The author Tina Mehta is Brand Strategist at Lightbox VC, where she ensures the culture of the company and “vibe” are aligned with the execution plan.

Shaiju Mathew, the social media whiz at Furlenco, talks about emerging trends in social media marketing. He is one of a new breed of marketing people in India who are betting on the power of content to create a network of digital influencers and promoters. We talk to him about how Furlenco is using social media and community to drive marketing and sales for the business.

Here are the edited excerpts:

What are some general strategies you’d recommend while talking about content, community and commerce? 

Content generation, distribution and marketing is brand-specific. What might work for one brand might not work for another. However, content marketing is one of the strongest ways to engage with customers. It not only provides expert knowledge to your customers but also help them during their buying process. According to industry experts, in 2015, content marketing is expected to be the most commercially important digital marketing trend.

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What can you share about useful content for users that will enable building a community around it?

Useful content can be anything from written content to audio pieces, photographs, infographics, videos, etc.

Based on each content type, there are various content distribution channels — social media platforms, content discovery platforms, video distribution platforms, blogs, etc.

Also, content can be classified as owned, earned and paid. Owned content is any content that you make available online via your company website, blogs, social media channels, etc.

Earned content is again connected to your owned content where your audience likes, shares and engages with it if the content is nice and informative. Paid content is anything that is distributed by you through paid content distribution channels. It is a very good way to reach out to an audience that is already your prospective customer as well as those who might not have any idea about your brand.

Content marketing aims at helping your prospects as well as your customers with necessary information and, therefore, building communities around your content is a great way to engage with them.

I think #EscapeTheBroZone was your most successful Twitter campaign and it trended too. Do campaigns like this generate leads? What kind of metrics do you use to measure success?

#FurlencoIMakeMyBed was one of our most successful Twitter campaigns which trended for two days. Since then, we have also had a few other trending campaigns like #FaydaKyaHai (What is the benefit?) and #FurlencoHappyHours.

These campaigns do help as they not only create brand awareness but also help prospects to connect with your brand. The metrics to measure such campaigns would be the reach of the campaign and traffic generated to your website via them.

However, campaigns are run for primarily two reasons — creating brand awareness and for lead generation. For instance, #FurlencoIMakeMyBed and #EscapeTheBroZone were brand awareness campaigns while #FurlencoHappyHours was for lead-generation.

Also, one has to understand that social media campaigns are not primarily run for ROI and conversions are always considered as a bonus.

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Is social media going to be one of the biggest drivers of e-commerce in the next few years or is it still very early days in India?

It is very early days in India, however, steps are being taken by almost every brand to drive engagement through their various social media channels.

People are slowly moving towards social commerce where a personal connect with a brand is created with a referral. E-commerce companies are also moving towards social personalisation, for example, the Ping feature in Flipkart app.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co

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