Start-Up CEOs Handle Their Brands Via Twitter

By Ashna Ambre
Mint, New Delhi.

MUMBAI

Why deal with pesky journalists when you can reach millions of customers and other stakeholders directly?

Indian start-up founders are taking a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s media playbook: they’re increasingly using Twitter to burnish both their personal and company brands, reach millions of young customers and even recruit talent.

And unlike Modi, entrepreneurs such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Sachin Bansal of Flipkart and Deepinder Goyal of Zomato are also taking potshots at rivals on social media, writing about their views on a wide range of topics and selectively displaying aspects of their personalities especially by posting photos.

Twitter, a more public forum than rival Facebook Inc., is seen as an ideal medium for these founders to build their brands given the wide reach of the medium and the fact that unlike with newspapers, they have total control over what they write and want to communicate. For instance, many e-commerce entrepreneurs regularly tweet about how their customers are delighted with their services, which provides a useful counterpoint to the hundreds of customer complaints many of these companies are flooded with in any given week.

“Twitter provides instant, direct access to a larger audience; in case of Facebook, the audience is limited to personal connections. Flow of trends, reviews, responses and personal thoughts is faster on Twitter,” said Manish Bhatt, founder director of Scarecrow Communications Ltd.

“People relate to Flipkart with Sachin Bansal’s face, that’s how Twitter is helping in brand creation for the company. On the contrary constant arguments, hammering may lead to followers judging a company not on its product, but how and what the founder posts in public. The Mughal emperor Jehangir, was known to fit 60 bells in his court so he could directly address the problems of his men. Twitter is that same bell which founders can use to address complaints, concerns, promote the company and create the personal touch,” added Bhatt.

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