A session on day one of the Indian Magazine Congress 2014 in New Delhi saw Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WAT Consult, and Pratik Gupta, director, new business and innovations, FoxyMoron, discuss magazines and social media. Rohit Saran, editor-at-large, India Today Group, moderated the panel on ‘How can magazine brands use social media to their advantage?’
Saran noted that while everyone agreed on social media being ‘big’ and ‘growing’, no one had an accurate definition. In the context of publishers, he emphasised the importance of content to drive higher traffic, and explained that sometimes on lower ‘likes’ one could get higher ‘shares’ -- which translates into traffic.
He also stated that social media could blur the distinction between the product and its marketing, if not eliminate it completely. He meant that if a news was about to break, one could keep tweeting links or pictures giving the readers a preview of the next issue.
Dingra enlisted five ‘myths’ about digital and social media:
- The size of digital
- The digital audience is mostly young and male
- Digital audience is mostly urban
- Mobile internet usage is still small
- Internet users doesn’t mean time spent online
He noted that digital was small, but growing extremely fast. He explained that the online audience beyond young males is spread across: working women (10 per cent), women who stay at home (11 per cent), older men (11 per cent) and children or college/school going kids (12 per cent).
On the digital audience being mostly urban, he said that the rural user base was also growing. Dingra said, “The day is not far when we will get a smartphone for Rs 1500.” On time spent online, he said that three hours and 24 minutes was the average time that people were spending online every day.
Dingra further spoke on several things that magazine brands could do to experience the power of social media:
Moving away from the authoritative publishing mentality
- Content pro-creation with readers
- Real time responsiveness
- Catalysing Communities
- Influencing the influencers
“Reward the influencers who are leading the social community space in your vertical or make them a part of your community”, surmised Dingra.
Gupta spoke about the uniqueness of digital, and said in today’s context, ‘If news is not important to me, it’s not news’. He noted that magazines need to go digital given time constraints on the part of users. He surmised, saying that for a magazine brand to sustain on social media, it needed to be thinking what it would be doing in the next 12 or even 18 months.