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?

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.

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.