Nielson Report: Social Media Surges in India, Brands Follow

By Devon Glenn 

A new study from Nielsen shows that India loves to socialize.  By Nielsen’s count, there are over 50 million active users on social media sites like Orkut, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, 80 percent of whom spend more than 15 minutes on social media every day.   Naturally, brands want to get in on the action.  But before they get all crazy with the Facebook likes, marketers might want to take a look at the results of this Nielsen survey.  Ranked by percentage, here are what users in India said they wanted most from a brand page:

  1. Sales/Discounts (53%)
  2. Industry Trends (50%)
  3. Tips and Tricks for Maintaining and Using Products and Services (48%)
  4. More Contests (42%)
  5. Resolution of Concerns (41%)
  6. More Utility Applications and Games (35%)
  7. More Conversations (31%)
  8. Updates on Products and Services (17%)

“Social should be baked into everything” said Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s global head of measurement and insights, who recently spoke  at the Nielsen Consumer 360 Conference in New Delhi, India – the goal being to engage rather than annoy.

Nielsen cites company interaction and brand aspiration as being the two most important factors in engaging consumers.  Ching’s Secret, an Indian company that makes Chinese-style instant noodles, attracted 100,000 Facebook likes by posting video recipes and sponsoring events.  While Ching’s fans might not necessarily have aspired to eat packaged noodles, the campaign at least seemed to turn the brand into something more likeable.

Smallwood also encouraged companies to “nurture relationships and focus on understanding where they are in the life cycle.”    Of the 39 percent of Nielsen survey respondents who turned to friends for recommendations on what to buy, three out of four also said they often made purchases based on those reviews.  This could work out well for marketers at Volkswagen, whose LinkedIn campaign to have users recommend their favorite VW models  led to 2,700 car recommendations in four weeks from users in India.

Not every campaign works for every brand.  Advised Smallwood, “continue learning – listen to the community and evolve the campaign accordingly.”

Companies should also plan to optimize their efforts for mobile devices.  Much of the growth in the coming year is expected to come from mobile phones rather than personal computers, with an anticipated 60 million users accessing the sites via their mobile phones compared to the 40 million who will use personal computers.  According to Nielsen, the rise is due to the fact that smartphones are 50 percent cheaper than they were a year ago.

Farshad Family, Managing Director of Media, Nielsen India also pointed out that “the Indian consumer’s quest for a new phone is almost entirely feature driven and while the camera and FM radio remain favorites, consumers are now also looking for Internet connectivity via their mobile phone, hoping to finally connect to the growing online community. It is evident that going forward, the Indian consumer’s aspiration to upgrade will also be a strong driver.”