4 Tips To Integrate Social Media For Live Events

Brands/Businesses conduct events with an end goal in mind. Charity & institutional brands would want to raise funds for a specific cause or movement. Conferences/Summits/Conclaves want participants to network and learn, in turn spreading a vision which is believed by a brand. And then there are launch, sporting, or gaming events which brands want people to remember, delivering recognition for talent.

Social media has become an essential part of events and has transcended into a real-time platform to showcase the happenings of an event and build awareness for the brand.

The following are 4 key essential tips that can be followed while providing live social media news feeds for an event:

1. Promoting The Hashtag: Create a unique/synonymous hashtag that can be treated as a signature for your posts, during the event. Use this hashtag in your creative and posts, as a method for your audience to engage with you and other audience throughout the duration/phase of the event. For example: The 2015 edition of the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz which was promoted with the hashtag #MKQ2015, present in every news feed or conversation that happened during the event.

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The launch of The Madras Song also stirred up conversations in platforms like Twitter where we trended hashtags like #TheMadrasSongs & #Madras375, which helped us spread the word and prompted people to share the video.

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2. Make Your Feeds Entertaining & Engaging: One should make sure that the social media news feeds are catchy, informative, carry the essence of the event and have a strong call-to-action aspect embedded in the post. During the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz, we asked interesting questions inspired by the questions put forth by the quiz-master on the dais.

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3. Informing People About What They Are Missing Out On: Giving a glimpse about the happenings of the event is vital. It helps your audience to experience the event even if they are not physically present in the venue. We covered the outdoor activities which took place at the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz, showcasing enthusiastic students who clicked pictures at a photo booth which was placed outside the auditorium.

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We were also able to engage with a huge cluster of audience through live feeds at the Global Alumni Meet of Don Bosco, held at Egmore, Chennai.

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4. Follow Conversations & Engage With Audience Even After The Event:  Live social media news feeds generate a high influx of conversations. A live feed helps create a buzz at the event, prompting the crowd to engage in a conversation.  It is very important that these conversations are tracked and addressed. Continuing the conversations with the audience even after the event will build credibility and will boost engagements in the forthcoming events. Our posts for Murugappa, during the Aircel Chennai Open 2015 built conversations that lasted even after the event’s closure.

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In a dilemma to integrate social media for your events? We highly recommend that you do!

Social Media Trends from Ernst & Young: What has changed in 2014?

India is a significant market for social media giants. We have 100m+ users on Facebook and over 33 million users on Twitter. Mobile web penetration has also been one of the main contributors in the active social media usage. Almost 84% of the 100 million users on Facebook access it through their mobile phones. Keeping all of the above mentioned facts in consideration, it is fair to conclude that the reach on social media is exponentially huge and for brands to tap on this opportunity would result in a vital growth for their businesses

Ernst & Young have released the second edition of the Social Media Marketing Trends in India. They collated data based on the insights shared by top brands in India that are social-media savvy. The previous Ernst & Young study was centered on how brands explored social media to build communities online & sustain engagement. This time, the key focus was on understanding how far have the brands come in the digital space and also the social media maturity levels with respect to the processes and policies, technology and governance across organizations in India.

Let’s have a look at what has changed since 2013!
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(Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)

  1. Reputation Management, Thought Leadership & Recruitment have been added to the objectives to achieve alongside community building & brand engagement on social media.
  2. Facebook continues to be the predominant social media platform for engagement. Google+ and LinkedIn evolved as social media platforms to reach out to professionals across the country (highly relevant for B2B industries). Apart from these two platforms, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest have also emerged as highly engaging & crucial platforms to spawn conversations with the TG.
  3. Brands have become observant of the frequency of updates on social media channels & response time from the audiences. Most of the top social media savvy brands in India engage with their fans once a day through multiple platforms. The point worth noting here is that the average response time is 1-5 hours per engagement.
  4. The study indicates that with the popularity and expanding reach of social media, around 90 per cent of Indian brands plan on dedicating 15% of their annual marketing spends to social media.
  5. The top 3 challenges have been narrowed down to not being able to successfully measure effectiveness of social media engagements, and creating/curating content & sustaining or increasing engagement rates.

Graph3   (Image Courtesy – Ernst & Young)

The study also highlighted that brands across various industries have realized the implication of tapping on social media channels and understood its peculiar demands.

How do brands in India function digitally?

  1. Most of the Indian brands have their social media strategy & content aligned to meet their business goals. However, there are brands that have their social media strategy in place but do not have it linked to any specific goal.
  2. Many companies have an internal team dedicated for curating social media content & strategy whereas there are few which outsource them from agencies. Mostly Indian brands work on a hybrid model where the internal core team is supplemented by social media agencies & consultants. However, when it comes to the execution part of a social media campaign/strategy the brands turn to social media agencies which run the campaign online.
  3. Market trends and Customer Insights are the key drivers for the brands to formulate their strategies for social media.
  4. Brands are looking at a 360 degree marketing approach and are including social media as a key channel for deploying campaigns along with traditional channels.
  5. Mobile app development is an area that is being explored aggressively since it adds another advertising medium in the bag. Considering that a lot of users access social media channels through their smartphones & tablets, mobile advertising will emerge as a crucial channel for marketing.

How do brands measure success on social media?

  1.  Engagement level, traffic growth rate & social media reach will be the main metrics to measure the success of social media campaigns deployed by the brands.
  2. It is important for brands to tie their social media efforts with their business goals and these goals are measured by the conversions, leads, ROI & sales.
  3. Radian6 and Meltwater emerged as the most popular tools to measure the brand sentiment.
  4. Most of the brands focus on listening to the customers instead of bombarding them with information. And this resulted in companies paying more attention to what their customers had to say about their brand.
  5. Understanding customer perception of the brands, effective monitoring of the brand sentiment, efficient handling of customer queries and better customer insights are some of the benefits that the brands have secured by integrating social media marketing with social listening.

What’s the next big thing?

The study also states that Social CRM, Social Commerce & Gamification will be the future for the brands to explore and harness their growth on.

The full Ernst & Young report on Social Media Marketing Trends in India can be found here.

 

Influencer Marketing–Final nail in coffin for traditional marketing?

Voice of the Brand or Customers?

Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.

Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising

Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:

  • 79 percent say influencers are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions
  • 73 percent say influencers have large online communities focused on specific topics
  • 62 percent say influencers have a significant share of voice on a given subject

In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).

With the explosive growth of social media, the process explained above happens digitally. The influencers talk about your brand on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or on their blogs, which impacts the purchase decision of their followers.

How do you get to know if he/she is the “right influencer”?

Who knows, he might be! Okay, so a brand wants to engage with influencers to talk about the brand and their product / offerings. But, who to connect with? It can be quite tempting for a brand to connect and partner with an influencer with large number of followers but is “number of followers” the right metric?

Brand Influencer selection is very important step for a brand before jumping in. This has to be dealt with in 2 steps:

1.  Qualitative Filtering

The first step is Qualitative Filtering that allows you to filter out the “Social media influencers” who cannot be “Your Brand Influencer” no matter how many followers they have. The parameters to be considered here are:

  • Content Relevance & Quality – Look at the domain of the influencer and whether the domain matches your brands requirements and the quality of the content being churned out is right for your brand to be associated with. Example- A sports blogger cannot be the right influencer for a packaged food brand)
  • Audience Relevance & Quality – The followers of the influencer might or might not be the audience you are looking out for. Example- If you are a lifestyle brand, targeting a premium audience, then it would pay to target influencers with a similar audience following.

2.      Quantitative Selection

Once you have a shortlist of Influencers you can associate with, comes the next step of finalizing the list of Influencers you would like to reach out to. This can be done based on the following formula:

Influencer Influence = Audience Reach*Audience adhesiveness*Quality Score

Audience reach: calculated by the no. of followers

Quality score: a relative scale of 1-10 for the expertise & credibility of the brand

Audience adhesiveness: Engagement with his audience; can be based on the number of retweets, likes and replies over the period of last 2 months

This approach can provide you a decent shortlist to kick-start the influencer marketing efforts for brand-building and lead generation. There are umpteen case studies that showcase how brands have been able to amplify their marketing efforts. Most importantly, it has not been the case only with the medium/smaller brands but the bigger brands too, are laying focus on influencer partnerships.

Miss Malini makes Cadbury ‘Glow’- a case study!

When Cadbury Glow was launched in India by Mondelez International, it turned to social media influencers to create buzz around the offering. It roped in Miss Malini and other Twitter Influencers to talk about Cadbury Glow, its special features like personalization with notes, songs, photos or videos. For example- Miss Malini’s friend did a video of her and uploaded on Cadbury website. The link was then shared and tweeted by Miss Malini.

Start building influencer relationships before need them – it’s a coin with 2 heads!

Building relationship with influencers and leveraging them, works on a foundation of quality offerings and superior customer experience. In cases of mismatch between expectations and offerings, social media easily amplifies negative sentiments about your brand. This not only puts your brand at stake, but also marginalizes the credibility of the influencers associated. It is possible for some brands that at this point you may not require influencer marketing. But, as the proverb goes – you don’t dig a well when you are thirsty. Drawing an analogy, this is the time to build a strong influencer network. Moreover, influencer partnerships act as a validator for your own content marketing campaigns. So you see it’s not a zero-sum game. One of the few ones that give you a win-win hand! Whether this rings the death bells for traditional marketing, only time will, tell but what’s for sure is that marketing shall never be the same again.

References:

  1. http://tribalmedia.co.uk/blog/2015-online-influencer-trends/
  2. http://www.augure.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Influencers-marketing-Report-2014-Augure.pdf

 

Facebook announces product ads for ecommerce

Facebook has announced that they will shortly be introducing product ads, wherein advertisers can showcase and promote multiple products and even entire product catalogs through ads on the social network. This seems to be great news for advertisers, especially for ecommerce companies as this will enable more products to be shown to a wider audience.

 

Facebook Product Ads
Image Courtesy – Facebook for Business

 

Quoting from the announcement,

“Product ads can be customized for use throughout the customer journey, from discovery/awareness through purchase. Here are some options:

Advertisers can automatically reach people who visited their website/app (via Custom Audiences), or reach people based on specific interests, locations, etc.

Advertisers can curate ads as they see fit. For instance, they can highlight products that were viewed on their website/mobile app or showcase best selling products. Or they can create a multi-product ad that highlights the different benefits of a single product.”

Advertisers can upload entire product catalogs and then use advanced Facebook Ads targeting techniques to reach the right customers who would be interested in those products.

We can’t wait to try out this new feature and share our experience on the results acheived. Do share your experience with it as well.

Content Marketing helps startups connect – Social Beat featured in the Economic Times

For Spidey fans a trivia which says Andrew Garfield admitted to shedding tears the first time he wore the Spiderman costume shooting for The Amazing Spiderman, could be priceless. And for a startup that sells super hero merchandise, this exclusive trivia on their interactive blog could mean serious business. Stories told through videos and blogs are taking the place of advertisements for several startups that are using content to engage with customers.

“Every industry has a story to tell, if they look hard enough. And people continue to love interesting narrative,” said Lakshmanan Narayan, founder of Chennai-based Unmetric, a social media intelligence platform whose company has been serving clients like Toyota, American Airlines and Lowe’s. Most startups working in the online space find content-based marketing or content marketing as a medium to connect to the customer and prefer it over direct marketing. Without pitching brands directly, content marketing looks at generating relevant content that educates and creates awareness among customers.

“Content marketing allows us to engage the customers better by sharing information that is useful for them,” said Rishi Khaithan, cofounder of BuildMyEvent, a Mumbai-based platform, which connects its customers to venues for their events. It also provides platforms for its vendors to connect with the customers via their blog instead of individual marketing.

“Startups don’t have the money to compete with the big names,” said Vikas Chawla of Social Beat, a Chennai-based digital agency delivering social media marketing and ecommerce consulting. “They have to do things in a different way either around the product or around content. Content marketing helps them to do that.”

“People get sick of ads,” says Pradeep Rajadas of Sociall.in, a Chennai-based social media marketing company . “Diversity keeps you engaged. So you have to start spinning stories to which customers can connect to and through which you can promote your brand,” he added. Sociall has developed and marketed content for city-based real estate companies, focusing on the lifestyle, neighbourhood, appreciation of land and so on. The company has also produced content around “investment opportunities” in technology productivity hacks from tech, ROI from your latest smartphone purchase and so on for a gadget retailer.

This article was originally published in the Economic times

 

Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Entrepreneurs

As part of our in-house knowledge sessions we have created a slideshare on the basics of Search Engine Optimisation from the perspective of entrepreneurs. It include insights on creating content for users, site speed, creating good quality links as well as influencer marketing & blogger engagement.

We have also added our insights on how to track the results & ROI of your SEO & Content Marketing efforts.

You may also be interested in reading our earlier blog posts on How not to do Search Engine Optimisation & 10 Free Apps for SEO, Productivity & Social Media.

Workshop conducted on Digital Marketing for Startups in India

Recently, I conducted a workshop on Digital Marketing for Startups in India as part of the Weekend Ventures #StartupLounge. The workshop focused on the digital marketing methods that can help startups in building their brand & in getting results (in terms of app downloads, ecommerce sales or lead generation).

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