Dear Friends, Its been a long journey for me since the day I started my blog on wordpress.com. It did change my life. My blog posts helped me get a better and good job in Social Media. I have moved to Dubai as Social Media Strategist for one of the global retail conglomerate. Guess what!… They saw my blog, read my tweets, viewed my linkedin profile and finally called me for an interview.

Today I am positioned as Social Media Strategist for more than 24 brands in Dubai. All thanks to my blog & my blog readers. However, taking my next step into the blogging world. I just bought a new domain few months back and have shifted my entire blog to the new domain name which is known as  www.ursocially.com. Henceforth, you can view my new blog posts on www.ursocially.com.

Hence, My sincere apologies for the people who would have subscribed my blog feed. Hence, would request you all to subscribe the new blog feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/IndianSocialMedia

What is Social Media…Anyway

November 29, 2010

Breaking heads with this term or trying to give a convincing answers to your Clients, Bosses, Novices.

Social Media, Indian Social Media, Consumer Engagement tactics,    Social Media strategiesMany of us face the same problem with similar questions. The problem is many of the industry professionals have weaved their own set of convenient answers towards Social Media. The answers towards “What would Social Media possibly sound or look like” are “Referral Marketing, Consumer Engagement, Customer Service, link sharing etc.

But, the fact lies that no one has a logical thinking towards it. Well, its just a mere common sense, that everything you do with people or involving real people would be considered as utilizing the social media space. The thought also instigates us to find out straight answers to such an Awkward Question “What is Social Media” :)

To be completely precise: There are 2 ways to look at it.Social Media conversations, Social Media Tools, Social Media   Marketing

Logical Approach : Involve people, Be amongst people, Do around people (focuses on Listening, Knowing & Responding)

Practical Approach: Utilize the Social Instruments such as Social tools to address people and communicate your messages, which involves “Social Networks, Crowdsourcing, Blogs & Micro-Blogs.

One thing is pretty sure, Social Media cannot be very well defined by everyone as everyone interprets it or utilizes it differently.

Few Examples to be considered:

- Social Media Gurus or enthusiasts interprets differently by addressing it with a logical approach

- Social Media Implementers interprets it with specific tools

- Social Media Strategists considers consumer engagement to be an integral part of Social Media

- Social Media Rookies mix everything up, which is actually the current problem!

Firstly, lets not try to relate or mix-up this medium with any of the current mediums. This is absolutely necessary, as it helps our self understanding and involvement, secondly, it helps you focus out of the current clutter space. Hadn’t been a case where everything was defined with tools and procedures, things would have been different in such case. But, Integration of 3 to 4 different mediums within Social Media is a different ball game and I am absolutely with it.

However, many of us do think that Social Media is not a Rocket Science. Agreed, then in that case why are people miss-interpreting it.  That’s my point. Knowingly and Unknowingly, we tend to do it.

Would like to know what other enthusiasts have in their minds!.. Please share your thoughts!

Friends for Benefits

October 11, 2010

India has started embracing Social Media quantitatively and not qualitatively. Every brand or marketer is behind gathering fans on Facebook & followers on Twitter. Is this all about Social Media or there is more to it? I am sure many of us have this question in our minds.

To be frank, the number of people who follow a brand on Twitter or “like” the brand’s  Facebook page is not as important as the amount and quality of the interactions with them.

I always keep a close eye on the insights section of every page I manage on Facebook. I am really not interested in seeing the growth of the page “likes”. All I want to know is the number of people active in participation & conversations. That’s valuable to me.

What’s the use of having a lac of people on my Facebook page who are not at all equally active. I have also observed many such pages where the page likes are higher, but the amount of conversations compared are too low.

However, it is not an easy task to even manage the conversations with too many people. It is imperative to realize how important is to equally manage the conversations.

During the course of gathering likes and Followers, we often miss out to understand the importance of managing conversations. It is also seen that many marketers tend to be lazy in responding to queries and comments on Social networks,  just because they have achieved their  desired set of likes or followers.  Ideally the calculation works differently here, the more number of people or followers you gather, one needs to be extra proactive in responding queries and comments. Because, the more fans or followers, high chances to facing negativity. This is because growing your fan base too quickly may be setting you up for a situation where customers with higher and higher expectations are feeling ignored.

The social media manager might even get pressurized if the desired responses are not been sent on time and can lead to bad reputation or ignorance on behalf of a brand. Hence, it is recommended that gradual growth of your friends and followers always helps you to understand your friends or consumers effectively and will lead to active conversational environment.

The most important aspect of managing social media is to enable conversations and not just to gather followers and fans. Many of my marketing or communication friends might not agree to me. The fact lies as it is… and conversations are always untouched! Wonder why?

The real power of Social Media lies in Personalization & not Monetization!

Too much of benefit out of your friends can lead to effecting Brand’s personification

 

Over the last few days, there was a buzz around Facebook coming up with  new design changes. Today, we came across 1st set of their innovations in design and communication.

Seems Collaborative Environment is one of the most important topic in Facebook’s mind. They introduced groups which is quiet different than the regular Facebook Groups.

What I like about this new innovation by Facebook, is this does breaks the mindset of many people on Facebook.

The  most important thing is “The New Facebook Groups” are not just groups but it has many features towards collaborative management.

Let me share few screen-shots and then further describe it:

Highlights of the Group:

Group chats / Document creation, sharing and editing

 

Create a dedicated email id for your group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thumbs Up!!

  • Collaborative Environment (Excellent stuff and very much needed)
  • Create specific groups around specific topics and add only those friends who might be relevant
  • You can also set these groups “open, Closed & Secret :)”
  • Group Chats with everyone in the group
  • Set a desired email id for your group, it looks like this : indiansocialmedia@groups.facebook.com (Rocking!!)
  • Create Documents which can be edited by anyone of the group, just like “Google docs” or any other collaborative
  • Planning and a Brainstorming tool
  • Gather information from your friends at one place
  • Control your groups & Content

Thumbs Down!

  • Frequent notifications from the group, sometimes irritating if one doesn’t know how to get rid of this.
    But there is a solution too! Edit the notification settings and switch off the necessary notifications
  • Bugs are not notified so far

Few Tips on how and who can start using these Groups:

  • Students on Projects
  • Employees within an organization
  • Friends amongst their friends (:) Needless to say this)
  • Celebrities who may want to have group chats with their fans than through their profiles
  • Brands on specific Campaigns who wish to interact with their consumers to discuss further on it.
  • NGOs who may want to spread the message on a particular event, initiative etc
  • Politicians and their parties can start these groups to interact with their voters
  • The hassle of creating dedicated pages for campaigns and events ends here. You may want to create a group and temporarily invite your consumers, to interact and get engaged on various initiatives
  • PR professionals can form a group on various verticals and share news worthy stories, discussions, queries etc
  • Spokesperson of organizations can even start these groups and invite media & PR professionals to discuss and make specific announcements followed by queries, questions & discussions

 

 

Humanizing your Brand!

October 6, 2010

It is important for any of the brands to act more as people and not as  automated systems. I have even come across brands who use tools like Hootsuite, Cotweet, Jist and many more to post content regularly in order to look like an active brand.

But, that’s not sufficient for the brands. Most of the time one has to  interact with users regularly in order to suggest, resolve and discuss around various conversations and make sure there are real people behind every Twitter or Facebook Profile

But what about organizations that are leveraging employee participation to communicate with their audiences through social media? Here are a few tactics to consider implementing to humanize your brand:

  • Instead of an icon or logo, use a team photo for your Facebook page or corporate twitter account to show that real people are behind the brand.
  • Include the names of employees representing the brand in any account profiles, about us pages, etc.
  • Include a page on your blog with author profiles and photos – offer a behind the scenes look at their role within the organization.
  • Have a monthly “Meet our Team” post on your blog or Facebook page. This could include a text entry with an attached image or a video post that offers some insight into the personality of the organization.
  • Build stories around individual employees’ favourite products, why they love them, how they use them, etc.
  • Encourage team members to communicate on behalf of the brand through their own twitter accounts – which would include their photo, their role within the organization and a link back to the company website.
  • Get out of the office – have a plan that bridges digital communication with face-to-face audience interaction. This could include employees speaking at industry functions, hosting seminars or educational events, employee volunteerism within your community, regular pr/service visits into the marketplace, etc.

What other tactics could you implement to humanize your brand?

Understand Your Audiences

A word of caution before pulling the curtain back on your organization – take some time to really understand the needs of your internal and external audiences. Before setting out to humanize your organization through social media:

  1. Communicate social media goals and guidelines with employees – particularly if they will be representing your brand through personal accounts of off- hours.
  2. Understand the information needs of your audience and balance the frequency of culture posts – personal stories are great for building relationships but it’s important to be mindful of the fact that too much content related to the organization may not be of interest to your stakeholders.

These are the most aspects that any brand should start following. This will certainly help a brand to avoid crisis as Dominos Pizza faced last year.

Pls Note: This post was been inspired by the original post on Social Media Explorer

I thought, should share this interesting survey done by E-consultancy whom I follow regularly! This topic is very much debatable. Perhaps an interesting post via Digi News

The post goes here…

According to a recent report, businesses that invest in marketing apparently cannot measure their growth results on any scale.

Econsultancy states, by a total poll of 47% from the entire staff of over 800 employees, that includes professionals from PR as well as marketers. An estimated 76%w claim there was no ROI amount for their entire investment on social media channels.

Below is a mention of a few statistics accumulated:

•    83% used Twitter for social media strategies.

•    83% used Facebook for social media strategies.

•    83% businesses plan to increase expenditure on social media websites.

•    28% companies do not spend any amount on social media.

•    33% have an expenditure on social media activities which is less than 5£ per year.

•    29% businesses do not have a reliable staff to execute these initiatives.

•    49% companies state resource shortage as a reason for average performance.

•    30% claim insufficient budgets to reach their company goals.

The Research Director of Econsultancy, Linus Gregoriadis recently stated, “2010 has been a year in which companies have tried to become more focused in their social media marketing activity. Much of their activity is concentrated on the use of Twitter and Facebook, with the vast majority of companies (83% and 80% of respondents respectively) using these sites as part of their social media strategy. Companies are harnessing these sites for a range of business functions including marketing, sales, and customer service and product development.”

Is the hype for social media justified with such results for business firms and brands?

To conclude it further. The hype cannot be justified at this point of time because we all know Social Media will start generating results only after sometime. At this point of time.. it is imperative to consider it strongly and include it our marketing mix. Moreover, this is not a time to actually think of results but only keep doing with best of the efforts.

Hence, this topic does not justify that Social Media is actually a hype! We have seen many brands in India who are equally adding their best efforts to engage users in different ways and have been successful. Then there are brands like Pantaloons who consider Social Media as their ATL activity

Along with the dynamism of this medium it also brings ambiguity to many of us about how successful it can be. But, the answer is Try it out first and then conclude! As I said,  getting into Social Media also needs great sense of motivation and devotion. It’s not easy to manage people!  :) Isn’t it?

Blogging at work place

August 16, 2010

Initiating a Blogging culture is a great way to start venturing into a collaborative space. Technically, it does connect an individual effectively amongst other employees. It also helps an individual to showcase his/her talent by contributing on various organizational efforts. It may refer to organizational skills, productivity, Ideas towards various internal enhancements.

Blogging is a very pro-active engagement tool for employees who have been working in an organization for long. Many a times, employees miss opportunities to share their talent or practices with other colleagues or management due to their  nature of being introverts. Hence, Blogging can be a great tool for such people to be part of various conversations and practices.

Most of the times, we end up speaking about Team efforts, but we always to miss that fact in our various efforts. Collaborative Blogging can be great way to gather every employee to participate and build team orient efforts.

Especially, when an organization manages their Corporate Blog, participation from various employees or teams does add lot of value towards the company’s reputation in the online space. The best reputation can any organizations have is to be united and speak on message across.

For Eg: Blogging at Workplace can have many advantages:

  • Integrates the Marketing & Customer Service related activities with seamless communication
  • Encourages and Involves employees in building the company reputation by indulging into various online conversation on behalf of the organization. Feels good and motivated!
  • Builds more valuable and adequate information for the organization  such as Contribution from various departments such as  Product, Service, Marketing, Management, Research & Development, Purchase, HR. Hence, positioning an organization as a Knowledge Leader in the online space and also showcasing the best place to work

Similar to Advantages, Blogging can also have it own negatives:

Though Blogging could be the best thing to do for internal communications, but it does have its own negative effects too. Blogging can also damage one’s reputation or also get the company’s reputation at stake. Every organization needs to build its own Social Media Engagement policies, which will restrict employees to use this medium for their personal benefits. However, there have been cases in abroad where this medium is been utilized to damage the company’s reputation. Hence, a moderation process also needs to be set internally, where each article, post and conversations are been filtered, reviewed by the moderator regularly. In India, the trend has been subtle and no such cases have been recorded. However, it is imperative to follow such processes before venturing into democratic platforms

Negatives:

  • Damage company’s reputation
  • Posting confidential documents or videos which might effect the company’s policies
  • Complains and grievances shared on a specific product by using fake identities which is a deliberate effort to effect company’s reputation
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