Based in NCR, Iffort is a social media marketing consultancy which does more than just managing social media platforms for clients. PR 2.0 is a huge industry in India and they are looking to create a very visible mark in it. Swati Maheshwari catches up with entrepreneur Daksh Sharma, to find out more about the business idea exclusively for YourStory.in.Daksh, what’s Iffort all about?
We provide services like social media marketing services, development of web-portals, micro-site, ORM (Online Reputation Management), development of applications for Facebook, etc.
Recently, we’ve ventured into the mobile space where we’re working on a B2C project for a customer in the financial sector in partnership with a renowned Design & Retail agency. The end-product is shaping up well and we’re keeping our fingers-crossed before the final release.
At what pace do you think is the social media industry growing in India? How well is it keeping up at the global level?
Social media in India is growing at 100% and by next year, we should be touching 45 million users. People are spending anything between 1 to 3 hours/day on social media sites, and prefer it over emails.
At a global level, I think we’re growing at a decent rate although our actual numbers are behind countries like United States. As an example, Facebook usage in India has been growing at almost 12% per month, which is better than United States and all other countries in Asian continent. On the other hand, Facebook penetration is still less than 3% of our total population.
What’s the social media philosophy that Iffort follows?
We believe that social media is all about building relationships which are strong, that go a long away and establish trust. A slightly deeper thought tells you that both of these factors apply to individuals as well as brands on Social Media. Today everyone wants to work with people & brands they know directly, understand their thought process & can rely upon in the long-run. That is where social media serves as a catalyst in enabling these connections!
It’s also about how much you can ‘practice’ and ‘preach’. As practitioners in the social media industry, we’ve to constantly keep ourselves updated with the latest trends in this space, educate ourselves and then analyze what works best for specific clients.
What is your client profile like?
We’ve worked with brands from different sectors and of different sizes, from being as small as one-man startups to typical mid and large size organizations.
In terms of verticals, we’ve handled and are continuing to work with customers from e-commerce industry, group buying, educational institutions, hospitality & services industries, IT services & security companies, adventure sports segment and many more.
Recently, Iffort developed a campaign for xBhp, India’s leading biking forum and magazine. The campaign included developing a full-fledged contest portal (http://bikeroftheyear.in/) coupled with social channels like Facebook, Twitter & vbulletin for bikers to submit their applications for India’s biggest biking contest.
Daksh, tell us about your background.
My friend & business partner, Sunny Jindal, holds a Masters degree in Business from Northampton University, UK. He has single-handedly built complex applications from scratch such as a desktop-based RSS feed reader which he had developed about 5-6 years ago, which, during those days, was the first one in the industry. Sunny is a technology guy at heart and a pure business guy by mind.
I hold an engineering degree in Computers and a Masters in Advanced IT & Management from International Institute of Technology, Pune. I have worked as a marketing & social media consultant for Myheritage.com. My informal tryst with social media started in 2004 when I first created a blog to keep in touch with our college buddies. From then on the interest has just has picked up and graduated into a profession.
How big is the team at Iffort? Are you looking at hiring?
We are a young team and we have about 8 members. We are planning to hire few more team members and in full capacity, we should reach a team size of 12. Other than that, we have a team of consultants who assist us from time-to-time with our needs in design and hiring.
How did you source the seed capital for Iffort?
Through the cash we saved in our previous jobs. We are running a boot-strapped venture. At the moment, we are in a conversation with a company who wants to pump in the funds which would help us scale our operations.
What is Iffort’s USP?
Our uniqueness lies in the cross-disciplinary experience that we have and how we blend these together. We combine the services of a pure-play social media agency and a skilled IT vendor in one-funnel.
For customers who are working with us, they don’t need multiple touch-points or vendors when it comes to working on different projects be it Social Media or IT. This provides them a tremendous advantage in terms of time, cost & effort.
The other thing you’d observe at our workplace is with our culture, which is 100% entrepreneurial and has a flat organization structure.
Share with us your expansion plans.
The month of August has some very exciting things in store for us. We’re working on tighter alignment of our services in the IT & SM domains. We’re also exploring some capital investment offers which we’ve received from a large-scale agency. That would imply an impact on our current team-size as well as the operating infrastructure. So certainly, the second half of the year looks quite bright.