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September -2011 OME meet



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45 Tools Online Marketers Use & How you can Use it too..

OME Community September Meet up brought to you by Web Marketing Academy
Come join our monthly meet ups in Christ University, where we share tips, tricks and how to’s of Online Marketing. Over 450 active online marketing enthusiasts discuss and share tips
OME Face book page
Pictures of September Meetup :
1.       Welcome note: Swati
2.       Introduction: Suresh Babu, Founder WMA, OME Community
3.       35 Tools Online Marketers Use & how you can use these tools: Suresh Babu
4.       11 more tools: Shartaj
5.       Questions – Answers
6.       Visibility magazine goes to top participants
7.       Group picture & Adios!


Q: How are Google Insight & Google Trends different from an average Google search?
A: Google only gives results in form of websites with those keywords. The others help analyze, research & gain additional knowledge.
Q: Does Google Insight give demographic data?
A: Yes it does. If the domain name is given under the website option, then demographics are shown.
Q: How reliable are the Google tools?
A: They are close to accurate; It takes data used by users who have entered their details
Q: Can I customize my Ads, as per my requirements?
A: Yes. Exactly as per requirement depending on product, timing, geographical location, revenue, discounts & target market.
Q: What is the customer psyche on seeing same ads in separate websites? Can I use this technique for my Ads?
A: Trying & testing on different websites needs to be done to see how the Ad performs in separate sites. Tools like website optimizer or A/B testing could be used.
Q: During retargeting, or offering something on a discount can I enable/customize it based on time or give it a time limit
A: yes. It can be done
Q: Can we us Google Insights with filters of the type of Muck Rack?
A: Yes
Q: Isn’t Spy Fu an infringement?
A: No. It takes data that websites offer openly
Q: From where does get the data? What is its source of income?
A: They have internal archives & libraries
Q: Google Trends Vs Google Insights?
A: Google trends: day to day activity; exact data; has data for 3 countries-US, UK & India
Google insights: overall analysis

Content Filter: How to Consume Content That Matters

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Resources/Guides | 0 comments

Content Filter: How to Consume Content That Matters

Content Filter How to Consume Content that Matters

Here’s a common question a lot of our students at Web Marketing Academy ask: “With so much content available online, how do we know what to consume and how much to consume to stay relevant?”. If you have a similar question, this post is for you.

You can’t get away from the fact that there is a lot of content and not enough time. Even if we shortlist only the best content publishers, there’s still too much to consume in the finite 24 hours’ day that involves your juggling a range of other responsibilities as well.

Yet there’s no escaping the fact that digital marketers have to read, listen, watch and experience to stay updated. Time has to be made.

In this post, I’m going to help you come up with a strategy that will keep you updated on what matters. You will learn to:

  1. define your goals and understand why content is important,
  2. know the different content types and formats that will maximize value to your career,
  3. discover relevant content through social media channels,
  4. save great content and keep it ready for reference,
  5. appreciate the timeliness of content and practical application for competitive gain.
  1. Defining Goals

First, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Why?”. Why do we need to consume content? What happens if we don’t? What will we miss out? Is it FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or is it because if we don’t read, listen, watch we might not be able to do our best in our work and life?

If its just FOMO, the solution is simple. Digital, social media is dynamic. It changes all the time. For example, Facebook images were doing well in 2013, but then came videos. So it’s easy to learn what matters at this moment.

As Gary Vaynerchuck, social media maverick, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author, self-taught wine expert, and serial entrepreneur, says, “You will have to create content that works today not in like 1999.”

Search is rapidly changing so when you are ready, you can always learn what is relevant at present. I am not saying, this can be an excuse to not staying up-to-date nor am I encouraging you to stop reading. But if your zeal is based on FOMO, you can get by without investing in content consumption as a discipline. You don’t need this post.

But if your goals are beyond FOMO, keep reading.

What is content?

In the simplest terms, content is information – practical, functional, tactical. Want more definitions? Check out the Top Rank Blog that has 40+ definitions from experts in the industry.

What is Content Marketing?

I’m going to share the definition given by Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content Marketing Institute has a great resource on definitions of Content Marketing as well in the Getting Started section.

Mark Schaefer’s popular blog posts on Content Shock is another great read. Link to Content Shock

Discovery Content

  1. How do we discover content?





We discover content through various means, such as:

  • while browsing other websites
  • Facebook updates or other social media channels’ posts
  • native ads on websites
  • references by friends and family
  • search on search engines and social media platforms
  • clickbait Buzzfeed style content (For example, “Here’s How I Lost 85 Pounds In Eight Months Without Going Crazy”)

Examples of discovery content

  • 12 ways you’re sabotaging your career without even realizingBusiness Insider via LinkedIn
  • Content marketing is so last yearLinkedIn Pulse, Peter Himler
  • 5 Trends that will Impact Social Media Marketing Strategy for Enterprises in 2016Social Media Today

Is discovery content useful?

When I have time, discovery content can be useful. At the same time, you will come across spam and tricky headlines too.

What to do with discovery content?

Keep your goal in mind. Whenever you read something, ask yourself, “Is this going to help me achieve my goal?”. Maybe you have mini goals. If the content helps fulfill your mini goal, it’s good.

Sometimes discovery content is good to know but not necessarily useful. If you come across some amazing content in discovery content, tag it for the next phase – bookmarkable content.

If you think the content you’re reading is not really productive, drop it. Don’t waste time.

             2. Bookmarkable content






Simply put, this is content you either bookmark or download to read when you have more time.

Examples of Bookmarkable Content

What to do with bookmarkable content?

Bookmarkable content is useful and evergreen. You can read it anytime and it will always inspire. Should you spend time on it, you will learn. You will improve your skills and whenever you need some guidance, you can use this content for reference.

How much time should you spend?

In my opinion, there is no specific time period, but spending at least an hour on bookmarkable content will be a good start.

3. Timely Content







Timely content is perhaps the most useful of all content types. Why?

  • You actively search when the need arises
  • This is content that matters now, at this moment
  • It directly helps you do your job efficiently
  • Enhances your career
  • Adds a skill set
  • Makes you smarter
  • Helps you stay on top of whats happening
  • Makes you the go-to person for that specific skill

Examples of timely content

What to do with timely content?

We are actively seeking these types of content, to use it as and when required. But the question is with so much content, how do you know if the content you’re consuming is the right one? Today everyone writes but there may/may not be strict editorial and reality checks.

Here are some tips to validate & filter content:

  • Know the author’s reputation. Is he/she an authority on that topic?
  • Is the content from a well-known company?
  • Check the popularity of the article – who is commenting, sharing and talking about it.
  • Ask experts – Quora, LinkedIn Pulse & Groups are great places to ask.
  • Attend well-known industry conferences. If you can’t attend, follow the live blogs. For example: SMX East PubCon Live Blog and Speaking Schedule.
  • Look for the author’s reference in media.
  • Check for any interviews or if the author is featured in TV, newspaper, or magazines.
  • Official blogs are the number one resource to find the right information.
  • Check if the content is recommended by any industry associations.
  • Is the author writing for well known online media like Inc., Forbes, Wall Street Journal?
  • Another way to get information on the author is to follow her/his LinkedIn, Facebook page.

There you have it. Define your goals, categorize the content and give it time and attention as needed.

If you like this article please do share with someone who needs it

Digital & Social media blogs; event and conferences to follow in 2016


  1. Social Media World
  2. Content Marketing World
  3. Inbound
  4. SMX
  5. PubCon
  6. Brighton SEO
  7. Clickz

Search (SEO)

  1. Google Official Webmaster Central Blog
  2. Search Engine Land
  3. Moz
  4. Search Engine Journal
  5. Distilled
  6. Search Engine Journal
  7. Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel
  8. Top Rank Blog
  9. SEO by The Sea (Google Patent)
  10. Matt Cutts
  11. John Muellers Google + Hangout Sessions:
  12. Bruce Clay
  13. Kissmetrics

SEM (PPC)/Google AdWords

  1. Google Inside Adwords blog
  2. PPC blog
  3. Wordstream
  4. Certified Knowledge
  5. Simply Business


  1. Content Marketing Institute
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Problogger
  4. MarketingProfs – Ann Handley
  5. Grow – Mark Schaefer
  6. Hubspot
  7. Convince and Convert
  8. Online Marketing Blog
  9. Brian Solis
  10. Contently

Social Media

  1. Social Media Examiner
  2. Social Media B2B
  3. Social Media Today
  4. Gary Vaynerchuck
  5. Amy Porterfield
  6. Jay Baer
  7. Chris Brogan
  8. Six Pixels of Separation
  9. Jeff Bullas
  10. Mari Smith
  11. Amy Savvy Sexy Social
  12. Marcus Sheridan
  13. LinkedIn Blog
  14. Facebook Newsroom
  15. Twitter blog
  16. Instgram blog
  17. Snapchat blog
  18. Pinterest blog


  1. Think with Google
  2. ZMOT
  3. Cindy Crum

Email Marketing

  1. Marketo
  2. Hubspot
  3. Chris Brogan
  4. Scott Monty
  5. Mail Chimp blogs & resources
  6. Aweber blog

Web Analytics

  1. Google Analtyics blog
  2. Google Analytics YouTube channel
  3. Avinash Kaushik

India Specific Blogs

  1. Lighthouse Insights
  2. IAMAI
  3. Social Samosa
  4. Mashable India

Affiliate Marketing

  1. CJ blog
  2. Clickbank blog
  3. Shoemoney

Similar blog post:

About the Author:

Suresh Babu is the Founder and CEO of  Web Marketing Academy (WMA), Bangalore which offers certification courses in digital marketing. The institute trains students, professionals & corporate personnel.

Find more guides on the WMA blog.

10 Amazing Podcasts for Modern Digital Marketing Newbies

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Podcast, Resources/Guides | 0 comments

10 Amazing Podcasts for Modern Digital Marketing Newbies 



I get these questions all the time. What is a podcast? How do I listen to podcasts? What are the right podcasts for a newbie like me in digital marketing?

In this article I’m going to address your questions and share a list of podcasts that’ll make a real impact on your digital marketing journey, especially if you’re a beginner. These are popular podcasts, each being special and unique.

Why listen to podcasts?

Here’s why:

  • You save a lot of time. Just like listening to music, you can listen to shows and multitask; unlike video that requires you sit in front of a screen.
  • You can listen in on your mobile, while driving or working.
  • You get exclusive content through podcasts.

How to listen to podcasts?

A podcast is a show with multiple episodes. They are often not found in sequence so you need look at the title and show notes (summary of key points discussed in the podcast in text format. Then you can:

  • subscribe to the podcast through your iPhone Podcast app, iTunes, or any other app such as Podcast Republic, Stitcher, etc., and hit Play or
  • listen on your computer by clicking on the play button on the podcast website or
  • download the podcast on your device and listen later or
  • listen via a RSS feed (if made available).

10 Podcasts for Digital Marketing Beginners

These podcasts are for those who haven’t listened to any podcasts before and are just getting started in Digital Marketing.


1. Social Media Examiner : Social Media Examiner offers two FREE audio podcasts to help boost your marketing skills and keep you up-to-date with the ever-changing world of social media.

Why we picked Social Media Examiner:

• Michael Stelzner is a long time social media practitioner and well known in the Industry.

• Social Media Marketing Podcast is a 45 minutes’ weekly show where Michael interviews experts.

• You get solid takeaways from each of his shows on Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, Instagram, you name it – everything is available.

To subscribe:

Click here to subscribe via iTunes.

Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed).

• You can also subscribe via StitcherSoundCloud and Blackberry.


2.  The $100 MBA ShowThis show is about FREE 10-minute daily business lessons. It was iTunes Best of 2014 podcast.

Why we picked $ 100 MBA Show:

• It has short, to-the-point how-tos on very relevant topics.

• Includes interviews from experts on a range of specific topics.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Subscribe via iTunes:

• Listen Sound Cloud:

• More options:


3.  WebmasterRadio.fmThis is a 24 hour FM radio show dedicated to digital marketing, social media, search marketing, affiliate marketing and more. It’s been on since 2005 and is an all in one resource for modern marketers.

Why we picked

• It’s a network/directory for digital & social media marketers.

• You can select your own interest from SEO, Affiliate marketing, Conferences, search marketing

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Subscribe via iTunes:

• RSS Feed:

• More options:


4. ProBlogger PodcastDarren Rowse is a full time blogger since 2002, making a living from this new and dynamic medium from blogs like Digital Photography School. Darren is also an author and speaker.

Why we picked Problogger Podcast:

• Darren’s recent series was 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook. He released one podcast a day for 31 days to guide people on building a better blog.

• This show is like a curriculum with specific challenges in each episode, clear, easy to understand.

• Anyone can listen and most importantly implement in their day to day work.

• Apart from podcasts, Problogger is a great resource for blogging, content and digital marketing.

To subscribe:

• Listen on your mobile/computer:

• Subscribe via iTunes:

• Subscribe via Stitcher:


5. Content Marketing PodcastIn the Content Marketing Podcast, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing helps you understand what content marketing is, why it’s important, and how to put it to work attracting and retaining customers for your business. It’s a weekly show that runs for 20-30 minutes.

Why we picked Content Marketing:

• Focuses on one topic on quality content creation or strategy every week.

• Includes simple step by step instructions or insights.

• Comes with latest news snippets around social media tools, etc., every week.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Stitcher :

• Subscribe via iTunes:


6. Online Marketing Made Easy : An expert in Facebook marketing and an online entrepreneur, Amy Porterfield’s podcast is both instructional and inspirational. It is a weekly podcast that includes detailed step by step how-tos for Facebook.Amy has co-authored the book “Facebook Marketing All in One for Dummies” in which she shows you exactly how to monetize your online marketing and blogging efforts using her own tested, ACTIONABLE lead generation strategies.

Why we picked Amy Porterfield’s podcast:

• Focused on one topic around Facebook marketing.

• Detailed, easy to understand.

• Every show there are several takeaways especially when she interviews others.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Stitcher:

• Subscribe via iTunes:



7. Manager Tools PodcastManager Tools is a free weekly podcast designed to give managers and individual contributors actionable recommendations to further their careers. Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman have been podcasting since 2005.

Why we picked Manager Tools podcast:

• Not only relevant to Digital Marketers, anyone can listen.

• Has step by step guides.

• Offers specific tips like How to Prepare Your Resume (Your Resume Stinks!)

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Google play:

• Apple iTunes:

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8. Career Tools PodcastThis podcast comes from Manager Tools.

Why we picked Career Tools podcast:• Useful for anyone.

• From etiquette to interviews, meetings, resume, everything to improve your career.

• Up-to-date topics.

• Additional subscription available.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Google Play:

• Apple iTunes:

• Website:

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9. LinkedIn Speaker Series (NEW)The LinkedIn Speaker Series is a series of expert talks (video and audio) given by thought leaders for the LinkedIn employees. The talks are now available as a podcast and for free!

Why we picked LinkedIn Speaker Series podcast:

• Access to powerful thought leaders in the industry.

• Topics include Leadership, Motivational, Entrepreneurship, Employment.

• Officially produced by LinkedIn.

• Bonus: They also have a YouTube channel.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Apple iTunes:

• Website:

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10. HBR Idea CastThis is a weekly 20-25 minutes’ podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management from Harvard Business Review.

Why we picked HBR Idea Cast

• Widens your thoughts by listening to leading thinkers.

• Short and meaningful Interviews.

• Bonus: They also have a YouTube channel.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Stitcher:

• Apple iTunes:

• Sound Cloud:

• Best of Idea Cast:

Some Bonus Podcasts


11. Digital India Podcast – This is a weekly show produced by us, Web Marketing Academy, on latest trends, career tips, and more in digital marketing in India.Here’s how to subscribe:

• Apple iTunes:

• Stitcher:

12. FIR Podcast Network – This is an excellent place to visit for Marketing, PR and Communication professionals. One of the shows here is the Digital India Podcast for the global audience.

Why you should listen:

• Produced by students, staff of Web Marketing India (Disclaimer).

• Indian flavor in each of the episodes.

• Latest Digital Marketing news included.

• Available in Some Regional languages (Malayalam).

• Specific podcasts like 53 Digital Marketing Job Interview questions.

Here’s how to subscribe:

• Android:

• Apple iTunes:

There you are. That’s enough to get you started. Once you start listening to podcasts, you may find the experience highly engaging and addictive. Here’s to an addiction that’s a tonic to your mind! Enjoy!

If you like this blog post, please do share it with your friends and family

FIR Podcast Episode#31: The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs in India – Behind the Scene Research

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Podcast, Resources/Guides | 0 comments

FIR Podcast Episode#31: The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs in India – Behind the Scene Research

Hello and greetings to one and all as we start the year of 2016! The first topic we picked up for this year will be a talking point through the months to follow. This is my belief and all the signals we’ve picked up in 2014 support it.

On this week’s Digital India podcast episode for FIR Podcast Network, Suresh and I discuss how the startup world is seeing many women rise up to their potential as innovative entrepreneurs, the challenges that face Indian women when it comes to following ambitious career paths, the changes in the investor space to support women run businesses, and the avenues available for women to train on entrepreneurship, be mentored and raise funds.

Listen to the podcast here.

Here is the background research for the discussion on women entrepreneurs in India.

Signals indicating the rise of women entrepreneurs in India

2015 has been a big year for entrepreneurs. That’s not news. But there was a sharp rise in:

  • the number of women as founders of startups,
  • funding of various women run businesses by global and national investors,
  • women becoming angel investors,
  • women not accepting social givens and chalking new paths,
  • and support groups and forums for women focused companies.

In fact, NASSCOM had many women founder-specific sessions in the last year.

From the article India sees more women entrepreneurs build start-ups on

“In 2015, several women-run start-ups such as LimeRoad, Kaaryah, Zivame, CashKaro, media tech companies like YourStory and POPxo and women-only job portal Sheroes have attracted investor attention and are scaling business significantly.

“Now, very encouragingly, women are not considering themselves to be any different from men as far entrepreneurship is considered. This is a huge change. There are more and more women stepping out,” said Nidhi Agarwal, founder of Kaaryah, a fashion portal for women’s wear that raised money from Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata in June.

“Now, women are more into technology than in the previous years. Digital media has also empowered them a lot more to come into entrepreneurship,” said Swati Bhargava, co-founder of cashback and coupons website”

Indian startups raised over $5 billion (Rs 32,500 crore) in 2015 versus less than half in 2014, per a report on Startups by NASSCOM in October 2015. There was a 50 per cent increase in women entrepreneurs compared to last year and 9 percent of women founders were less than 35 years old.

Some of the women entrepreneurs in India

The list is long and inspiring.

  • Minnat Lalpuria Rao, setting up 7Vachan, a wedding-solutions provider in Mumbai in 2013. Rao organized 150 weddings in 2013, based almost solely on word-of mouth and in 2014 she thinks she can piece together 1,000.
  • Richa Kar, founded Zivame, online lingerie store, in 2011 when she was 33 years old.
  • Priya Maheshwari, started, an online real estate portal in 2013 with an intial investment of 10L.
  • Liya Verghese and HarshaThachery, founders of MasalaBox, a marketplace that connects home chefs with customers.
  • LimeRoad, Kaaryah, Zivame, CashKaro, media tech companies like YourStory and POPxo and women-only job portal Sheroes– all founded and run by women.

Get a more comprehensive list here: The definitive list of women entrepreneurs in India.

And here’s a mention from the rural corners of India from Women entrepreneurs flourish: Meet 4 young start-up divas determined to succeed:

In some parts of the country entrepreneurial women are making waves. For example, in the arid regions of Latur and Osmanabad in Maharashtra, women are leading the charge at organizations such as Swayam Shikshan Prayog, which is building networks of rural businesses. Here, women are handpicked to sell products such as gas stoves and the best ones given charge of a region to manage.

Challenges for women to walk the entrepreneurial path in India

The rise of women entrepreneurs in 2015 is an encouraging trend. But there’s a lot of ground to cover yet. Women still constitute about 10% of the total entrepreneurs in India.

  • According to the Economic Times, as of 2012, women students at IITs had doubled to 11 percent in five years and their numbers at two B-schools – ISB-Hyderabad (29 percent) and IIM-Kozhikode (36 percent) – were inching closer to Harvard Business School (39 percent). Other IIMs are lagging though. IIM-Calcutta has only seven percent women in the class of 2013 and IIM-Ahmadabad only 10.9 percent.
  • Ankita Vashishta of SAHA, India’s first women’s venture capital fund says investors ask sensitive questions to women that areo therwise not asked – future of business of woman gets married or has children, etc.
  • Women have traditionally lesser access to capital to fund their businesses- only 26% of women in India have bank accounts compared with 100% in developed markets.
  • There is a huge lack of women-centric avenues in smaller cities and towns.

The world agrees women have an edge

According to the Forbes article Why India needs more women entrepreneurs:

  • women control the vast majority of household spending & are more likely to better understand customer perspective
  • are often better at building long-term relationships than men (with employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, government, etc.)
  • women bring different ideas to the table

A Dow Jones study called Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Startup Success? offers interesting conclusions:

  • The overall median proportion of female executives in successful companies is 7.1 percent, compared to 3.1 percent at unsuccessful companies.
  • A company’s odds of success increase with female executives at the VP and director levels.
  • Statistically significant evidence shows that there is dependence between a company having female executives and its success.

Additionally, Catalyst’s report on The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity (based on studies of US-headquartered venture funded and public companies) shares the following findings:

  • Companies with the highest representation of women on their top management teams experienced better financial performance than companies with the lowest women’s representation.
  •  This finding holds for both financial measures analysed: Return on Equity (ROE), which is 35 percent higher, and Total Return to Shareholders (TRS), which is 34 percent higher.

Opportunities accessible to potential & present women entrepreneurs in India today

The allocation of Rs 200-crore budget by the Modi government towards the empowerment of women was welcome news. Women entrepreneurs can also look at:

  • exclusive women business funding organizations such as SAHA  which also offers mentorship and active participation of the investors in the funded company; SAHA is India’s first SEBI approved, women’s venture capital fund
  • support organizations such as Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs
  • women entrepreneur-focused investors (Golden Seeds India edition & Calvert Foundation’s Women Investing in Women Initiative)
  • development programs for women entrepreneurs – NSCREL (IIMB), Wadwani Foundation, etc.
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurs Program, a five-year programme in partnership with ISB to aid the development of women entrepreneurs; in 2014,  saw over 1,300 attendees in total

If you have an entrepreneurial idea in your mind, the environment in 2016 is conducive to your growth. Don’t miss the opportunity. Dive in!

About Monica

Monica is a digital marketer, blogger and technical writer. She’s helped small businesses with content strategy and development since 6+ years and is now extending the value with online marketing. Her goal is to introduce more businesses to this exciting and profitable marketing medium. She is a regular blogger for WMA. Connect with her on Linkedin or Twitter for digital marketing assistance or to say hello!

Event in Bangalore – UnLearn Digital Marketing 2016 Edition

Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in events by web marketing academy, Resources/Guides | 0 comments

Pictures from 2015 >>>

UnLearn Digital Marketing – Network with Dublin City University Professors & Students

UnLearn Digital & Social Media Marketing with Web Marketing Academy (WMA), Professors & students of Dublin City University (DCU), post grads in Digital Marketing. YES, there is a Masters in Management (Digital marketing)!

WMA & Dublin City University invite you to a unique coming together of digital marketing experts, professors, inventors and students in a first of its kind event. Join us on 28th January, 1:00 pm to 6 pm.

Cost : FREE

Register Here:

Happy to partner with Digital Defynd for our UnLearn Event. Thanks Prateek Shah We hope this will help all our Digital Marketing Community.

What can you expect?
Gain insights on manoeuvering the social space. Understand international standards and digital industry trends. Know opportunities provided by digital marketing careers and map the growth of web marketing.

Network with thought leaders, digital marketers, practitioners, speakers and like minded professionals. Get to meet digital/social media professionals such as Dr. Theo Lynn, Business Innovation Platform Director at DCU, professors, students from DBU as well as faculty, alumni and students of @WMA.

Who should join?
Digital Media enthusiasts, digital marketers, ad agency professionals, communication/PR professionals, CXOs and students wanting to pursue higher education in Digital Marketing. Entrepreneurs looking to explore digital marketing are also welcome.

When and where ?
Christ University on January 28, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 6 pm

Unlearn Digital Marketing Meetup 2016 Edition

1 PM – Intro
1:30 PM – DCU Introduction
1:30 PM – Lets Learn whats new in Digital Marketing & Unlearn

What to focus in 2016
What to forget
Future of digital marketing
Tools/Apps that’s hot
10 Key Takeaways from the discussion

3:30-4 PM break

4 PM – 6 PM – Individual Group learning from experts

For more info:

Register Here:
Call: Anusha – 8792299538

Learning from Mark Schaefer. The Future of Social Media

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Conferences, events by web marketing academy, Inbound marketing certification 2013, Podcast, Resources/Guides | 0 comments

Learning from Mark Schaefer. The Future of Social Media

January 17, 2016, a Sunday, was an amazing day for at least 16 people in Bangalore! We got to meet Mark Schaefer at The Future of Social Media event. Mark has been in the marketing and social media industry for over 30 years. He’s a world renowned speaker, author of 5 bestselling books, college educator, podcaster and social media strategy consultant. He’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the CBS NEWS. Want to know more? Head out to his website


And yeah … don’t be surprised to see Mark in some new, trendy Bollywood number soon, what with his dance moves!

In this post, I’ll share some of my learning from the event. Be sure to listen to our podcast as well. It includes an exclusive interview with Mark, some audio clips from the session (you don’t want to miss those), and feedback from some students who attended.

5 Foundational Strategies of Social Media Marketing

It’s critical to stay in touch with the basics, never mind the layers of technology and platforms that make social media. To truly understand the nature and impact of social media, you must imbibe these 5 truths:

  1. Humans buy from humans
  2. Continuous small interactions make loyalty
  3. The Social Media mindset
  4. The Information Eco-system
  5. Content is power

5 foundational strategies of social media marketing

#1. Humans buy from humans

Mark talked about how his grandfather made a big success of his plumbing business years ago in Pittsburgh, USA. His success mantra rode on:

  • Human to human connections – Never forget that transactions happen between people, even when they’re representing a brand.
  • Honesty and transparency – If you are not upfront with your customers, you will experience immediacy in reactions.
  • Word of mouth & reputation – Good or bad service, word spreads in neighborhoods.
  • Primal need for connections – As humans, we are social in nature. We want to congregate into groups sharing common interests. We talk, we listen, we refer and we are influenced.

Businesses before the advent of mass broadcasting mediums thrived on “intimate and connected.” Radio brought in mass advertizing and that’s when “we bought our one-way ticket away from customers.”

With social media, businesses have a chance to make customers feel intimate and connected with their brand again.

Now that Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., have all come up with solutions that keep the user on the app even when they click on a link (so no traffic to your website), social media becomes even more critical. The role of the website has changed – it’s the place you sell. Social media is where you engage.

Mark narrated the tale of the guitarist, Dave Carroll  whose guitar broke because of the mishandling of United Airlines luggage bearers. When he asked the authorities to replace his guitar, they refused. Dave wrote a song “United break guitars” and published it on YouTube. After 2 million views, the airline replaced his guitar. This was 2008. Now, brands can rise and fall on social much faster. This is immediacy.

Today, businesses on social media need to respond to customers in 1 hour.

Some examples of truly social brands:

Hilton Suggests

The Great Escape Graubunden Tourism Advert 2015

#2. Continuous small interactions lead to loyalty

Mark shared his story of how he had purchased $20,000 worth of wares from a DIY store in his hometown. He planned to sell the house he was painting, repairing and really working hard on. He began landscaping and bought some bushes from the store which came with a guarantee.

After a while, the bushes died!

Inadequate customer research can disengage loyal customers

Mark took a picture of the bushes back to the store to redeem on the guarantee. The man at the counter asked Mark if he’d got the dead pushes as proof. Mark hadn’t but he showed the photo. The guy at the store said, “These could be any bushes! You could have taken a pic of anyone’s bushes!”

How did this make Mark, loyal customer with a $20,000 history with the store feel? Disappointed, to say the least. It was as though a friend had suddenly turned around and said he didn’t trust you!

That’s exactly how customers feel when they’re loyal to you over competitors and you don’t value it. The store guy could have checked Mark’s history, he could have shown more consideration and certainly honored the high value relationship.

Social media fits here best.

Social media enables continuous small interactions with a brand that ultimately create loyalty. Brands that reward their loyal customers earn rich rewards in turn – references, revenue, and good will.

And how do you drive this on social media? With content. Content must be helpful and consistent to build engagement over time.

Content is the fuel

Having a strong social media strategy that rides on content ensures you build a reliable, targeted audience versus what you get with advertising. Content can be categorized into Hygiene, Hub and Hero.

Hero, Hub and Hygiene content & impact of SEO

Image courtesy: Mark Schaefer’s blog {Grow}

Hygiene content is where most of your content figures in. It’s your everyday, regular content that answers people’s common questions. It’ll help get traffic to your website. For example, The North Face (Mountain Athletics) does that.

Hub content tells people a story. It could be about you, your company or your customers. People watch one piece of content after another because of the storytelling itself. SEO is important here as well. For example, The North Face Unearthed videos,

Hero content is inspirational, dramatic or exciting. It sells the idea of a better world. It’s the kind of stuff that goes viral. In the FIFA World Cup 2014, Adidas spend the most money but Nike got the most publicity because of its hero content – “Risk Everything” and “The Last Game.” Chiptotle’s Back to the Start is another example.

What does loyalty look like? See this.

Loyal social media users reward brands


#3. The Social Mindset

Content on social media must be RITE – Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining. Your strategy will ride on:

  • meaningful content
  • targeted connections
  • authentic helpfulness

You need to leverage social media conversations. Use powerful search features to find targeted audiences and research their needs and pains. Then you need to be authentically helpful. Conversations cannot happen if you sell. You need to offer help, teach or guide to get people’s attention and sustain that engagement over time.

Meaningful content is part of strong social media strategy

Many benefits of social media cannot be quantified. That’s how it is. Results can take a long time to realization.

#4. The Information Eco-system

Mark started with the story of Expert Laser Services and Adventures in Office Imaging blogger Nathan Dube. When Nathan was appointed marketer for the company, he was given a zero budget. Nathan cleverly came up with the Destroy Your Printer contest. He invited frustrated printer owners to shoot videos of how creatively they destroy their printer.

The entry barriers for content creation are negligible.

The contest was promoted through the company’s blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and it caught momentum. People not only loved the craziness of the videos themselves but new business also came in for the company. Nathan got the company 100 leads in 8 weeks from Facebook.

That’s how the information eco-system is today. Your website is at the center. Social media surrounds it – that’s where you have interactions and engagement. Your social media channels direct people to your website (inbound marketing). Your website is your marketplace.

Another challenge for marketers is that social media changes. But every change happens over a period of time, not overnight. We need to go where the target audience is but we can start slow. We can start at place and grow there before moving on.

What position do social media platforms take?

Correlation between shared content and market share

There is a direct correlation here. The tenets of content marketing are:

  • Have content.
  • Have connections.
  • Have engagement.

We need to tell stories. We need to involve people in our stories. And this strategy needs to be driven from the top.

dealing with social media marketing challenges

#5. Content is power

What are the common challenges in the implementation of a content strategy?

  • Culture
  • Budget
  • ROI
  • Technology
  • Legal issues

You need to move from creative excellence to content excellence. Never mind how great your content is, it never reaches its potential if it is not seen.

Magic happens when content moves. You need to create power and influence on the web by making sure that happens.

Mark gave an example of one of his own controversial blog posts. The post was published on New York Times from where it got syndicated into national media. From national, it got picked by international media and was again syndicated. Content moved and created power on the internet. How did this start? With great content.

In the world of free publishing tools and high speed internet, you don’t need the world to pick you. You can pick yourself. 

On influencer marketing

If you can get an influencer to share your content or recommend your brand, your brand presence can accelerate. The internet has democratized influence. The influencers of today are not just celebrities, they are common people who’ve done some uncommon things.

Robert Cialdini, an expert in workplace gives the 6 key principles of influence:

  • Scarcity
  • Likability
  • Reciprocity
  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Social proof

Mark also shared the story of the world’s #1 tech blogger, Robert Scoble. Such is the influence of Robert that he quadrupled the traffic to a startup with one mention on his blog.

Are your employees brand influencers?

Influencer marketing can be a great strategy for startups. They can borrow or buy it to gain visibility. However, the influencer also has some accountability to his own followers. Your product or service should tie in to the influencer’s audience’s needs.

Your employees can become your brand advocates as well. They are influencers in their own circles.

6 questions to a social media strategy

Before you come up with a social media strategy for any brand, ask the owners of the business these 6 questions:

  1. Complete this sentence “Only we …” Define what makes you different. How do you stand out? You may need to get the answer from your customers, get their reasons for staying with your brand.
  2. Can your culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation? To understand this, learn what the company’s cultural touchpoints are. For example, is it:
    • employee centric?
    • customer centric?
    • well resourced?
    • nimble?
    • committed?
  3. Are we the kind of company people want to waste time with? Our we conversational? If Search has moved to Facebook, how much money should we invest on this platform?
  4. Where are our customers and competitors? And how can you maneuver so you stand out from the crowd? What are your customer’s unmet or unserved needs?
  5. What is the source of rich content in our company? Is it blogs, videos, podcasts or images? Can you repurpose the content – make slides, infographics, etc., from existing content? Be willing to set your content free.
  6. What does success look like? 60% of marketers say they can’t measure social media’s ROI. It’s not straightforward but you can do it.

Social media measurement is qualitative and quantitative

Multi-level approach to measuring social media’s ROI

A mathematical formula may not give the right answer to the question of “What’s your social media ROI?” Different things need to be measured at different stages of your social media maturity. Each stage could be yearlong. And that’s fine!

The first stage would be about measuring awareness with metrics such as:

  • Audience gains
  • Publisher goals
  • Web traffic

The second stage would involve measuring engagement:

  • Opt-ins
  • Lead generation
  • Customer advocacy
  • Social sharing

The third stage would be about revenue:

  • Customer retention
  • Conversion rate
  • SEO benefits
  • Cost reduction
  • Loyalty
  • Sales

Audience interactions and loyalty on social media

What’s the future of social media?

The digital business world started with websites. Then came the golden period of Search and SEO. We moved into interactivity and social … and that too is reaching a tipping point. Content will go up by 500% by 2020. That’s scary. What’s more, 75% of this content will come from consumers.

So, what’s next?

Mark says, “Content isn’t enough. Audience isn’t enough. We need ignition.” With ignition, he means “Who is sharing your content?” and “Where is it being shared?”.

The fourth circle that we’re seeing signs of growth in now are Augmented Reality, wearable devices and content filters. That’s the future of social media.

The role of websites in the digital world has changed.

Image courtesy: Mark Schaefer’s blog

6 Elements of the Content Code

Build a strong content strategy that focuses on building trust. SEO is a secondary aspect, dependent on the type of content.

  1. Brand development – Focus your resources on building trust.
  2. Build audience and influence – Focus on heroic branding to build an audience. That alone can move your content. Think about why people share content – self-identity, to show love and support, an act of kindness or generosity or trust.
  3. Plan distribution, advertising & SEO. Keep in mind, SEO becomes less important as we move from hygiene to hub to hero content.
  4. Build authority of your website. Small businesses are using Linkedin to build authority.
  5. Social proof – Makes sure your content has a catchy title (Use tools like for help.). Tip: Posts longer than 1000 words get shared more often.
  6. Shareability – Ensure your content is shareable. Use social media buttons on your blog, video, podcast, etc., pages to make it convenient for people to share your content.

Phew! That’s been a long read, hasn’t it?

Of course, there were more case studies, stories and tips but I hope what I shared here is good to you get started on your social media strategy or at least tweak it where it may be going wrong.

Again, many thanks to Mark Schaefer for sharing his knowledge and experience with us.

Adieu for now!

If you find it useful, please do share it


About Monica

Monica is a digital marketer, blogger and technical writer. She’s helped small businesses with content strategy and development since 6+ years and is now extending the value with online marketing. Her goal is to introduce more businesses to this exciting and profitable marketing medium. She is a regular blogger for WMA. Connect with her on Linkedin or Twitter for digital marketing assistance or to say hello!

Digital Marketing – Online courses Vs. Traditional Classroom Learning – What’s Better or Worse?

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Careers in Digital Marketing, Resources/Guides, WMA Alumni, WMA Students | 0 comments

Digital Marketing – Online courses Vs. Traditional Classroom Learning

The global eLearning Market was expected to reach $107 billion by 2015, according to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., one of the earliest online learning providers, ran a survey in early 2015 that showed 80% of respondents learn skills on their own time, at home, late at night and on weekends.

However, classroom learning is still a first choice for many people because of some key differentiators.

Choices are led by purpose and limitations

I went into some detail of the online versus offline learning experience. Having experienced both modes myself, I’ve found them equally valuable. If given a choice however, I would go with classroom training for the added benefits. I’ll discuss these further.

Time, geography, need for flexibility and cost seem to be the principal factors that drive the decision on offline versus online learning.

Pros and cons of online learning

Online course or offline course?Online learning works well for people if the course matter is valuable, delivery mode and execution is structured and timely., Courseera, Udemy, and MOOC are some of the best places to head to.

What factors drive people to online learning?

  • Flexibility: Most online courses are self-paced. Students can work late night after work, or while managing multiple activities in the day. They can play and pause as per their schedule and comfort. You don’t have to adhere to fixed timings.
  • Time savings: You don’t have to travel to the study center. You can watch a video in your bathrobe or straight out of bed – this saves a lot of travel time.
  • Cost savings: Online courses are often cheaper than classroom trainings. The difference can range from 40-80 percent.
  • No distractions: Many people learn better without distractions from other students, questions and other forms of disruption.
  • Reusable materials: Content in some (certainly not all) online classes can be downloaded. Personal Skype sessions can be recorded and saved in the student account for later reference.
  • Accessibility: A student in India can take up a course from a University in US or UK. Geographic barriers can be completely eliminated in the interest of higher learning and education.

On the other hand, you may miss out on certain things in online learning such as:

  • Group learning: Great ideas can come out of group learning activities. Projects can be brainstormed on and outcomes can be enriched with diverse inputs.
  • Networking opportunities: Some online courses offer chat options for students to interact with peers. But usually it’s an isolated learning mode that can deprive you from networking and learning opportunities that happen naturally in a traditional classroom setup.
  • Extra learning opportunities: Again, some online courses work around this but even so, you get limited one-on-one opportunities to learn from instructors. Breaks, a few minutes before and after classes open avenues for some useful exchanges.
  • Uniform progress: Since all students are on the same page throughout the course, the possibility of learning from each other is higher. Sometimes, a more timid student gets exposed to knowledge because of experiments of his or her peers.
  • Immediate support: Online students don’t always have access to the instructor’s time as needed. In a classroom session, issues can be managed and resolved quickly with contributions from the instructor and the group.
  • Support expiry: In most courses, students do not have access to the content (unless it was downloadable) after the subscription period expires. Time with faculty is also limited.

Online learning is also dependent on internet connectivity. This can become a challenge in places such as India where network coverage and data plan affordability is not a given.

Pros and cons of traditional classroom trainings

Online trainings or classroom learning?Classroom trainings offer learners many advantages as well. Again, the quality of the training content, execution and delivery are paramount.

  • Learning within and outside class walls: Students can interact with instructors in extra hours, breaks, etc., to clarify doubts, ask questions, or get into a lively discussion. This creates a synergetic environment for maximum learning.
  • Immense networking opportunities: Students can interact with different people (from various industries, at various designations, and experience) within their class and other batches. Opportunities around employment, freelance assignments and partnerships can often sprout among people who’ve come together for a common learning experience.
  • Real-time learning: Immediate concerns and queries can be addressed without delays.
  • Exposure to latest updates and news: Instructors can open discussions on latest news and updates easily in a classroom environment. This is harder to incorporate into an online experience because of the time and effort involved in creating videos or supporting material.
  • Personalized interactions: Instructors can always make out when students are unable to follow a concept. This ensures students get a personalized experience that also leads to higher understanding and retention of the topic.
  • Team learning: Students can learn on the topic as well as team work and communication skills by being participative in brainstorming sessions, projects, debates and discussions.
  • Long-term relationships: Organizations such as Web Marketing Academy pride themselves on building long-term relationships with students. Alumni can walk in anytime, hold recruitment activities, give case studies based on their industry experience, and more. This enriches the learning experience for students further.

What are the cons of classroom trainings?

  • Lack of flexibility: You need to attend classes on prescheduled days and time.
  • Dependence: Students can have overdependence on instructors if there is too much handholding. However, this challenge can be mitigated by setting independent tasks and assignments to students.
  • Cost: Classroom training is usually more expensive than online because of the infrastructure and instructor time involved.

Online trainings often work better for self-motivated learns as you need to explore beyond sessions to make the most of your learning experience. Of course, time on hand, cost of training and type of session also matter.

Offline trainings or classroom learning works best if you do not have such constraints. You learn more than you came for by just being part of a larger group; you can build relations that will stay with you a long time.

Consider the pros and cons of both learning styles before you jump into anything. Most importantly, keep learning!

Is Ecommerce & Hyperlocal Making India Lazy? Episode #28

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Podcast, Resources/Guides, WMA Alumni, WMA Students | 0 comments

Digital and printed news media are full of what’s happening in the ecommerce space. The new buzzword is “hyperlocal.”

An article on Brand Equity of The Economic Times flashed a front page headline “Anatomy of the Lazy Economy.” Among other things, it talked of changes in consumer behavior and expectations over the past years with the rise of ecommerce. We had a discussion on that and also about how hyperlocal is at a tangent from traditional ecommerce.

Anatomy of a lazy economy - ecommerce

Shot of the article from The Economic Times

Listen to the Entire Podcast Here:

Some stats to start with though:

  • The Indian e-commerce industry is poised to cross USD 100 billion by 2020 – Assocham-PwC study.
  • Experts are of the view that online grocery will become one of the top three most attractive segments for online retailers, after electronics and apparel.

Is ecommerce making us a lazy society?

Frankly, we don’t think so.

Those who were lazy continue to be lazy in the ecommerce era. But for others, ecommerce, especially offerings such as groceries, is like a lifeline. Online shopping saves you from mundane, repetitive, brainless tasks that take precious time out of your day. It’s convenient, doesn’t force you to brave the killing traffic … you could even say, eases the traffic with so many “online shoppers” off roads!

Doesn’t it make sense to spend time on more quality activities – time with your children, spouse or extended family; working on a hobby; pursuing personal or professional goals, etc.

Furthermore, ecommerce is giving people with low grade skills an affordable and convenient platform to earn more and also, build social stature. The above mentioned article talks about how a “dhobi” (people who iron and/or wash clothes) joined the Wassup platform on the condition that he get a corporate ID card which would give the required social status to get a bride. In fact, he announced his wedding 4 months later!

Hyperlocal – the new buzzword

Hyperlocal online businesses are growing at a remarkable pace in India. And they work! But first, let’s define hyperlocal.

Hyperlocal platforms enable local offline services from anywhere, anytime. Other factors that make a business hyperlocal:

  • facilitate local offline services – serving as partners rather than competition
  • support local neighborhood stores, mom-and-pop shops, etc.
  • are more trusted than ordinary ecommerce – as they connect people to nearby stores and services that are reachable in case of complaints
  • enable an online mode of discovery and booking for businesses without online delivery channels
  • employ a channelized workforce for delivery
  • satisfy an immediate need
hyperlocal startups giving ecommerce competition

Image courtesy: Financial Express

As per a Financial Express article Much Ado About Hyperlocals, these services have higher margins of around 20% as opposed to product based models which earn 2-10% margins or even non-hyperlocal e-commerce companies, which operate on 3-7% margins, depending on the category.

Hyperlocal startups are giving ecommerce some stiff competition as well. Read more: How hyperlocal startups are giving e-com giants a run for their money.

Top performing hyperlocal brands

Some brands into hyperlocal services are LocalBaniya, HouseJoy, Swiggy, TinyOwl, Wassup, LocalOye, Grofers, SpoonJoy, Zopper, etc. Here are more from a Quora thread:

Zopnow –
Peppertap –
Jiffstore –
Instafrsh –
Ninjacart –

Food – Restaurants
Tinyowl –
Swiggy –
Justeat –
TapTap Meals –

Food – Chefs
Holachef –
BiteClub –

1mg –
Pluss App –

Grofers –
Delyver – (Acq by BigBasket)
Lazylad –

Concierge (Point to point)
StreetJumper –
Bhejjo –

Roadrunnr –
Grab –
Shadowfax –
Gray Routes –
Opinio –
LataHun –
TownRush –
Pickingo –

Wooplr –
Niffler –
CrownIt –
MadPiggy –

Zopper – (Electronics)
StoreWalk – (Fashion)

Some more interesting ones:

  • Russsh – tasks – virtual assistance.
  • Flipkart reportedlyconsidering entering the online grocery delivery space.
  • Delyver – recently bought by BigBasket.
  • Amazon’s KiryanaNow – aims to deliver the goods “within 2-4 hours” using its own logistics, the neighbourhood store’s staff, or one of its logistics partners.
  • Paytm launched Zip mobile app, tested in Bengaluru and then pulled back for a more feature packed release.
  • Ola launched Ola store, a hyperlocal grocery mobile app.
  • SeniorShelf – for senior citizens – offers toilet seats, commodes, walking support, arm support, etc.
  • com – enter location and find food cooked by home chef’s near you. In fact watscooking caters not only to some non-metro cities in India such as Eluru, TN; Kurnool, AP; but also UAE, UK, US, Canada, Malaysia, etc.!

Challenges hyperlocal startups must think about

These come from Alagu Balaraman, partner and MD, Indian operations, CGN Global India, a supply chain management consulting firm, picked up from the FT article again.

  • Training of people in services is very difficult as each individual has to be available wherever the customer is located.
  • Service people must know how to handle a customer – he represents your brand.
  • Services industry is rather fragmented, it is difficult to form partnerships with associations or groups of such service providers, as specialists are spread out across the country.
  • Creating a need for services might be difficult as people may already have their own local set-up in place – but that mindset is changing.

More reading/watching:

Lots of stuff for you to get into! Till the next podcast … have a good one!


About Monica

Monica is a digital marketer, blogger and technical writer. She’s helped small businesses with content strategy and development since 6+ years and is now extending the value with online marketing. Her goal is to introduce more businesses to this exciting and profitable marketing medium. She is a regular blogger for WMA. Connect with her on Linkedin or Twitter for digital marketing assistance or to say hello!

Growth of Online Groceries in India (Audio)

Posted by on Dec 5, 2015 in Podcast, Resources/Guides, WMA Students | 0 comments

This post is posted earlier with in-depth research, please find more details here: Online Groceries India Episode from FIR Podcast Network


Indian Influencer Marketing, Fans & Celebs – Research- Digital India Podcast #26

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Podcast, Resources/Guides, WMA Alumni, WMA Students | 0 comments

Influencer Marketing in India 

Recent events (specifically the Aamir Khan incident) brought the topic of influencer marketing to the forefront – not because of the comments he made but the aftermath of what Snapdeal, the brand he endorses, had to face!

Influencer marketing scare when Aamir Khan Critics turn against Snapdeal

Influencer marketing scare for Snapdeal (Image courtesy:

What is influencer marketing? Is it all about celebrity endorsements or much more than that? And what if your brand starts seeing a negative impact because of a brand ambassador? What do you do? How do you prepare for it? And finally, how can you turn your customers, influencers and fans into influencers for your business?

Listen to the entire podcast here:

What is influencer marketing?

Content Marketing Institute Research 2015

Marketing using somebody’s influence to get consumers closer to the buying stage – it could be celebrities or common people like you and me. Aren’t you influenced when a friend buys or endorses a product on social media?

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest are capitalizing on this trend. Celebrities are becoming passé with more brands trying to get brand lift by sharing real life stories that sync with their core vision or social stand.

Growing influencer marketing trend

As per an AdWeek report, Google Trends show a 5000% hike in the usage of the search term “influencer marketing.”

A study by McKinsey reveals that marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising and has a 37 percent higher retention rate.

What should the role of an influencer be?

Sejal shared her knowledge on the role of influencers and their responsibilities to their followers. Their primary job is to generate ROI for the brand paying them top dollars for the influence. They need to be participative in public and private forums – advocating the brand.

And if they want to be honest about it, they should be users of said product or service themselves. They also need to be content creators themselves sometimes.

You’ll find more interesting points in Lee Odden’s article “The Hidden Value of Influencers in B2B Content Marketing.”

The history of celebrity endorsements

To learn more about how celebrity endorsements work and whether they really deliver expected ROI, I did some digging. I found an Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) research paper from 2012. And here’s what I learned.

The celebrity endorsement trend started in the 1980s and became much bigger in the 1990s. But not all such campaigns proved successful. However, when the endorsements worked, they got a brand some serious gold! Even back in 2010, the celebrity endorsement market was considered to be worth more than Rs. 10000 million ($200 million) business. More reading here:

The great Indian celebrity trap in advertising, Economic Times, Feb 3, 2010
Celebrity management is still evolving in India, Economic Times, Feb 3, 2010

Some of the earliest brands to use celebrities in TV commercials were Vimal, Thums Up and Gwalior. CocoCola followed the example in the 1990s. Then came Parker that used Amitabh Bachan. We also had endorsements from Shahrukh Khan for Hyundai Santro, etc. Santro became the second largest selling car in India within four years of its launch and Shahrukh Khan, who was endorsing three brands, went on to endorse more than 30 brands in 2009.

In the Indian market, we find that the rise in celebrity endorsements has been phenomenal in decade to 2010. In 2001, 25 % of all TV advertisements carried a known face. By 2008, this had grown to 60 % and continues to grow.

The impact of celebrity endorsements

Some more digging pulled out the “The Celebrity Endorsement Survey” conducted by research agency IMRB (Indian Market Research Bureau) and public relations outfit. It covered over 2019 respondents across 12 metros and small towns in India. The findings:

  • 86 per cent of the respondents say the most prominent ad that they remember has a celebrity in it – so definitely a big plus for brand recall.
  • Only 3 per cent feel that celebrity endorser of a brand affects their buying decision.
  • In small towns and South India, there is greater affinity to celebrities.
  • 55% of the people don’t believe that the celebrities use the products that they endorse.
  • 78% of the people buy products because of the quality of the product.

So the picture isn’t as rosy as it used to be.

Why do celebrity endorsements work?

From the research paper again, research findings are equivocal about the ability of celebrities to generate actual purchase behavior, positive impact on economic returns of sponsoring companies. This is well documented in research papers such as:

It is widely accepted that celebrity endorsers are more effective than non-celebrity endorsers in generating all desirable outcomes (attitudes towards advertising and endorsed brand, intentions to purchase, and actual sales) when companies utilize celebrities whose public persona match with the products and target audiences.

Best practices for celebrity endorsements to work

Brands must look at:

  • the promotional features and image of the product to verify if they closely integrate with the personality of the celebrity
  • using the credibility of the celebrity
  • making products that create a niche in the market and establish itself as a brand
  • how the celebrity’s role is most prominent in personifying the product to his/her image and that helps it reach the customers

This can backlash when celebrities are seen as endorsing many types of products across a wide spectrum.

Influencer marketing beyond celebs

Influencer marketing is a lot about being smart and proactive. Your employees and customers can become your brand ambassadors as well, they can be influencers. When would that happen? Only if you give them a supreme experience that is part of a long-term strategy to grow your business.

You can also search for influencers in your industry by tapping the online world. Find the top fashion blogger or the top food blogger … get them to be influencers.

Tools to identify influencers in your industry

Here are some handy tools for you to look for the right influencers in your domain:

Check this article out as well: Finding Influencers on Facebook and Twitter Blogs.

Tips to turn your customers and employees into influencers

Build loyal followers. It doesn’t have to be a huge following. Start with your current customers and employees. Suresh had some tips close to his heart.

How do you turn customers or employees into influencer marketing vehicles?

  • Think of how you can make them special.
  • Appreciate, give a shout out and share their achievements or contributions in your social media channels; tag them.
  • Be genuine in your interactions.
  • Be empathetic with their issues.
  • Give your employees enough resources, appreciate them in public as well.
  • Educate them, build trust by providing value in terms of content.
  • Use Twitter and Facebook videos. When someone shares your content, thank them using a selfie mode to make it more personal and engaging.
  • Use tools such as Periscope and Blab to personalize your response.
  • Use Facebook birthday video wishes on their special day.
  • Favorites: Have face to face meetings. Pick up the phone and call. Send emails. Or even personal hand written Thank you notes.

With all of the above, prepare your employees to handle crisis such as a celeb endorsement that backfires. Give enough training for anyone to handle questions and react as desired on online forums.

Welcome to the 26th episode of Digital India Podcast on FIR Podcast Network. This show is ‘Weekly Updates’ brought to you by staff and students of Web Marketing Academy.

Instagram in India. How Indian Brands Can Use Instagram

Posted by on Nov 29, 2015 in Resources/Guides | 0 comments

Cross post from FIR Podcast Network

Welcome to the 25th episode of Digital India Podcast on FIR Podcast Network. This show is ‘Weekly Updates’ brought to you by staff and students of Web Marketing Academy.

Digital Marketing Update: Google Search Quality Evaluators Guide (Download PDF Here)

Instagram in India:

– its monthly actives in India have more than doubled over the past year (as of September 2015)

Listen to the #podcast here:

Nielson study on “Indians on Instagram”:

–  over 90% of local Instagrammers are less than 30 years old

– mobile-first users with high spending power

– 18 – 24 age group is the most active on Instagram with more than 80% using their phone to take pictures to post on social media

– 50% of Indian Instagrammers have frequently purchased products and services from the brands they follow

– They also follow brands to keep in touch with the latest products, learn about deals and shop for products online

– Their key interests include music, travel, food, photography, technology, fashion and sports

– What do they do on Instagram – express themselves artistically, follow celebrity brands, discover information, and share food and travel options

Brands telling their stories on Instagram:

Vista Rooms, a branded hotel chain – But, here’s an Indian startup that has actually built its own app within Instagram. @vistarooms_app on I. ( – used I’s tagging feature in a unique way. 355 followers

Chumbak’s – chain of stores selling wall art, phone cases, storage tins, travel accessories and is adding new products designed completely in-house. – #MakeHappy Chumbak began posting on Instagram in early 2014. There was no stated objective back then, only sharing Chumbak products. All this changed in the last six months. The brand now focuses on its Instagram page, just like its other social media pages, to tie into the Chumbak ‘#MakeHappy’ philosophy – which is “what we represent as a brand in creating happy experiences across all our channels and just bringing smiles from all the madness we are up to.” ( 45400 followers

Kingfisher – The ‘King of Good Times’ uses Instagram to tell ‘Good Times’ stories of real world events & experiences with the product playing an integral part of the story. 6053

Zee Khana Khazana (Living Foodz) – use of the grid to create India’s first ever #InstaCookBook – a unique compilation of multiple summer recipes and tips on its Instagram page. 3364

Paper Boat – the maker of traditional Indian drinks – A combination of cute doodles, two lovely puppies called Hector and Beverages, little visual stories around the brand and childhood memories tell the Paper Boat story on Instagram. Uses videos and photos beautifully. (A combination of cute doodles, two lovely puppies called Hector and Beverages, little visual stories around the brand and childhood memories tell the Paper Boat story on Instagram. ) 6293

Femina – Hastags like #Fashion, #Beauty, #Makeup, etc. are already extremely popular. So we make sure we use the popular hashtags in our updates.Shoot unique videos and photos for instagram.User generate content is very important, we often repost pictures our fans tag us in. This encourages fans to stay engaged with us.Monitor the time and frequency of posts performing well on the page.Make good use of brands and celebrities associated with you. They obviously play a huge role in brand popularity.Pick the right filter! (


Opened up in India in Spetember. In India, the Instagram community will gradually see ads appear from launch partners including Gillette, Kit Kat, Paper Boat and TRESemmé. The ad services are also being used by companies like Groffers, Olx, Foodpanda to drive app installs.

Add-on :

@instagramforbusiness account. Each week Instagram will run exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories that inspire, inform and showcase the work done by three important groups in the business community from all around the world—brands, small businesses and creative agencies. This should be great news for brands that have built their community on Instagram. Sooner or later that partner network will increase as Instagram hopes to generate $595 million in advertising revenue this year.

Instagram has tied up with Facebook’s biggest marketing partners. such as Hootsuite, Kenshoo, Brand Networks, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Unified, SocialCode, 4C, Nanigans, and Ampush.

According to Emarkerter prediction, by 2017 Instagram will be on track to surpass Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile display ad revenues. eMarketer estimated that Instagram will see higher net mobile display ad revenues than Google and Twitter in 2017. It was forecasted that Instagram will see $595M in mobile ad revenue this year. By 2017, that figure will hit $2.81B

This topic of discussion comes from our good friend Prasant Naidu’ Light House Insights :

Nielsen Study Reveals Why Indian Digital Marketers Should Take Instagram Seriously


We have interviewed Prasant previously for FIR Podcast Interview Series here:

(VIDEO) Instagram Ads – A Step by Step Guide :

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