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 😉

Advertisements

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.

We have always been discussing how can we promote a brand or an identity. But we never thought of how to manage a current one. I am referring to a fact which I just came across – Domino’s Pizza.  I just saw a video of Domino’s Pizza on Youtube. Firstly, I would say, this was a deliberate attempt to spoil the image of the company.  Everyone is just talking about the video, but no one talked about “WHY”, it could be many social reasons. This could have been because of a personal misunderstanding of that particular outlet. I would say no one would do it deliberately. Well I am not in favor of these offenders, but I am just trying to look at different perspective. We might have problems with our manager, supervisors etc, this might also lead negative effects to a particular brand. We always discussed that Social Media is useful for HR, but now its time to take it seriously. Handling our own people and keeping them happy is the most important thing one should look at it. Moreover, earlier people use to talk bad about their managers, companies etc. But now they also have a platform to express their feelings and also look at damaging a Brand’s image.

crisis-management-online-crisis-pr-social-media-crisis

We always look at satisfying the external audience, but sometimes it becomes very important to also attend our internal Audience. The Domino’s Pizza act  clearly brings out the inefficiency of the employer to satisfy the needs of the employees.

There can be some more reasons :

  • Just for Fun without understanding the repercussions of their Act
  • Dealt with rude Customers

This clearly states that every employee should also be trained or explained about what kind of possible acts they should not perform during work hours which might bring the brand into negative image.

What does a Brand do ?  when they come across such a nuisance… Depends on what industry you are. A Brand should be more careful if their industry deals with the customers directly, such as Entertainment Industry, Food Industry, FMCG Industry and many more similar to it. When there is a direct relation with the customers, the Brand should be more cautious about customer service, Customer problems & complaints. A Brand should be proactive enough to deal with these problems. Certainly it will always help to troubleshoot the unexpected damages.

Social Media does help the employers to spot out many new unexpected problems, and accordingly a Brand or an Employer should be proactive enough to handle it immediately.

crisis-pr-online-crisis-pr-social-media-marketingBut I appreciate the Domino’z Pizza CEO who proactively shot a video for the consumers and apologized it. Certainly the damage has already happened to the Brand, but its a learning for everyone. But we should really appreciate the CEO of Domino’s Pizza for his wise act and showing concern. I think every brand should take these kind of acts very seriously and engage themselves in monitoring conversations online and take necessary precautions for unexpected problems.

Gifts & Prizes are no more special to anyone.  In India, Marketers have started misusing Social Media for their own benefits. I keep coming across many new blogger contests, where they have started giving prizes for tweeting and writing about their brand in their blogs. Well I would like to refer the recent one which I just came across organized by Indiblogger.in and Peppysophia.com. The way they have communicated about the blogger contest is truly commercial and intentional. Hmmmmm…. Why are marketers trying to spoil and control this medium.

Why can’t marketers leave it to a blogger to write whatever he or she feels about. Why are marketers making it more obligatory to write positive about them.

Prizes, Money and expensive gifts do spoil people’s mind and their skills. But one has to understand and make their own decision, whether to support these acts or discourage these acts. Believe me, being in a controlled messaging world, I feel social media is a place where one can express his or her views openly without any hassles.

I recently came across few blogger communities who are equally supporting these acts. Please guys.. why can’t we keep these communities clean and not handover ourselves to these selfish motives.

Certainly, there are other marketers who understand the value of Blogs and other Social Media Platforms, who see that they don’t loose out the essence of this platform. I would term Social Media as People’s Media.

So let people decide what is wrong and what is right and not try to influence them with Gifts & Prizes. Of course, there can be gratifications, but there should not be any motive behind it.

Needless to say, this shows that how valuable our comments and our suggestions are.  They do get considered, which certainly acts as Word of Mouth (WOM) publicity. There can be few aspects to look at it :

  1. Wants to share information about their brand
  2. Wants to distribute information across multiple channels
  3. Wants to conduct a survey through Bloggers
  4. Wants people to review their product
  5. Wants to build direct relationship with the consumers
  6. Wants to observe or keep a close eye on how a product is performing
  7. Wants to be more transparent about their functionality and their operations
  8. Considering the fact that online users are far more powerful than the people behind using traditional news items such as Publications and electronic media, so caring about online users is justified

Only these are possibilities due to why one wants to invite Bloggers or run a social Media campaign or there can be some detailed reasons from the above.

All others could end up tampering an individual’s opinion and views.  So friends, lets not get influenced with these worthless Gifts and Prizes which influences us to tweak our thoughts and opinions.

Today I am trying to speak out my thoughts on how content or written communication can be effective to marketing communications as well as Consumer Approach  Communications

whatever I write or whatever I think,  I always try to relate with some real life examples…

Okay sounds interesting…

One Real Life example:

We had a great New-year. Me and my wife did’nt go anywhere and didn’t have any fun that night. We thought of celebrating this new-year through quarrelling with each other.. hmmmm..thats the story of every married couple. L I was very excited on 31st morning and was expecting some last moment plans. Suddenly my cousin called me and asked me to accompany him at some resort where he had passes for. I really got carried away. But unfortunately my wife had to go to office the next morning. So I asked my cousin to tell her that he wants me to come with him. Listening to this I called her. She banged the phone and then I realized the possible danger at home that night. So I wrote her an SMS

Me – “Hey sweetheart I m not going anywhere. I m sorry I got carried away sweety. I am coming early home by 5 & be with you” – 26 words

My wife replied to it – “I hate 2 faced ppl u bluff u dnt hav money m married 2 d mst selfish man dnt use ur cousin 4 ur purposes nw I will make it a pnt nt 2 b wit u plz dnt show me ur face2day n tmrw wnt 2 b alne m serious. Just go to hel nw I no hw much u realy care wl nt be wit u on my b’day also bye…”  – 73 words

Me – “trust me sweety u were always in my mind it just happened that way . this year I want to start happily with u. let us forget all these things, trust me I did’nt any such intentions & my cousin was about to sponser on it and forget it u will still think the same L (a smiley or other emoticons does matter in these cases)”
66 words

My wife replied to it – “dats d reasn u initiated dis plan. Hav no reasn 2 trust u on dis. 4get it I still wish 2 b alne bye tak care” – 26 words

Me – “I didn’t reply anything to it. Just kept quite and anticipating a message from her”

My Wife replied to it – Milk has nt cum – 4 words

[In my above interaction with my wife which was written communication and not verbal, really helped saving my day. I could even got her convinced.]

My overall view point on this is to show how effective can written communication be. Same way whatever we write to our consumers or whatever we promote should try to speak their language. I have seen so many other marketing communications; it does have any clarity in the message and does not connect them. Every consumer will like to feel special about whatever is being offered to him. One should develop a customized communication to reach our targeted consumers. Online marketing, rather social media marketing do follow these tactics. We cannot write messages with jargons or technical words. Social Media Marketing does not encourage jargon based communication. It needs to be simple and connect everyone. But I am not saying that it needs to be in casual tone. But whatever communication we develop should be very simple and self explanatory.

I receive lot of emails from Banks, Insurance companies, Clubs & Resort for Membership. I just don’t feeling like reading them at all. Maybe that is the strategy of mass mailing system. But every marketer in similar industry needs to change they way they approach. What if we target 100 Customers and communicate with them the way they want it to be. I am sure 80 people would turn out to be your genuine customers.

Old ways of Marketing such telemarketing, Teaser Marketing etc no more works. How many people would like to receive calls from unknown people who try to pitch for new deals and offers. Yes, but a well explained email, sms or a message would surely provoke a customer to read through it. Especially when an email gives you insight of how can insurance help you in your near future. What if you don’t have insurance, what are the possible problems you might face. These are just examples.

What I am trying to make all the marketers clear is that POPUP marketing and direct marketing does not work anymore. Lets use mediums through which a consumer would like to be contacted. Show him insights of it. Lets not show them a comparative report about how many customers do you have or how many branches do you have or how big your organization is, but what we offer and how we offer is important.

I am very much close to permission based marketing. But I am not talking about it. I am trying to explain that people need time to go through and would like to act upon their convenience. A nicely written email can do miracles to your business. Not an embedded emailer or a telemarketing executive which does not connect to your needs, but interrupts you in every possible way. I have also observed one more aspect of the telemarketing executives. For eg: They offer a deal or a scheme and we say we are not interested, but you know twhat hey ask you “WHY”     🙂

I certainly don’t blame them, because they have enough pressures to meet their targets. But the entire marketing strategy goes wrong this way.

I receive lots of emails with embedded emailer which does not speak anything to me. It just acts like an online banner. Hey guys what am I achieving by looking at it. It does not speak about my needs, It does not even interact. And I also know that it has been sent by an automated system.

What consumers look for is Real thing & not Reel thing. May be a representative interacting from an HSBC corporate office and not from an outsourced call centre would interest me to look into their offerings. The whole point revolves is consumers want a real approach which connects them with the offerings. Same way people can also report their complaints and can be assured of responses.

Social Media Marketing revolves on written communication; people ask me queries on Social Media marketing or digital PR. Sometimes the questions are very difficult but I am able to answer them b’coz I get time to prepare myself and answer them.

Let me give one more example to it.

In Traditional PR, we have Press meets, Press conferences, one-on-one media interaction who are always ready to ask many questions in a typical way  about the organization or some mistakes unintentionally came across . PR agencies do train their client in how to reply journalists or reporters but its very difficult to give a justified answers to spontaneous questions being asked by the media. So why not develop a different medium where those actual things can also be communicated.

Say an angry consumer reacting to the problems faced though a product might be very difficult to handle face to face. But if the same person is online react the same way, especially with bloggers & direct consumers, its easier to handle them through written communication at the same can also convince a customer throughout. My only idea is  to also tap the online medium along with other  mediums. Especially negative articles published online can be converted into positive reviews through proper communication from the organization’s representative. This needs a complete participation, interaction using Social Media. This helps an organization to avoid further damages to their image.

Similar way I tried to convince my wife in not reacting further to the incident 🙂