Digital Marketing Expert Shruti Thakker On Upping Your Digital Game In 2021

Shruti Thakker

As some of you already know, I use this blog to showcase the wonderful people I meet along the way in my journey as a writer, blogger, and podcaster and find that it works as the perfect alibi in getting trade secrets from some of the finest minds of our country. 🙂 One such person is Shruti Thakker, an entrepreneur and digital marketing expert who dabbles in emceeing and is also a bona fide influencer. I’m fascinated by her multi-faceted career choices and her passion for digital marketing. Today, she dishes on her journey so far and the tips and tricks that’ll help us up our digital game in 2021! Read on….

How did you get into social media/digital marketing?

After years of working round the clock in Media, I had taken a break to assess my next step when my friend, Chef Karishma Sakhrani, told me about an opportunity and while I was unsure, I decided to take the leap of faith.

I still remember it was 3rd May 2016 when I had a meeting with a brand and at the end of that 2 hour long meeting I had officially started thedesignclub.in

A move that was not planned, anticipated…it just came together. Within 6 months with 3 clients to 4 years later working with 50 clients – the company has come a long way. There is nothing like building credibility and trust of your own name. Build yourself into a brand!

Wow! Right off the bat, tell me – How much time do you spend on social media?

I typically spend anywhere between 5-6hrs of my time on social media for keeping a check on trends, respond and engage with the community, creating content, planning design, and lapping up a copious amount of content. I believe the more you expose yourself to content, the more ideas and understanding you have of the platform. 

Shruti Thakker


What’s the most fulfilling part of the job for you?
As a social media expert – seeing an idea become a real tangible post. The monetary reward for all effort is increased leads and sales. It’s absolutely thrilling when an idea is appreciated by the client and audience. 

Shruti Thakker

Give us an insider secret you tell your clients when they want to grow their digital presence?

1. People expect an instant change when they start their social media journey. It is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes hours of research, strategizing, planning, ideating, and executing. Social media is about making a lot of effort look effortless. 

2. Always know the reason you are putting in the effort. If you can answer why you’ll keep going in the right direction. 

3. Social media is still a conversation. Just with more people at once. So ensure you share content like you are having a conversation.

Shruti Thakker

Do you think the pandemic has changed the way we use social media?

Social media is an incredibly rich, intricate network of people tied together in unpredictable ways. It played a key role in connecting brands and their customers during the pandemic.

Brands that are new on social could reach out to their local community.  Now, they also have access to know the global community. Prior to a pandemic, businesses had to travel to live events to find a targeted group of prospects and some of them were really expensive for SMEs & startups but now it has become a level playing field. It has forced people to come online and businesses are selling globally.

Now people and brands don’t need a reason to be online. It’s necessary to build a larger network in different geographies for continued leverage. 


3 Apps worth downloading for someone who is looking to grow their presence on social media?


– Snapseed/Lightroom to edit the pictures

 – Inshots to edit videos

– Instories for animated posts and stories. 

Shruti Thakker

Which social media platforms should we focus on?
B2C brands, individuals looking to build their personal brand directly to consumers eg Dieticians, Trainers, etc – Instagram and Youtube

B2B brands, individuals looking to build their personal brand to corporates – LinkedIn


One new thing you learnt about the digital space in 2020?
Ensure you experiment. Be creative and the content will attract the right audience. 


And now for the pièce de résistance! What can a person or a brand do to up their digital game in 2021?
1. Have a plan for yourself/brand and your content. 

2. Ensure you have continued additional exposure – eg Instagram Lives or collaborations

3. Stay true to your content but don’t forget to experiment. 

4. Don’t chase numbers. 

5. Quality over Quantity but you have to stay consistent. 

Thank you so much for all your insights Shruti, I’m sure the Real Girl community appreciates it. I hope Design Club only grows and prospers and we see you do a lot more of what makes your heart happy! 🙂


Shruti Thakker is a marketing and sales consultant and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in Advertising, Marketing, and Sales with brands like Conde Nast (Vogue India), Times Internet Limited (Times of India Company), apart from being an influencer who has worked with brands like Singapore Tourism Board, FoodHall, Mary Cohr, Autocar, L’Oréal Professional. She is the Founder of Design Club, a marketing consulting company that specializes in designing digital marketing strategies for companies which include – social media marketing, influencer marketing, collaborations and strategic advertising to build awareness, reach, engagement leads and revenue for the companies. You can follow her on Instagram @shrutithakker.

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Goodbye, my beautiful Memi

Memi

Kamla Mirchandani, ‘Memi’ to me, was my sartorial compass, my ray of sunshine, and a grandmother like no other. Although not technically related, she very much played the role of a proud matriarch in my life. Our relationship spans decades (my whole lifetime) and began in Three Star Society, Bandra where we were neighbours. Memi lived on the ground floor and was thick friends with my paternal grandmother, Devi Notani. I have heard countless stories about how they’d sit and chitchat every single evening in the building, a ritual sacrosanct to them, exchanging stories about life and their day. My grandma (Badi Mummy) passed away when I was only 2 years old but thanks to Memi and the fond retelling of stories, I feel that I knew her well. The Mirchandanis (Dada, Memi, Bina, and Sunita) have always been family to us and the other way round. Before you ask me about these interesting names…Dada and Memi, let me concede that I had little to do with it and I just called them whatever my sister Sonia chose to christen them as.

Memi

In 2005, we all left Three Star Society, but our relationship with their family only continued and grew stronger. Sure, we couldn’t perpetually be in each other’s homes but we definitely did try, LOL. Back when my sister and I were in school (pre cell phone times), our friends knew that if we weren’t at home, we would be at Dada’s house, and they could call us there. We travelled with them, we ate with them, and we grew up with them.

Memi

My paternal grandparents passed away when I was little. My maternal grandparents lived in Delhi and I saw them rarely but I can still attest that I know what a grandparent’s love is thanks to the eternal love and care I have always received from Dada and Memi.

Memi

Memi and I, I’d like to think, had a special bond. “Munjho Jhinjhino” she’d call me, translated from Sindhi to ‘my rattle’. Apparently, my laugh reminded her of a baby’s rattle! (Soothing, I hope?!) We’d crack jokes and laugh and talk nineteen to the dozen every time we met. She was the only person in the whole world who was allowed to comment on my appearance. “Vaaran khe cha kayo tai?” What have you done to your hair? She’d routinely say! (She did NOT like the red hair. Oops!). As recently as this lockdown, when I chopped off 14 inches of my tresses and donated them to an organization that creates wigs for Cancer patients, Memi was the only person I was petrified to show. But when I did and told her the reasoning, she immediately said “Hep ti lagin”, you’re looking ‘Hep!’ Trust her to show her support where it matters! Funnily ‘hep’ was her favourite word and it’s exactly what she was – hep! Avant garde. Always keeping with the times, if not slightly ahead. I’ve known old people to only reminisce and talk about the good old days…but not Memi. She wanted the latest goss! She wanted to have her gin and tonic, she wanted to play cards with her girl gang, and she wanted to know which styles were the latest. She was unabashed with her opinions but she was also kind, caring, articulate, compassionate, and very affectionate. She always had a twinkle in her eye and a smile just twitching to form at the corners of her mouth.

Memi

I have learnt countless lessons from Memi and it will take me my whole lifetime to process them. But the biggest thing I’ll take away from her is that happiness is a choice and I saw her choose it right up to the very end. Even if ever in pain, she would merely mention it and simply move on to the usual jokes and banter. She had absolute faith in the Almighty and would pray every single day with childlike enthusiasm. She is someone who made me think about Death as yet another journey. She spoke of it and she welcomed it. Never afraid of it, she’d discuss it often. A good fifteen years ago, she’d started warning me, to not have so much ‘moh’ (attachment) with her as she doesn’t know how many years she has left on this earth. I found this absurd but she didn’t care! Last year when she fell sick, she announced she wasn’t ready to die because the house help was on leave! Oh Memi! How not to have ‘moh’ when you are so cute?!

Memi

She died peacefully at home on Sunday. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that she meticulously planned this last detail. She’d often talk about not wanting to disrupt anyone’s day. God, I’m going to miss Memi! The only thing giving me solace is that she’s happy in heaven. She and my Badi Mummy are reunited on the porch. They have 30 years of stories to catch up on! As for me, well I made sure to dress well for my darling Memi’s prayer ceremony. Her voice rung clearly in my head ‘Hee chaa paato tai’, ‘What is this you’ve worn?’ so I found my prettiest white suit to mourn celebrate her. 91 years of her beautiful life and countless memories of every life it touched.

She’s a part of my heart forever and the naughtiest angel in heaven – of that I’m certain!

Memi

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Author Prachi Gangwani Dishes On The Writer Life And ‘Keeping Zen’

Prachi Gangwani, Editor at Juggernaut and Fiction Writer has been killing it all through lockdown with some awesome new initiatives on her own platform ‘Keeping Zen‘ (a wellness-focused website) and also by writing lockdown themed short stories which are published on Amazon. Since we are always having off the record conversations about writing, wellness, and all things in between, I asked her to answer a few questions for my blog. She, just as I suspected, kindly obliged. 🙂

How has this lockdown been for the writer in you?

It has been liberating, to say the least. I have discovered Kindle Publishing, and with the abundance of time that the lockdown has lent, I’ve been able to publish a bunch of short stories. I have been able to write more – both short stories as well as for my blog. And I have also started working on a couple of new projects I won’t divulge too much about. In short, the lockdown has shown me that a writer is ultimately the proprietor of their work and not a typist who produces volumes of work that must necessarily wait for someone else to finish shaping. 

Tell us about your latest conquests!

Like I mentioned, I have been writing short stories for a series I call ‘Lockdown Love Stories’. But, these are so much more than lockdown love stories. The lockdown, in fact, is just the setting, and each story has a female protagonist who comes of age in some way or another. I’ve tried to showcase different types of women – so, I have a young, single woman who gets into a complicated situation with her landlady’s son; a divorced woman whose ex-husband moves back in for the sake of their daughter; a wife who is befuddled by her husband’s aloofness during the lockdown; and a middle-aged woman who is made to choose between her husband and her lover when she doesn’t love either. The fifth story, which will be out soon, features a sex worker who takes her work online. Each story ends with a surprise. 

That sounds amazing, Prachi! I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to ask you for some writing tips for us writers.

Write! That’s the most underrated, trite and yet, most important advice for any writer. Being a writer means to write. Not to get published. Not to be famous. Not to make money – at least not initially. All these things are important, but they follow only once you write. Don’t pitch ideas, and don’t sit on them either. Flesh your work out and then find a place where it belongs. 

Amen to that! What about wellness tips for writers? I’m finding it increasingly important to focus on that aspect of life…

Exercise. Be active. Set aside an hour of your day to move around. If you want to make a career out of sitting hunched over your laptop for long hours at end, every day, for years and years, then you must keep your body healthy and in top shape. 

Aye Aye, Point Noted!  Now a quintessential writer interview question, okay? Your 5 Favourite books

It’s so hard to pick my top 5 favourite books, and my answer changes every year. But, off the top of my head, here are five books that I have loved: 

Adele by Leila Slimani 

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan 

Essays In Love by Alain de Botton 

The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

The Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

Tell us about Writer’s Zen and your vision for it

Writer’s Zen is the monthly digital magazine by Keeping Zen – a wellness-focused website I started a year or so ago. WZ is a lifestyle magazine for writers. I’ve only published one issue yet, and the second one will be out soon, but here’s what I plan for it: Each issue will be theme-based, with inputs / interviews / excerpt from seasoned writers and pieces written by budding authors; wellness tips for writers; writing prompts and exercise and a whole lot more! 

That sounds so cool! I look forward to all the awesome, new content. Thank you for answering my questions and much love to you for all your new projects.

You can find Prachi’s books here: https://www.amazon.in/Prachi-Gangwani/e/B088W65TGW

Prachi Gangwani is a trained psychologist turned full-time relationships writer, based in New Delhi, India. She worked with young couples and adolescents as a counsellor for two years. In 2015, after a few successful freelance projects, she started her first writing job at Scoopwhoop Media. From there, she moved to iDiva, a Times Internet Ltd Property, as a Lifestyle Writer, and went on to become the Relationships Editor. Other than these two publications, her writing has appeared in DailyO, The Swaddle and Hauterfly. She has previously written a romance fiction titled Crazy Little Thing Called Love, published by Juggernaut Books. In June, 2019, she joined Juggernaut Books as Editor, Writing Platform. And finally, she is the mama mind to Keeping Zen. 

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Do Fad Diets Work? Nutrition Psychologist Ridhi Golechha Weighs In!

Hi, I’m Smriti, welcome to my blog. If you know me, you’ll know that I am a body-positive writer who waxes (somewhat) eloquent on this blog and on my podcast about the perils of an unhealthy narrative we are routinely fed when it comes to our own wellness. I reject the idea that all bodies should aspire to look the same and I’m super skeptical about all diets/nutrition fads. When I (virtually) met Ridhi and realized she’s done some stellar work in the field of psychology and nutrition, I roped her in for an insightful chat on my Instagram Live which you’ll find below. I then asked her to extend her expertise to my blog, and she did so with her signature honesty and myth-busting superpowers. Read:

” For more than 15 years, I was obsessed with getting thinner- that perfect body- jumping from one diet to another,  experimenting with every nutrition fad – to find that one magic pill that would change my life forever. Unfortunately, I kept failing. To find my answers, as a psychologist, I specialized my research into why 90% of us are unable to break this eat-repent-repeat cycle and never reach our goals. 
You open Instagram and there are at least 5 different health & wellness posts- advising you to eat this & not eat that. Then a WhatsApp forward your parents send you. Then another chat with friends where they’ve tried the latest keto diet and lost 8 kgs. So you think that’s the solution to all your weight problems. You try, it works for a while, then either you get bored of the limited food or your body just doesn’t respond & the weight stays the same. 


Amid all the nutritional confusion, there you are – trying to juggle, solve this puzzle running around collecting all the scattered pieces- but no matter what you do- nothing seems enough.
The internet has created an informational overdose. 
That means, despite climbing 5 floors, there are still 5 more you can see. When you climb those- another 5 appear out of nowhere- and this continues & continues- like a never-ending staircase. 
The $8 billion nutrition industry is pumping new products, latest fads & creating a nutritional whirlpool, where you & I are sure to be engulfed. There is no shortage of information. The further you consume, the larger your need becomes. Think of all the articles, all the random bits of advice, all the videos claiming this ingredient is better than the other, all the voices screaming out to you- basically saying: What you’re currently doing is good, but not good enough. You can be better! 


And why not? That’s the insecurity that this nutrition & fitness industry is tapping into. Because all of us desire better health! And that’s when we become addicted message-consumers. With a never-ending black hole. 
What can we do though? We are born with a tiny little voice. That same voice that tells an infant to cry for food when hungry & stop eating when full. And as we grow up, life happens, We consume less food & more information. We have now converted from being hunter-gatherers to data-gatherers. And that tiny little voice that we were born with, softens with all the noisy nutritional advice and guidelines around us. 
That voice is what we need to start re-accessing. Its the voice of our ‘body wisdom’. It’s always guiding us, giving us signals through our body, hunger, fullness, health, disease, moods & immunity.
Once you access more and more of your body wisdom, the noise of confusion around fads, diets & fitness trends around you automatically gets duller. You start becoming your own nutritional expert. 
And that’s when you can start making choices to live a healthy, sustainable life that you love and look forward to every day, without worrying about whether what you are doing is right or wrong or not enough. That’s when you start building a healthier relationship with your body. And food choices become easier- rather than a place of constant work, calculating, analysis, calorie-cutting, and confusion. 

Although it may take a detailed consultation to give you nutrition answers tailor-made to your needs, I’m going to leave you with 3 simple tips to embark on a journey of better health and weight management that you can apply to your lives right away:

1. Learn to honour your hunger

2. Identify your toxic beliefs around health

3.  Respect your body “

Ridhi Golechha is a psychologist specialized in Body Image and gentle nutrition. She can help you with struggles around weight, emotional eating, and stresses around work/life/ relationships/ food to help you create the sustainable, easy, healthy, and doable lifestyle that you’ve always wanted to live. Reach her at hello@ridhigolechha.com for your 1st free discovery call today and follow her helpful Instagram page @ridhigolechha

Instagram Live With Ridhi Talking About Real Bodies, Lockdown Binges and Wellness On The Whole:

Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Also read: The Real Girl Story

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Designer Neha Changwani Shares Easy Tips To Uplift Your Home

Hello my loves,

Hope you all are safe, well, and indoors. Speaking of indoors, with all this time we’ve been spending at home, I couldn’t help but wonder if ‘home’ is a space we’ve focused on enough. In the busy lives we (usually) lead, have we bothered making it a place that truly reflects our personal aesthetic? I got in touch with my interior designer friend Neha Changwani of INC Design Studio to shed some proverbial light on how we can tweak our homes to make them more beautiful and liveable. A self-confessed Marie Kondo fan, she emphasized BIG TIME on decluttering – something we can incidentally start doing right away, while in lockdown.

She adds “What I’ve learned with working on so many sites is, the shell of your house is made by us designers in one go, but it’s a gradual process to accentuate your house, I would say start slow and build on because if you hurry you might buy things you don’t relate to. Also keep experimenting, move things around; it moves the energies and changes them vibes. With my clients, I help them to infuse their personality into their home by asking the right questions. In short – add your vibes to your home, it makes you more positive and helps you relax. Remove all things that make you cringe or complain and surround yourself with all that you love. It’s honestly that simple but I’ve broken it down further below.”

Declutter

The first step to decorate your home is to declutter; give away what you do not use and make way for new things to come into your life. We don’t end up using things which are stored away in lofts etc, try to lighten up the space by removing unnecessary items. A nice bookshelf or a bar can be added to that space. Think of spaces where you can make storage to make sure your knick-knacks are concealed. This will ensure that only a few items are outside, and then they will be used regularly and look aesthetic.

Get rid of the plastic from your kitchen as much as you can. Explore different materials like cane, ceramics, upcycled glass, slate, wood, etc. Bring out your silverware and use it.

Lights

Lights play a very integral role in all my work, and I cannot tolerate bad lighting ever, white tube lights make me cringe, so I choose all locations be it travel or sitting at a café based on its lights.

So, for my home, I like warm dim lights, an easy tip is to change your existing bulbs tubes, if you find yellow too dull, then day light is a good option which is soothing like sunlight.

Table lamps, floor mounted lamps can easily be added to light up your home, just have to plug them in. I’ve added pendant lights so as to keep my nightstands clear.

Fairy lights can serve as nice night lamp, I also light up diffusers often, light and aroma, best combo. Of course, candles are used for special candle light dinners or just when you want to feel special.

I love agarbattis (incense sticks) great way to uplift the vibes of your home.

Memorabilia

I’m not much of a shopper, but when it comes to souvenirs/ memorabilia I’ve unknowingly been collecting them all my life. Bring them out and use them to decorate your space. A smiling Japanese cat welcomes everyone to my home, shells in the beach in a glass jar, I’ve also put some souvenirs in my bar with my bottles, I use some as paperweights and bookends … I would suggest first digging at home, you are bound to find some great treasure for sure, to begin with. Add a globe, compass, a large map, or any object which you cherish and make you feel good. A nice bookcase or books kept on your coffee table is a great way to make sure you’re engaged and away from the phone.

Crockery

My newest love is for crockery, I find food tastier when plated properly, so I keep picking from all over, and love setting up the table for special occasions, and also I do it myself for my site photoshoots, You don’t need much, just some creativity. Use things from your home; I used twigs, ribbons, flowers to set up the last time for my mother’s birthday. Must invest in a nice vase, fresh flowers add life to your table, can add plants as well.

I mix match the mats with the crockery, its better than buying a readymade matching set. It adds your personality to the collection when you mix. Be imaginative needn’t use kitchen items only for the setup, can use your mother’s hair decoration as ties for the napkin. I use platters to hold my cosmetics on my bed side table.

Build slowly over the years, and don’t hoard the crockery for special guests, bring them out and enjoy them.

Upholstery

Cushions are the simplest way to decorate your home, add as many as you can maintain, it adds a lot of cosiness to the space. I have cushions of all sizes always ready with me, I’m kind of like a supplier, don’t want anyone to fall short on those.

Also please pay attention to the bedsheets, these are the most overlooked. I can’t bear sitting on flowers or colour; I got myself plain, pinstriped and checkered ones. Choose what appeals to you, don’t use the ones which were gifted to you and the designs that have been used for generations.

Add a simple neutral bedspread to your bed, it adds an extra element of style to your bed. You can even use your duvet to do so. It’s makes the bed look complete, ideal when expecting guests.

I prefer blinds, I got all my curtains changed to blinds, it saves you from the dust allergies, neater, easier to maintain. Gone are those days when blinds were used only in offices. A quick fix and also quite reasonable.

Add your own personality

Windchimes, dream catchers are some things I’ve added to our home. Add interest with clocks, replace that boring wall hung one with something interesting. I’ve put up some of the paintings from my dad’s collection which were just lying somewhere in the loft. Bring out your art paintings, frame them, hang them. I’ve added loads of plants to block the view to my home, and of course feels wonderful go open your eyes to the greenery. Let it trickle in your home with money plants, terrariums, succulents, etc. If you cannot maintain, buy flowers, or some artificial flowers are allowed too. Another tip is to display coffee mugs or glassware in the glass showcases already present in your home, something I unfailingly do.

Neha Changwani has to her credit more than 70 projects that she has completed successfully. To each project she has lent, a distinct style and individuality that have taken them from being mundane spaces to abodes that reflect the distinct identity of its owner. She has created through her versatile designing, unique brand identities for IT startups, fashion brands, living spaces, and cafes. For your designing needs or any questions you may have, you can reach her on Instagram at @nehachangwani or email her at info@incdesign.in

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