Just like in the 70’s and 80’s when The Terminator, Rocky and Scarface became internationally loved brands and Arnold, Sylvester and Al Pacino became household names in India, and Indians adopted them as their first ever movie stars. Similarly India is now seeking its first generation of social media stars. Now is the right time to engage with the Indian audience to grow fast and make revenue from this part of the globe.
With around 440 million millennials, the sheer size makes it the world’s most compelling consumer story. More than 150 million Indians logged into Facebook at least once a month in 2016, making it the second biggest market after the US and that’s just Facebook, the latest obsession is with YouTube by the way.
And it’s crazy the way Snapchat is growing every second. By the time you are done reading this article thousands more would have logged on to the internet for the first time and many more would be discovering and seeking out international business alliances online.
As an entrepreneur, whether you want to gain followers for your personal brand or promote your business, you just can’t ignore the Indian community as a super fast growing and super hungry demographic.
With the right strategy, you can provide fresh, valuable content to Indians in an attempt to increase engagement, drive traffic, and ultimately boost your bottom line as the Indian audience is ready to buy and consume content and be loyal to the new breed of Internet Moguls and change makers from across the world.
In this article which I wrote on my favorite Air Canada flight to Vancouver, writing my second book and thinking which audience it may have a larger impact on, I thought I would take a step back and tell you exactly what makes the young India tick. So you can help them with the content you make to understand the correct way of building a brand or leveraging social or whatever you want your Indian brothers and sisters to get from your experience.
Use optimized targeting in ads
India is many countries within one and every part of India lives differently. Customization and knowing your audience within India is incredibly important.
I am a big fan of Facebook advertising specially now with the new algorithm where you need to have more video so that you can achieve better engagement with smart targeting and audience insights, which helps you to deliver your content right on the users’ phones.
Why I say video is important because India has some of the most inexpensive data plans in the world and video is what everybody watches all the time.
Apart from the obvious ‘India’ location in demographics, you can narrow audience and target Non-Resident Indians using ‘Interests’. Indians not living in India are more connected in some cases to what’s happening overseas and they are a hungry audience for the right information too.
Further I would choose from festivals like Holi, Diwali, Onam to Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan and some up and coming YouTube celebrities.
By selecting such interests, you’ll reach a valid and relevant audience. I’m sure you know that Bollywood is India’s numero uno religion alongside the game of cricket that unites all religions and cultures across India everytime there is a match played.
Cricket – still the best vehicle to attract Indian audience!
The love for cricket transcends all barriers in India. I suggest you piggyback on this craze to drive your impact. While content marketing in India is a tough pitch to bat on, advertisers in traditional media have shown the way with high value and long-term deals. Create content around the matches like the India vs. Australia contest and famous players and you’ll have a better chance of gaining followers.
Out of sight, out of mind
Once you get the attention of the Indian audience, don’t lose hold! Every entrepreneur wants a piece of the Indian pie – so there is colossal competition. Keep rolling out informative blogs, vlogs, posts, etc. and don’t take your foot off the marketing pedal. Use every digital platform to appeal to the tech-savvy generation. India is 100% tech ready to consume content and make buying decisions.
Your online course, webinar, mastermind or conference is all within buying range of the Indian audience today.
I would create India focused content and that would make it work like magic.
Harness the power of events
Hosting a local event is a brilliant method to create buzz about your brand and create some exciting content about the event. In recent years, I have seen a lot of marathons, music fests and trade shows being organized in India.
After the event, engage in content marketing by sharing photos, videos and tagging people who attended on social media. It also puts you in a great position to get high quality inbound links.
- Social is the norm across hundreds of Indian languages, in multiple languages and many translation services help make your content and Facebook videos more local.
Social media has got into phones that are in the hands of people who may have never travelled outside India but has allowed him to know exactly what’s happening across the planet. If you check your analytics I am sure a lot of visitors to your Instagram profile might be Indians. I would suggest making some motivational posts in Hindi that would connect with a larger audience.
However, the urban audience that has the capacity to buy is more happy consuming English content on social media. So create posts which attract Indians and increase your followers.
Wishing your followers on the occasion or Diwali or Holi will go a long way in creating a rapport.
Feeling welcome is extremely important for Indians, so a simple traditional greeting like “Namaste” will also work like a charm.
Respect for elders is supreme in the Indian culture, so wishing those who are seniors requires more politeness and deeper respect to win hearts and minds.
Being mobile first is the key
My dear fellow entrepreneurs I urge you to drill this in to your mind – India is a highly mobile dependent market. Although internet penetration is low compared to western countries, it is highly correlated with brand awareness. Almost everybody has a phone poor, middle class or rich. Everybody has data; in fact data is cheaper in India than in most parts of the world. Providing content in mobile friendly formats is a necessity.
‘Review’ your strategy
Reviews are golden all over the world, but even more so in India. If you haven’t done it already, consider plugging in reviews from Social Media. Encourage users to leave reviews using services like Google Plus Local. And if you’ve received a few from Indians, I guarantee the followers will increase exponentially!
Amazon sellers across North America love their Indian buyers and choose strategies to have their product reach Indian buyers. The shipping too becomes easy then as most of it is sent from China so the profits and shipping charges are more and less respectively.
If you do a contest around your podcast viewers or YouTube show you can ask them to leave a review in exchange for few reviews. These now could be a mix of Hindi and English.
Eventually, you’ll have to introduce a ‘desi’ touch to your marketing and interact with fans to scale up your game.
I would do podcasts with Indian influencers and invite them and be invited on their shows.
Many Facebook groups in India around entrepreneurship and social media will help you get into Indian communities like never before.
Here are some leading Indian Facebook communities:
1. TVF Qtiyapa – India’s premium youth entertainment network.
- Website – https://tvfplay.com/
- Facebook – @sabqtiyapahai
- Twitter – The Viral Fever (@TheViralFever)
- Instagram – @tvfqtiyapa
2. All India Bakchod – does comedy through podcasts, sketches and stand up.
- Website – http://allindiabakchod.in/
- Twitter @AllIndiaBakchod
- Instagram @AllIndiaBakchod
3. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
- Website – http://www.cii.in/
- Facebook – @FollowCII
- Website – https://www.wittyfeed.me/
- Facebook – @wittyfeed
- Twitter – @WittyFeed
5. Sandeep Maheshwari
- Website – https://www.sandeepmaheshwari.com/
- Facebook – @SandeepMaheshwariPage
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/sandeepseminars (the only channel in the world which is not monetized even after having 4.2 million subscribers)
6. BB Ki Vines
- Facebook – @BBkiVines
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/BBKiVines
A few Top Indian people to follow who are very respected and talented:
- Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO-OYO Rooms (https://www.oyorooms.com/)
- Amitabh Bachchan, The superstar of the millennium and one of the best actors Bollywood has ever witnessed, Amitabh Bachchan is equally active on social media as he is on-screen.
- Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group (@anandmahindra)
- Sachin Bansal, E. Chairman at Flipkart (@_sachinbansal)
- Kunal Shah, Founder @FreeCharge; (@kunalb11)
- Vijay Shekhar, Founder & CEO of Paytm and One97 Communications Limited (@vijayshekhar)
Considering the relationships that Indians form with trusted brands, it is all worth the effort. As an emotional country, Indians are emotional, loyal and are looking to worship only those authentic game changers who are willing to make an attempt to be part of their culture and their growth.
I hope this piece urges you to think without boundaries for your business & I look forward to following your journey as you take your personal and company brand across boundaries.