Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Social Media in Healthcare

There have always been questions on the implications of social media in healthcare. In a paper titled ‘Transforming Healthcare Through Social Media’ I had discussed why the industry was adopting social networks. You may read the article here-
I also chanced upon a piece that reaffirmed this view on the increasing use of social media applications in the healthcare industry.

For instance, a group of physicians in France have been using Google+ to discuss their cases. They have formed a close circle on G+ and upload cases that they want to discuss for conclusive treatments. It may be the economic conditions in Europe but using the network to clinically discuss a case supported by images and videos is really a very effective method of getting the right clinical expertise. Read a little more about this fresh approach here on

Similarly, physician groups in Spain have been using a Facebook group called Med & Learn to connect with each on certain medical cases. They not only discuss case studies from around the world but also their personal experiences in daily practice. A few Spanish USMLE aspirants have also been using Facebook for such similar purposes. To know more visit

In the dental field too, there has been an increase in the number of cases being discussed online. It’s an excellent method to exchange vital information on newest medical developments and sharing of knowledge. The only glitch here seems to be issues regarding security and patient confidentiality that need to be overcome within the boundaries of national healthcare policies.

 By Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He is passionate about public health, blogging, writing, public speaking and lawn tennis. He can be followed on his twitter handle @drvikram. Visit his blog at Docter Soccer.

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend Watch: KKR Finally Gets It

And the IPL season comes to an end. Strategy, sales, promotion, endorsements, star power- IPL is a stellar example of how it all comes together to create nationwide impact. Year- after-year. Thankfully though, it is over and people can finally move on with their lives.

Last night, IPL saw the maiden victory of Kolkata Knight Riders after a wait of five long years. And the news has been trending on all social networking sites since then.

With 990,298  Likes on Facebook and 108, 760 followers on Twitter, KKR has attracted tweets and posts from all corners, especially after the win.

What’s interesting to note is that despite its shoddy performance in the past, KKR has always managed to score better than other teams, media-wise. There’s always something new to engage the public. Be it poking fun at your own dismal performance or selling phones, KKR has managed to maintain a buzz.

This year too, armed with a new logo, fresh look and better marketing practices, the Kolkata Knight Riders have perhaps emerged as one of the most striking brands within IPL.  As a business, it has been able to add value to their sponsors. And the victory is the proverbial cherry on the cake. 

However despite having a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, a conscious pursued presence on Youtube has been overlooked. Therefore it will be interesting to see how the win is further utilized in their future communication with fans. What avenues are included and what new dimensions are incorporated in their promotional tactics. 

Until then, join the celebrations! Watch the video here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Obama on Twitter: What India Needs to Learn.

On Thursday Prez Obama had an open house of sorts when he invited the American public to post questions to him on Twitter, which he decided to answer in person.  While many expected his office to respond to the queries and comments on behalf of the President, it was Obama himself communicating directly with Tweeples from across the country. 

An interesting move; afterall politics can no longer stay isolated from technology. And while election campaigns do find their presence on social networking sites, it's not often that you find a candidate, let alone the elected head of the state communicate with people personally on their profile. 

Should the Indian PM pick up on this too? Former minister Shashi Tharoor seems to have established a social media savvy persona. Though it has also courted controversies on many counts. But apart from him, one can barely think of another politician who actively communicates with the people in the country. In person. 

One wonders, in an age when customers are able to voice their complaints on a company's Facebook page, shouldn't municipalities and local representatives too take to social media and allow the public to have greater access to them and thereby in the decision making process? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Selling Your Business in 140 Characters. Or Less.

Many of you may have heard of an elevator pitch and must have rehearsed one at some point in your life. But what happens when someone asks about your business on Twitter and you have to define it within 140 characters while selling your service? The elevator pitch doesn't seem so old school after all now, does it? Just needs a little tweaking to suit the medium. 

When describing your business to people it’s best you ensure that the business is easy to understand. The reason for this is obvious – it helps the target audience grasp the benefits your business provides. An effective, short business description is an effective way of ensuring your work is understood by the target audience.

So how does one go about providing that crucial 140 character business description?

The goal here is to develop a description of what you do in as concise terms as possible. It needs be devoid of all acronyms or jargons that may confuse your prospect. This description can be used to answer a customer question or respond to any sentiment. It could be a tagline of a video or you can use it in person at an industry event.

Here are a few examples if your business is B2B:

  • ‘We are wealth protection specialists offering our clients peace of mind with the best insurance products on the market.’
  • ‘A leading B2B insurance service provider.’
  • ‘We make complicated IT systems simple and help small businesses leverage technology to be productive and grow.’
  • ‘A well known technology consulting firm in EMEA region.’
  • ‘We help your business stay uncomplicated. Our consultants specialize in monetizing any effort that is being put into your business.’
  • ‘A business consulting firm that enables business transformation.’

So what is your 140 character business description?  Make sure it tells the prospect what you do and how it helps them. Try it and let us know your experience.

P.S. This is not something you would post to your Twitter as a general update or say the very moment you meet someone. It often follows the question that most people ask after they get to know you: “Hi, so what do you do?”

- By Viral Thaker, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople
A seasoned HR & Marketing professional, Viral was one of the early adopters of social media. With over a decade of industry experience under his belt, his skills span corporate strategy, delivery management, customer relationship management, business development and operations management. Viral is a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast and enjoys adventure sports. Follow Viral on Twitter @vrlthaker 

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Five Apps for the Fashion Conscious

1. Trendlabl & Pose 

Okay, so that would make this a list of six apps in all but both Trendabl and Pose are popular apps with similar functions. Kind of like Instagram for fashionistas! You can take pictures of your favourite fashion items from your iPhone or Android phone and upload them to the app. Add a desired filter, brand name, price and other details and share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. They are free apps and available on the iTunes store. 

2. Vogue Stylist

How cool would it be if you have your own personal stylist advising you on what to wear and what to toss from your wardrobe? And what if that stylist was a Vogue expert? The idea certainly does make jaws drop. But this simple app from Vogue makes every one of your fashion choices easy and memorable. What's more, not only does it help you choose the right outfit, it also recommends clothes according to the day's local weather. Very stylish!

3. Poshmark

 An ebay-like service exclusive for the fashion conscious. If you've got a load of used clothes, shoes and accessories that are in good condition but you'd prefer to do away with, this app is what you need.

4. Stylebook

Organize your wardrobe on your mobile phone. Stylebook- a fun way to prioritize and categorize all your fashion items. It helps you plan an ensemble, shop by colour and much more. Check out the video!

5. iShoes

That's right, an app dedicated to helping you find the right pair. Shop by colour, compare prices, create a wishlist, post to Facebook and much more. iShoes lets you choose from over 50,000 shoes so that you may find the one that fits you like a glove.

Which one do you like the most? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is IT Shy of Social Media?

It’s interesting to find that in an age when social media activity is quite frankly, a necessity, there are certain industries that still haven’t managed to understand the purpose of social media strategizing and management.  Take the IT sectors for instance. Most seem to dilute its understanding to nothing more than promotions similar to Google Ads or other online marketing tools with negligible returns.  Brand building over the internet is something they do not comprehend and are often conservative about the whole approach.

It is a curious behavior considering that for a business provider, social media presence goes a long way in fostering lasting relationships with prospective and existing clients. One can keep a tab on the brand’s online reputation, facilitate quicker ROI and measure the success of various marketing tactics, all online.

From the customer’s point of view too, the presence of a brand on a social media platform ensures that there is a direct relationship between the customer and the company. Grievances can be immediately vented. And hence, quickly resolved.

All of this provides an insight into the consumer’s mindset, expectations and behavior which can be utilized to the benefit of the business.  Building online visibility creates a strong foundation ensuring more followers. The conversation point can easily be nudged into conversion point, and steadily increases brand loyalty.  Having a stable position over social media platforms helps gain recognition as a thought leader and ultimately leads to revenue flow.

But despite this new development in marketing practice, many marketers are still grappling with the digital boom. It’s about time they jump onto the social media bandwagon and do enough homework to distinguish between advertising and social media strategizing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Next Level: How Mobile Tech Can Transform Education

India today is on the cusp of the mobility revolution with close to 900 million mobile connections. Naturally, it seems that technology can play a big role in transforming education on mobile platforms.

With almost 6-7 lakh villages in the country, almost 70% of the population lives in the rural areas. 70% of these villages have a population of 1000 or less. So what we have is a population that is spread out across the hinterland, and with very little educational infrastructure available to them.

Many young Indians drop out of educational institutions due to two reasons:

  •  Lack of proximity to educational infrastructure
  •  Need to contribute to the family income

Both of these challenges can be met through mobile education solutions with self -paced modules enabled through regional languages. This will ensure that most are able to continue with their education.  With good modules enabled on mobile phones, the youth in rural areas will be able to access and get the most out of it.

And this will mark the next revolution in the education sector.

 By Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He is passionate about public health, blogging, writing, public speaking and lawn tennis. He can be followed on his twitter handle @drvikram. Visit his blog at Docter Soccer.

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Watch: Google a Day in Your Classroom

This weekend, in-house discussions on the relationship between education and social media led us to these interesting ideas on the digitization of education, while providing a secure learning atmosphere. Take a look.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Are you a Facebook Addict?

Researchers in Norway have developed a psychological scale to determine whether or not you are a Facebook addict. This first of its kind study has also found a relation between sleep patterns (sleeping or waking late), age (youth tend to be more glued to FB), gender (women are more prone to FB addiction), negative emotions (anxiety, insecurity etc.) and personality types (extroverts, less organized) and addiction to Facebook.  

Known as the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, the test measures addiction on 6 basic criteria wherein the participants must choose one of the following five responses: 1) Very rarely 2) Rarely 3) Sometimes 4) Often 5) Very OftenChoosing 'Often' or 'Very Often' on four out of six indicates addiction. So, are you a Facebook Addict? Take the test and find your result.
  1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
  2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
  4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  6. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
Do you think the test is conclusive and accurate? Should there be more number of criteria on the list? What was your score?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What do Amir Khan and Raghu Ram Have in Common?

Social TV is a term that refers to the trend of engaging with the audience of a tv show either directly or indirectly on a social media platform. Be it through comments, discussions, polls or sharing of content, the conversation generated serves a measure of the shows’ reach and success.

The entertainment industry today uses a well thought multi-pronged approach to promote and pull audiences to their tv sets. Right from celebrity appearances, Facebook pages, Youtube trailers, SMS contests, ratings and what not, various social media induced attractions are effectively used to lure the viewer. Online discussions about the show or movie is tracked, mapped and encouraged. All-in-all it’s a global social tv phenomenon.

In India, shows such as Satyameva Jayate and the yet to be aired season of Indian Idol have managed to actively engage viewers through social tv.  Before the launch of the former, Facebook and Twitter pages were abuzz with various promotion videos including the title song. Ever since the first episode of the program went on air, Twitter hasn’t witnessed a pause in the number of mentions about the show.

Indian Idol too has advertised about auditioning via Youtube. And how can we forget MTV Roadies, an early adopter of the social tv trend. Winner of the Most Social TV Show in the World in the Fifth Annual Mashable Awards, Roadies Battleground bridged the gap between television and online interaction quite effortlessly.

Not only networking sites but there are quite a few smartphone apps available for tv addicts too. GetGlue is a social networking site dedicated to television lovers. It lets you write reviews, like your favourite shows and actors, and do other fun stuff like exchange digital stickers for hardcopy ones.

Clearly, it’s no longer about just watching a tv show- it’s about the viewer being actively involved in the business of entertainment. Having that kind of access to your favourite shows’ Facebook page or being able to voice your thoughts on the show’s website (as Amir Khan urged viewers to do in the last segment of the program) makes the illusion onscreen seem more ‘real’. Instant likeability and credibility is attached with accessibility through social media.

Particularly active in the sports and reality TV entertainment segment, social tv seems to be gaining a strong foothold in the Indian entertainment circuit, and going by the popularity of such shows, perhaps with good reason too.

What do you think about this phenomenon? Is it simply a trend or here to stay and strengthen the relationship between the viewer and the entertainment provider?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LinkedIn & Slideshare: Hit or Miss?

A fortnight ago I’d written about why LinkedIn should proactively acquire Branchout and now here’s news about it acquiring an Indian based presentation content sharing apps company – Slideshare. Now I’m not really certain whether this is a good acquisition or a bad, that’s something only time will tell. And since business dynamics can get pretty volatile and unpredictable, I reserve my biased opinion on the topic too, but when I heard of the news, I couldn’t help being just a little skeptical.

It left me scratching my head wondering why LinkedIn was willing to shell out all that money on an app that is already actively used on their platform and contributes to about 40% percent of the app subscriber base.

It was only after thorough research and retrospection that I managed to get a hold on some very interesting insights to this whole deal. I feel it  very necessary to share it with my fellow B2B marketers:
  • Combined together, LinkedIn and Slideshare, estimated 136 million monthly unique visitors now aligning 9 million content uploads with 161 million members; this incredibly exciting news opens up a whole new world of possibilities for B2B marketers.
  • This acquisition gets to the heart of the impact social media can bring into a business. And shows how the interaction of people and content makes professionals more productive and successful. As social media marketers often say, ‘content is king’.
  • Slideshare’s acquisition of Zipcast in February 2011 made it a good bid for LinkedIn to further enhance their social network with powerful collaborative and interactive features like web conferencing (Note that Web Conferencing is a fast emerging online media and is expected to grow into a US $4 billion industry by 2014 according to a report by Frost & Sullivan).
  • With new powerful collaborative features on LinkedIn like web conference and presentations, I can’t help but wonder if is also working towards video conferencing. This to me is a logical collaborative feature required by LinkedIn. It can add a whole new dimension to professional networking- just think about private online interviews and mini-conferences.
  • Slideshare puts LinkedIn into a Lead Management process. What makes Slideshare a hit amongst Marketers is its ability to allow a user to embed a form for collecting a prospective lead’s data. By acquiring Slideshare LinkedIn now has the ability to manage leads this way which otherwise was a complicated task for any social network to do.
  • It is only natural that LinkedIn covets SlideShare’s influence on the C-level. According to a recent DemandGen Report article, SlideShare gets 40% more traffic from C-level executives than LinkedIn. That kind of organic prestige is hard to buy – but LinkedIn just did.
Overall, I think this supernova acquisition in the social media universe- of a giant star pulling in a smaller power star into its gravitational pull- seems to be a natural fit that only time can tell has been a wise choice or not. But both SlideShare and LinkedIn share a common insight that has driven the growth of remarkable businesses, namely that people want to interact with each other through online content and discover new and professionally useful content by online networking.

Hit or flop, what do you think of this move? Do leave your comments here.

- By Viral Thaker, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople
A seasoned HR & Marketing professional, Viral was one of the early adopters of social media. With over a decade of industry experience under his belt, his skills span corporate strategy, delivery management, customer relationship management, business development and operations management. Viral is a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast and enjoys adventure sports. Follow Viral on Twitter @vrlthaker 

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Weekend Watch: Social Media Loves Satyameva Jayate

This weekend, star power and social cause came together to create a mega wave in the Indian television industry. 

Amir Khan's Satyameva Jayate turned out to be a refreshing break from regular shows and an eye opener too. Most of the country was eagerly waiting to watch the issue based chat show on Sunday morning. And within no time, appreciation poured in from all quarters on social networking sites everywhere. People were busy sharing photographs of the statistics aired on the show and of course the heartfelt song that was the only Bollywood touch at the end of the episode. 

While most celebrities tend to trend on social networking sites for their scandalizing comments and  eye popping pics, Amir Khan seems to have reversed the order in his own way. 

By the end of the day, the show's Facebook page received a whopping 42,000 likes, a number which has now touched more than six lakhs. There were nearly 3800 tweets about the show by the end of Sunday. And the website too reportedly crashed twice due to excess traffic. Not to mention the entire episode has been viewed more than two lakh times on Youtube and is being aggressively shared on Facebook and Twitter. Even before the episode went on air, the title song had been trending on networking sites adding to curiosity about the show.

While the success of the program was expected, a look into the social media stats, reveals just how popular it has turned out to be. What do you have to say about this?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Getting to Know Our Fan of the Week

Greetings fellow followers! And say hello to Anil Jangra our loyal fan of the week with the highest points so far!

Uncomplicated, intelligent and fun-loving, Anil admittedly spends a good part of his day on Facebook.

“I use LinkdIn only to maintain a professional network, since you’re often recommended by people over this site. And since Twitter is great for viral networking, I use it to post interesting topics I come across. But Facebook is what I use to stay in touch with my friends,” says Anil, cleverly categorizing his use of the social media as per his needs.

 A regular non-fussy bloke, Anil is a big fan of the popular Angry Birds app and finds Google Latitude quite useful.  Fun cartoons, pictures, one-liners, our fan quite enjoys his daily dose of chuckle over Facebook.

And what does he think about TheSocialPeople? "TheSocialPeople is a place where you find plenty of amazing little bits of information. The posts are useful and it’s a great place to pick up pointers to fully enjoy the social media sphere," he says. 

Thanks Anil and do stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Founder Speak

Why Customer Service Needs A Social Makeover

The service industry relies heavily on customer service and how customers value that service.

Recently when a friend organizing an event was feeling shortchanged by a hospitality group, she tried to speak to them about their commitment and agree to the earlier terms. After some time though she realized that they weren't interested in keeping their side of the deal. Irate at the the turn of events, she took to Twitter. Within minutes someone from the hospitality group monitoring the tweets responded and by next day her problem was solved.

Actress Ayesha Takia too tweeted about her discontent with Kingfisher airlines, which not only got the founder's attention but had him personally responding and ironing out the issues as well.

Welcome to the world of social makeover, thanks to the proliferation of social media.

Facebook with 800 million accounts has become the third largest nation in the world after China and India. Most brands and brand managers are present on social networks. As the number of users on social media grows, customer feedback both good and bad travels thick and fast. 

A small example: a classmate of mine started an online business and I happened to buy one of his products and recommend it on Facebook. Soon inquiries from my networks came pouring in asking me about my experience with the product and the service. Perhaps, my positive recommendation led others to try the it as well.

The bottom line is that in the over-marketed world that we live in, personal recommendations whether good or bad really do count. Thanks to social media the makeover of customer care is on the way.

 By Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He is passionate about public health, blogging, writing, public speaking and lawn tennis. He can be followed on his twitter handle @drvikram. Visit his blog at Docter Soccer.

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.