SheMeansBusiness: How Digital Power Creates Socio-Economic Impact
Moving beyond using social media to create an identity online, today women are using the same identity to create networks with others. They are building communities and using them to create a larger impact in the world around them. While some are making city-specific communities, which now have grown into a group of thousands, there are others who use their personal social media profiles in reaching out to people and have collaborative efforts. They are leveraging social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to start their own businesses, collaborate with other startups and earn out of what they are passionate about.
At the She Means Business event curated by SheThePeople.TV in collaboration with Facebook, over 80 women who run a variety of startups joined in. While a woman has started a Fin-tech startup to create elder-care and senior care communities, another entrepreneur, Prerna Prasad, runs Ecoplore where she suggests eco-friendly hotels to tourists while Ananyaa Goel has invented an app, Mudzic, that would play music according to a person’s mood. The diversity in the kinds of ventures women are coming up with is what makes them different. It is the power of digital that helps them market their business.
Talking about creating socio-economic impact through social media platforms, Milee Aishwarya, Senior Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House, told SheThePeople.TV, “Digital space is a great leveller and it has broken and shattered lots of hierarchies. So now one can connect, engage, and have a conversation with celebrities or experts who one wouldn’t normally have access to. So in that way it is a great enabler.”
As someone in the creative field, author Shuchi Singh Kalra feels strongly about the digital medium. “Social media is a great platform to reach out to your readers as an author. I am also able to boost sales of my published work through various platforms on the digital space,” she said, adding that it is also important to create relevant and engaging content so people’s interest in your work stays alive. She has built her personal brand online which has resulted in several collaborations and monetary opportunities.
But entrepreneurs especially benefit from the growing popularity of social media today as they say that they won’t waste money in ground marketing. Low-cost advertising is readily available through Facebook and Instagram etc. Sustainable fashion brand founder, Shalini Saluja, who runs Indie Cotton Route, leverages technology to its full potential. She believes that for people like her who start from scratch, technology can provide a big boost. “I didn’t have the money to buy a store or reach out to people who are far away, so social media is the only place where we get in touch with people and vice-versa. Online platform is how people get to know of the work we are doing,” she said.
Shalini added that through Facebook, her brand connected with a lot of other brands who wanted to work with her. “We created a community where we can be on various platforms and websites like National Geographic and Jaypore. So these people got in touch with us only through Facebook. Secondly, customers connected with us online and gave feedback too. And then a lot of artisans who are also on social media approached us,” Shalini said.
“I didn’t have the money to buy a store or reach out to people who are far away so social media is the only place where we get in touch with people and vice versa. Online platform is how people get to know of the work we are doing,” – Shalini Saluja
- Online communities are not only helping women connect with each other, but helping them start and grow their businesses too
- Instead of spending big money on ground-level marketing, startups are using low-cost advertising available at sites like Facebook and Instagram
- Thus, digital is a low-cost medium to enhance and grow your brand
- Not just women, men too are increasingly becoming part of social media communities
Another way of building and spreading socio-economic impact through social media is by bringing thousands of people together in a group on social media. It then creates an environment of micro-connections where people can collaborate for their particular need among a group of people. Smriti Chhabra created Gurgaon Community Circle which basically works on community bonding of people residing in Gurgaon.
“It is a challenge bringing people together from across the city but that was the journey we embarked upon. We have men and women both, rather than just women which normally lots of groups have because in my interactions on social media I realized that men also wanted to become a part of the community,” said Shalini.
Kajal Chanana, who created Dwarka Moms, said she makes sure that offline conversations begin and continue among its members. “We plan events at least once every month and it can be around anything like parties, workshop, around mothers’ subject etc. So when women come, they meet and become friends and then collaborations also happen on the spot.”
Kajal started Dwarka Moms a year-and-a half back and now it is a 10,000 women strong community.
What digital has also done is that it has given women the leverage to work from their own comfort zones and that’s why they have used it to its full potential.