Since December 2011, Social Samosa has been helping people understand the complicated yet wonderful world of Social Media. Led by two experienced social media professionals – Ankita Gaba & Aditya Gupta – Social Samosa is the go to destination when it comes to anything about the social media world. This is about Social Samosa, the blog, the team, the initiatives and its journey to being one of the best blogs in the country. Here’s an incredible interview with the team at Social Samosa, the winner of the Best Blog Award in the News & Media Category at the BlogAdda Blog Awards 2014.
Q: Whose brainchild was Social Samosa?
A: Social Samosa was the brainchild of Ankita Gaba and myself. We both have worked extensively in the social media industry prior to starting Social Samosa and realized that there was no place for us to find social media insights that are specific to India. Also, there was no portal to show case our work. This drove us to create a portal that caters to the entire Indian social media ecosystem.
Q: We would love to know how did you all as a team come up with the name ‘Social Samosa’ for your blog?
A: The name ‘Social Samosa’ was shared with us by one of our friends. And being the food lovers we all are, we lapped it up at once!
Q: What is the best thing about social media according to you?
A: The most unique thing about social media is the freedom it has given to people to air their views. Gone are the days when complaints and grouses were pushed under the carpet. Be it brands or governments, no one today can ignore the complaints that people have about them. It’s all out there, in the open! Social media has empowered people today. It has truly made us more democratic.
Q: Do you agree that digital & social media is soon going to take over mainstream media? Why do you think so?
A: I believe that the mainstream media will become social. In fact, it’s already happening! Instead of both the mediums competing against each other, we will see their convergence. We are already seeing TVs become smarter and newspapers like Times of India making use of mobile apps and augmented reality. Likewise, social media will continue to influence the mainstream medium in the coming days.
Q: Out of all the endeavours by Social Samosa, which according to you has been the most successful and why?
A: The recently launched Election Tracker has been our most successful endeavors till date. Built with a lot of effort, the tracker keeps track of all the social media activities of major political parties and politicians. It also tracks how people respond to those parties and their sentiments as well.
The reason for its immense success lies in the fact that it is comprehensive and yet simple for everyone to understand. Right from a journalist to the social media team of a political party, anyone can look at it and derive insights. It has also resulted in a lot of media coverage for us.
Q: You review the social media campaigns by brands. Could you tell us more about this initiative by you?
A: A lot of brands are using social media to engage with users and provide them with an experience that brings them closer to the brand. Creating good content is a smart way to connect with people. However, organizing interesting contests also adds lot more value. Campaigns generate a lot of buzz and help the brand attract a lot of potential customers.
Our objective of reviewing these campaigns is to help make the industry aware about the current industry trends w.r.t campaigns as well as help them conceptualize and execute interesting campaigns for themselves. With an aim of fostering creativity in the industry, we aim to highlight the best campaigns and negate the ones that are not much of a value add.
Q: Since 2011, Social Samosa has grown tremendously. What are the main factors behind this excellent growth trend according to you?
A: The main factor has been the team & the readers. Most of our team members are people who have worked extensively within the industry and have a good idea about its dynamics. This has led us to create content that resonates better with our audience, as well as develop properties that are resourceful to the entire ecosystem.
Also, we have received unending support from our well-wishers all the time. We have had support from people within the industry right from our inception and they have supported us and cheered for us at every milestone.
Q: How important do you think is “Content”? Do you believe that Content is the new Creative?
A: Content is everything. It is the king. The queen. The jack. And the ace. Content is what connects people with you. Content communicates your beliefs, your ideas and your personality. In the last few years, people have become hungry for information, which is fed to them with the help of content in various forms: text, images & videos.
I don’t think Content is the new Creative. In fact, creative is the new content. As the co-founder of a design agency also, I have always seen creatives as an integral part of communication since it conveys a lot of information about the brand at a very sub-conscious level. For long have people ignored creatives and viewed it as an add-on, but we are moving towards a world where images take the centre stage; thus making creatives as crucial as content.
Q: If you are given the choice, what are the 3 things you would want to change in the social media sphere and what are the 3 things you would want to keep constant?
A: Things I would want to change:
- We are seeing that a lot of social media initiatives are driven by the metrics of reach and impressions. We need to change this regressive mindset since it takes us away from the real business results – which is money earned! The numbers of impressions and reach are good to look at but seldom do they add significant value to your finance sheet.
- I would love to see brand managers become more digital savvy. Many of the current CMOs and brand heads are not that digital savvy when it comes to marketing their brands. I wish this change happens really soon.
- Another facet I would want to change for our industry would be the lack of talent. Currently, the industry is finding it difficult to come across good talent who understand the medium. Because the industry is growing at a very rapid pace and we need to find good talent to complement this velocity. This scenario needs to change very quickly.
Can’t think of three things. But following are two things I would want to keep constant:
- It would be really great if we can maintain the freedom of speech we have on social media. We need to keep it free and fair for everyone to share their thoughts and not get arrested for it – unless they are really spiteful.
- I would also like if the ad rates remain the same or lesser on Facebook. We need more SMBs to leverage Facebook’s reach that would only happen if the ad rates were low.
Q: Out of all the social media sites, which is the best one according to you & why has it made it to the top of your list?
A: For me, the best social media platform is Twitter. Owing to its mobile-first outlook and with a dynamic user base it is the best social media platform for anyone who would like to come across like-minded interesting people.
Q: As Social Samosa, what is the best compliment that you have received from one of the readers?
A: Not one, but many of our readers have thanked us for helping them land up a social media job. Through our jobs portal we have connected loads of users with employers and have received very generous words from both of them.
Helping someone with their career is the best thing we could have done.
Q: What are the three perks & three shortcomings of having a multi author blog?
A: Three Perks
- Since we get content from a lot of people, our blog is now the melting pot of a huge variety of opinions and viewpoints, which helps our readers since they are exposed to multiple aspects of the industry.
- Hiring full-time writers is a tough job. As a startup, we can’t have an army of writers writing for our blog. So, we work with a lot of freelancers who assist us in adding insightful content to our blog.
- We also get a lot guest content from people within the industry, which doesn’t cost us much. So, it helps our wallet
There aren’t many challenges except the fact that we have to coordinate with a multitude of authors. Managing their invoices and maintaining a content schedule is a challenge but that is something our operations team loves.
Q: Do you agree that blogging is an important medium that needs to be tapped by leading brands?
A: Yes, of course! Look at Cleartrip, Zomato and Myntra. They have used their blog effectively and managed to generate a lot of buzz. Brands should use blogs to communicate about their ideas, their innovations and bring themselves closer to their audience.
Also, a blog is the brand’s own property – unlike a Facebook or Twitter profile which are controlled by a 3rd party.
Q: You won the Best Blog Award for the News & Media Category by BlogAdda at WIN. How did you and your loved ones react to this?
A: It was awesome to see our efforts getting recognized by an authority in the blogging industry. We have put in a lot of efforts to build Social Samosa and to see people and the jury vote it as the best blog in the news & media category gave us immense pleasure. It was also nice to have close friends and family members join in our celebrations.
Q: What is the future of blogging in India according to you?
A: I think blogging will become prominent. Many individuals will adopt blogging to convey their thoughts and we will see most of them take up certain niches to blog about. Also, I think microblogging will become prominent. We will see blogposts become shorter in length and concise.
Thank You Aditya for an amazing interview!
For all those who missed #WIN14, you can relive it through the photos!
Bloggers, we hope you enjoyed reading this Interview with The Social Samosa Team!
We look forward to your feedback about this interview.