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The State of Facebook Community Building Among Indian Brands

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Hankering after numbers on digital media is not new. It lead to the dotcom bust of late 90’s and can repeat again in the form of bust of social media networks if they are not handled the way it should be. The ‘hits’ of those days have turned to ‘likes’ of today’s world. While the number of fans is an important measure for any Facebook page, it’s bound to fail when used as the sole currency to calculate brand reach.

CEO of Digital Vidya, Pradeep Chopra shared a real life example in the recent issue of Inc Magazine (Slide embedded below) that one FMCG brand manager approached an agency and told, “My competitor is at 300,000 fans on Facebook and I need to beat them”. The agency owner asked, “What’s your content strategy?” The brand manager replied, “I don’t know, we’ve got three months and my promotion depends upon it”.

[slideshare id=8518702&doc=pradeepchopracolumn-110706001924-phpapp02&type=d]

 

Similarly in another case an Indian social network observed a spike in number of new profiles being created on it one day. When they tracked the source, they discovered a Delhi-based social media marketing company had deployed over 200 of its employees to just create new Facebook profiles. Those profiles then turn into new Facebook fans which they sell to their clients.

These cases certainly shock any sane marketer as at the end of the day such an approach is not going to take you anywhere. Even facebook has started banning pages recently where the page managers are greedily hankering after the number of fans through ways not permissible by the facebook.

It’s possible that a page with just 10,000 engaged fans might have a much higher value than another page with 100,000 irrelevant or dormant fans. Only a tiny few like Ching’s Secret, MTV India, Café Coffe Day, Pepsi India and the Vodafone Zoozoos, have actually got it right. Most Indian brands are yet to learn the art and science of marketing on Facebook.

Worse, brands in India haven’t even begun to understand the opportunity and functionality of Facebook advertisements.
If done well, Facebook advertisements can play a vital role in scaling up a community on Facebook. Unlike Google adwords, it’s highly cost effective. Instead, they are squandering money on acquiring fans.

It is time brands in India learn to do real Facebook marketing before it’s too late? We could otherwise be in pricking
distance of another internet bubble burst.

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