Of all the businesses in the world which you’d expect to find on a top social media success list, Rajputana Customs might well be one of the least likely. A small motorcycle customization group of wrench-twisters based in Jaipur, India and run by Vijay Singh, a 26 year old bike nut who spent four years pursuing the mastery of Mass Communications in Canada, Rajputana boasts an ardent and thoroughly engaged following of over 65,000 Facebookers. The company has swiftly established itself as one of the most innovative and skillful customizers of motorcycles in India and its chopper, bobber, and café racer creations leave mouths agape from Peshawar to Chittagong and beyond. Singh leveraged social media to achieve his success, and his perspective on online community building is illuminating.
Royal Enfields are seen as museum pieces outside of the subcontinent
Motorcycle enthusiasts on the subcontinent have a general perspective on what constitutes the ultimate drool-inducing ride which would strike most other bikers around the world as quirky to say the least. The average American rider is going to be broadly split between cruisers where the big Harley Davidson and metric retro bikes take the lead, and sporting riders where the adrenalin rush is set to overdrive by super-hyper-rocketship bikes such as the 162 horsepower Suzuki Hayabusa which was clocked by Cycle World magazine as doing the quarter mile in an eyeball-flattening 9.86 seconds and reaching a top speed of 194 mph. However, the residents of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are not so enamored of these mainstream motorcycling masterpieces, preferring to gaze upon the classic lines of Royal Enfield single-cylinder models with an overall style that harkens back to the prewar era. While most American riders would look at a Royal Enfield as a quaint but essentially unexciting museum piece, the subcontinent’s bikers see it as the Holy Grail of motorcycling, a bike which is worthy of loving attention and doting customization.
Applying artistry to his custom bikes and his social media presence
Royal Enfields form the bulk of Rajputana Customs’ platforms and it is a testament to Singh’s shrewd ability to tap into the almost genetically coded desire within his audience to adore a motorcycle which to the uninitiated observer is an unchanged carryover from the days when Gandhi was marching to the sea to make salt in order to defy the British monopolistic tax regulations. Singh applies the same level of artistry to creating a social media juggernaut as he does to hewing stylistic wonders from steel and chrome by focusing his online efforts to these key commitments:
- Be fully responsive & interactive. Singh is living proof that an unyielding dedication to responsiveness is critical to achieving social media success. His social network activity is a textbook sample of how to provide information and respond to queries swiftly and comprehensively.
- Be a real person. Singh does not reply from a faceless corporate persona but directly and personally. His followers know that whenever they have a question about the jockey shifter linkage on his Gangster model, the decibel rating on the straight pipes on his 8 Ball custom or just about anything else, they can count on a direct reply right from him.
- Catalyze a community. Singh warns against looking at a social media brand presence as a numbers game. It really doesn’t matter how high your Facebook odometer registers if you are not fully engaging your followers and making them feel like they are a part of a very special community. He draws pride from his experience in creating a group of like-minded enthusiasts and has managed to do without any of the traditional strategies such as large ad spends or the launch of extensive contests.
His mature and savvy approach to social media has certainly paid considerable dividends for Rajputana Customs as they now find that half of all of their business comes from Facebook alone and it has allowed Singh to reach a thriving audience well beyond the frontiers of the subcontinent. His online enquiries now come from all over the world proving that there are no limits to social media success if it’s done right.
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