Top Social and Digital trends for 2014

2014 Digital Trends

2014 Digital Trends

2013 has been an aggressive, fast paced, innovative and a year of Collaboration! 2014 seems to be taking a cue from it and moving on a rapid path of exciting Enterprise Social Media; Cloud, and mobility. Talking about the various trends which we may see in 2014; here is my list of few trends which we may see in coming year!

Content Marketing: 
2014 set to see a major revamp in the way marketing is done.

Brands need to act more as publishers; grabbing the attention of customers will become more and more tricky and good content for sure is going to be one way of doing so… This communication should educate consumer about the brand, and its strategy. Today consumer interacts online with brand, they read the content, they read articles, content that appeals to them, which educates brands on the type of content that is relevant and important to their prospects. These insights can provide valuable input for brands to device their strategy and communication!

The Data...and it's Big Data

We have data, and then we have huge data…and now we have BIG DATA! Lots of news around this, and this for sure will continue to exist for major part of 2014.It is estimated that the volume of data produced is expected to be ~44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. Phew! That’s massive…. Let’s understand why this is important: First thing to realize is: From where this data is coming? This data is coming from? Data that we are talking about is from all corners, be it customer feedback, the way they interact with your product / services; what your competitors are doing, how are the y doing; and where you stand in all this… This is huge data, and with this come problems of doing a comprehensive analysis of customer preferences, transaction backgrounds, online interactions; analysis of competitor moves, and their strategy etc. Data Analytic, and various tools which are provided in the field, are there to stay and in fact will continue to improve! Data will be analyzed by marketers and use the insights from big data to measure and impact customer engagement, customer retention and loyalty, and marketing optimization/performance.

Images: We Love we love Instagram!

We all love to communicate, and primarily the mode of communication has been words…but 2014 will be a change…2014 will witness communication happening around Images… It’s a fact that posts with images get more responses, likes, comments and shares. Users surely want to communicate by showing rather than telling. The 140 characters; will face a bigger challenge from images…and hence I feel images are going to rule; and rule in big sense!

Crowsourcing: The Social way

Crowdsourcing is an exercise or a practice, by which you can obtain a service, content, or an idea by reaching out to large group of contributors, rather than individuals or employers… is one such example; crowdsourcing is less expansive and more focused. Let’s see how ‘Porsche’ utilized the crowdsourcing:


I don’t know about you, but I for sure am not in a position to afford a Porsche anytime soon. The company also Understand this and think similar for about a significant percentage of their fans.

So here’s an idea, why don’t you let them help design the ultimate fan car? Well; they did come up with this brilliant idea of crowdsourcing this deal!

“The campaign started on Feb. 4 with Porsche asking “the best expert panel in the world: our fans” to choose an exterior color. The post resulted in nearly 16,000 likes and 1,200 comments, with Aquablue Metallic winning the most fan support.

Similarly there are other campaigns which ran around the crowdsourcing; which is sure to get a huge hit in 2014…

We will continue to explore further trends in our next post…

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.

How to generate word of mouth lead

The Four-Step Plan for Word-of-Mouth Lead Generation

“Here’s the big news,” writes Andy Sernovitz in the book Social BOOM! “It’s not social MEDIA. It’s SOCIAL media. It’s about real people and the conversations they have.” In other words, a presence at online networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn isn’t enough. To generate word-of-mouth leads, you’ll also need excellent social skills—and here’s how to go on the charm offensive:

Be interesting. Do you tell friends about dull companies, products or advertisements? Do you arrange introductions for people who bore you silly? Of course not. According to Sernovitz, there’s a good way to gauge your word-of-mouth potential. Simply ask: Would anyone tell a friend about this?

Make it easy. Word-of-mouth relies on a simple message—a single, memorable line that people are likely to repeat when describing your product or service. “Anything longer than a sentence is too much,” he says. “It’ll get forgotten or mangled.”

Make people happy. Customers who love your company will enthusiastically share their experiences with friends. “You will get more word of mouth from making people happy than anything else you could possibly do,” he notes.

Earn trust and respect. No one will risk her own reputation by recommending a company with a reputation for iffy business practices. But when you’re known for treating customers, partners and employees with great care, referrals become a no-brainer.

The Po!nt: Like it or not, word-of-mouth marketing is a popularity contest. And you’ll win when you get people can’t resist you, your product or service and your integrity.

SourceSocial BOOM!

Your company’s blog…it Sucks? It does not have to…

Some brilliant insights from Mark Schaefer, directionally all of these are good recommendations based on facts. If 71% of buyers from the 2011 buyer report from Buyersphere reference blogs as part of the first stage of buying, then it might be a good idea to have one. I talked to few small and big names who have been in to this business from past many years…and this is what they have to say:

1. Our buyers don’t use social media and alike: Well with over 750 Million people on facebook, there just might be some of your customers there. Maybe Facebook isn’t the right place for your industry, but LinkedIn is north of 200 million, so there might be a couple of buyers there for you to engage and build relationships with.

2. I don’t have time: If your competitors using social media, you better get time out from your busy schedule…How do they have the time? I guess they make the time, you should too.

3. We don’t have that much content: Really? Talk to your own CEO, talk to your customer, have their pain points and the mitigations on your blog, how about placing the call which that customer made yesterday evening, when your products did a wow for him…As marketers and product folks we are writing all the time, but if you don’t have content – ask others in your business. Who? People in development, support, professional services or must be having many smart people working for you…

Lighthouse Insights – Wednesday Conversation with Arcopol from

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 – – 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 ?

AC: Ah! I wasn’t a part of 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. 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 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.

Social Media…what does it take to get noticed – Part 3

All rightie…here I am with 3rd part of this series…
For a recap please visit:

Content Creation & Coordination:

More than just a catchy tagline, the Social media program should have an overall voice, tone, and consistent message to communicate your product.

“…all too often businesses create profiles for their CEOs and then assign a minion to update the content.”

It depends. Both b2b and b2c brands need to establish specific people in their company as experts and empowered representatives, and
give them room to share their insights and personalities. Who doesn’t prefer a real person to a corporation? But beware: all too often businesses create profiles for their CEOs and then assign a minion to update the content. This almost always fails—not only is an intern ill-equipped to speak from the perspective of the CEO, but it reeks of inauthenticity.

Your PR agency likely has the writing skills essential for a meaningful social media presence. But do they understand the need for regular content and engagement? And the difference between old-school PR (push out the message to a known network of 
media connections) and social media relationships (let people come to you by connecting with the community, speaking to their needs and offering good content)? This is the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing, the latter of which is 
rapidly becoming obsolete.

Social media done right builds valuable relationships with clients or consumers. Done poorly, it’s irrelevant. Worse, an overly-promotional, inconsistent, or ill-managed presence can do real damage to your hard-won reputation.




Related articles

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

Continuing from where we left in

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…

Why Your Influencers Matter Now More Than Ever

Influencer Marketing is the most important new approach to marketing in a decade for those professionals trying to influence decision-making.

Influencer Marketing is the most important new approach to marketing in a decade for those professionals at the leading edge of purchasing decision making. It shows that key decision makers in all major markets operate within communities of influencers- because major decisions are too complex and risky to taken in isolation. As mass media impact wanes so the role of influencers grows – marketers need to know why and how to use this knowledge. The impact of blogs, wikis and other social media is that they enable new influencers to emerge, and disperse traditional sources of influence. Large and smallbusinesses worldwide pour billions of pounds each year into influencing what they think are their influencers.

Influencer marketing is closely related to the relentless rise and success of word of mouth (WOM) and relationship marketing, and is now established as one of the armoury of new techniques professionals must use.

After reading the book – Influencer Marketing: Who really influences your customers?, here by I am to present some of the secrets behind WOM…