Branding is something many startups hate to do, we know you geeks and hackers believe that a product should speak for itself and should have enough power to tap in any angels, investors and clients. Coming to reality, you are not the only one making that kind of product and you may have a more than few creative ends to add to your USP but that still does not guarantee any audience to your product.
Understand, many a times startups fail not because the idea was not creative enough or lacked proper team, they fail because they are not able to sell, they are not able to reach out to the target audience.
And Branding doesn’t mean creating facebook pages and sharing stuff, you need to be convincing, engaging, caring and generate trust and build relationship with the audience.
Socio360 takes up responsibility of branding and using the right networked platforms to ensure that a product flawlessly reaches out to its target audience. They got some excellent players in the team, with extensive experience in digital media and its marketing battle grounds. And they are committed to excellence in every branding portfolio they take up, and every project is headed by a dedicated accounts manager to make the perfect assurance that you get the best value for your money.
We got the opportunity to get in conversation with Khizer, Founder and know more about Socio360, the team and digital media.
Socio360 is a complete Web Services and Digital Marketing agency, and you guys provide dedicated accounts manager for every project. This is something we have never seen with other digital agencies. How did this idea come up? Tell us something about the USP of Socio360?
The whole idea was to provide a seamless brand experience to our customers. When a client goes to a blue chip traditional marketing agency, they are given a dedicated account manager. Isn’t it obvious that these clients expect the same from their Digital Agency? We are an agency that functions like a traditional agency but in Digital Space.
Marketing is a serious business. There is big money with bigger expectations. We put the ‘serious’ into Digital Marketing. If one manager handles an account, he understands the client’s business better and can come up with better marketing campaigns. After all, effective campaigns are what helps build the brand, and not by ad spends. Anyone can out-spend you; what matters is relevant engagement and interaction by understanding the target audience of the customer.
Tell us something about the team behind socio360. You have the agency in Bangalore and Dubai, who leads the Bangalore office and who leads the Dubai office?
I (Khizer Ahmed Sheriff) am the founder of Socio360. I started the agency in August of 2011 in Dubai. A month later, my good friend Richard Lorence joined the agency as a co-founder and is handling the business since.
I came back and started the Agency officially in Bangalore, India on the 23rd of February, 2012. It has been a great experience seeing the company grow. I met my college friend Disha Amin, who was then working with Ogilvy and after our initial interaction she eagerly joined us as our Chief Marketing and Strategy Manager. She has also been contributing to bring about the big agency work culture to our office.
We have head offices in Dubai & Bangalore. We have branch offices in Mumbai & Delhi for better client service. Mumbai is handled by Devesh Verma and Delhi is handled by Charles Joseph.
Apart from this, we have tied up with a few creative directors from the world’s best marketing agencies who work with us to create campaigns with a difference. The real magic happens by the team of superheroes in various roles like Account Managers, Developers & Designers.
Being a digital marketing agency, you have been using various social networks facebook, twitter, pinterest, Google+, etc everyday for your clients branding and marketing. Which social network brings in more traffic and which brings in more conversions?
We currently deal with over 50 Social Media Networks for various clients combined and every network has its own set of behavior which is hard to define.
It largely depends on the industry our clients operate in. It is an open secret that Facebook is good for B2C, LinkedIn for B2B. With respect to the less talked about networks, we have Pinterest getting us great conversions. Google+ is great for direct interaction through Hangouts. We call Twitter a Diwali Cracker; it gives us great returns on customer engagement and sweepstakes for the period we run promotions. We have found Youtube very useful for generating returning loyal customers in few Industries.
What do you think about the future of Social Media Marketing? Has it become a too over crowded niche?
This is just the big bang phase of Social Media Marketing, The future, in my opinion, is yet to come. The online advertising market in India is projected to reach Rs 2,938 crores by March 2014, according to the findings of Digital Advertising in India report, by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International. With Innovations like Google Glass, new social networks coming up every day and existing portals going social, there is no horizon to be seen for marketers in Social Media/Social Space.
As far as the industry being overcrowded is concerned, I feel that it is a sign that social media is very active and in demand. I would always wish for the industry being overcrowded than mature and passive. Moreover, it helps us distinguish ourselves amongst others by pushing us to innovate at the very ground level. We are able to create a niche for ourselves in this huge industry.
What would be your advice to people who are looking for a career in Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing, at the end of the day, is a part of Marketing. I don’t feel that the Indian Industry is so mature to have Social Media Manager in every business house. Instead of looking at being a Social Media Guru, look at being a Marketing Guru with specialization in Digital Media.
We have seen that Social Media Marketing gives us phenomenal returns when in sync with a business’s offline marketing strategies. Having strong core knowledge of marketing is very important for being good at Digital Marketing.
Lots of courses are available for Digital Marketing. In our efforts to educate the college crowd, we have tied up with 4 B-Schools across India & Dubai to form courses in Social Media with hands-on experience. From the next academic year, you will see prominent names offering Social Media Marketing Courses as a part of their curriculum. We feel a certificate from a deemed university will be valued much better in the industry.
What are your future plans for Socio360?
We are looking at a sustainable growth model as opposed to rapid growth model. With our clientele growing in Singapore/Malaysia region, we are looking at opening a branch there in the couple of months.
Our goal is to better returns online through innovations. Keeping this in view, we are working on a product that is in beta stage. It will integrate augmented reality in e-commerce ads and product demos. We are in advanced talks with a few well-known e-commerce players and will launch the ads by end of September with the right partner.