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Connecting in a culture of expression...

A look at Facebook India's director and head of global marketing solutions, Sandeep Bhushan's session at Star FLOW.

In his session on ‘Connecting in a culture of expression’ at TOI’s Star FLOW event, Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of global marketing solutions, Facebook India, focused on the younger generation and how they communicate on social media platforms.

He started by highlighting a couple of self-explanatory hashtags like #bodypositivity that today’s generation uses to interact and build an audience on the social media platform. “On one hand where there is a lot more connection in watching what’s happening, on the other, there is a lot of ‘this is who I am’,” he shares.

Sandeep Bhushan
Sandeep Bhushan

Bhushan informs that the Facebook family is at the front door of culture – 2.9B Monthly Active Users (MAU) globally.

Speaking of what are people doing online, he lists that they are creating, expressing, and connecting not only with people but with issues as well.

Some of the conversations, he shares that the millennials are having on the platforms are around acting greener, changing the channel, and travel photography. Stating numbers, he says 78 per cent consumers say they use smartphones during commercials on TV and 90 per cent say they are interested in products that save time and effort.

About Instagram stories, he says, “We are framing our lives in moments that dents in together with your last story. There is a very massive move to frame the ordinary, and tools today allow us to frame every moment.”

He also mentions that more than one in three people surveyed globally say they’ve experienced a lot of stress. When you look at Instagram, 63 per cent talk about technology, 62 per cent about fashion, 58 per cent about music and 52 per cent about food and drinks.

“Interesting part is expression on the platform. Culture is absorbed and shared through expression. On the platforms, protagonists are evolving. He has changed from the person you formally meet in person and discuss mostly work or basics. Fuller protagonists are in view.”

He further adds that across the Facebook family, around 1 billion stories are shared every day. You see ‘protagonist’, not heroes; authentic, not curated; slice, not the arc; ephemeral, not epic.

“Storytelling, because the protagonist is talking to you in slices has changed the way consumers express themselves. People say what they feel and they have a set of followers for what they say. And today everybody is a broadcaster, all you need to do is log into your social media platform and go ‘live’. You’ll also have viewers the moment the followers with the same interests get a notification that ‘XYZ is going live’.”

Fundamentally, we have disintermediated what is good conversation, Bhushan believes. What else is interesting is that expression is evolving. With the tools available, expression is far more value-added, rich, and deep.

Shifting gears from the theory to how marketers can participate here, he lists: Be a part of cultural movements with short stories that move hearts, enable emission through visual playfulness, and build your brand and community with organic stories, and encourage people to interact.