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

 

 

Lately, when people talk about social media, they are referring to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn only. This is because everyone is trying to follow each other here. But no one is ready to do things differently.

Lets say, We all have misunderstood Twitter and Facebook Completely. Most of the users on Twitter end up sharing about themselves. But it does not help anyone anymore. Say Twitter is more about sharing useful information and not just say that you are in a washroom, washing your hands and legs and Twitter isn’t a GPS system. Twitter is a powerful tool than we have imagined it to be. News, Useful information which benefits others  plays a major role

Same thing with Facebook, Today every Brand things their target audience is on only Facebook.. Sorry sir.. You are mistaking it.. Facebook is just a 5% of the overall social media approach. Well you can certainly find more opportunities in the list below.  All the best Marketers 🙂

However, social media started well before these tools were part of the landscape. Now, social media has a lot more to offer.

If we think back, early forms of social media were bulletin boards or forwarding emails and sometimes online newsletters too.

Now, we have certainly long way to go to explore all these opportunities. I tool agree that India is still in the evolving stage of Social Media. But I guess, we all will start using the below activities very soon. I feel these activities will certainly justify the efforts made in Social Media for every Social Media Marketer.

Here is a list of some opportunities and/or tools to consider when you’re thinking about how to use social media in your business:

Important Tip : Hey Small Business have more and more options to explore here...

  • Blogging
  • Bookmarking
  • Comment/Reputation
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Customer Service
  • Documents/Content
  • Events
  • Forums
  • Lifestreaming
  • Livecasting
  • Location
  • Micromedia
  • Music
  • Photos
  • Reviews/Ratings
  • SMS/Voice
  • Video

Wonder who is going to handle all of this for a Brand 😉

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

Search Social Media

April 7, 2009

Analyzing Search Engine Results keeping  target reach is difficult. There are some many aspects to look at it.

Yesterday my friend Sudhindra was speaking to me about certain targeted and non-targeted areas in the online space. The query which he came up was that how many people do access Article Marketing database and how many access News Release Directories.

Similarly many people might have similar thoughts, but i guess the logic is pretty clear.. Any search gives you Blended search results. When a user searches for anything, he never looks into whether the search is been found on Article directory or a News release directory. He just keys in the query and looks for relevant information to the search query. Hence it does really mean that people only look at Article directories or the news Release directories. In fact, its our lookout to identify what the user is looking for and based upon also identify the most popular platforms to get hooked up. Based on this analysis we should decide what source to be chosen.

I would say Search Engine follows  a centralized information system. Hence it helps any user to find any kind of results from any part of the world. Of course, there are some advance features for a user to enhance the search experience. The point here is we have so many platforms which has opened opportunities for brands and industries to publish and post their content anywhere in the online space. But one should still follow the basics of SEARCH. As the entire exchange of information in the online space is possible only through search engines and their procedures.

In another incident I met a gentleman from a very reputed agency, Infact i was presenting few ideas of distributing content across the internet space, So I mentioned about a news sharing platform DIGG. Immediately I was asked about the target audience available in DIGG from India. I stated very clearly, that our only approach is get into search results because that is how the entire communication begins. Why do we worry about what platforms we are using to publish our information than thinking of positioning ourselves in the search engines. We should certainly look at Authority sites..

So as I said in my earlier posts, that, its the only basics which has evolved in different Facets of Communication.

No one can ignore or outrank the basics of Search Engine methods. Hence Social Media has evolved due to Search Engines & Authority Sites.