Social Media Q&A with Varun Jindal
Meet Varun, our fave ally! He's been helping us build out our Cultural Consulting Service while also being a great sounding board to bounce ideas off of. He has a wealth of experience within Social Media and so we decided to ask him for some useful insights!
P.S did you know he’s one of the co-founders of Bollyshake?!
Looking back, what were some major contributing factors that helped you land your current job or previous roles at companies like PepsiCo and Medium?
Growing the global Bollyshake community really stands out here. To garner a million followers across platforms without spending a single dollar took time, but also a lot of long-term strategy and intentional tactics. Brands like Doritos were in need of a refresh in how it interacted with its fan base. As for my current brand partnerships position, strong client communication skills certainly helped!
If a brand were starting on social media completely from scratch today, what advice would you give them?
You’re not going to love this answer, but it really depends on type of business. Broad strokes, short-form video is instrumental to success, regardless of the platform. It’s just how people consume information today. Not every company needs to be everywhere all the time. Decide where you want to show up, choose a purpose for that channel, then build out your content pillars + calendar.
You’ve said ‘building an audience and building engagement are two very different things,” how can a business transition from just an audience to consistent engagement?
The quality of the person following you is far more important than the number of followers you have. I’d much rather have a thousand brand-loyal (and obsessed) followers than just five or ten thousand that are just occasionally there. Really understand what your customer is looking for and a great way to learn some of these things is to look through your comments section! Even reach out to recent customers to ask what they care about. You’d be surprised how insightful these conversations can be.
In your 10+ years in marketing and advertising, you’ve successfully grown a startup and went on to work at larger organizations. Is there special advice you would give small businesses?
Social media is a means to an end. Likes, comments, shares all have no meaning if it doesn’t drive sales. I’ve been guilty in the past of focusing too much on what I’m posting and when, that sometimes I lose sight of my core mission. There’s so much noise in this day and age, it’s challenging to cut through the noise. Really understand your brand and product, tighten up the narrative, why it’s unique and grow slow and steady. Leverage testimonials from previous customers because that word of mouth goes far and wide (and helps grow a client base and digital footprint).
What does the learning curve look like for businesses who wants to begin with video content?
Don’t overthink the quality of the content because it doesn’t need to be highly produced all the time. It’s more important to be consistent with posting. Smartphones (and maybe a tripod) is all you really need. If there’s a key moment like a product launch you want to drive more awareness about or traffic to your website, then amplify with some paid media dollars. These ads can help you reach more people than sitting and waiting for the algorithm to do its thing.
You’re working with Aam to build out our cultural consulting business service. Why do you think a service like this is needed?
It’s needed for two reasons:
As a consumer? To increase authentic representation.
As a marketer? To drive business growth.
The target demographic Aam Creative specializes in is small, but mighty. Take metrics like buying power, household income, even education, and you’ll see South Asians lead the pack. Brands that reach this audience in the right place, with the right message guided by us, will see explosive business results.
Where do you see cultural consulting / marketing headed in the next 5 years? Why should businesses be aware of this moving forward?
Multicultural marketing is only set to increase. We’ve seen it with the Black and Hispanic community and now with Asians/South Asians. Eyes are constantly on businesses and one small misstep can be detrimental to a brand. By leaning on experts, one can nearly guarantee positive results. I also predict much deeper and richer insights into this audience base; Aam Creative plans to lead the charge here.
What do you wish businesses did more of when it comes to representation within marketing?
I wish businesses went outside their inner circle to seek the right people to guide them through new and uncharted waters. Often a small team with just a handful of people wear too many hats. They’re responsible for social media strategy, posting/scheduling content, monitoring and responding to comments/DMs, influencer outreach, running ads, it’s too much. Each minority group have cultural nuances and brands should take this into consideration before launching a product or campaign.