Social Media Marketing – and Measuring Impact

This is my effort to understand Social Media Marketing and its various elements. Though this is an on-going effort, however to pen-down my thoughts for Social Media Marketing will make it easier for me to recall the essence of it!

Today after going through various blogs and trying to understand What exactly Social Media and Social Media Marketing definition means?

The Contemporary WEB is defined by:

• The Content sharing;
• User generated content –text, video, photo etc;
• It’s Sociability;
• The active reception;
• The Media convergence;
• The Popularization of Social Media.

As per the definition – Social Network Site means

web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Pretty straight forward and well articulated by Danah Boyd!

As per the definition – Social Media means

a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0,which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.

A group of internet based application means, apps like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube etc.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

In Social Media marketing these are the following REASONS why Social Media impact should be measured:

To determine Financial Return

Accountability

Demonstrate value and impact

Assessing resource need and

Testing the hypothesis

The variety of elements that social media has are as follows:

Every profile / page that is created, will have Connections associated with content around that.

will have the Environment, under which the profile / page is interacted, shared.

Every Profile / page will also have associated Bias, Credibility, Demography, ExpertiseFreshness, and Number and rate of connections (BCDEF, N – to remember easily)

Every associated connection will have a Direction, Initiation, and Emphasis.

The content associated with this will have Density, Valence, Proximity, and Attribution

In another post, we will talk about the various type of data elements and approaches to be taken for Social Media Metrics.

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Social Media Marketing – What you should Do!

It is no longer a question of IF companies should execute a social media strategy.  The question for most companies is HOW to best execute a meaningful and engaging approach that generates results.  With so many social media marketing options available, marketers must also decide best practices and what tactics to avoid.

We all make mistakes as marketers and it’s important that we not only learn from those mistakes but share  with others so that they can avoid them. Which tactics are you happy to say you’ve implemented and which mistakes will you admit to?

10 Social Media Marketing Do’s

#1: Save Time, Re-purpose Content.
While this is a great tactic it is important to be thoughtful about the way that you are re-using content.  Simply spitting out the same information over and over again will not work.  Be sure to change elements of your posts in order to either highlight different information within the post or target a different segment within your audience.

#2: Interaction is Where It’s At!
True interaction via social media can be a tough tactic for many marketers to master.  Finding the correct balance of self promotion and intriguing content that inspires action can be very instrumental in using social media appropriately.  Take some time to comment or interact with your current clients and prospective clients to show that you’re there, and you care about what they are saying.  A simple tactic is to ask questions that inspire a response.

#3: Try Multiple Media Types.
Social media users are interested in fresh new ways of presenting content and ways that they can share it with their networks.  In fact certain forms of media such as infographics or videos have a tendency to be much more sharable and appealing.  Try to incorporate some new media types into your social media content plan for the year.

#4: For Pete’s Sake! Make it Searchable.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you have some sort of optimization in place for your website.  Keep the same strategy in mind for your social media content.  If it can be searched it can be optimized.

#5: Keep Calm in a Crisis
The last thing you need is your social media intern “Sarah” having a meltdown at the first sign of something unfavorable being said about your brand on social media.  By keeping a level head and having an emergency preparedness plan ready should disaster strike you will be able to calmly and rationally tackle the issue.  P.S. Ignoring it doesn’t count as a plan.

#6: Customize the Flow
If you’re like us you have multiple audience members to provide information to online.  This could be different verticals or even different departments within a single organization.  Do your homework,  what sites do your different audience members participate in and what topics are of importance to them?

#7: Don’t Let Just Anyone Represent Your Brand
In the past some companies have encouraged all team members to participate in the promotion of their brands because they worked under the notion that more was better.  False.  While you don’t want to discourage interaction or squash the dreams of your team it is important that the voice of your social media strategy represents who you are and what you believe in as a company.  Trish from accounting that posts on her social network about the copious amounts of alcohol consumed Tuesday night and the terrible time she’s having at work the next day may not be the best resource for networking your company.

#8: What Was the Purpose of This Again?
Remember why you’re using social media in the first place.  By setting a set of realistic and attainable goals you will be able to test what works and what doesn’t and adapt your online marketing strategy from there.

#9: Pull Out the Tool Box and Find Your Measuring Tape
If you create a beautiful piece of furniture but can’t fit it through the front door what was the point?  The same applies to your online strategy.  I don’t want to discourage planning big but make sure that you have an effective means of measuring your success in order to identify the true ROI of your online marketing strategy.

#10: Be Innovative, or at Least Open to Innovation
You don’t have to be cutting edge to run a successful social media program.  However, it doesn’t hurt to have your eyes and ears open to the latest trends.  Experiment with your strategy to find new and interesting ways to present the same information to your networks.

10 Social Media Marketing Don’ts

#1: Hello? Is Anyone Listening?
One of the worst things that you can do is ignore your audience.  I shared an example last week of ChapStick’s reaction to unfavorable responses from their network.  Deleting information or simply refusing to answer are a big marketing fail.

#2:Have You Ever Tried to Have a Conversation With a Robot?
If you are like me, at one time or another you’ve found yourself screaming at the automated help desk for your credit card company beyond frustrated that you couldn’t speak with a live representative.  Try to spare your online audience of the same exasperation and create thoughtful and conversational content.  Leave the robots for the other guys.

#3: I Know You Are But What Am I?
As we’ve said before it is difficult if not impossible to take things back once you’ve said them online.  There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with audience members, colleagues, or competitors but there is no need to be impolite.  If you take a do unto others approach you will save yourself and your company a lot of damage control.

#4: Accounts Covered in an Inch of Dust.
You did some research and found 10 new social networking platforms that your company is not signed up for.  You assign a task to your marketing team to sign up for these accounts, and unfortunately that is as far as it goes.  If you cannot commit to utilizing a platform on a regular basis and setting it up in a way that clearly represents your brand then what is the point.  Don’t do it just to do it.

#5: One Size Does Not Fit All.
All social media sites are not created equal.  As marketers we must consider not only the type of interaction that typically happens on a given platform but also the audience we are trying to reach with that platform.  If your social strategy for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all exactly the same you may want to reconsider your plan.

#6: The Nameless &  Faceless Group from Company XYZ
In order to make friends online you need to be friendly.  Part of being friendly means adding a personal note to your social media profiles.  Snap some impromptu photos around the office and share a little bit about some of the key team members.  This is an instance where a little bit of extra effort can go a long way.

#7: Taking Your Relationship To the Next Step.
Romancing your prospects does not end at gaining them as followers.  Sure they’ve signed up to receive updates on your company but is that really enough?If your ultimate goal is to gain them as new clients then it is important to have a personalized and meaningful flow of communication that sets next steps in the relationship.  An example would be recommending that you have a phone conversation or possibly meet in person to discuss some business opportunities.

#8: We Really Care About You.  Just Kidding.
Spending countless time and effort to engage with prospects only to abandon them is a completely useless tactic.  Handle these relationships with the same care that you would your other business relationships.

#9: We Have No Idea What is Important To You.
Our company is great, we have so much to offer you, hire us now!  I consider each of these to be obnoxious and pitiful tactics for engaging followers.  Instead of utilizing your platform as a means for marketing your products and services try instead to offer information that can help solve the business problem of your prospects.

#10: What Are All of These Followers For Anyways?
Now that you’ve built up this community of online followers what can you use it for?  Your online community is a great resource for crowdsourcing content and brainstorming ideas.  If you want to gather a set of your own statistics why not go to your online community and ask them to participate in a study or survey and share the results with everyone.

I know that a lot of these tips may seem like no brainers to you some of you, but in the fast changing world of social media, mistakes can have a significant impact.

I’m curious to know if you have any other “no brainer” social media tactics that you’d like to share?  They can be funny, insightful, pretty much anything you want as long as they’re true.  I look forward to laughing, cringing, and sighing with you.  If you have a moment to fill out the survey below I’d love to get some feedback from you regarding this post and your personal experience with social media marketing.

Lighthouse Insights – Wednesday Conversation with Arcopol from uRead.com

It’s easy to think of social media simply as a competitor for traditional publishers, providing free content and connecting readers and advertisers directly, bypassing print and publisher websites. But many publishers are now realising that they can use the same social media tools to drive value for their own business, using the expertise of their editorial and publishing teams, and their existing community of readers. In this article, I will be outlining the ‘Chat-Session‘ which we had with Arcopol from uRead.com – uRead.com – The most trusted online bookstore with 8 million+ titles.

It was a good start initiated by Vijayendra with:

LH: Can you please throw some light on the content strategy at uread, with specific emphasis on – Mix( promotions, feel good msgs etc) , Timing ( when to post) , form ( videos, pics, msgs) etc.?

Arcopol Chaudhuri(AC): To be honest, there’s no defined content strategy engraved in stone. Social media has to be reactive and adaptable to what’s happening around us. To prioritize, it would be in the following order: 1. Feel-good (Like-worthy content) 2. Content (blogs, articles) 3. Promotions

LH: What about timing ? Do you post late nights? Afternoons ?

AC: Pre-lunch and after dinner. And Sundays, after lunch. Always works. 🙂 Btw, I’m equally surprised at the number of likes a good post can get around mid-night! But that’s about MY fan-base. It may, or may not work on other fan-pages.

LH:  What’s your experience been with Facebook Ads ? Have you tried ’em out as yet ?

AC:  We did try Facebook ads, but for only 2-3 weeks. Our experience was that the quality of fans wasn’t exactly very rich. So that was a disappointment. But it helped grow our fan-base nevertheless. A good fan-base, upwards of about 10K comes in handy for consumers and investors. In other words, a customer has a sense of faith in knowing that if 10K people trust uRead and have ‘liked’ the brand, he/she can rely on the brand.

LH: I am very curious to know how did the first sale happened at uRead.com ?

AC: Ah! I wasn’t a part of uRead.com when the first sale happened 🙂 But I can tell you how I got introduced to this and bought my first book. I was a journalist when I received a press release announcing uRead’s launch. It was accompanied by a gift certificate worth Rs 300, which I could use to purchase any book of my choice. I used it immediately and shopping experience was very smooth, without any glitches. I thought, here’s a brand which has it’s basics in technology in place! I’m sure you’ll have a similar experience.

LH:  How do you see Timline feature and frictionless sharing making a difference in your Social Media Strategy?

AC: At the outset, I must tell you that I love Facebook Timeline! I’ve already begun seeing the benefits of “frictionless” sharing. To give you an example, posts with standalone photos have good really good interaction levels.

So the change in our social media strategy is at the root of what social media is all about: SHARING. I must ensure that, at all times, my updates on all social media platforms are very share-able, like-able and not necessarily buy-able.

LH: What different strategies is uRead indulged into to track demand on users on uRead. How different and efficient is the method as compared to the competitors in the market?

AC:  I’ve observed some of our competitors and except for the market leader, their generation of demand is largely driven around discounts. I’m extremely worried about this approach.

LH:  How do you tackle the counterattack / refresh zone of strategy ?

AC: It means you’re going in the direction the deal sites have gone. Effectively this means that you’re stooping so low to gain customers, you’re convincing him/her that they will never have to pay a fair price for a book!

Our strategy is driven a bit around being the ‘book specialist’. We recommend good books. Period. And I can do a good job at it, because I’ve surrounded myself with friends whose book recommendations I trust and believe me, I’ve discovered some hidden gems in fiction and non-fiction! I’m an avid reader myself – I read for about 6-8 hours daily, after work. So a brand which gains a reputation of giving of excellent book recommendations, is somewhere that we want to be. It’s still early days, hopefully with time we shall get there, making several adaptations.

LH: Why did you opt for in-house social media? Also, what positives have come out of it for uRead from it?

AC: The first positive is that we saved a LOT of money 🙂 The second positive is that there is nobody pestering us for payments! 🙂 The third positive is that we don’t have sleepless nights about our social media presence at the moment.

Being an e-commerce company where transactions happen online, our customer care is also well-entrenched into our social media. You can tweet to us and our response time is far better, because it’s in-house. An agency SMO executive may need to clarify the appropriate response and make 2-3 calls to his superiors to do the same. Besides, the same executive is not loyal to managing only my brand! He has so much more to do. I’ve worked in an agency myself and was a bit disappointed at the commitment levels. I’m told the scene is similar in most agencies.

LH: How about ‘uRead’ like stuff changing the state of Publishing industry…do we expect to have a book being launched through a Social Media?

AC:  I’m amazed that a lot of young, debutant authors, very active on Facebook and Twitter have successfully marketed and done a sale of their books on social media. I’m appalled that the most well-known publishing houses have made no progress in this regard.

I’ve met the marketing and publicity teams of all the major publishers in the past few months. They have plenty of resources and money, but there is no commitment to spend on social media. Too much talk, no action. For the smaller publishers, the authors have taken centre-stage to promote their books. This is a very healthy sign.

LH: Twitter is the best publishing platform to develop your personal brand or Facebook; what has been your approach?

AC:  Facebook, for now. And our blog. Twitter is more of a customer care outreach tool. But eventually it’s about being social. Too many brands are on Facebook. The phenomenon called ‘Update Blindness’ is a reality, where the consumer is bombarded with so many updates from his friends, fanpages, groups and notifications, that your brand becomes a blind-spot. He misses your update. That’s something to worry about.

LH:  So do you think 4-5 updates a day on page can solve this problem ?

AC:  I doubt, but it depends on what you post about. A brand has to become like your ex-girlfriend whom you miss a little bit. So much so, that every night, you visit your ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page and see what she is up to. 🙂 Social media managers must post compelling content that bring fans to visit the fan page rather than merely see it on their news feed.

LH: Very true, compelling content is something, which is now even more importance with Timelines….as this give a much broader perspective and chance for users to get in touch with their brand…

LH: How do you tests different tactics with your social media readers and have you found new ways to integrate reader input and develop their community further. I mean I personally feel that audiences will get even more involved in the creation of the content they consume in the future…

AC: Good question. And the answer to that, is this ugly truth: TODAY, THERE ARE MORE WRITERS, THAN READERS.

For a plain vanilla bookseller, this is a challenge. But because we have the technology support we can adapt. We will, looking at how things evolve. I cannot create a YouTube kinda model where everyone posts content. That would produce so much crap. We will eventually need to evolve to a publishing platform with relevant filters, appropriate payment gateways and consumer fulfillment.

LH:  I feel that the publishers website needs to become a “social hub” where the authors will be promoted and can execute their own social media marketing. How much do you align yourself to this thought?

AC: The trouble in India, is that the publishers – the major ones – aren’t investing ANYTHING to think or arrive at a model for this. Social media itself is very new to them. I doubt if they’ll make any progress before 2-3 years, which is when physical book sales will slump in India and e-book readers will become quite common. Not as common as mobile phones, but well, let’s see. Interesting times ahead!

LH: Have your authors interviewed on a regular basis and publish the content on internet or their own Social Media pages. My point here is: If Author can pay a heed to people who have bought their books, make lot of sense for people to engage in a community reading…any thoughts on this?

AC: Authors, at the end of the day should be authors. They must write. And write good books, great stories. Community reading, or their social media management, promotions – these must be undertaken by the publisher. Trouble is, an average publisher today produces too many books in a month. Not even 10% of them get the promotion and marketing they deserve.

That’s one reason why uRead now has it’s own publishing setup, titled Fingerprint. http://fingerprintpress.tumblr.com/ The plan is to publish only two books per month and promote them online and offline in an aggressive manner. Being choosy is a good thing.

Closing Notes:

AC: Thank you everyone for making it tonight. Do try out uRead.com sometime. A little note before I close: We Indians rarely express or blog about good companies and our good experiences. We take good experience for granted. We think social media is for complaints and for settling scores with brands. Don’t fall into that trap. I encourage all of you to also share positive experiences with brands. Because somewhere, deep down, the business owner has worked hard and meticulously to ensure he delivers on what he promises, and that you have a good user experience! Cheers, everyone! Goodnight.

http://lighthouseinsights.in/2011/10/arcopol-chaudhri-from-uread-talks-about-in-house-social-media.html

Social Media…what does it take to get noticed – Part 2

Continuing from where we left in 

https://seeingfuture.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/social-media-what-does-it-take-go-get-noticed/

Brand Campaign Integration
It’s possible for a social media program to piggyback off a good brand campaign
implemented by a brand’s agency of record, but it has to be transformed into the more
accessible, cooler younger brother of the formal campaign.

In other words, you don’t want to create a bunch of social media profiles that are over-
branded with your product or logo (and therefore off-putting). But it might make sense
to take your tagline (and the promise that comes with it) and build an audience whose
common interest is achieving that promise.  (It’s much easier to inspire community
around a cause or interest than it is to rely on a community based on an innate shared
interest in perpetuating your brand.)

Social Media…what does it take to get noticed – Part 1

Social Media…every one is invited, but what actually it takes to be and get noticed here?

  • Audience Generation
  • Social Media Listening
  • Community and Social Responsibility
  • Content Coordination
  • Internal community engagement and response
  • Overall Management
  • Customer Service
  • Brand advocacy
  • The humanization of Brands

so much of buzz words…what do they mean, how can we get notice, how my brand can make a difference?

As someone puts it:

Social Media isn’t a speech, it is a conversation…

Let’s see each and every aspect of Social media one by one…

Audience Identification:

If you know who your audience is, You’re already one step ahead of game. The next step is to find out as to how and where they are engaging…and interacting online:

  • What Platform are they using?
  • What are they talking about?
  • Who is popular?
  • What brands have they publicly condemned?
  • What brands have they publicly lauded?
  • What audiences demand particular attention?
Platform development and design
Now, once you are done with identifying your audience and figured out  where you should be connecting them online, its time to start thinking about developing your different profiles or building applications that users can spread throughout their communities.
Remember designing “aesthetically-pleasing” and “cool” are not strategies…

Twitter use for Business

  1. Improve brand awareness
  2. Manage company/blog/business brand
  3. Correct the course of conversation
  4. Unveil a cutting-edge feature
  5. Track consumer feedback
  6. Ability to directly engage with customers one-on-one
  7. Post an inquiry for assistance or referral
  8. Access to industry news and trends
  9. To engage in virtual collective thinking for business growth
  10. To brainstorm business ideas, solve pressing problems
  11. To allows employees to quickly and efficiently address issues
  12. Monitor customer dissatisfaction and quickly rectify the problem
  13. to proactively post useful information and updates to customers
  14. Launching word-of-mouth campaigns
  15. To indicate limited-time offers and broadcast special promotions
  16. send reminders to each other about meetings, contacts, leads etc
  17. Tweet followers about daily details of product development process
  18. Casually interaction with customers
  19. Post questions about products for answers
  20. Conduct surveys and polls