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?

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

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.

    Cost of Inactivity

    June 5, 2009

    I would like to thank to one of my online friend – ISABELLE who has been actively discussing with me on this matter, The Best part of our discussion was coming up with a  new perspective to look at “Cost of Inactivity” rather than analyzing it through ROI, Cost per click etc etc.

    Inactivity has been an important concern in the Social Media World especially in the Indian Markets. Social Media has been very successful in other countries. India has still yet to taste the response of Social Media. Yes there are many companies who have started using Social Media as one the mediums to engage people. But they are not completely in it. The current perception of the Indian market is still restricted to contests, Campaigns to engage users and not discussions, brainstorming and other Crowd sourcing activities. Indian brands are still skeptical to act transparent to the actual people and still looking at different ways to control these mediums in either restricting themselves on tools or content.

    But Social Media is more than just sharing a company’s information, their operations, their expansion plans, service etc. Social Media is also, giving an opportunity to the people to participate in one’s brand conversations, such as brand enhancements and many more. It need not have to be specific to the brand but a relative activity of the brand. Ultimately what people look for is an opportunity to converse with people on different possible discussions, express their views, frustrations, ideas etc. where they would like make some value additions. The Best example of is the Idea Campaign, it does have an emotional connect as well as involve people in the brand’s Initiatives.

    There is one more reason why Brands in India are not very keen in involving real people in their activities, as the fear of conversations going against them. But, its worth taking a risk.

    It needs a long term strategy to develop good relationships with the real people. An ideal social media strategy should span across between 3 to 6 months. Social Media strategies are little time consuming, but in this case we are building a communication support to backup our promotional activities. It just like somebody approaching you with a product which has no history and future. Everyone needs some supporting, not just appearing it on Hoardings, Electronic media, but also adding some personalized touch to it.

    Brands still look at one big Idea, than looking at simple strategies to support it. And this kind of practice is dangerous for a brand image. Moreover, just being listed on all popular social media services, will not be considered as being active on it. One has to talk to people, ask their reviews, involve them in the brand’s survey processes and also involve them in possible brainstorming processes. This will certainly place any brand to a customer’s expectation and also building brand loyalty. People wants their concern to be considered. So far we have been hiding and running away from their concerns, and naturally that leads a Brand Disaster in the coming future. Moreover, being active is so important as there is immense competition around the brands itself. Lets understand one thing, being inactive is far more expensive than being active. Here are some important aspects to look at it:

    1. Misunderstanding towards a Brand
    2. Loosing valuable customers without knowing
    3. Negative Influence
    4. Misinterpretation of the customers  expectation and hence ending up in a loose out
    5. Advantage for the competitors
    6. Negative conversations going out of control damaging the Brand Reputation
    7. Very difficult to convince and provide possible justification on a claim or an incident
    8. Loosing out good opportunities to connect with consumers directly and also understanding their expectations
    9. Spending lot of money on the research companies, with assumptive survey reports
    10. Unwanted Redirection of Valuable Conversations

    Looking at so many possible disadvantages, Is Being Inactive Worth a try ?

    Did we ever realize that we are far far,  far superior than Google.  I realized this, in one of our discussions with my friends & colleagues.  As usual, we were discussing about a brand and how can we leverage multiple platforms in promotion.  Let me start with Google and  its search logic. Whenever we key in any query in the search bar. It gives you many specific results and it also gives you related results. If you click these related results, we can see more related results on it, and this route map continues.

    I found this logic very much similar to our brain and the way we think. I also realized that this is the exact logic we should use it for any brand when it comes in implementing any digital program for them as the platforms are endless. So far, i have observed many people fail to think this way when it comes in implementing online marketing tactics, related to social media and the new evolved online technologies.

    Ideas on Social media and other digital marketing tactics are endless.  It depends on how far you can connect each idea and come out with a new sub-idea. But, it also depends how far you can implement those ideas. Lot of people call it as Brain mapping. But, yes it is actually brain mapping, which helps you to realize the endless ideas and implementations towards any Digital Marketing Program. A simple illustration is been illustrated on this perception, the image actually depicts a process on a patient, but the logic remains same to our context.

    brain-map-social-media-map, influential map

    I think nowadays, I am breathing  Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing, as it is connecting me or rather i am getting connected at every step and every moment of my life.  As i was mentioning about a discussion with my colleagues on a brand, we went on connecting every parameter of the brand and further went on connecting platforms to be used to promote the desired brand.

    Initially when it came to me, of course, i had lot of things in my mind, but further i went on realizing many more connecting ideas to it, which very much worked as Brain Mapping. Many people say that it might be a brain storming process, but most of the brain storming session involve only debates and arguments.  Good, I attended one of the Brain Mapping workshops in the past. But frankly I literally got bored of it and even thought why would i think that way. But yes now it gave me a great platform to think that way. Thanks to that Brain mapping workshop which I attended.  Google exactly follows this logic. I think the owner of the Google was a Brain Mapping Guru 🙂 sounds funny right! No not at all. This is a very important aspect to any successful foundation, technology and identity.

    influential-brain-mapping, influential marketing, Network Marketing

    Did any one realize how brain mapping works, its exactly resembles our popular concepts of Social Networks and the great influential marketing. Where each of your thought is influenced by another thought. I have even added a picture so that it can be related easily.

    Every thought is connected to another. Similarly there is no reason why the logic behind Social Media is not exactly like a thought of a  human.

    Awareness Drives Sales

    January 9, 2009

    awareness-drives-sales-digital-communications-digital-marketing-online-awareness-social-media1Recently I had to speak to one client regarding a digital promotion of a book.
    As usual, I was pitching will all kinds of explanations, how digital can help you… what kind of tool we will be using to build awareness across the digital space. After all these conversations, the client says “I want 2 lac copies of my book to be sold” Give me an assurity that you can sell 2 lac copies of my book through digital Communications.

    I was pretty much surprised with this reaction from the client.

    I even took it positively and asked the client that when he is planning to launch the book, “he said – well roughly in 15 days”. I smiled and I said that Digital Communications needs at least 1 month to do the foundation work. In such as short period there is an expectation of selling 2 lac copies. Well I guess nobody knows about this book and about the Author. So It is going be little difficult but we will surely take it as a challenge. But the client kept on insisting about the sale of 2 lac copies. Now this was one of my conversations with one of my clients, which did not turn out to be my client, as he wants to sell only 2 lac copies of the book and make money out of it.

    There is a clear and simple logic towards any marketing activity,

    “Awareness Drives Sales” – Every marketer knows that without awareness there cannot be any sale towards any product or any service. Similarly in digital Communications nothing can be sold or nothing be absorbed without giving proper information about it. Consumers who are connected to you online are very curious to know each and everything you communicate, and perceive it accordingly. This is the most difficult phase for any marketer at the same time yet challenging, because consumers will have different thoughts and different approach to anything they absorb, naturally comments, reviews & questions will be asked by them and sometimes it is difficult to answer by any marketer, in such a case one needs to be connected with them from the beginning so that one knows about them and how they interact and what is their thought process accordingly they questions, comments can be answered and justified.

    Every single step should be planned so that we don’t miss out any kind of communication with the consumer. Similar to any traditional marketing activity a proper profiling, proper communication needs to be established between the seller and consumer. This is only possible if there is any home work done at the sellers end. One should understand that though the digital communications helps any one to reach their consumers directly, but a consumer would not interact with you directly on what you want to offer. In order to achieve that, one needs to be present in all possible ways and build an awareness program initially. Let people know “who you are”, “What is your passion”, “what is your background”, “what is your objective in reaching the consumers directly”. Let people in the web space know about your thoughts about what you feel and about what you think towards your profession, product, service etc. This way initially you will be known to people and then that identity will help you to interact with your consumers. If one tries to offer a product, service etc directly, then there will be no difference between a seller who sells their products without building relationships with the consumers. In this case he will be able to sell his products only once to the consumers… And this would be a bad business practice.

    Lot of people doesn’t think about how awareness can drive sales to their company or product. If one observes carefully, only awareness drives sales and nothing else. In short, no sensible marketer will assure a fixed number of sales to any product. But the awareness program needs to be built strategically so that on every step we communicate right kind of information about a product. and also can maintain a record of what is been communicated, so that in later stages we can even review what is been communicated to avoid misunderstandings. In digital Communications, none can sell or talk about their service, product directly until a strong relationship is been established.

    And that’s the beauty of Digital Communications. Infact using Digital Communications means connecting your consumers directly without any mediators between. So that gives the answer to all queries in Digital Marketing

    Okay I have a website. www.killerdrama.com.

    That’s it. Hey you know I have a website. Oh wow. Its on my cards also. Oh that’s cool.

     

    So what does your website speak about? Well it speaks about my company, my company, my company, my services, and my services my services. Oh that’s amazing… Cool.”

     

    This is the current scenario of each and every website in India. Especially, mid segment industries and some large scale industries. They have never considered their company’s website to be a communication medium. So we see so many websites which are just not updated. Certainly they will only update their website if they are participating in any exhibitions or if they are getting into IPO.

    website-search-engine-optimization-digital-marketing-web-marketing-online-marketing

    But the fact lies many people don’t realize the importance of having a website and how can it be a powerful tool in the current Digital age. Most of the sites I have come across do not have updated content and nothing to interact with users. This is the biggest problem in Indian sites. Nothing to blame anybody but I am sure now people will start realizing the importance of updating and maintaining a website. As mentioned in my prior articles, I have clearly mentioned that even to manage a social media strategy or a campaign one needs to have clearly defined website to route all the necessary communication through the additional platforms in Social Media.


    search-engine-marketing-digital-pr-online-pr-social-media-marketing


    Many websites in India are still not Search Engine Optimized and many sites are completely flash based and no proper web standards followed. Such as correct use of CSS for defining the content formatting and navigation, no proper naming for the images used, no proper linking, no Meta tags, descriptions and titles defined for individual pages, we still find broken links in many websites. No proper Key word rich content and especially there are no further developments in the website even if it more than a year old. Being a web professional and a digital Professional, I always suggest in redeveloping the website every year and content updations at least every month. Lot of my clients do ask me that I want my site to appear in the first page of Google. Yeah, certainly it is like opening a box of sweets and having it. Not at all sir!

     

    One needs to do lot of planning on developing your website, just as a clearly defined strategy is developed for marketing or promoting a product or a brand. The same kind of seriousness and strategies need to be thought in developing a website. Many people do think that a creative agency that is well versed with Photoshop, CorelDraw and other designing tools can develop the website on fingertips. Well I certainly never try to participate in that conversation. This is not about other countries, but certainly this has been a practice of Indian Marketers. Of course, there are examples like TATA, Reliance, Airtel, sunsilk gang of girls, eclerx, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and many more. I am certainly talking about companies who might not be as big as these, but one needs to realize that how important a website is in current scenario. The entire digital Marketing revolves on a website. Whether it may be SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PPC (Pay per click) and the powerful social media.. Driving good amount of traffic is very much possible through these tactics.

    Certainly as the technologies of Web 2.0 are getting evolved, there can be so many things added to a website, such as discussion forums, polls, rating, online chat etc. and many more interactive elements can be added. Does anybody know that the most important section one could see is the Media centre, where we upload press releases, financial data etc. This is the most important section of any standard website. Your website can turn out to be an online press release which directly reaches your consumers. But these press releases should be written keeping all possible keyword in the mind and incorporate it accordingly. For any website the content is very important and one needs to make sure the content is been optimized as per to the search engine standards. Lot of people also prefer paid search marketing such as buying few keywords and promoting the site. But I would consider it as non-credible marketing, where you are forcefully driving people by promoting ads on Google and other possible place. What I always suggest my client is to always rely on natural search as it gives a more accurate and credible traffic to the website. Regular updations and regular changes in the content gets better visibility on search engines. To see it happen, one need to take necessary steps to do it.

     

    If it is online then you need to have a well optimized website compulsorily and no one can have any possible excuses for it.

     

    My next post will be on monitoring your website and other social Media presence.