“Social Media and Publishing complement each other very well”, says Kiruba Shankar, a social media expert


Kiruba Shankar is CEO of Business Blogging, which provides Social Media presence for corporates. This apart, he wears many “social” hats, actively engaged with community on a variety of initiatives. His podcast with achievers Kirba.tv gets inside views from people from diverse disciplines. A big believer in wisdom of the crowd, Kiruba has authored five books. He is the official TED ambassador for India along with Ram Sahasranam, who is part of the INK organizing team. He also curates Cerebrate.in, a invite-only residential program that involves brainstorming by achievers from different backgrounds and disciplines in a remote location.Kiruba, as he is widely known, is one of the panelists in PublishingNext’s social media and publishing discussion. He shares with Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, the power of Social Media and its relevance to publishing.

For registrations to PublishingNext, visit the home page of the conference.

YourStory: What is your social media story? Your interest in social media and how it is helping marketing in general.

Kiruba: I'm a big believer in the power of the online medium. Every single day of my 16-year career has been in the online space. I have seen how online has positively impacted both my professional and personal life. Way back in 1999, I started dabbling with my blog (incidentally that was the year the word 'blog' was coined) and immediately fell in love with this medium of expression. I liked how it helps us sculpt our brand image by letting us express our ideas and experiences. Since then, there was no looking back and I have since been an early adopter of any of the new social media tools.

Especially with the growing penetration of broadband and an even greater adoption of smart phones and 3G, an online presence for a corporate is no long a nice-to-have but a must-have requirement. Social Media helps with the most credible and potent type of marketing and that's through word of mouth. It helps humanize a company's communication that that greatly helps in connecting with the target audience.

YourStory: Social media and publishing – do they complement each other?

Kiruba: Oh Yes! Social Media and Publishing definitely complement each other very well. In my opinion, Social Media gives an additional platform to engage with the audience. It lets the audience get a feel of the book as they are taken along on the journey. I'm a big believer in the power of story telling. Social Media provides authors the ability to convey their stories and the main essence of the book through words, pictures, audio and video. There are multitude of channels available online to do just that.

YourStory: Any significant social media initiative you have seen especially by a publisher to drive interest and increase sales.

Kiruba: The best social media initiative that I have learnt and which I actively used in my earlier book is 'open authoring'. For my book, Copy Right and Left, I used Wiki as my authoring platform. I used 'MediaWiki', the same software that powers Wikipedia. As and when I finish a chapter, I publish them online. This lets anyone to add, delete or edit the contents. Then I reach out to my audience via Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and podcast to seek their opinion on the chapters. I have received a lot of feedback, right from small ones like typos & grammatical errors to new ideas for the chapter. People have helped connect me with fantastic subject matter experts and resources that I normally would not have done had I just written the book on my own. I have seen that by better engaging with the audience and seeking active feedback, the book turns out to have much better content and the quality greatly increases. Also, book authoring no longer remains a lonely, boring process. By being open and collaborative, it becomes a lot more engaging and joyful.YourStory: Social media is a two-side engagement. Do you see it helping publishers better their offerings?

Kiruba: Yes, I do. The biggest help that publishers can benefit is by increased out reach ( Internet knows no boundaries) and effective customized marketing.

YourStory: Among the social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, what do you think will help publishers reach their consumer base better.

Kiruba: For effective social media, a combination of tools needs to be used. I would recommend using blogs to write about the progress of the book, MediaWiki for open authoring, BaseCamp or Online Google Docs for collaborative authoring, Flickr for Photos, YouTube for video podcasts and SoundCloud for audio podcasts.

YourStory is the online media partner for PublishingNext. We will bring more updates from the conference on September 16 and 17.

Read Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, a publishing consultant, interview here.