In case you didn’t know, social media is still the primary method used by marketers to boost sales and keep people engaged. Marketing has relocated to the online environment completely, and if you haven’t started using the web to promote your brand and product, you should start right away. The competition is fierce, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to stand above the crowd. Yet, it’s not impossible to make yourself noticed, if you know how to do it. According to a report issued by Fast Company, nearly 93% of marketers today use social media channels to promote their startups.

Social media-a powerful marketing tool

It’s no longer a secret that the key to success in business is guaranteed if you know how to use social media. For the average marketer, social media is a channel that opens a lot of possibilities. Platforms like Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have millions of users. More than a half use the online environment to get information and buy things. We want to stay connected, and we use advanced technology every day. This means that the best way to increase brand awareness is to go online.

Craft a marketing plan

The best way to settle on a marketing strategy is to set up a plan first. Make a website, connect it to social media platforms, and start promoting your business. But don’t focus on selling too much. In the beginning, it is smarter to center your attention on building a target audience. Write quality content people can relate to, and stick to organic likes and shares. Don’t opt for paid ads just yet. You need time for your content to be indexed in Google, and the more patient you are the better chances you have to boost engagement.

Targeted customers

Before doing anything else, you need to have a target audience for your business. What’s the purpose of your brand? To whom you’re addressing your products? It is fundamental to be disciplined and craft a plan first. For example, if your business sells anti-wrinkle beauty products, then you need to target your audience at mature women with ages between 25 and 40. Teens won’t have an interest to buy, and to men, your products are useless. Plan very carefully, and stay focused on your brand’s mission and end goals.

If you focus on spending money and time on marketing, but your attempts are not driving sales, then you’ve probably targeted the wrong audience. Narrow down your search and focus on your niche. Write content that directly links to your products and mission, and learn to say NO. Your brand will eventually become popular on the web, and companies will want to pay you to place ads on your site. But if your brand targets anti-wrinkle products for women, ads on men’s products won’t bring any value to your brand. Learn to prioritize!

Assess the competition

Assessing the competition is yet another efficient way you can use to boost sales and increase brand awareness. Sadly, many marketers today don’t even bother looking at the competition, and they wrongfully assume that their strategy is the best. How do you know that? It is frustrating and infuriating to see that people would rather buy from others than you. But why? There must be a reason. Perform a thorough analysis on your main competitor, and check to see what they can offer that you can’t. For example, they might have better prices and package deals. Maybe they offer better discounts, or maybe their products are more visually appealing than yours. Have a look on their website, and find a way to stand out. Offer incentives that they haven’t thought of yet.

The world of marketing has changed a lot in the past 10 years. With the advent of technology and social media, exposure is no longer achieved offline. The online world is the future of marketing. You might be tempted to believe that conventional ads, banners, and even a membership card print are powerful marketing methods. You’re right, they are. But for a seamless experience, you need to blend offline marketing tactics with online approaches to appeal to a wider, more focused target audience.

This is a guest article by Denny Averill

Messaging is so much more fun when you can converse in a language that is natural to you, a language that allows you to express the real you. As more and more non-English speakers get online, Google is focused on making their experience better, easier and more relevant. Towards that, Google is introducing Hindi language capabilities to the Assistant and Smart Reply in Google Allo. Starting today, these new features will begin rolling out on Google Allo on Android and iOS and they will be available to all users over the coming few days.

Google Assistant is your personal assistant and can get you any kind of information you want, can help you accomplish tasks, chat with friends, play games and do lots more-all in one chat window, without you ever leaving the conversation. So whether you want to pull up a YouTube video of your favorite SRK song or simply want to pass time by with your favourite game, Google Assistant is your constant companion. With today’s launch, the Google Assistant in Allo will now understand and respond in Hindi. Chat one-one-one with your Assistant in Allo, or just type @google to bring your Assistant into any group chat. To start using the Assistant in Hindi, just say ‘Talk to me in Hindi’ or adjust the language setting on your device.

Talking about the launch, Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager, Google said

Since it’s launch, Google Allo has received tremendous response, especially in India, which has one of the highest number of Google Allo users. The Google Assistant, in particular, is one of the most loved features in Google Allo-one in every 12 messages in group chats are messages to the Google Assistant. We are enthused by this and today’s launch enables us to extend these features to the next millions of users in a language of their choice.

Another unique Allo feature is ‘Smart Reply’, which make it easier for users to respond quickly, even when on the go. Powered by Machine Learning, Google Allo not just understands text, but can also help with suggested responses to images sent by friends and family-all in Hindi.

Smart Reply will recognize the language you are chatting in and begin to show suggested responses in that language. If you are chatting in English, it will continue to show English responses. But if you start chatting in Hindi, it will show you suggestions in that language. You can also adjust the language through your device settings. So, now you can respond to your friends question kya haal hai with Sab theek Hai with a single tap.

Google Allo is a smart messaging app available on Android and iOS. Launched in September this year, Google Allo allows you to say more and do more right within your chats including making plans, finding information, and expressing yourself more easily.

As the year draws to a close, Google announced Google Play’s most globally popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and books in 2016, as well as the top trending apps, games, movies and books in India.

The Force and Harry Potter were no match for a different kind of superhero as Deadpool and Deadpool Kills the Universe dominated the movie and book charts this year. Game of Thrones kept The Walking Dead away to once again claim the Iron Throne as the most popular TV show of 2016. Twenty One Pilots had no need to feel “Stressed Out” as their single came in as the number one most streamed song of the year, but don’t feel “Sorry” for Justin Bieber who came in at number two. And, of course, Pokemon Go captured the top trending game spot.

Closer home, BeautyPlus Me-Perfect Camera and Voot TV Shows Movies Cartoons were top trending apps, proving India’s love for selfies, pouts and cinema. The theme continued in the top trending Indian games as well with Salman Khan starrer Sultan’s official game Sultan: The Game coming in as the number two trending game after Train Simulator 2016.

Google Play’s Global Best of 2016 Lists

Top Trending Apps of 2016

  1. Face Changer 2
  2. Lumyer – Photo & Selfie Editor
  3. Castbox – Podcast Radio Music
  4. Emoji Keyboard Pro
  5. MSQRD

Top Trending Games of 2016

  1. Pokémon GO
  2. Clash Royale
  3. Traffic Rider
  4. slither.io
  5. Dream League Soccer

Top 5 Streamed Songs of 2016

  1. Stressed Out, Twenty One Pilots
  2. Sorry, Justin Bieber
  3. One Dance (feat. WizKid & Kyla), Drake
  4. Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya), The Chainsmokers
  5. Me, Myself & I, G-Eazy

TOP 5 MOVIES of 2016

  1.     Deadpool
  2.     Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3.     Zootopia
  4.     Captain America: Civil War
  5.     Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Top 5 TV Shows of 2016         

  1.  Game of Thrones
  2.  The Walking Dead
  3.  The Big Bang Theory
  4.  Mr. Robot
  5.  The Flash

Top 5 Books of 2016

  1.  Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn
  2.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  3.  The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins
  4.  The Art of War by Tzu Sun
  5.  Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

Google Play’s India Best of 2016 lists

Top Trending Apps of 2016        

  1.  BeautyPlus Me – Perfect Camera
  2.  Voot TV Shows Movies Cartoons
  3.  Google Duo
  4.  Mr Voonik
  5.  Tap Emoji Keyboard

Top Trending games of 2016        

  1. Train Simulator 2016
  2. Sultan: The Game
  3. Traffic Rider
  4. Talking Tom Gold Run
  5. Grand Gangsters 3D

Top 5 Movies of 2016

  1. The Martian
  2. Sultan
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. The Intern
  5. Deadpool

Top 5 Books of 2016

  1. Cometh the Hour by Jeffery Archer
  2. When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  3. The Trials of Apollo : The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordon
  4. Half Lion by Vinay Sitapati
  5. The Last Mile by David Baldacci

Check out Google Play’s top lists for the most popular content in 2016 below. For complete local lists, visit Google Play.

Yahoo announced the 2016 Year in Review (YIR) for India. The YIR is a look at the year’s top trends, happenings and events, which caught the imagination of Internet users in India. In its ninth year now, this review is based on users’ daily search habits and an editorial selection of what they read, recommended and shared most on Yahoo.

The list of Top Newsmakers, usually ruled by politicians and Bollywood stars, saw the entry of Indian Sportswomen including PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar who won laurels and dominated the headlines during Rio Olympics. Also featuring in the list was wrestler Vinesh Phogat, one of India’s best bets for a medal, who bowed out of the Olympic games at a crucial juncture due to an injury. Other top newsmakers included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arnab Goswami and Indian politicians Arvind Kejriwal, Jayalalithaa and Subramanian Swamy, as well as Rohit Khandelwal the first Indian (and Asian) to win the Mr. World title.

The Unnamed Soldier’ became the ‘Personality of the Year’ for being perennially at the forefront of national consciousness. From thwarting a terrorist infiltration into the Pathankot Air Force Station to facing September’s militant attack in Uri that led to a precise and surgical retaliation from India, or being in the midst of the controversy surrounding the One Rank-One Pension scheme – the soldier was in the news all year long.

Prime minister’s demonetisation initiative, Cyrus Mistry’s dramatic exit from Tata Group and Reliance Jio’s 4G network launch were the most significant Financial Events that shook India. In fact, RJio launch made Mukesh Ambani one of the top Business Newsmakers of 2016 as well.

Sunny Leone reigned supreme as the Most Searched Personality for the fifth consecutive year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Most Searched Politician followed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The US presidential election was widely followed in India, with Donald Trump ranking as the fourth most searched politician in the country.

Salman Khan continued to be the ‘Boss’ landing the top spot for the Most Searched Male Celebrity of 2016, while stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma came in at No.2. A surprise entry in the list was Tanmay Bhat, co-founder of AIB for his controversial snapchat video.

The buzz around Bipasha Basu‘s wedding to Karan Singh Grover ensured her position as the second Most Searched Female Celebrity. Deepika Padukone took the third slot followed by Katrina Kaif at No.4.

Our sportswomen also pipped the cricketers in the Most Searched Sportsperson, with PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar at number one and two spots. The only cricketers that made the Top 10 were Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Indians’ all-consuming obsession with cricket continued with ‘IPL 2016’ becoming the Most Searched Newsy term, followed by Rio Olympics and Freedom 251, the mass market phone that was much talked about for its revolutionary pricing but couldn’t sustain prolonged interest.

Kareena Kapoor Khan’s maternity wardrobe was much in vogue, while Ranveer Singh’s quirky outfits won him several accolades, making the duo the Most Stylish Male and Female Bollywood Actors of 2016. Amongst the Top Box Office Disasters, Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor’s launch movie ‘Mirzya’ was a major letdown for movie enthusiasts. Ashutosh Gowariker’s highly anticipated period drama ‘Mohenjo Daro’ and Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Fan’ were other big movies to fail miserably at the box office.

Click on the Infographic to Zoom

Autonomous vehicles was the Most Significant Technology Innovation of 2016, with several companies announcing their foray into driver-less cars. If people’s searches are a window into the future, areas we may see growth in moving forward include Virtual Personal Assistants, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Fitness Trackers.

See Year in Review: 2016 for the complete lowdown on 2016’s biggest moments for online India.

Yahoo 2016 Year-In-Review
Yahoo 2016 Year-In-Review

About the Yahoo India 2016 Year in Review Methodology

To develop the Yahoo Year in Review, our editors analyze user’s interest patterns on what they searched for, read, recommended and shared. It takes into account a number of factors including absolute volume and growth from previous periods to see which themes and trends bubble to the surface. Individuals and their preferences always remain anonymous.

India’s leading online platform that facilitates SMEs in obtaining working capital loans, Lendingkart Group, has been recognized as one among the world’s top fintech innovators by KPMG and H2 ventures in their prestigious 2016 Fintech 100 Global report. Lendingkart Group’s consistent focus on seamless delivery of quality and hassle-free services in facilitating small business working capital loans, has enabled it to become a part of the celebrated report. It is the only Indian fintech company to be featured thus in the online lending SME space.

The report is distinguished to feature companies that utilize technology to disrupt financial services industry across the world. Currently in its third year, companies from 23 countries worldwide were evaluated and the ones who demonstrated commitment to superior customer experience have been included. Apart from LendingKart Group, some of the other leading fin-tech companies in the world that were featured in this report are Lending Club, Ant Financials (Alibaba Subsidiary), Qudian, Oscar and Lufax.

Harshvardhan Lunia, Co-Founder and CEO, Lendingkart Technologies said

FINTECH100 is one of the most sought after reports in the Fintech space and it is an honor to be a part of the global list. We at Lendingkart Group are committed to eliminate the credit gap that exists in the SME community, and this is an important recognition that reflects on the success we have seen over the last two years. Technology has been the back bone of all we do at Lendingkart Group as we constantly innovate towards a more seamless and automated loan disbursal process. Such accolades keep us motivated to continue the innovation, working our way towards financial inclusion of the MSME space.

Lendingkart Group NBFC provides for working capital needs of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises offering quick and easy collateral-free loans with minimal paperwork. The robust technology platform has helped create a highly operational efficiency model that utilizes over 2200 variables and data points for swift loan disbursement, delivered within 72 hours of complete loan application. Most recently Lendingkart Group was also felicitated with the title of ‘Fastest Growing Company’ by Golden Star Six Sigma Awards.

About Lendingkart Group

Lendingkart Technologies is a fin-tech startup in the working capital space. It has developed technology tools based on big data analytics that facilitates lenders to evaluate borrowers’ credit worthiness. Aadri Infin Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lendingkart Group, is a non-deposit taking NBFC, offering small business loans for SMEs in India. Lendingkart Group aims to make working capital finance available at the fingertips of entrepreneurs, so that they can focus on business instead of worrying about the gaps in their cash-flows. To know more, please visit LendingKart