How Indian social media platforms are unlocking the potential of micro-entrepreneurs in India
Over the past decade and a half, social media has grown and developed into a significant catalytic force, connecting people and building community. A powerful marketing tool of the 21st century, social media can claim much of the credit for bringing success and fame to individuals and businesses. Social media has created a whole new range of skills and services. Today, a revolution is underway in India as social media creates a level playing field for millions of independent creators and small businesses across the country to find success, giving rise to micro-entrepreneurs. Social platforms give wings to the idea of ”Being Your Own Boss” and provide an opportunity to take ownership of our voices, creativity and talents.
Who are the Indian micro entrepreneurs
Micro-entrepreneurs usually run their businesses or brands with minimal investment and limited resources. Small business owners from big cities, urban and semi-urban cities, freelancers with professional or artistic skills, solopreneurs and content creators who are influencers across various genres are the micro-entrepreneurs. Social media serves as a potent and easy-to-set-up channel for them to reach and connect with potential customers and build a user base. As a business owner, advertiser or content creator, you can market your talents, skills, products and services directly to the public.
Until a few years ago, social media was perceived as an elite tool limited to a small minority of English-speaking Indians. However, this has changed rapidly after 2016 as a rapidly growing internet user base brought a number of Indians online who prefer to consume content and express themselves in one of many Indian languages. This demographic phenomenon created a fertile ground for the establishment and spread of a new category of local platforms that are Indian language first in their approach. With the success of homegrown social media platforms that customize content based on preferred regional languages and topics of interest, the Indian digital social space has become truly inclusive, opening doors of opportunity for all Indians, regardless of their geographic location, socio-economic status, or educational level.
One can make a tangible impact on their business at a regional or local level and even among a unique audience group by either advertising, creating engaging content or partnering with relevant regional influencers on these new homegrown social media platforms.
Blurring the lines between creators and micro-entrepreneurs
It is interesting to note that 70% of the current user base of Indian social media apps comes from tier II and III cities and small towns. And so, regional creators and micro-influencers are witnessing great success in engaging with a large set of relevant audiences, building a follower base, monetizing their content and often also building their own brand in the process.
There are many monetization opportunities for content creators with a dedicated fan base, such as virtual gifts over live streaming, microtransactions such as astrology consultations, online courses, a share in ad sales, brand collaborations, promotional or sponsored content, and live and video trading. Creators can establish themselves as influential brands, and thus establish a sustainable business.
On the other hand, micro-entrepreneurs can build their business as creators on social media. For example, a bridal makeup artist in a tier III city can expand her business in a local region and can generate orders directly without spending money on advertising. They can achieve this by regularly posting content about their work and techniques in interesting ways, engaging their audience with beauty tips, home remedies, etc.
SMEs that thrive on social media
A new wave of small businesses from cities and towns are expanding nationally and globally, using digital and social media to go direct-to-consumer (D2C) as an affordable medium. According to reports, the estimated size of the Indian D2C market could exceed $100 billion by 2025.
Therefore, in today’s day and age, building a social media presence is no longer a vanity for small businesses. Rather, it turns out to be an important differentiator and an ingredient for success. As extensive targeted reach and real-time data analytics are provided by Indian social media platforms, it helps SMEs engage customers quickly and effectively. As more businesses join social media, they are transforming local economies and creating opportunities to scale business models in India and around the world.
Social media is the gateway to success for micro-entrepreneurs
Regular influencers and celebrities no longer have a monopoly on building brand awareness and credibility in India. A growing army of regional and micro-influencers with authentic and dedicated audience bases is rapidly emerging.
Access to a smartphone and internet connection, combined with regional social media platforms with a large user base, empowers everyone in Bharat to find success through their talents and skills. They can build sustainable incomes and businesses from home without spending any money.
The views above are the author’s own.
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