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This book focuses on the role of social media as the next major game-changer. Social media has emerged as the defining trend in the last decade and continues to restructure communication and interactions between individuals, communities, governments and businesses. Researchers and marketers are still struggling with the profound impact of rapidly evolving social media on viral user-generated content, its ability to shape consumer perceptions, and the constantly changing landscape for developing business cases to proactively engage with stakeholders. The growing opportunities to “hear” about customer priorities and concerns on company managed channels as well as third-party review sites, including social media pages, across the digital space are accompanied by the challenges of responding to these conversations in real-time, which calls for a massive shift in the way marketing functions engage in dialogue with customers.

As leading users of social media in emerging markets, Indians are increasingly logging into their Facebook and Twitter accounts, with the country recording the highest growth in social networking. This book begins by discussing the impact of social media on marketing, from brand building, communications, and advertising to customization and customer engagement. The book approaches the subject matter systematically, identifying broad trends, concepts and frameworks in the first few chapters. It then goes on to address the varied application of social media in marketing for different sectors. Primarily focusing on understanding digital consumers, the book integrates social media with marketing and the outcome. It also presents new, selected cases of successful digital companies in emerging markets never before considered. Researchers and managers alike will find this book to be a handy reference guide to social media in emerging markets.



Conceptual Issues in Social Media


Chapter 1. How Social Media Will Impact Marketing Media

Technology is ubiquitous and it is impacting society with each rapid change it undergoes itself. We’re seeing a vast transformation via the Internet and the rise of social media. In fact, social media is poised to transform society in an even more fundamental manner. Whether one is a CEO, the president of a country, a member of the British royalty, or a commoner, everything about one is on social media: personal information, likes and dislikes, and other mundane activities. In fact, everything said or done is now a matter of public record, and nothing can remain hidden anymore. The explosion of social media services over the last few years continues to have a significant impact on advertising, as consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process—either from people they know or online consumers they don’t—has increased significantly. Social media is no longer merely a platform for social interactions. Rather, it is transforming the way businesses work. Marketers are increasingly leveraging social media to influence customer decision making. The focus of this paper is on the impact of social media on marketing media.
Marketers should be cognizant of the fact that social media allows users to alter a brand. Marketers must not only respond but also proactively share social media to be a positive force for society. In sum, marketing media will be permanently transformed by social media.
Jagdish N. Sheth

Chapter 2. Social Media Marketing: Evolution and Change

Social media refers to the online media that allows multi-directional conversations and real time interactions. This includes social networking sites (SNS), blogs, discussions forums, content sharing, social bookmarks, wikis, and so on. Social media is creating waves on the Indian marketing scene. It is acting as an enabler to shift the marketing focus from awareness to advocacy. With the advent of the Internet and social media, communication has evolved from a mass model with the consumer having no role in the production, to a customized model with consumer as the focal point However, the extant literature remains largely fragmented and despite a proliferation of academic work, crucial questions pertaining to consumer engagement on social media remain unanswered. This paper charts the evolution of social media research and attempts to identify the underlying themes from the communication perspective. An analytical organization of the extant literature will illuminate the gaps present today and provide structure and direction for future research. This paper examines social media from the communication perspective and research in marketing communications was also reviewed. Six underlying themes within the body of existing social media research are examined and identified. The thematic classification and retrospective analysis highlight the need to further explore the role of social media in brand-consumer relationships. The study also suggests evaluating consumer engagement as a key factor in increasing the effectiveness of marketing communication through social media. A model with integrated perspective on communication through traditional and social media is proposed. Also, the research paper is the first to identify the six underlying trends in social media research. The research further identifies four key areas for academic research in social media.
Shweta Sharma, H. V. Verma

Chapter 3. Uniqueness of Social in the Overall SMAC Stack

Technology solutions are getting into a convergence mode like never before. The world is witnessing a rapid proliferation of data in structured and unstructured formats. Traditional boundaries that used to segregate product and service offerings are fast disappearing. Integrated technology platforms are reshaping the very structure of businesses. Single window solutions are getting architected today and disjoint product and service vendors are joining together in what can be termed an evolving metamarket. SMAC, an integrated stack of four technology service platforms—social, mobility, analytics and cloud—is an example of this new-age convergence. The SMAC stack sources data from social media, accesses it via mobile technology, arrives at valuable insights using analytics and, finally, stores the same in the ephemeral cloud. Though literature talks about the four spaces as seamlessly integrating spaces, there is a subtle distinctiveness for one of the SMAC stack spaces: social. This paper is a concept note on how the social space is unique and distinct from the remaining three spaces in the SMAC stack.
Easwar Krishna Iyer

Chapter 4. Lifecycle of Information on the Web: Implications for Aggregator Sites

The explosion in information on the web is being revolutionized by the multitude of ways in which information is created, distributed and consumed. Media aggregator sites are connectors in the supernetwork of the Internet that depend on providers for most of their content. The basic principle that explains the dynamic nature of networks and their constant expansion is the principle of triadic closure and strength of tie. These technology Internet sites are very popular and have their dominant presence across myriad subnetworks. In addition to their presence in multiple networks, they have very close access to user behavior in each of the subnetworks. Today most players fall short when it comes to their presence on third-party sites frequented by their users. This paper explores how such aggregator sites can devise their strategies to leverage their connector status on the Internet, study how they can be present in all places where their users are, and more effectively bridge the gap between the mavens and interested adapters of the web community. We also explore how these companies can design their content such that it has a very high adoption index.
The key insight is that as the news gets older in days, the relevance of media sites and Wikipedia, as a source, increases almost equally. The findings also underscore the fact that media sites have different competitors at different points in the lifecycle of a news topic.
A few key concepts including nodes, ties, triadic closure, bridge, strength of a tie, and diffusion are also discussed. Findings of a small-sample consumer survey focusing on users’ preferences for and perceptions of different websites is reported in this paper. The study concludes with implications and recommendations for aggregator websites.
H. V. Satyanarayana, T. M. Prasanna, G. Shainesh

Chapter 5. Shadow Side of Social Media Marketing: A User’s Perspective

The relatively new phenomenon of social media marketing, accelerated by Web 2.0 broadcasting, promises to have a great potential at reaching out to a wider set of social media audiences. Social media marketing, as a phenomenon, is not static. In fact, its dynamic nature takes into account the relational interaction of the technology, actors, and the situating environmental factors. This chapter, taking a technology-constraints perspective for the social media users, explores the current research on the dark side of social media marketing via a systematic literature review. It also identifies two distinct forms of constraints that apply to this context: intended and unintended.
The findings: a systematic literature review of the subject helped unearth certain core actors (stakeholders) that are interdependent within the sociotechnical system. The topmost category relates to the regulatory bodies and public policy bodies including governments that are trying to enforce social media regulations with a view to providing affordances for businesses and individuals. Intended constraints, for our purpose, are those constraints that can be attributed to an identifiable source or an actor in the social media marketing ecosystem. In other words, the causality of the symptoms can be clearly attributed. Surprisingly, prior research is largely reticent about the dark or shadow side of social media marketing. Grounding this work in a systematic literature review, a framework was developed and typology for better understanding the shadow side of social media marketing identified—specifically, classifying the dark side of social media marketing into two kinds of constraint: intended and unintended.
Anuragini Shirish

Understanding Digital Consumers


Chapter 6. Exploring the Relationship Between Perceived Benefits and Social Media Brands Using Discriminant Analysis

The objective of this study is to foster a greater understanding of social media users in India, with an emphasis on younger users. For our age group, we chose respondents mostly between twenty and thirty-five years of age. Two of the most-used social media in India today are LinkedIn and Facebook. But there are likely to be major differences in the way users perceive them and the benefits they provide. Online social networks are deemed to be equally suitable for formal and informal networks. Therefore, to find out what differences users perceive among them, user perceptions of one formal and one informal medium were investigated. Facebook represents the informal one and LinkedIn the formal one. A sample of 156 students at an Indian business school was chosen. They rated five characteristics/user benefits of the social medium. A statistically significant discriminant model resulted that can distinguish between the perceived benefits of LinkedIn and Facebook. Detailed results are in the following tables. The discriminant model with LinkedIn/Facebook as the dependent and five independent variables is significant.
Rajendra Nargundkar, Avinash Mulky

Chapter 7. The Influence of Trust and Ease of Use of Social Media Platforms on South Africa’s Generation Y Social Media Use Intention and Information Sharing

The changes that have occurred in communication technologies have extensively impacted how Generation Y, also known as the digital natives, receives and disseminates information. Having been born in the digital environment where the use of various social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, What’s Up, Twitter, Skype and MySpace have proliferated, Generation Y has become an important market segment for both academics and practitioners. While there is substantial research on social media, most of the studies have focused on developed markets. Moreover, scant attention is given to the empirical investigation of the influence of social media trust and ease of use on use intention and information sharing among the Generation Y virtual community in this emerging market context. Consequently, the primary objective of this study is to fill this void by examining how trust and ease of use of social media tools among Generation Y virtual community members influence information sharing with their peers. In addition, the study focuses on the mediating role of social media use intention in these peer-to-peer relationships. Sample data of 150 respondents were collected in South African universities for final data analysis. All three posited hypotheses are supported. Managerial implications of the findings, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.
Nathalie Chinje, Richard Chinomona

Chapter 8. Decoding Digital Consumer Feedback: Customer Intelligence Insights Through Unstructured Data Mining

This white paper is based on a study that focused on understanding the perceived strengths and weaknesses of one of the largest PC and printer technology companies in relation to its competitors’ offerings by mining consumer opinions and feedback on a major regional e-commerce website, JD.​com. The objective was to understand how the company’s printers were perceived and to identify the features that differentiated one brand from another. Text mining and sentiment analysis was conducted using an in-house sentiment analysis tool. Insights from this analysis helped to identify broad customer themes across different competitor inkjet products, confirm the value proposition of low supply costs for certain printer models owned by the company, and highlight other key advantages and pain points of inkjet products. Several data mining tools are available that are helpful in sentiment analysis, but the in-house tool had a built-in algorithm that captured real-time data from various social media. The finding from this exercise of customer review analysis was shared with the relevant teams. Some of the insights helped to validate the approach taken by the research team and also indicated what the features were that could differentiate the product from its competitors.
Supriya Tandon, Aswinraj Govindaraj

Integrating Social Media into Marketing


Chapter 9. Social Media Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Social Change in India

While there are several media options available to a marketer, this study focuses on new media options. The study proposes (a) relevant social media strategies for each social media tool, and (b) appropriate social media strategies and tools for each corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach. Based on this categorization, the paper (a) reviews past efforts by Indian companies to utilize social media strategies to implement their CSR campaigns, and (b) identifies gaps and provides recommendations to make future CSR attempts effective. The methodology adopted was a review of CSR literature followed by qualitative analysis of social media sites of fifteen Indian companies, as monitored by the Reputation Institute (Charlotte Bang-Møller, personal communication). Based on the classification of Barker et al. (Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach, Cengage Learning, 2013) and Nedra Weinreich (personal communication), employment of the 7 Cs of social media strategy relevant to a CSR campaign is proposed.
Sameer Deshpande

Chapter 10. The Future of Social CRM

The future of the world will drive us all to that economists’ utopia, perfect competition, as everyone will soon have access to every bit of information. This is due to the scale of social media interventions. The flip side is the inevitable practical issues with analysis of huge data and pattern. Many tools have emerged to simplify these complexities, such as sentiment analysis, ‘listening tools’ and even delivered response services on behalf of the organisation. Brands can either manage or leave things to chance. This is where social customer relationship management (CRM) comes into effect. With this as an effective strategy, brands can manage multiple interaction cycles simply, cost-effectively and in real-time, building individual relationships with millions of customers simultaneously.
Ajay Row

Chapter 11. Sales Professionals’ Use of Social Media to Create and Deploy Social Capital in US and Indian Companies

The purpose of this research is to explore differences in social media use for the creation and deployment of social capital by salespeople in US and Indian sales organizations. A conceptual framework was developed that posits salespersons’ use of social media as an antecedent to the creation of social capital. Drawing upon theories of cross-cultural differences, we postulate different paths to social capital creation and deployment by sales professionals in the USA and India. The goal of the research is to provide a foundation for subsequent empirical investigation. The research is aimed at helping managers appreciate the use of social media in multinational organizations. The research project has enormous significance for both academics and practitioners. First, what is an appropriate use of social media by sales professionals is an urgent and immediate dilemma for managers. Second, illuminating the pathways from social media to social capital will help increase the accountability of the marketing function. Third, an appreciation of the differences between social media use by salespeople in US and Indian organizations can provide managers with a finer-grained understanding of the transformative potential of social technologies in global organizations. This conceptual framework can provide a strong foundation for a cross-cultural study.
Rajiv Kashyap, Sudha Mani, Prabakar Kothandaraman, Raj Agnihotri

Social Media Applications and Case Studies


Chapter 12. Influence of Social Media Marketing on Health Care and Automobile Sectors in India

The emergence of social networking sites (SNSs) globally has brought in a paradigm shift in word-of-mouth (WOM) communications, enabling users to observe, interact, and exchange information. From Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to Pinterest, corporations have increasingly started to use various forms of social media to reach out to their customers, partners, and employees. This has opened new avenues for businesses to reach their target customer base as never before. In India, although penetration of the Internet continues to remain low, it is estimated that around 180 million people in India are active users of online services and various social media and e-mail platforms. This increased growth in the use of social media has evoked a gold-rush-like response from organizations. The purpose of this study was to carry out a comparative analysis of the use of social networking sites as a marketing communication tool across two sectors in the country (health care and automobile). Comprehensive analysis was used to study the presence of the various social media platforms and understand how the health-care and automobile sectors are leveraging them for their own benefits. The study also attempts to understand the nature and level of usage of social media by both the health-care sector and automobile sector. A comprehensive literature research was initially undertaken to build the hypothesis that formed the basic framework for conducting this research work.
Joyeeta Chatterjee, Ambrish Joshi

Chapter 13. A Critical Analysis of Consumer Protection in Social Media Selling with Reference to Information Disclosures

Technology advancements in digitization have revolutionized the business model from a mere market place to market space. E-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds. With its ubiquitous reach, the architecture of electronic commerce provides a dynamic and collaborative platform to business and consumers. This has resulted in increased competition and lower prices. Consumers get to choose from a whole range of goods and services across the world, from anywhere and at any time. Businesses are constantly innovating new technologies in order to adapt to new and evolving challenges in the area of e-commerce. One of the main drivers underlying e-commerce growth is the rise in number of individuals using information and communication technology (ICT) as a platform to trade. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce adopted in 1999, rightly identified e-commerce as being ‘inherently international in nature’. This paper attempts to examine the authenticity and adequacy of information provided by websites with regard to information pertaining to locational details, pricing, return and refund policies, delivery details, and so on. The paper also attempts to examine the existing legal framework in the Indian context with respect to information provided by online portals to their customers. Inference is also drawn from some of the international best practices of upholding consumer trust and confidence in online shopping.
Pratima Narayan, Githa Heggde

Chapter 14. Portea: Social Media Applications

The health-care industry is not known for stand-out marketing campaigns and, moreover, the health-care audience is not as responsive to marketing campaigns as are the audiences of other industries such as, for instance, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. But health-care customers, especially the younger generation, are information hungry. They rely on social media for research and making important decisions, especially those concerning their family’s health. The opportunities social media bring to aspiring entrepreneurs are staggering beyond belief. Portea is a health-care company that provides hospital-quality medical care for patients at home. This company has a consistent record of growing leads, engaging audiences and building brand awareness through social media, primarily Facebook. There is no single strategic key that unlocks all social media platforms. Different social media platforms have different advertising options, but marketing success depends on some common attributes such as the use of the right platform, creativity, accurate targeting, and optimization. Portea’s Facebook marketing campaigns produced phenomenal results through analytics. Portea has a very strong analytics team that is dedicated to continuous testing, data interpretation, and improvement of campaigns.
K. Ganesh

Chapter 15. Qwikcilver’s Experience: Why Social Marketing Drove Digital Gifting Growth in India

Brands have leveraged the power of social media effectively to scale up their fans and followers base through digital gift cards. Digital gift cards were launched by brands across their ecosystem of physical stores, e-commerce portals, mobile app and institutional business teams. This portfolio was scaled up through effective programmes on social media by driving social media users. It is important for brands to analyse the fan base on various social platforms used. This is enabled with the platforms providing insights and profiles. The engagement quality of the brand specific posts play a significant role in ensuring ROI of the social media campaigns. Tonality, time and relevance to specific audiences play a key role and allow brands to further tailor content to ensure it’s the type of content the fan base engages with. In today’s milieu, it is important for brands to ensure emotional and social loyalty rather than purely transactional loyalty. While not all engagements are intended to drive sales and footfall, it is necessary for brands to set up metrics to ensure that such engagements are tracked. I have shared insights, learnings and experiences of digital gifting at Qwikcilver.
T. P. Pratap


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