Tag Archives: strategy

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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The Power of Referrals

Creating and using a strong referral system is a very effective marketing strategy. Every business should take advantage of it.

One of my earlier posts highlighted The Power of Social Media, significantly showing why social media needs to be a part of your social media strategy. Business owners will you about the return on investment (ROI). What they are simply asking you is ‘How much will we make today?”  A better way to measure the effectiveness is to measure the non-financial KPIs. One of them, we will be talking about in this post is the Centers of Influence (COI).

COIs are the people in the community that generate sales for your business through referrals. At times they are your customers. Then at times, some are members of your target market who influence their peers, some who operate complimentary businesses and share their customers.  They are typically well connected with the  ability to generate large volumes of business for your company by referral — and they’re online.

So, the next time you communicate about social networks to business owners, explain them the referral opportunity they represent:

Facebook – the largest referral network
If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world. It has over 500 million users. An average user creates 90 pages of original content each month and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. This social network is the best place for consumers to share brand-related experiences with their friends and family.

Twitter – the loudest referral network
Though Twitter is not as big in size but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in volume. *180 million unique users access Twitter each month and the 10 billionth tweet was posted in March 2010. With over *110 active users, Twitter is the first place that it’s users go to praise or complain about brands. *More than 6 million searches happen on Twitter each day. Twitter’s search makes it easy for companies to find and respond to all brand-related conversations on the site.

LinkedIn – the largest B-to-B referral network
LinkedIn has more than 60 million worldwide users with about half of its users outside the US.  ** It has executives from all Fortune 500 companies and every second a new member joins LinkedIn. It attracts and connects business professionals, business owners, sales people and corporate decision makers — making it one of the best resources for fostering COI relationships.

Each of your customers on  social network is likely to have many friends and acquaintances who fit your “target customer” profile. You’ll be amazed at how social media will be a big help in growing your business. Referrals are valued by social network users as a credible alternative to time-consuming research. Referrals are valued by business owners because they result in more sales over the long haul and a shorter sales cycle.

Social networks are the most affordable and powerful resources for identifying COIs, monitoring the perception of your brand, and placing your brand high among the ‘add to cart set’ when prospects are ready to buy.  Social networks are good marketing tools — and they are good business if you use them to be.

The goal of an effective social media program is to attract, gather and nurture these COIs and customer relationships that will generate ongoing referrals, increased awareness and future sales.

* Statistics from Twitter and Chirp Conference
** Statistics from LinkedIn Press Centre and SysComm International

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