Special Report by Binjal Shah
Digital India is the next big thing and there is already talk that this could even trigger a working women's movement. As workplaces and businesses go virtual, women are doing much more than they ever could, even as they are physically bound to a space. E-retail, E-commerce, online shopping are the buzzwords, but we are missing one very important and lucrative arena that has opened up thanks to this permanent new fad- the business which has the internet itself as its product- Social Media Marketing.
"Some of us saw the storm coming before anyone else, and decided to stock up," says Husena Painter, Senior content specialist at Edelman, and freelance social media expert. "I for one, remember snooping around Facebook clicking everything that was clickable, just to see how it may come handy someday. In fact, I accepted an obscure gift certificate to an SMO course as a prize. I was the only winner that actually availed it. That course got me my first big paycheck, two years later."
As workplaces and businesses go virtual, women are doing much more than they ever could
Social Media Optimization is using social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to advertise your brand and reach your consumers. With the features in the digital space, the combination it offers of the visual and the textual, and the tools available to make your ad reach the exact demographic you target- the possibilities are endless.
"When I first started job hunting back in 2011, a digital marketing agency called me offering me big money just to handle a company's Facebook page. I remember thinking to myself- why are they making this big a deal out of something that seems rather frivolous?" recalls Hiral Vasa, the Head of Digital Content at leading online boutique Style Fiesta.
"I told my interviewer I wasn't sure I was spending my time on a meaningful form of Advertising. I'll never forget his answer to that question- 'Social Media Marketing is going to take over all other forms of advertising so quick, it'll make your head spin'"
He was right. By 2012, there were 381 companies that had sprung up with the unique offering of taking all your marketing operations online, whereas 81 percent of all advertising agencies in India had created dedicated departments for Social Media Marketing. On the client side, companies increased the share of the advertising budget dedicated to online media threefold. Especially with the boom in YouTube-only adverts- considering TV ads were an expensive affair- many brands preferred shelling out their entire advertising budgets on Social Media Marketing.
outsourcing their digital needs to experts and specialized agencies has become the norm
With this boom, more and more countries are realizing they need to hop on the digital wagon if they want to survive competition from younger, more current brands who pander to fads amongst a largely tech-savvy audience more successfully. Hence, outsourcing their digital needs to experts and specialized agencies has become the norm - so much, that the supply of experts still fails to meet the demand for them in the market.
"Suddenly, the course I took almost alone three years ago, had to start three new batches to accommodate the onslaught of inexplicably interested patrons," laughs Painter, while revealing how happy she is having chosen this industry as her day and night job.
Considering the bulk of your work entails being connected online to track trends and create smart content, this job has provisions to work out of any space one may please - which is a boon to women with restrictive lifestyles. Moreover, once you get a grasp over it, you may do your work on-the-go. The invention of apps has only added to that convenience.
"Social Media is buzzing round the clock. Hence, you never end up having set work hours- as the medium you are dealing with is dynamic and unpredictable," explains Painter.
The So-Me addict goes on to add, "This is a good thing and a bad thing. Since I am grappling with a shop that never shuts- I can take on as many assignments as I like, sometimes even across timezones, because there's always scope to work and contribute. I handle my company's clients from an office, and have my own clientele for later. Since one prefers that women steer clear from irregular timings due to safety risks- I bring my personal work home. I get to work until I feel otherwise."
From being a small-time fad, to turning into the next wave of advertising, Social Media Marketing has evolved and is now established its territory in the market. And for women who like to be proactive and are always pushing the envelope, this field will allow them to test their limits.
Image Credits: Shutterstock.com