Benita Chacko
Social Media

Social brand conversations are the new review: Twitter's Kanika Mittal

The country lead, large client solutions, shares insights on how brands are leveraging shopping conversations on the social media platform.

Almost two in three brand conversations impact brand impression, and over half impact consideration of purchase decisions, revealed Twitter's recent #LetsTalkShop report.

In an interview with afaqs!, Kanika Mittal, country lead - large client solutions, Twitter India, says social brand conversations are the new review. As per the report, shoppers take purchase decisions based on these because they find them trustworthy.

"People are reading these reviews because there is a ring of authenticity and credibility to them. It inspires confidence in them to make decisions. They consider four in five brand conversations authentic," she says.

But in the times of bots and fake profiles, how can brands build that trust? Mittal says brands can come across as more humane and authentic by maintaining a consistent tone of voice and a strong brand personality.

"A strong social media strategy makes a huge difference in building trust. For example, beyond its products and services, the brand can also address other subjects. Like, how its celebrating Diwali in a more sustainable fashion or its commitment to a social cause. It can also be fun and playful at times. Like the the use of emojis, or a fun banter with another brand," she says.

Shopping conversations are on a rise on the platform during the festival season, making it a natural choice for people to have these conversations on Twitter and ultimately make their purchase decisions. While some users share their passion points, other consumers learn from these conversations and eventually make their own purchase decisions.

"That is what makes Twitter stand out. Twitter's audiences are extremely influential and leaned in on the platform. They come with a discovery mindset and are highly engaged. So they're looking through responses to either make a decision, or to share their reviews, or to share their passion points. Several of these passion points are related to brands in varied categories," she adds.

The report indicates that 97% shoppers actively seek comments and reviews from others. And these reviews are shared by its users. "So it's a beautiful amalgamation of people sharing their reviews on one side and active seekers on the other," Mittal says.

Brands reaching vernacular users

Indians can tweet in 12 Indic languages - Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi being the most popular amongst them. Today more than 50% tweets in India are not in English. With that brands are now communicating to their audience in their languages. Spaces, which is a live audio offering on Twitter, sees a lot of engagement coming from South India in regional languages, particularly in the music and entertainment space.

"That is a reflection of the strength of vernacular on the platform. There is a lot changing on the platform following the pandemic with greater adoption of digital. The way we are working with the brands is also changing," she says.

Recently, Twitter did an activation inside its 'Blue Room', its premium real estate where it hosts interviews, for Amazon Prime show 'The Rings of Power'. It was shot in two languages- English and Tamil. Similarly, Netflix India has created Twitter handles dedicated to the regional audience

Brand collaborations

While brands across different categories, including automotive, OEMs, OTT/ Entertainment, BFSI, fintech, FMCG, B2B Tech and e-commerce, collaborate with Twitter, Mittal desires to work more with the new-age categories, like D2C brands, FinTech brands and SAAS players, as they grow in the future.

"They already have a formidable presence on the platform. Their social media content is much more savvy, topical, and modern. They are partnering with us. But we would love to scale with them as they grow in the country," she says.

Twitter offers differentiated solutions for all these brands, like Emoji engine, which offers exclusive content to the audience in exchange for an emoji, and 'Branded Reminders.

"There is innovation happening on the delivery side, and on the other side, there is receptivity by a very engaged tech savvy audience. And the marketers love the marriage," she says.

At a time when brands are spoilt for choice of mediums to reach out to their audiences, what makes them choose Twitter? Mittal lists down a few factors that sets Twitter apart from other mediums - its Twitter Trends report, its highly engaged audience and conversations.

"We are constantly watching, observing, and learning from our audience behaviours. So we are able to see behavioural patterns shifting, and our audience's passion points moving. We synthesise this data into the Twitter Trends report. It is valuable and differentiated, because these trends are inspired from tweets and consumer's conversations and not from a commissioned research study. That is a differentiating value proposition for Twitter," she says.

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