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

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

 

 

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

This refers to the Online  initiative taken by one of the Insurance Giant, Aegon Religare. Recently I was invited for one of the Blogger Meet, I am not sure if they had really visited my Blog which purely talks about Social Media and Online PR efforts made in India.  Well, I was really impressed with the efforts made by them to tap online Influencers and also the focus in the online Communications.

I have been discussing this fact in many of my older posts that Indian clients have to be more serious and focused in tapping the online Communications. Here it goes. Aegon Religare came up with a portal which purely relies on digital communications. They recently came up with http://buyonline.aegonreligare.com. Whats important about this portal is it does give a consumer the flexibility of subscribing to various Insurance schemes, but most importantly it has a focused CRM logic, which not only helps a user saving time and energy, but also regularly keeps him updated about his/her Policies. The tool has been developed based on extensive consumer research which very much fits the Social Media Model. Lastly, this tool and the associated Insurance schemes are exclusively sold online. That says it all.

Though it was a 2 hr Digital meet, but there was no mention about the Brand or any kind of promotional communication from Aegon Religare. They got it right here.. I guess they really understand what needs to communicated to the online Influencers.

The Best part of this meet was I had gained extensive knowledge about Insurance and what suits and fits my income. I am sure many of us have a wrong perception towards Insurance. The entire meet was presented by Mr. Yateesh Shrivastav, who was indeed very good in explaining and expressing facts. Most importantly he knew very well knew about the consumer’s perspective. That is what every brand needs to do… right..:)

“Insurance is always sold and never Bought” – Says Mr. Yateesh Shrivastav. I think this is the current scene in the market and there has to be a strong education done to everyone of us. We will await till the people realize the importance of Insurance in their lives 😉

He also questioned everyone about “what is the Total Insured Value of an individual” some said 1,00000 and some said 5,00000. Is this enough for the rest of our life or this is the actual value of an individual ? Gets us thinking.. right…. Everyone should think of it.

I think this is a great beginning for a Brand to use Social Media as one the key tools to market and share about their developments. I am sure very soon more and more Insurance Brands will follow Aegon Religare to support their marketing and customer service initiatives, keeping the cluttered world in minds.

This is a great example of using Online Communications as a key medium to connect the consumers directly. I hope I have not been very goodie to goodie for the Brand, but yes I do appreciate their initiative.

Some learnings out of this Blogger Meet at Mumbai :

  1. Don’t Push Branding messages
  2. Push about what you do and what you offer clearly with no loopholes, explain it without Jargon
  3. Be very clear in language and try explaining things in the customer perceptive
  4. Try accepting Market – Marketing facts (Good or Bad)
  5. Keep your focus very clear in communicating things
  6. For some reason if you had goofed up in some communication , please cross check then confirm it again, consumer will surely understand and will allow you to improvise on it proactively
  7. Also mention what are the current infrastructure loopholes and also mention about regularly working towards improvising it to make customer experience smoother
  8. Share your research secrets and key insights of your research, this will do help a customer to understand the Brand really well

To Sum up, its an initiative to be noticed and an example for all the Brands 🙂

Conversations are built on the quality of the content used, it could be in the form of Pictures, Videos, text, link, captions or any form of the content. I am not just saying content, but it is all about quality content. “Quality Content!!” this sounds too tricky. Sometimes I would feel what quality content would be. Is it professionally shot pictures, videos, written text… Hey…. No not at all… What I mean about quality content is something which triggers you to express your views, something which tickles you, something which instigates you to raise your voice, opinions. In other words, something which involves you in a conversation, viewing of videos, viewing of photographs and much more. The content associated with every conversation should connect users with their expressions and views. Be it a picture or a video, we always have something to say about it, but sometimes it subsides within ourselves or sometimes the content is so strong that we cannot handle our expressions and the result would in the form of comments, liking etc. Though it might be just a picture or a video there should be something associated with it, as every picture or a video has something to say always. Many of us still feel that if just sharing content would be enough to trigger conversations, YES in simple words. Imagine in our school days, everyone of us would be very excited to share our new fancy looking water bottles, New school Bags, New Book covers, New pencil boxes with our friends. Sometimes you also drive attention of people who are not your friends, just because you have something unique with you to talk about or share about.

It’s the same thing, you do it when you share something unique and creative with the users. These are key elements to drive people’s attention and hence building conversations around the content. Now this content could be company facts, their developments, their expansions in the industry, their achievements, let people know about what we are doing, in this case we are giving them an opportunity to speak to us or about us.

There are some other ways to look at triggering conversations such as using some teaser messages such as “Government goofing up with people’s tax money”, the picture or video associated with it could be very positive such as the video might show the entire tax money getting utilized for the betterment of the country and also showcases important initiatives taken in the progress of the country. These kind of messages will certainly add lot of value and will also gain lot of conversations to its surprise value too. So, the idea behind triggering conversations are not building BIG ideas, but small idea pieces which builds regular conversations around a brand, service or an individual

Return on Time Spent

June 12, 2009

This logic is slightly philosophical, but I guess this will help a lot in understanding the characteristics of Social Media activities and its services available.

One can reap excellent benefits out of Social Media if he / she does enough research on Social Media, its characteristics, the way it works, they way it reacts to us. Many of us have a myth about Social Media is just to know about tools which will help us to communicate our key messages. But, the actual feel of how social media would react to our communications will totally depend on how much time do we devote online by getting engaged in Social Media activities such as :

  • Commenting on interesting topics
  • Participating in the Discussions
  • Participating in the Brainstorming activities on Brainstorming sites
  • Blogging and commenting on Blogs, its not about just saying “good post”,  “I just dropped on  this site and the content is good”, “good one”. All these are not comments or value additions. It is just a formality to increase their own visibility by establishing more number of backlinks. The real commenting is when you add some value additions to the existing article, which will give you more insights to the post or an article on a Blog. This will be appreciated even by the Author of the Blog and certainly develop good relationships with the Author
  • Tweeting – Tweeting is an important activity. It goes in a teaser perspective, due to its 140 character limitation. Moreover, tweeting is a very influential activity to spread the message across, it acts well to distribute the information across
  • Interacting with the unknown people who equally share like minded thoughts or totally different thoughts, managing conversations with the online people
  • Trying to make assumptions of their likes and dislikes
  • Getting anxious to their responses
  • Drafting responses to the unexpected and weird comments

    All this won’t be possible if an individual is not involved in these activities actively. The consequences of not being active and yet implementing the strategies would always end up in negative responses, negative reputation and unexpected reviews or feedback from the users.

    Yes.. It is a time consuming activity and lot of research is needed before one tries to indulge in these activities.  Moreover, to implement a smooth and flawless Social Media activity, one has to listen to what people are saying and also understand what do they expect. One has to be even Social in nature, this will help a lot in weaving new thoughts of triggering conversations or conversational topics.

    Good openings for people who talk a lot, think a lot, and likes to keep on conversing on Philosophical thoughts. 🙂 , But there can be saturation if you over do it also 😉

    India is still very aggressive in supporting Causes and CSR activities through Social Media. As it still works out with a common objective i.e “Support”, “Raise Voice Against”, “Save” and many more.

    There has been a major confusion amongst people about Tools and Communication strategy in India. Marketers are skeptical about engaging users with indirect communications as they are very much used to direct communications. This trend might take some time to entirely get changed into engaging users with their choice of content.

    PR Professionals, Advertising Professionals will have to spend lot of time through indulging into social media activities as being part of it and act like the end users to understand the clear kn0w-how of Social Media and other forms of Digital Communications.

    Hence, its time to take an immediate call and act like an end user and achieve excellent returns on the time spent. I dont have evidences to it, but it would be clearly evident if an individual is totally involved in Social Communities.