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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dell SMAC Unconference - Discussion on Indian Startups and Social Media

As part of the unique DELL Social Media and Communities Unconference (Follow #Dellstublr on Twitter for more photos and tweets from the Unconference) today, I anchored a session on how Indian Start-ups can leverage Social Media to make an impact and like the other discussions was quite enriching. A side topic that came up was how Dell can engage with Indian SMEs better. Below is the notes that I've taken. 
Primary Topic: Indian Startups: How can they leverage Social Media to make an impact?
1.       Demand Generation
a.       Build a gaming app around your application
b.      Start Contests or Quizzes around your area of expertise/product
c.       Launch Deals – Exclusive to Social Media
d.      Provide exclusive logins to gain exclusivity and word-of-mouth
e.      Limited referral links to each user (e.g. Gmail/Faceb)
f.        Referral Marketing
g.       Referral and Reward Schemes/Loyalty Programs
2.       Branding
a.       Be the brand that your relevant audience talks about
b.      Identify areas where you want to specialize.
c.       Answer questions on Linkedin and Quora on relevant topics
3.       Social CRM
a.       Connect to customers
b.      Integrate with offline channels
c.       Get feedback on products/service
4.       Idea-sourcing (Ideastorm/Feedback)
a.       Lot of companies doing this were cited
5.       Connect to the Ecosystem – Startups (especially SBs) need a lot of help on this.
a.       Lawyers
b.      Developers
c.       VCs to reach out to for funding
d.      Accountants
e.      Website designers
f.        SEO
6.       Operations / Supply-Chain: An example is a popular snack brand rewarding customers who report shortage of the snack in the neighbouring store with a free pack. There were several instances of people tweeting just to get a freebie. But the brand became a lot popular and sales/marging went up significantly year on year.
Other Points Discussed:
1.       Focus on the right channels with the relevant customer segments engaged there
2.       A good product is primary to winning in Social Media.
3.       SB vs.  MB obviously a factor to consider and will impact your strategy
4.       Good content (Zoozoos, Dominos and others listed) important for getting a content to go viral and good content is key for Start-ups
5.       Is ROI in Social Media low?
a.       Conflicting points of view on that.
b.      Summary that if you plan and execute this well, it can work for you and work cheaply for you.

Secondary Topic: How can Dell help Startups and also benefit from it?
1.       Ecosystem
a.       Grow its own (Using #Takeyourownpath as a starting point)
b.      Plug into existing ecosystems like Pluggd.in
c.       Build a Twitter Handle around this DellSMBHelp or SMBEcosystem something like that
2.       Financing
a.       Connect to Angel Investors/VCif not directly finance
b.      Legal Constraints listed as something that might prevent direct funding
3.       Purchase a Social Networking Company / Community site focused on startups?
4.       Things we are already doing in other regions
a.       Be the advisor for SMBs on relevant areas
b.      Become thought leaders on things to do/avoid in a start-up either personal or as a company too.
5.       Social Benefits
a.       Donate PCs to Villages and help start KPOs/BPOs
b.      Government incentivizes such initiatives and will be part of our CSR initiatives
6.       Business Plan Competitions and Mash-ups for Start-ups with a stall around listing our products

Those who participated (Thank you for contributing to the discussion) or even those who didn't with other ideas, please feel free to contribute or provide feedback on my twitter handle @rhebbar or in the comments section below. 

My blog has now become all about crowd/idea-sourcing now anyway. :-) My Other recent crowdsourcing posts:
Ideas for a car purchase
Ideas for my website name

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