of usage. This feature of Twitter has also made it extremely popular on Mobile phones. Fb lite could have been inspired by this and maybe developed as a way to challenge this. Fb lite will most probably provide a very easy way to update the fb status and might want to pose a challenge to twitter. Well this could actually work out to be an interesting web battle! With Msn + Yahoo trying to beat Google in Search, Facebook trying to beat Twitter, Twitter trying to beat Google in real time search, Blogs trying to beat Newspapers, Google trying to beat Microsoft Windows through its OS, Apple trying to beat all the music labels and phone makers … the coming few years are going to be really interesting!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Strategy, Web

Synergies arising from Facebook – Friendfeed deal

In my earlier post, I wrote about the Bing-Yahoo search deal and how it was beneficial to both parties, with Microsoft potentially reaping bigger benefits over a longer term. Today another important deal happened. Friendfeed, a popular real time microblogging tool – similar, much more advanced in functionality, but much less popular than Twitter, was taken over by Facebook. According to the official friendfeed blog, FriendFeed accepted Facebook’s friend request!

friendfeed-facebookTwitter has taken a step towards making real time search its prime focus with the recent redesign of its homepage. At my first read, it seemed as a move against allowing twitter to run away with the real-time search. Real time search is a big area where a lot of biggies, including top internet VCs are placing their bets on. However, this could even be a long term strategic decision – particularly with Google entering this arena with Wave and a whole community of developers already creating new applications using its APIs. Facebook has anticipated the development that may take place once Wave goes live and has taken steps to strengthen its position – which is a thoughtful management step in my opinion.

Potential mutual benefits of this deal include:

1. Facebook can integrate brilliant friendfeed features like Real time comments. Note that some of the very popular friendfeed features were included later in facebook, but thats another matter altogether.

2. Friendfeed community can benefit due to superior user profiles, facebook apps, friend connect and multimedia features on facebook.

3. Also, the userbase of facebook would imply that friendfeed’s cool features can now reach a wider audience all over the globe.

5653_149767661728_20531316728_3274124_4821619_n

4. Where facebook can benefit is the perhaps the search functionality as well. I was a semi-active friendfeed user (I have a friendfeed widget on my personal blog even now) , and loved the functionality it offered. Facebook today launched a real time search which promises to change the fundamentals of this upcoming field as well.

Finally, there are already many articles online saying Facebook + friendfeed is a potential twitter killer etc. I don’t quite buy that argument. Facebook offers something unique to its users – an unparalleled social network experience where the unit of social interaction is a ‘friend’, while twitter is a pure implementation of the ‘follow’ model of social interaction. A place where facebook has implemented the Follow model brilliantly is Facebook pages– a topic i covered earlier as well. In my opinion, both services- friendfeed & facebook are amazing and I am sure, the deal will be great for both companies.

One thing for sure, the deal promises a lot and will bring greater pace in the development of the real time search aspect of the web industry.

What do you think of this deal, put in your comments about it right below!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Business, Web

Facebook Pages: Viral Marketing at its best!

Today on the internet, 2 websites have clearly created a huge buzz. Those are facebook and twitter. Facebook has redefined social networking by helping its users rapidly find long lost friends. Some time back, facebook introduced another concept called Pages- which now has become the hottest property on the internet! I am discussing the reasons why Facebook Pages has taken off so brilliantly in this post….

Take for example, the facebook page of this blog: The page was started 2 months ago and today it makes atleast 150 ppl and their friends aware of whats the latest on strat.in .I am attaching the fan box from Strat. In facebook page to explain how well thought of the viral nature of this concept is…

Note that each time you refresh, you get to see 10 new faces. Now that gives the new user a sense of activity on that site. Also imagine what a non-Facebook user may think of all this…That user would surely be tempted to join facebook. So facebook perhaps benefits more than the page creator does because more real users join the facebook platform. Now imagine the fan box of a popular page like New York Times or CNN and how many new users would it attract to facebook. Facebook has been in a hockey stick growth phase for months now, and now, you know why- its because of such well thought out applications.

What does a typical page provide:

1. A typical page provides activity stream like that of a person on facebook. This activity gets shown on the fan’s feeds as well. That in turn is viewed by those who aren’t fans of this page as well, which ensures that they atleast check out the facebook page, and even become fans themselves.

2. It has an email way of communication with fans, for example, I notified our facebook fans with an email specifying the Incredible Indians contest on strat.in as well!

3. A fan of the page can post his feeds on the page too. Thats how economist has emerged as an interactive facebook page.. They are having an interactive debate about Whether NASA should return to the moon – right now on facebook+economist site. I am taking part in that debate.

4. Multimedia- You can upload photos, links, videos and everything else on to the fan page as well. Check the fan page of Megan Fox for example.

5. There is a forum here too. Some facebook pages have very active forums as well- check the WSJ facebook page as an example.

Who is using these pages, Check this leaderboard for example: Today, Michael Jackson leads the fan page listing. So, one message on MJ’s facebook page reaches 10 mn users! Now thats the reach advertisers crave for , don’t they? Or check up Roger Federer’s fan page during Wimbledon . He had 2 mn fans and he was putting his Nike and Rolex ads on the page interspersed with his live videos. Now, that is true value for sponsors. Are you seeing the light wrt how facebook is going to monetize from this? I surely am!

PS: There is an infinite more stuff to write, but lately the discussions on comments section have been so interesting, I shall talk more on the comments section I guess!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard