I have been absconding from Blogging for few months and it seems I have found an excellent reason to come back again. I have always felt, there has to be a lot of thought process involved in understanding our consumers, especially in Social Media Marketing. Its been more than 6 months that I had stopped blogging. The only reason behind it was to know more about Social Media Marketing practically.

In last 6 months+ I have handled more than 7 clients and every where there was one common problem i.e how to build people around a particular community. There are many things other than that but, it is imperative to start of with it for any new entrant in the Social Media space.

Amongst all this exercise, I have realized one important thing around Community Building, is to identify your target audience and approach them first. The best way to achieve this is to furnish the social URLs especially Facebook & Twitter on your Business cards, Carry Bags in retail outlets, Pamphlets, websites, Emailers which links back to the Facebook page or Twitter Channel. This is the best cross media referencing available to gather your customers first.

Agreed!.. That one needs to build their community or one needs to be where people are. But, we should always begin our first step with our customers. Its a common sense to keep our customers happy first and new customers will follow. Similarly, it is imperative to keep our customers in touch not through intrusive approach. But, there should be some need where the customer comes back to you or wishes to engage with you regularly.

Loyalty programs are the best place to gather our customers to our Communities (eg: Facebook Page, Group, Orkut Community, Twitter Followers). One gets a major chunk of their customers involved in the loyalty programs and what best option could be, than a loyalty program. Most of the marketers fail to understand this logic and they always end up searching or gathering new people.

Keeping the current technology or logic of any Social Networking, if we are able to gather our customers first on our communities, there is a proportionate impact or influence to their individual networks, which drives new followers regularly.

Once, you gather your customers at one place, what should one do to engage them? That’s an interesting question! You may find many marketers have been using contests, polls, quizzes regularly to engage them. But, it will be very soon saturating. Hence, one needs to integrate an online and offline event in order to extend the engagement process and humanize it further.

Test

June 25, 2010

Testing my Google nexus one to write a new post for my blog!!!

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 🙂

Bloggers can yield a great amount of influence with their readers. If you are looking to do Online PR, you have to learn to pitch Bloggers correctly. Just like journalists, they are constantly bombarded by requests. Yours has to stand out – for all the right reasons.

# 1: Select Your Bloggers Carefully & Then Reach Out

Which blogs are actually reaching the audience you want to reach? Don’t look for the biggest blogs. Look for the ones that reach your audience. If you want to reach moms, you probably want to go after mommy Bloggers. If you want to reach early adopters of technology, you want to go after technology Bloggers and also generic Bloggers.

How do you know that a blog has a lot of influence/readership? There are three clearly defined characteristics of an influential blog:

  • Check the page rank. Solid blogs generally have a higher Google page rank. Anything 4 and above can be seen as favorable
  • Check for comments and responses left by others. An active blog will have regular comments
  • Check for how many times they post. Generally, a Blogger who posts three or four times a week is more in touch with their community than someone who posts once a week
  • Also check for the tone of the posts, sometimes a positive post can be written with little sarcastic, this might leave many thoughts in the reader’s mind, be careful to look at that aspect
  • Research on where all, a particular blog is been referred, most of the times influential Blogs are referred on other Blogs, this will also gain insights of the reliability and genuineness of an influential Blog, not just referred on Social platforms
  • Never rely on the number of visits, as it can tweaked. Best thing is to look at the number of posts and number of years a Blogger has been writing
  • Have a check on the Blogs if there is an opening of Ad placements on the Blog, those Blogs can be too commercial and cannot be guaranteed of genuine reviews on a particular product
  • There are few Blog who just links to other Blogs, should not be considered

Tip # 2: Provide Common Ground- And Be Convincing

How do you convince Bloggers to write about you? You must make an effort to customize your emails to these Bloggers. Capture their interest first, and then work on building a relationship. Remember – they don’t have to care about you or your product. You have an obligation to show them how it can benefit them and their readers.

Tip # 3: Giving Them Control, Make Them Feel Valued as Bloggers

According to a recent survey, it was found that majority of the Bloggers believed that it’s fine to write about products and services, given that they are free to write about it the way they want to. Give Bloggers that freedom. You can also give them something that they can give away to their readers. The easiest way to draw in large ‘crowds’ of readers is by offering a prizes, Goodies to a reader or a bunch of readers who will win in a contest. As for the mechanics of the contest, leave that to the blogger. The blogger probably knows his or her readers better than you. Entrust the prize and let the blogger create the buzz as they see fit.

On a final note, remember that it takes time and patience. When we pitch bloggers for clients, sometimes it takes pitching a 100 bloggers to get 10 positive responses. And, that’s okay. You want to find the ones that your message resonates with in a positive manner.

Social media tools for socialites that is becoming increasingly popular is the internet. Reasons could be many, but main one is the content generated by the users which is directly from the public. Social networking sites and very popular with the users, and plenty of them can be found online. They are free to use and are advanced in technology. The concept of social media optimization utilizes such forms of media for increasing your website popularity and value. As a form of online marketing strategy, it is also a part of functions carried out by the search engine optimizers. Optimization of your content by keyword is crucial here. Make sure you update your content on regular basis. Do not forget to use apt keywords and phrases, but stay within limits and do not over stuff your content. When starting SMO, you should submit your main site to as many social networking sites as possible. Social Media Optimization requires lots of effort and hard work, similar to Search Engine Optimization. One will not be able to craft web space and presence without being patient and hard working. It is the unlimited web presence offered to the website optimizers, that is the main advantage of social networking sites. To increase business popularity, Social Media optimizers can use its name and reputation. Some use a fictional name for this purpose, which is also OK. We can therefore craft a profile of our virtual and non-existing person, but it should be avoided if possible. No matter what name you use, it is crucial that your profile shows strong background and experience in the required field of business. The most common cause of the marketing tools and techniques failure is inadequate exposure to the business that is being promoted which later leads to brand anonymity. It is very important these days that marketing is done in proper and continuous manner. Promoting is very difficult with a new business, but if you do it in a planned manner you can have really good results. Online business, in order to be successful, needs you to put a lot of work and effort. Many optimizers have agreed that social media optimization is a good option for effective website optimization.

Social Media Optimization also involves a clear strategy of the specific tool adoption. Sometimes, the selection of tools are very important more than the Social Media approach. The selections of tools directs us towards a clear goal of reaching our target audience and this has to be planned to what is the overall reach one is looking at. In some cases this is tedious in nature ensuring every tool is connected to each other to ensure a seamless content distribution. But there are some tools such as Friendfeed, Facebook, Tubemogul which helps content dissemination easier.

There has been a significant evolution with the current tools which have come up with more integration options. Thus, hoping to similar evolutions in future which will make things more organized and smoother for any Social Media Programs

Traditional media had always promised us millions of Reach but no one bothered to measure or did not have any tools to measure the reach with qualitative analysis. Social Media PR which is so called “New Media” in India comes with Reach and a strong influence…

People ask me why Social Media PR can be dominating in the future. The most important draw-back of traditional  marketing approach is the reach but no influence or less influence. Thought it claimed to have quantitative reach but failed to have qualitative results to the reach. We never felt it important just because we didn’t have any other option. But Social Media has opened the big doors for consumers to voice their opinions against their bad experiences with the Brand. This certainly did not change overnight in India but it took enough time to reach out to people’s realization.

Social Media Marketing - Indian Social Media

Social Media Marketing - Indian Social Media

Most Importantly, Social Media Marketing comes with a strong power to influence consumers decision because of its communication model. Social Media Marketing is more towards permission based marketing approach. This does give them a right to accept what they feel and how they want it to be. It is very difficult for a brand to approach a consumers with its own rules and approach. In such case of personalization there is strong sense of influence too. Since the consumers have to power to weave their perceptions it becomes very easy so establish a strong chain of influence along with the reach. Its the enough room consumers have achieved in this medium bringing  more difficulties and straight-forward approaches for the Brands. This has completely changed the consumer’s experience with the Brand. Hence, marketers have to strongly think and brainstorm about building necessary approach in this medium. There can be silent damage to the brand if the marketers do not feel the necessity of interacting with the consumers directly, which may result in great downfalls for any Brand or service.

This certainly can also be a great help for brands to also identify the loop holes in their Marketing & Communication approach, resulting them to fix issues and problems pertaining to the Product, service and much more…

Most importantly since Social Media PR has a great Reach along with strong Influence, marketing efforts can achieve assured qualitative results and also ensure better penetration of the brand or service amongst the consumers. In such cases a clear ROI is also defined effectively.