Co-founder Aditya Gupta tells us about Social Samosa, a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about social media in India

According to Aditya Gupta, co-founder of Social Samosa, the idea of a social media expert or guru is a myth. “I’d say the industry came into meaningful existence only 2-3 years ago. From the director of Ogilvy and Mather to a small start-up that barely has funds for marketing, everyone is learning,” he tells us. The primary aim of Social Samosa is to aid this learning by tracking trends, reviewing campaigns, organising events – online and off, conducting case studies and interviewing experts in the field. A new age trade journal of sorts, Social Samosa also has job listings and does agency features, in an attempt to organise and understand the nascent industry.

“Since the industry is very new, there is a lot of competition and people are closed to each other and outsiders,” says Aditya. To this end, they also organise Social Samosa meetups (#SSMeetups) where people from the industry – advertisers, designers, startups or people interested in learning can get together in an informal set-up. “The meeting is simply a place where they can get together; the agenda is to have no agenda but to encourage people to network. But this has worked; people have landed jobs, shifted careers and found internships at these meetups.”

Social Samosa was born when founders Aditya Gupta and Ankita Gaba — both of whom who have experience in the field — realised that there was no place where they could put up their own work, see what their competitors are doing, or get quick access to anything India-related. Ankita previously ran an agency in Mumbai, while Aditya’s company iGenero is still operational in Hyderabad. “Even today, when people talk about campaigns, they refer to what’s done in the west so we thought, ‘why don’t we start something India-specific?’ It was very impromptu but after a few months we started getting noticed and saw a possibility of making it into a full-fledged product,” he explains.

In true 21st century fashion, Aditya has not met the rest of his team of seven which operates out of Mumbai, more than once or twice but with Google Drive, Dropbox and Skype, the last two years have been business as usual. Even as we speak, he has his laptop open, making sure a live ‘Twangout’ (an online event where viewers can ask questions via twitter and have an expert answer it via Google Hangouts) with the head of a big digital marketing team is underway on the website. The event is fittingly titled ‘Samosa Chat’.

Social Samosa’s main focus is on how brands are leveraging social media and also on how individuals can adapt to social media. “We write about what big brands like Flipkart are doing and we also write how a journalist or a start-up, can use social media,” explains Aditya. “We also do in-depth reviews using a few monitoring tools that help us understand the sentiment of the brand online.” With big companies spending large chunks of their marketing budget, and more and more people taking it up professionally, such introspection is imperative.

“I know people who do social media marketing for Rs.3000, those who do it for Rs.30,000 and even some who get paid about Rs.30 lakhs for a campaign,” says Aditya. “But since the industry is so new, lots of people over charge and others undercharge. If you have 2-3 years experience in the field, it is a good time for you. I know people who now earn as much as a graduate of IIM or ISB.”

Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing is much more than just creating events on Facebook or generating a buzz on Twitter. There is a lot of money to be spent, competition to beat and millions of eyeballs to be gained. “Facebook will be our last option unless we are a consumer driven brand. There is so much junk on Facebook that you end up exhausting money in no time, and for nothing. Facebook themselves are figuring out their game,” explains Aditya.

Social Samosa, however doesn’t devolve into the seriousness of a trade journal. The website has recently introduced a section called ‘Chutney’ where they tell you about the love story that began on twitter and what Rajnikanth’s LinkedIn profile would look like and in case you need to ‘mind it’, read the post on how to avoid your boss on social media. The rise of social technology has not only made branding more accessible but also more personal and just as the Indian consumers are a species in themselves, marketing for Indian consumers requires a special skill set. So it is only fitting that we have a dedicated site to look into social marketing in India, and even more fitting that it be named after the country’s favourite tea time snack.

Join in

The Hyderabad edition of the Social Samosa Meetup will be held today from 7 p.m. onwards at Beach House Grill, Madhapur. For details visit www.socialsamosa.com.