The world’s changing. So is India. The impact of this change is very well felt across society… involving politics, economics, education and knowledge, communications, entertainment, media and marketing, lifestyle, and life, precisely a life on web.
This life, termed as ‘social networking’, is actually bringing a sea change to lives, mostly for the youth exposed to mobile, tablets, laptops, PC, and Internet.
Among many social networking sites, it’s facebook, which clearly tops the charts of mind of many Indians. Whereas a latest survey reveals social networking on rediff shows the maximum growth in terms of market share, while facebook has the third highest growth rate… albeit over a much larger user base, worldwide.
In fact the survey report also confirms India ranks 4th and has 14% market share for the social network and online forums, with facebook, YouTube and orkut continue to be the top three social networking websites here.
The study divulges it too that the country that has experienced the fastest growth in facebook usage over the past year is India, as social networking accounting for an increase in market share of 88% in August 2011, compared to August 2010.
Plus, India ranks 8th in terms of average session time spent on facebook. And in August 2011, the average session time spent on facebook was 20 minutes 21 seconds.
Here are some interesting data from the infographic on facebook usage in India –
A. Almost half of the small businesses being surveyed had a facebook page for their company
B. Of those companies that had a facebook page, 77.5 % of them set it up on their own and only 3.5% of them hired a professional or agency to get it done
C. 19.5% of the small businesses surveyed designed their facebook page even before their company website
D. Businesses use facebook for different reasons and see different benefits. Most businesses use facebook to share basic information about their business (85%) and over half of businesses that use facebook share content like pictures and videos (62.4%) and 47% of them use it have conversations with the customers
E. The major benefit of having a facebook page is increased web traffic. 47% of businesses say they see a significant amount of traffic coming from facebook and 43% say that their facebook page generates even more traffic than their website
F. Among the businesses that do not have a facebook page, the common reason for not having one was lack of time to create and manage
More to mention, top Indian cities with registered facebook users are Mumbai (5.28 million), Delhi/Gurgaon (5.26 million), Bangalore (3.03 million), Hyderabad (1.71 million), Chennai (1.69 miliion) and Kolkata (0.82 million), and these figures are counting up, continuously, everyday.
In this situation, and when google has launched google+ as well, for the reason obvious, facebook needed to be proactive and it has been.
With the revamp of its exiting APIs, as well as with the introduction of new APIs, especially Timeline, facebook gives a clear cut message to all that it’s not going to be idle or lag behind and is always up to it, when innovation is the need of the hour for social networking.
But, if this innovation keeps restricted only within the limits of technology, facebook might not strengthen its footholds, as strongly as it probably hopes, in India.
For a simple reason, because India is a different market, where hi-tech technologies are still seen as a threat to mental peace and user-friendliness by the larger base of users. And that too, irrespective of their socio-economic conditions.
In addition, a Brand is always prone to fall prey to a ‘consumer-assault’ through his action, reaction or word-of-mouth recommendation / propaganda, socially, which might not be as severe elsewhere, as it is in India.
To understand what it means, please see the following visuals –
So, finding a proper positioning, globally vis-à-vis country wise is essential for facebook in the present context.
For example: Xerox is to photocopying – where the action of photocopying itself has transformed into ‘doing Xerox’ to people in general. At least in India.
Exactly in the same vein, facebook needs to create a positioning plank for itself to make an average Indian believe ‘social networking’ means ‘facebooking’ only.
To do so, facebook might think of offering three major benefits like –
a. Easy applications for everyone just as simple as emails, chats, etc.
b. Can be done from anywhere, even beyond the urban land
c. An alternative to newspapers, magazines, books, etc. for knowledge and education, but at the same time saving trees from newsprints and all
Below are the two ads, to highlight how facebook can convey the said benefits to people in India, even at the grassroots level –
PS: Here are two relevant links for all to understand how the market is changing and reacting to social networking –