Social Media: What are we doing with it?

(Pulling in this one from my LinkedIn posts)

Search for ‘social media’ on Google returns 2,510,000,000 results in just over half a second – that’s how much is written about social media online – huge – PoVs, thoughts, learnings and so on. Incredible! Overwhelming, in fact!


That’s how big social media today is. When it comes to India, it gets bigger considering that social media in India is still coming together. Though the truth is India has hit social media before it could hit India. That’s how fast it has been. Tremendous, the YoY growth! As per comScore’s ‘Digital India Future in Focus’ report, 86% of Indian web users visit a social networking site with an average user spending 217 minutes on Facebook alone. A whopping 59,642,000 users visited Facebook on their PCs and there was a 28% growth in visits to Facebook YoY.

What Social Media has done is that it has quenched our thirst for the emotional – the need to belong, be heard, be spoken to and appreciated for what we are and what our views are. This in turn has led to creation of Exabytes of data every day. Twitter alone with more than 500 Million tweets a day, has such expansive set of data for whatever a tweet is worth – 140 characters! Marketers too without wanting to be left behind have not left any stone unturned and jumped into every opportunity of getting onto social media, accumulating numbers to the tune of millions of fans, followers and subscribers. In an effort to engage as many users as possible, every minute of the 217 minutes spent by an average user spends on Facebook, more content, data is created. With fan and follower numbers on our side and an ever growing pressure to achieve a ROI at some point of time, somewhere we are losing the battle. And in our eagerness to win each battle we are losing sight of the bigger picture, the bigger opportunity, to win the war!

What do we do? How do we do it? More importantly, how do we do it right? Let me first take you back to Steve Jobs and what he did best. He was of the opinion that market research stops us from being innovative. But if you get closer to what and how exactly he did it, the truth is that Steve Jobs knew the right way to go about researching.

There is this one quote that I like a lot that is talking about this:

“One should never conduct a research study that asks people what they want… First you must spend time understanding and gaining insights into consumers’ existing habits, beliefs, routines and unmet needs.” ~ Bob Gilbreath

Our job at any stage of innovation is to get into the shoes of our customer, understand her life, who she is and look for insights that give us ideas and direction for our products that we could create that would surprise and delight her. And this is exactly what Jobs was best at. He saw early that people were very much interested in using computers but were frustrated at their complexity. Another one – he saw that people loved music but there was obvious difficulty of loading a few dozen songs every time into the early MP3 players.

So, instead of interviews, surveys or focus groups what we need to do is listen. What people think about something, go into their natural environment – go out into Social Media and see what they are already talking about, what is already driving them, what they care about and use these insights to drive our products, our communication. When we understand our customers, we would be able to create products that:

1. are innovative,
2. suit their needs,
3. the ones that they do not think they need
4. Or the ones they are asking for.

Any trends developing will clearly inform us of the opportunity to make the shift. What people are complaining about, what they like or even what your competitors are doing and use it to make the shift.

Recently we saw an obvious nudge coming from the 2 social media giants, Facebook and Twitter towards utilizing the huge amounts of data for actionable insights. Facebook’s data scientists have been sharing insights from the data they hold, especially the one on Valentine’s day ‘The Formation of Love’ amongst others. Twitter on the other hand has opened up its stream of historical data for research institutions through a pilot project called the ‘Twitter Data Grants’. The program aims to change that by connecting research institutions and academics with the data they need.

There is a goldmine out there; it’s a calling! Are we ready?


Choices – let’s not get spoilt though!


This picture adorns my Twitter background ( @ajaxjoshi ). Why? Any guesses? Look at it again, this was clicked by me at the Surajkund Crafts Mela in Feb this year – a shop selling lamps in all available color and combinations. What dilemma if you were to choose and buy 1 or a couple of them. The decision becomes easy if you put these in context/surroundings where you wanna display them – so the point I want to make – when you want to go social, be sure to choose the right platforms and not just jump onto as many as you can or the ones which are the most populated.

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How To Increase Fan Penetration On Facebook

Recently, adding to the frustration of marketers, fan penetration numbers have seen a drop across the board. Fan Penetration is a term we use to indicate the percentage of fans a brand page averagely reaches with its content. Very critical to the success of a brand’s social presence it ultimately hits the ROI. An important Facebook insights, this percentage directly links and is dependent upon the relevancy of posts and content.

Facebook Reach

Lets face it, Facebook is a social networking site and it is primarily for individuals and not business. Moreover, they also need to monetize its business model. And therefore, Facebook have optimized their newsfeed algorithms to display content that users find interesting and engaging to make Facebook better for them (you would have imagined on the contrary).

What Facebook calls as the goal of News Feed is to ‘show people the right content at the right time’ now more than ever have become the goal of all community managers. It has become more important than ever before to look at who and what people are connected to and how they interact with content — such as what they click, share, read or comment.

Content is still the King! – Be sure to think content when your are strategizing for Facebook. Facebook does and will continue to show content from pages that tend to have engaging posts and high CTRs (clicks, likes, comments and shares) and low number of users hiding the page’s posts (low spam).

Keep it relevant and timely!

Set clear expectations (for fans and yourself) – Be sure to post content as per fans’ expectations. If that may not be the case at times (you are running a business right), set clear expectations so there is no surprise or a disconnect. Use descriptors (The ‘About’ right below the profile pic) to your advantage – call out what you have to offer.


Identify and maintain a good posting schedule – Out of sight out of mind – make sure to be on top of your fans mind. Post regularly and consistently. Identify and practice a right balance in what yu could produce as content and that that the fans would consume. In doing so the fan penetration and spam scores provided by Facebook Insights will come most handy. Do not over kill in your enthusiasm to reach out to your fans.

Use Facebook Ads, give your posts the push when required – Ads will provide you the exposure to increase penetration. Make your content creation worthwhile – make it reach your fans with a small push.

Get going and share how you are increasing your page’s fan penetration. Here are a few posts’ types that work well :

  • Ask your fans to caption photos
  • Post sharable photos – especially festival ones
  • Quotes
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Timely and comical photos
  • Ask questions
  • Always, always, provide a ‘Call to Action’

Happy posting!

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Facebook Photos – What types of photos are we posting?

We love posting photos on Facebook. We love showing the world how we see things and what we want them to see. But how much do we know about what people and brands are posting? Superfish recently ran several millions of photos through their visual search platform and came up with some very interesting numbers that tell us a lot about us and the brands we love.

Types of Images Uploaded to Facebook

Tell me what you click, create or capture to post on Facebook. We all are unique but create a flock of similarities. Interesting to note what your views are and how upcoming photo search engines provide us.

#WTF is Social Dynamics – Do We Even Have a Freaking Idea?


Everybody wants to do social. All are driving their brands to social. All rosy to begin with, full of enthusiasm, round the clock dedication, always on top. 6 months and start running after returns. 6 monhs of 50000 fans, whichever comes first – start pushing for monetization – Sell Sell Sell as if your fans are dying to buy your products/services out.

Patience, a virtue, much talked about in school, also in traditional – come social and woosh! Slow and steady wins the race, again studied in school, forgotten on social. We took a year to graduate each class, but on social recruitment to monetization need to be achieved within 1/2 that time. Logical, but never followed, simple and straight – recruit, consolidate and then consolidate and monetize. Social will always give you returns and the magic will happen. But, remember the very important ingredients – commitment, patience and consistency (considering there is domain expertise, objectives and strategy.

How long will we faf and not realize the potential of social. Social dynamics is key and as soon as you get what that is the better for you to tap into its potential. These dynamics will give you clear cut measurables, building to an ROI no one can refute.

In a following post, I will talk about the KPIs that we need to track and we need to build up to them and come good with ROI.

Leaving you with intrigue and hoping to hear your views on social dynamics.

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Social Media Metrics – Amplification Rate

Amplification through (marketing) relationships – 1 thing you sure can’t buy!

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Why Facebook? And Why not Only Likes, Comments and Shares! Is There More?

When Facebook started its first office in India in 2010 its user base was just 8M. Come 2012 and Facebook has grown 8 fold with over 65M users in India – thats 2 years for swelling 8X! Its penetration of population is almost 5.5% and penetration of online population is closing in on the 70% mark.

Big numbers eh! Without dwelling more into numbers and staying afloat with what we already have I am very curious to know how long are we going to talk about numbers ahead of these? We marketers are the first ones to get onto the band wagon and in our enthusiasm and partnering with other entrepreneurial talent get pulled into numbers again. We swear for being ‘social’, ‘creating engagement’ and within no time begin pushing in our messages, products and services. Automatically we are looking for likes, comments, shares, clicks… conversions for talking success.

ROI has always been the hot topic, always raising eyebrows with very few of us who are ready and can tackle questions on it. Numbers will help us right? Right! But how right is right here? Are we looking at conversions the moment the big boss says ‘I have spent so much, what have I gained? More often than not – only numbers showing engagement or some affinity. Lets try to talk about this, makes some sense… lets talk about Facebook with its high user-base in India.

There is always that emotional need that brings us onto a network like Facebook – we can reconnect with our old friends, family and colleagues, we can share our thoughts and beliefs, make new friends, professional connections and so on… one of the biggest – WE NOW HAVE A VOICE THAT CAN BE HEARD. We always wanted to talk, be heard, get applauded, interact and connect… now we have the platforms that let us and satisfy us on the emotional level. We share everything under the sun – well, almost everything. There are huge numbers drawn from small towns – the citizens who have aspirations but could never be heard. Are we seeing this, are we understanding that there is this thick emotional layer which if penetrated can do us wonders.

Another one – we just start off thinking we know it all. DO WE? We are in an age where everything is evolving and hence it is getting complicated by the day. Complexity is a bane and a boon for us marketers – we just need to listen and then crack it. Mere existence and big numbers ain’t enough no more. What we do with what we have defines us and our success. Try a easy 4 step process: LISTEN, CONSUME, REACT/INTERACT and then RETURN to step 1. Simple, well if only we knew that simple is simple if we let it be simple.

1. LISTEN: Cutting to the chase, we need to listen to what our TG is talking about, what moves them, what excites or saddens them, what are their pain points that trouble them… if we listen and not hear we can help them or add value to the satisfied ones. Cut inroads to create consumers and sustain to cross and up sell.

2. CONSUME: Just listening wouldn’t do it, would it? We should draw meaningful insights. Cull out the sentiments, the emotions, the pleasure and the pain – draw meaningful insights that would help us understand what we should do. Once done – we are ready to react/interact!

3. REACT/INTERACT: We should now be ready to talk and engage with our TG. The touch points and the the time to activate them from our listening exercise will help us connect and make the most out of it. This is the opportunity for us to make meaningful interactions and be one with them on their emotional levels. Provide them with what they are looking for – give them only will they would want to take from you the next time… there are high chances that they will be readily accepting and welcoming your communications and with stronger relationships becoming your evangelists to help you in your marketing initiatives.

4. RETURN to step 1: Our efforts should be going in a loop, that corrects, evolves or grows to meet our objectives. Every 3 step process will give us immense learnings that we need to bring back in and start afresh at times and at others capitalize!

We got to be at it! Always in perpetuity. Remember, once on the bandwagon we cant get off… else it is going to be very sore post the exit. So always strategize and plan before you do – well this is another over arching topic that needs several posts.. but yes, the importance is enormous.

Let me know what you think… comment here or reach out @ajaxjoshi

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Facebook Update – To Release a New Audience Targeting Feature

Expect a new audience targeting feature from Facebook next week. Looking at the update from the social networking giant, it looks it will allow advertisers to target users based on their contact information (currently email ids, phone number and UIDs) and will be made available through Power editor in the form of a list. 

Very much similar to how other targeting on Facebook works, with this new feature the advertiser gets the audience size of that matched audience group, like he does when he uses the ‘ads create tool’ currently.  Although the advertiser gets no new information about who sees their campaign and he does not get information from Facebook about which specific contact may have acted on one of his ads. Facebook will not collect any new information from the advertiser about his contacts. 

As per Facebook, this new audience targeting feature will be an effective new tool for advertisers to reach their customers on Facebook and will lead to more relevant ads for people who already have relationships with advertisers.

How are you going to use this new feature? Stay tuned for more from Facebook. Get in touch @ajaxjoshi

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Social Media KPI [Series] [#2]– Quantitative

Here comes the 2nd one in the series. Going on to the next step after you have decided and started measuring for Awareness and Engagement both on the Home Base and the Out Posts – The Digital Touch Points.

It’s not about what you do on your outposts (social community/accelerator networks) but also the touch points that lead your users/followers/consumers to it. The Digital Touch Points!

Digital Touch Points


List down KPIs for all the touch points and get them into your measurement and analysis grid. These with the earlier ones, together will provide tremendous insights. You might have offline also in your outreach program, if so, add them too. How people are interacting with you is what you had covered, now this one lets you know on where they are interacting and if they are hoping on from one to another – and in the process taking the conversations across touch points.

Thoughts? Looking forward to your comments… reach me @ajaxjoshi

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