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Social Media for the Uninitiated – I

“What is social media?” It is a question we often come across from friends, associates and mostly, prospective clients. The minute we mention names like Facebook and Twitter, most faces light up in recognition. However, even then, a majority of people do not understand what our scope of work is, or in the case of potential clients, they wonder how a page on Facebook or an account on Twitter can help their business.

We don’t blame them since the media (print and electronic, that is) has just about started talking about social media and the impact it has been making. For most people (read businesses), an account on Facebook is for youngsters who have nothing better to do. Having been in this business for over a year, and having made a difference to our clients’ businesses, it’s time we delved into the ‘whats’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of social media, once again. (No, we don’t get tired of doing this!)

Let’s start with something simple. Traditional businesses believe in keeping things under wraps. They like it quiet, and they love keeping ‘secrets’. But the ‘secret’ ingredient of Gen Y marketing is to SHARE. Share information, knowledge, news, tips, whatever there is to share and that will bring you one step closer to your client. Getting under the skin of your brand is just not enough. Look beyond selling; think bonding. And the best way to bond with your client is to get on to the same platform as him—reach him via social media. The mantra is to ‘Become Accessible!’ Clients love brands which are accessible.

According to the leading business daily, The Economic Times, Indian consumers use social media to convey grievances.

So if you are not on the network, how do you address these grievances? The complaints will largely remain unattended, and you will soon find your business going out to other companies (which are most likely to be social media savvy)!

It is high time businesses took social media seriously. Your online presence does not begin and end with a website. If you are a small business, how do you let people know you exist? If you are a large one, how do you convey that you are within reach? Start networking!

However, social media is not just about getting a page ready and inviting people to become fans or followers. Social media is 24/7. You have to be active round the clock and constantly stay in touch with your fan base. Answer questions, give people titbits to chew on, keep interactions alive, bond with your “fans”—do anything to stay top-of-the-mind. Clichéd but true; THINK OUT OF THE BOX!

We will leave you with this interesting video on the revolution called Social Media. 

Tell us what you think! Meanwhile, keep checking this space, because there is a lot more gyaan on Social Media coming up right here!

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Why should businesses ‘do’ social media? Answers to your FAQs

As an ardent believer in the powers of social media, I have always upheld its importance as a novel tool for businesses in marketing, branding, customer relations and lead generation. Time and again, in my interaction with clients and peers, I have been asked to validate my stand. Here are the major queries I get and their answers, in a lighter vein:

Pic courtesy: americanhell.com

Q. Does my company/non-profit/brand need a social media presence?
A. Is your company/non-profit/brand relevant to others? [The client’s answer is often ‘Of course’ in an ‘Are you crazy?’ kind-of tone.] Then of course, you need a social media presence.

Q. So shall we just jump right in?
A. Hold it! Get your top management to sit down and discuss your social media goals, just as you would for any other major decision you may make. Once you have your goals in place, draw up a social media strategy. Get expert assistance if needed.

Q. Facebooking and Tweeting are simple! Why do I need a dedicated person/consultant for the job?
A. Because half-hearted attempts show up easily on social media. You don’t want the wrong kind of ‘viral’ effect, right? You are dealing with actual people–customers, influencers, critics, competition–on social media; and you need time, effort, consistency and clarity to build up a social media presence that suits your corporate profile/brand. It’s not enough that you care about your brand/product/clients/channel partner, you need to show that you care.

community.brandrepublic.com

Q. OK, so what else do I need to know?
A. In addition to establishing your brand on social media, you need to track social media metrics. This involves both the engagements that have taken place on your sites/pages (like your FB page, blog, etc) as well as what people are talking about you elsewhere, away from your official pages. Is the predominant sentiment positive/negative? How is your brand being perceived? You can use premium tools from Radian6, ScoutLabs, etc for this or your social media consultant can track it for a fee.

Q. We are an old-fashioned company, operating on traditional values. Will a Facebook presence dilute/trivialise our essence? Will we have to develop a more youthful image to fit in?
A.Your customers and channel partners love you for who you are; you do not need a makeover in order to fit into the social media sphere. You may need to engage younger clients with specific content/activity geared to their likings, of course but that does not necessarily translate into rehashing your corporate identity. Look at social media as a place where people can connect to the soul of your business and you, in turn, get your message across in a more direct, interactive and consummate manner than ever before.

Want to know more? Mail me at sumithomas@dropcapmedia.com.

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Twitter’s upcoming embeddable tweet feature is hot!

This surely is exciting news from the Twitter fold. Twitter’s media blog reveals that it is launching a great new feature by which you can embed tweet-quotes into blog posts. Earlier, journalists and bloggers worked around this issue by copy-pasting or taking a screenshot of the relevant tweet. Like this, for instance.


sarasumi 

RT @krupali: The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people.-Theodore Roosevelt33 minutes ago via TweetDeck

(This is copy-pasted from Twitter while the one below is an example of a screenshot.)

With Twitter’s new feature, which it promises is very simple, tweets can easily be integrated into blog posts and online articles. Great news for journalists! Even better for corporate houses who use social media to connect with their customers. The possibilities are endless for building entire blog posts around your crisp 140-character tweets or embedding catchy tweet-quotes on any other online platform.

Eagerly awaiting the launch announcement! DropCap gives Twitter the thumbs-up for always being relevant to users and for innovating user-friendly features.

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