Social Media Trends for Real Estate in 2017

Over the past few years, social media marketing has been one of the key marketing strategies for leading real estate developers to reach out to their potential buyers. For some developers, over 1/3rd of their sales comes from the digital medium. Advertising your property on social media platforms is a guaranteed way to showcase your property to the real estate investors and increase the possibility of a sale. However, just posting images of your next upcoming project may not be captivating enough. Here are some new trends that real estate developers can leverage upon.

360 Degree Videos & Photos

What if you could give your potential home buyers the luxury of a walkthrough of their new apartment without them leaving their homes? Sounds too good to be true? The latest trend of 360 videos will let you do just that. It is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and show them home buyer what is in store for them if they buy your apartment or villa.

While virtual reality is making an entry in the marketing scene, it is not mainstream yet because of the cost of the VR gears. However, if you are looking for an engaging video, then a 360-degree video is a good starting point. These videos can be created through low-cost tools as well. 

This trend is highly beneficial for real estate for developers to showcase their upcoming projects. Apart from the 360 videos, developers can also use 360-degree photos to showcase an immersive 360-degree experience. Both the 360 video and photo produce more engagement and message retention than regular videos or photos.

Casa Grande, one of India’s leading real estate developers, have used this marketing strategy to connect with their potential customers. For the launch of one of their projects in ECR, Chennai, they used 360 videos to exhibit to the potential clients what is in store for the project.

360 videos to showcase your brand

Growing importance of interactive ads

With organic reach on Facebook almost dead, brands are using focused advertising to reach their potential audience on Social Media. While the regular lead generation and website conversion ads are a great way to reach your target audience, it is also important to engage with the potential audience to understand them to improve the quality of your leads. A good way to do this is by using interactive ads. Interactive ads are the next generation of ads, which has taken social media marketing by storm. These ads increase the engagement by interacting with potential customers. A typical example of an interactive ad are the Facebook live polls hosted by companies to produce user-generated data to study what the customers are interested in buying. For example, a real estate developer can put up a poll on Facebook to check if their clients prefer sea-facing apartments or pool-facing apartments. This will give them a rough insight of what their customers want and can even use this data in pricing their property.

If you are looking at the next level of interactive advertising, try out M-Canvas ads, a mobile-only advertising service with very interactive and engaging ad formats. They are unlike any other format available on social media. They are highly interactive and uses a mix of images, video, and carousel to create a memorable and stunning visual experience on mobile. Moreover, these ads allow you to interact within the publisher i.e while you are reading your news article on the same page you can interact with the ad, rather than going to a different page. Once you click, the ads expand and give your further information and ensure the viewer interacts with the ad to take the next steps.

It is one of the best ways to showcase real estate products. For example, if your end goal is for your customer to enquire about the project, you can show a sneak preview of the project’s interiors with Call to Action that prompts viewers to take the next step. An audience who’s interested enough to swipe all the way through your ad is likely willing to click through to your website and make the enquiry. These canvas ads are a new concept that is catching up, and we see it as a trend that is here to stay.

Micro-Targeting

Micro-targeting is a marketing strategy of using consumer data and demographics to identify the interests of specific individuals and then influence their action of making a purchase. If a property is for sale on OMR in Chennai or in Whitefield in Bangalore or BKC in Mumbai, with three bedrooms, three baths and is close to the IT corridor, then it is most likely to be bought by a working professional in his 30s with a family of two kids. With the help of micro-targeting, real estate developers can reach out to their target audience by specifying the demographics and the geography of the potential customer on Facebook. You can even target users around the world whose hometown matches the city where the project is. Hence, their ads are displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.

Growth of regional content and regional ads

Hindi Content has been growing faster than English content, and this is likely to increase even further in 2017. This is not only the case for content but also advertising. if you looking to reach a wider audience, especially in the tier II and III cities, then using regional content is a must. Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.

For example, Aryan Housing, one of the leading real estate developers based out of Mumbai, ran a campaign of ads in Marathi to connect with their local audience and received a phenomenal response.
Aryan - MarathiUnderstand this trend, Google has also recently started ads and keyword targeting in Indian languages to widen their reach.

Adwords
Integrating Offline and Online marketing

While the majority of the first time home buyers are researching online, they make the end decision of buying the property offline only. So for a real estate company, integrated offline and online marketing efforts is highly essential. While it is important to run ads and get leads, it is also important to understand that consumers do not make purchase decisions based on a single ad or message alone.  Potential buyers gather all their information from various channels and this data gathered through several stages of the buying process are the building blocks of sales.

If you have a potential lead from an online ad and your sales team is following up with them, it is important to also reach out that potential lead online as well. You could use automated email or drip email to reach them until they actually make the purchase. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria. Let’s say that a customer has visited property website and shown interest by coming for a site visit, digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties. Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase in click-through rate via trustworthy emails.

“Across the funnel” marketing

Advertising across social media platforms is all about building your brand and making it a household name for people to connect to and rely on. In “Across the Funnel” marketing, real estate developers build their brand names through four essential steps. They initially start the process by running engaging campaigns on social media, which explain their products and attract potential buyers. Then, they work towards increasing traffic to their websites and drive site visits and enquiries through their conversion data. Lastly, they customise their audience by eradicating cold leads and focus on customers who have actively shown interest in their marketing campaigns.  With Facebook’s Brand Reach & Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.

All of these social media marketing strategies are currently trending in 2017 and are here to stay! Which of these techniques will you be adopting in your social media marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below. Content marketing blogs to follow.

In the meantime, go through our complete guide for digital marketing for real estate.

This article was originally published in Realty Plus Magazine. 

 

Social Beat turns 4

Four years of sugar, spice and everything nice has made Social Beat what it is today and as we step into our 5th year, we would like to thank each and every team member for their significant contribution to our growth and success.

Its been a phenomenal year – right from turning Google Premier Partners to being invited for the Facebook India SME Council, from visiting San Francisco for the Global Google Partner Summit to running digital marketing workshops across the country, from organising our first Digital Leadership Summit to opening our Bangalore & Mumbai offices, from winning awards to releasing our Industry Digital Marketing Report.

Of course, all of this wouldn’t have been possible without our team and our existing and new clients. So thank you once again. Together, we learn, we grow, and we make it beat 🙂

Continue reading about us on the Social Beat internal blog.

David Appasamy to head Brand & Strategy at Social Beat

Social Beat is delighted to bring on board David Appasamy to head Brand and Strategy for the company. He will be working closely with the core team to achieve the company’s vision of being amongst the top 10 digital agencies in India by 2018.

Speaking on the appointment, Co-Founder Suneil Chawla said, “We not only share the same Alma Mater, IIM Ahmedabad, but also a shared vision of leveraging the digital medium to deliver business results to the brands and companies we work with. We look forward to David driving strategy and growth along with a focus on key client acquisition”. David comes with over 35 years in companies like ITC Ltd, Mudra DDB and Sify Technologies covering Business Strategy, Brand & Marketing Management, Digital Marketing and Audience Engagement.

Talking about his new role, David stated, “The Internet, and what it represents for companies as a medium for business and marketing, has always been my passion. I am delighted to be part of a start-up that is firmly established and recognised, and excited to focus on growth strategies and the Social Beat brand as a Digital Marketing specialist.”

Co-Founder, Vikas Chawla said “We see David playing a key role in mentoring the core team that the company has built over the last 4 years. As we move towards the next phase of growth, nurturing talent and expanding across the country and globally is going to be key. We are delighted to have David be part of this journey.”

In the past, David has served on the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) advising the UN Secretary General on Internet Governance in 2010 and 2011. He was Co-Chair, International Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force on Internet & Telecoms Infrastructure & Services from 2006 to 2011. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the IIM Ahmedabad Chennai Chapter focusing on making it a vibrant, inclusive and rewarding experience for alumni members. David is also involved in multiple social activities including Roofs for the Roofless and the Appasamy Trust focused on self-employment and education.

About Social Beat

Founded in 2012, Social Beat is South India’s leading digital agency which helps companies build their brand and get business results via the digital medium.

Social Beat is a certified Google Partner and a trusted online expert with offices in Chennai & Bangalore. The 40 member team offers integrated digital marketing solutions including website development, app development, user experience consulting, social media marketing, content marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, digital advertising & influencer marketing. Social Beat has two digital products – the first is an influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in and the around user-generated content called Rewardify.

With focus verticals of real estate, e-commerce, healthcare & B2B, they have over 100 clients including Citibank, Saint Gobain, Murugappa Group, Akbar Travels, Sterling Holidays, PN Gadgil, Musafir.com, Casa Grande, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Hospitals, Sterling Holidays, Chain, Olympia Group, Raintree Hotels, Forum Mall, India Home Health Care, Sulekha.com, Cambridge English & JVC Headphones amongst others.

In recognition of its excellent performance and contribution to the field of digital marketing, Social Beat’s co-founder Suneil Chawla was awarded the Best Digital Marketing Professional by CMO Council 2014 and the Outstanding Digital Person Of the Year award at the Digital Marketing Conclave & Awards 2014 conducted by Think Media Inc and VIT University Business School.

Website: https://www.socialbeat.in/

Media Contact: Vikas Chawla, team@socialbeat.in / 044-42065648

Top 10 live chat softwares for your website

Live Chat is an efficient communication medium for proactively engaging customers and converting them into leads. This can be done at ease with the help of well trained agents using some of the many Live Chat tools avalable. However, deciding which one to pick be a bit confusing. Hence, we have put together a list of the 10 best live chat softwares for your website that can help boost sales and service your customers.

Before we go into the details and the USPs of each of the live chat softwares available, here’s a quick comparison of the features these platforms have to offer and their pricing:

Top live chat options Social Beat

 

SNAP ENGAGE

USP: Social Discovery to help better understand the customer

Facebook ,Twitter and LinkedIn icons are bound with the chat option and if the agent feels that he/she can connect with the potential customer through social networking sites the customer can give a friend request or follow the customer directly from the chat area. This feature is called as ‘social discovery’, which is a unique feature and it also helps the agent to know about the customers better and further chats can be made more customisable. The details of the customers can be seen only after accepting the chat requests. Apart fom this, Snap Engage also allows the agents to remotely control the user’s browser and help them navigate to the right pages quickly. Also, tthere are blogs written in their website which helps the agent to enhance his/her skill to be a star agent. Unlimited access to sites is provided by Snap Engage. CRM and help desk can be integrated.

PRICING

The basic price is $60 in which 4 agents can be employed.

ZOPIM

USP: Competitive Pricing

Zopim is an affordable, easy to use Live Chat option. When you engage with a customer, a separate pop up doesn’t appear on the screen for every customer, instead all the windows and controls are integrated with the dash board they offer, unlike many other chat options. Automated chats are possible so that you can reach out to customers, before they complete their conversation. Integrating with Zen Desk can help in multi-channel support like emails and social media. Chat history is available by which it becomes easy for the agent to know the customer.

PRICING

Free version is available and the basic version costs for $11 (single agent) per month.

OLARK

USP: Customizable GUI 

The customisable graphical user interface GUI makes Olark stand out from the rest. When it is Christmas time, it gets updated to the Christmas theme. Every celebration can be more fun with the GUI it offers. The logo of the organisation can also be incorporated in the paid versions of Olark. After every chat, rating can be given for the chat from which instant feedback of the conversation through live chat can be noted. Another noteworthy component of Olark is ‘savethecart’ feature by which the agent can know what is the product that is stored in the cart and based upon this the chat can be done and targeting becomes easy.

PRICING

The basic version costs $15 (single agent) whereas the free version limits in the number of chats.

VELARO CHAT

USP: Geo targeting and content targeting

The geographical location of the website visitor can be tracked along with the content what they are looking for so that even the greeting by the agent can be of the language which the viewer  follows which gives a personal connect to the user and the user is more likely to buy the product. Keeping track of the content can also help in product that can be promoted through chat as a follow up.  Unlimited access to sites and can be managed centrally. There are three versions like other chats that include basic business, smart business and enterprise Omni.

PRICING

The basic price is $29.95 and free version is available with limited features

OGG CHAT

USP: Integration with G-talk and Instant Messenger

Ogg Chat can be integrated with G-Talk and Instant messenger. Separate desired departments can be created and operators can be added to the chat. Every operator can include a schedule chart to keep a track on the pending schedule. Some data are available that can be used to analyse like brief chat history but however real time monitoring of the viewers, usage of canned messages is a considerable setback.

PRICING

The basic version of the product costs $9.95 and all plans include a 14-day free trial

LIVE HELP NOW

USP: Real time translation

Internationalisation is possible as it offers real time translation feature. Languages are translated instantly which makes it easy to use in non-English speaking nations. The admin interface isn’t much cluttered. It is a simple, user friendly admin which the consumer may like to use. Prioritising the mails become easy with the email management system that is offered. All the information about the clients can be viewed in one click, but a separate window opens up every time which may be tough to view for a series of clients.

PRICING

A 30 day free trial is available with constraints and the basic version of LiveHelpNow chat costs $21 per month

KAYAKO

USP: Quick response through the Mobile application

Users find the mobile application very useful as the agents can respond to the queries from any place. However, the user interface doesn’t support any other language other than English which is seen as a drawback. Live Chat tickets can be administered through e-mail. Service Level Agreements are complex when compared to other chat options. Kayako allows the user to create a macro which enables automatic response to some of the basic and repeated queries as it reduces the response time of the agent.

PRICING: The basic version of the Kayako Live Chat costs $24 and three versions of Kayako are called as Case, Fusion and Engage

CASENGO

USP: Ease of file sharing

Casengo has one inbox for all the chats, emails and social media posts. The cloud based application allows the responders to post their answers in a quicker phase than other options. The customers of online retailers and other small businesses have the response in a very fast time period.  Most of the live chats, attachments can be sent only through downloadable links, where as the file itself can be sent as an attachment, however sending multiple attachments is not an easy task using Casengo.

PRICING:

The basic version costs $9.65 (9Euros), Free version can be used in which enables only the chat option

COMM100LIVECHAT

USP: Guaranteed 100 percent uptime

Comm100livechat, as the name suggests this live chat claims to produce 100 percent uptime. A typing indicator allows agents to see what their customers are typing before they submit their message. With ‘MaximumOn’ technology, the software also ensures that your live chat program runs continuously without interruptions, despite failures at both server and data center levels. Chats can also be extended onto mobile platforms; including on iOS and Android devices.A drag-and-drop file transfer feature allows agents to share a file that provides all the requested information. However, no real time translation is available and no co-browsing option is available.

PRICING

The basic version of the live chat costs $29 and there are different versions based on the Shared Server and dedicated Server

WEBSITE ALIVE CHAT

USP: An all in one live chat with email integration

If your business is a small firm and is looking for a one stop solution that integrates e-mail with your live chat options, website live chat can serve your business. It supports till 20 multiple chats with quick tabs to enable swift performance.  The user interface helps to edit the interface without coding. Internal operator chat that helps to interact internally when a query hard to manage by an agent can be used to clear his doubts.

PRICING

The basic version of the live chat costs $20 and there are different versions available with different pricing.

 

How to sell across multiple E-Commerce marketplaces

As the growing digital population is all set to rock India’s economy and business landscape, it has become vital for businesses to go online as well. A budding entrepreneur who is looking at selling his products online can create his own e-commerce website or sell products on other online marketplaces such as Flipkart, eBay, Amazon, etc.

After registering with these online marketplaces that allow you to sell products for a commission, managing different dashboards, stock list & inventories becomes difficult. In order to simplify the online selling process, tools have been developed to integrate all of these into one single dashboard.

Tools like Browntape, ecomdash, boostmysale, etc provide one common dashboard to manage all your orders and inventories across e-commerce platforms. Let’s take a look at what each of these softwares have to offer:

Selling across multiple ecommerce marketplaces in India

If Indian market is your main business focus, the below mentioned tools are some of the key players in providing inventory and order management solutions:

1. Unicommerce

Unicommerce, recently acquired by Snapdeal has an inventory management software for e-commerce, integrated with some of the world’s leading online marketplaces and cart solutions.

It helps in complete order fulfillment life-cycle through real-time maintenance of inventory, orders and shipping process. One can also view key metrics and insights with respect to sales and performance using a single dashboard.

2. Browntape

Browntape lets you sell your products across 8 platforms which includes eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Rediff Shopping, Tradus, Naaptol, shopclues, etc.

It provides a centralised inventory management system that keeps track of the stocks and orders that come in on a real-time basis. One can also print out the shipping labels and send out automated emails to the customer about purchase order status.

Browntape

3. Boost My Sale

This easy to use e-commerce solutions provider integrates inventories, sales and other management factors in one single window. It not only streamlines and automates the processes but also provides insights on scaling up your business and visibility. With real-time inventory and sales figures, Boost My Sale helps in quick decision making and growing the business without having to worry about everyday challenges in sales & supply chain management.

Boost My Sale

Selling across multiple ecommerce marketplaces globally

Businesses that operate on a large scale and have tie-ups with global online marketplaces can make use of these tools for hassle-free sales and operations:

4. Ecomdash

ecomdash is yet another inventory management & order fulfillment software for multi-channel e-commerce sellers. It provides a single view of all e-commerce operations using a single dashboard. Sales, shipping & inventory management is all automated and also lets us monitor sales & supply chain through effective data management.

5. Orderhive

Orderhive is a multichannel order & inventory management system that is integrated with leading marketplaces and businesses. It cuts down on the additional infrastructure and maintenance cost for online sellers through its simplified back-end process management. It also provides customised offerings to suit your business needs, in terms of having a dedicated server (such as Bluehost) and managing it efficiently.

6. Seller Active

It’s a cloud based inventory management application that consolidates and processes orders from multiple marketplaces. It removes the clutter out of multichannel selling and gives real-time updates on competitor’s pricing as well. It also analyses shipping rates and gets the most cost-efficient rates from leading delivery companies to process the orders.

Online selling across various marketplaces means having to oversee and manage different channels and processes. As and when the business grows in terms of more online marketplaces and product orders, resorting to such tools & solutions providers becomes inevitable. They greatly help in streamlining processes, reducing the infrastructure cost and provide great insights, which might otherwise go unnoticed in a daily tracking routine.

Do try out the trial versions or subscribe for the above mentioned tools for your business and share your experience with us in the ‘Comments’ section. And in case we have missed out on other important channel & inventory management tools, do write to us.

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

 

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2015 for E-Commerce Startups

Importance of Granular Targeting in Social Media

For e-commerce companies, social media is a critical channel for driving sales. While Google and the display network is an effective medium to reach the target audience, social media networks, especially Facebook are being used to target the right consumers having relevant interests. While it’s important to engage with the audience within Facebook, we have found it to be more effective to drive traffic via Facebook Ads directly to the website or landing page and track results there.

For example, Planet Superheroes, which is into Superhero Merchandise has used FB to segment users who like specific superheroes and are online spenders in India. So superman t-shirt ads are targeted to users who like Superman and fit into the age & location demographic relevant to the brand. This level of granular targeting is possible only in social media. Moreover, organic posts are not enough anymore owing to the recent policy changes for Facebook Pages. This means advertising on Facebook and other channels becomes essential. With the advanced features of Facebook companies can even target their existing customers, friends of their customers and even audiences having similar interests and demographics to their existing customers.

Most importantly, the return on investment is measurable to the last rupee using analytics and conversion tracking tools. This also makes digital marketing more transparent in constantly improving the cost of acquisition for ecommerce brands.

Other Social Media Platforms that e-commerce companies can leverage

Social Media has been crucial to the brand building of e-commerce companies. Not just Facebook but even Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have enabled even smaller startups find a niche in the crowded e-commerce space. The younger generation is more inclined to using Instagram and Whatsapp and brands are starting to experiment with these networks depending on their target segment. Even usage of pinterest and professional network, Linkedin have grown remarkable and depending on the audience being targetted, different ecommerce companies are using different channels. An interesting case in scenario is Cherrytin, a premium e-gifting destination which has used Instagram & youtube to showcase the premiumness and fun identify of the brand and thereby driving sales in the long run.

 

We see Whatsapp, Instagram and YouTube playing a pivotal role in the growth of ecommerce brands as the younger generation is adapting to these platforms even faster than they adapted Facebook.

Increased focus on Conversion Rate Optimisation

With tools like Zarget, CrazyEgg and even Google Analytics allowing data points to help improve sales, revenue and conversions, this is going to be a focus area for every ecommerce company.

Infographic – The AAP Donation Campaign

AAP Donation campaign

The Aam Aadmi Party’s Donation drive has always been in the news for all the right reasons – it’s focus on clean money, complete transparency in the process and the use of innovative means and effective social media campaigns to raise funds (an excellent example of this being Arvind Kejriwal’s recent tweet for cash which raised more than Rs. 80 lakh in 24 hours after the tweet).

In this Infographic, we analyze the AAP donation campaign – the average donation per donor, the donations received and the candidates receiving the highest donations.

Have you donated to the Aam Aadmi Party?

Infographic: Indian National Congress on Twitter

Indian National Congress on Twitter Indian National Congress on Twitter

In the last in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by the Indian National Congress party.

Just in case you missed our earlier two infographics in the series, you can read the one on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here and the other on Arvind Kejriwal‘s Twitter campaign here.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.

 

Infographic – Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter

Arvind Kejriwal img-responsive center-block

In the second in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi CM and the head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Just in case you missed it, you can read the first Infographic on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here.

Watch this space for our next infographic on how the Indian National Congess is faring on this social platform, in the run up to the elections.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.

Indian Elections 2014 & the Obama Campaign

 

Analysis - Narendra Modi's Presence on Twitter
Narendra Modi’s Presence on Twitter

In the first in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on and effective use of Twitter by Narendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for the 2014 Indian Elections.

Narendra Modi has been using Digital Media very actively and so have other leading politicians, including Arvind Kejriwal. Has the 2014 election campaign replicated the methods used by Barack Obama during the US elections? The BJP and Narendra Modi have definitely taken a cue, while most Congress leaders have stayed away. Here’s a comparison of the 2 US elections in 2008 and 2012 with Indian Elections 2014.

2008 US Election and Comparison with BJP vs. Congress

Barack Obama vs. John McCain is equivalent to BJP vs Congress. While Barack Obama pushed the boundaries of political campaigning online, from raising online contributions to active tweeting, his opponent, John McCain was hardly online. This is very similar to the Indian context, where multiple BJP leaders have built a strong presence and following online – specially Narendra Modi with 12 Million fans on Facebook, while the Congress has by-and-large stayed away, with Rahul Gandhi only having 125,000 Facebook fans.

2012 US Election

In the 2012 US election, Barack Obama was up against Mitt Romney. While Romney did spend approx. $5M online, Obama spent over $47 Million on his digital campaign.

One of the key components to the Obama’s digital campaign was his website barackobama.com, a ‘social network’ where volunteers could sign up, enroll their friends and neighbors and help increase the virality of Obama’s digital campaign.

AAP has taken a leaf out of this and launched https://donate.aamaadmiparty.org , where anyone can contribute to the party with amounts as low as Rs. 1. Similarly, the Volunteer section on the website promotes signups to its volunteer program.

Is the presence of Politicians in Social Media helpful? 

The active online presence of politicians and involvement of citizens helps democracy by initiating discussions and debates and helping citizens vote for the best candidate.

Further, this opens the platform to more active democracy, where elected representatives are more accountable to the voters. We have seen social media make businesses more accountable – the day is not far when social media also makes our politicians more accountable.

Watch this space for our next two infographics on the Twitter presence of Arvind Kejriwal and the Indian National Congress.

Infographic on FB presence of Indian CMs

 

 

Facebook Presence of Indian Chief Ministers Facebook Presence of Indian Chief Ministers

Indian Politicians have taken note of Social Media and many have actively initiated engagement on Facebook. We analysed the presence of all the current Chief Ministers of India and analysed the extent of their Facebook presence. The infographic shows the Facebook presence for each CM.

The most popular CM on Facebook is Narendra Modi, with over 11 Million likes. Arvind Kejriwal has 4.7 Million likes, while Rahul Gandhi has a relatively low presence with only 120K likes. Closer home, Tamilnadu CM J Jayalalitha has 33,000 likes. Global leaders like Barack Obama have over 39 Million Likes, showcasing the impact of Social Media in US Politics.

Digital Marketing Trends for India in 2014

There is no magic wand to predict what 2014 will bring for us. There will definitely be innovations in digital marketing and communication. Predicting trends is a fun exercise nevertheless and here is our take on key trends we can expect to witness in the new year.

Political Parties will invest significantly in Social Media

With the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the emergence of the AAM Aadmi Party, we can expect significant investment of time and marketing spends on social media. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi is already one of the most popular Twitter celebrities with over 30 Lakh Followers and newly elected Delhi CM Arvind  Kejriwal has nearly 10 Lakh followers. The action in the online political space is bound to heat up.

Social Media for Narendra Modi Social Media for Narendra Modi in 2014

10 Lakh Twitter followers for Arvind Kejriwal

2014 to be the year of the Mobile Web

Mobile Commerce has long-held promise in India, but looks like 2014 will be the year when the promise turns into reality. Large ecommerce websites like MakeMytrip, Flipkart and Myntra are seeing ~15%-20% of the transactions coming through mobile already. If you run a business, it’s the right time to think through a mobile strategy (just building an app won’t do!) and ensure that your customers can transact with you through their mobiles.

Social Media on Mobile in Chennai Mobile Phones has opened up many sectors for innovation

Improved User Experiences

In a bid to optimize websites for search engines, many websites had poor user experiences. With refined tastes of the Indian consumers, we are seeing even decade only businesses like Makemytrip.com go in for a fresh and lean User Experience. 2014 will see increased usage of tools like A/B Testing of the website, Heatmaps and consumer studies to get the User Experience right.

Social Media moves from Push to Talk

Social Media Communication Chennai Two-way Communication on Social Media

Many businesses have been using social media like a TV Channel. The story has been – keep pushing messages and spending on Advertisements to get your voice heard. Going forward, brands will need to create content which engages in conversations with users – else, brands can except to get lost in the sea of content being produced online.

Clear ROI on Digital Investments

Many Brands started investing seriously in digital marketing only in 2013. In 2014, brands will expect to see clear ROI for the digital investments. We can expect granular tracking of what’s working and what hasn’t, with a shift to online channels which have a higher ROI.

Would be great to hear from you on which trends you agree with and disagree with – please share your thoughts in the comments.

Seminar on Social Media by IFCCI

The Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s southern chapter organized a seminar on “Social Networks – Find a new and profitable way to enhance your brand equity, consumer loyalty and your sales” today at The Leela Palace, Chennai.

Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat and Alexandre Dorso, the Production Manager of KRDS conducted the seminar and moderated the panel discussion which had interesting insights and facts on various Social Media platforms.

Infographic on Digital Marketing by Jewelers in India

Indian Jewellers are known to build an emotional connect with consumers. With the emergence of e-retailers for jewellery like BluestoneCaratlane, offline jewellers have taken notice of the online potential and have been quickly ramping up their efforts to connect with the online consumer. Highly personalised jewellery stores like Gehna in Chennai now provide high quality experience to customers to discover unique jewellery designs or even let them customise their jewelery. In the infographic, we look at the efforts being made by some of the larger jewellers on the social media strategy.

Infographic-Jewelers-India-Digital-Marketing-514x1024

In the next infographic, we shall cover in detail, the leading jewellers in South India and Chennai, and the best practices in their social media strategy.

Infographic on Digital Marketing in Real Estate

Buying a home and talking about real estate prices is a popular topic over coffee. The Real Estate Industry in India, and Chennai in particular, is growing rapidly with new developments in the heart of the city and many suburbs becoming a part of the city. Developers and Aggregators provide a lot of information online to increase awareness of their new projects and help us make the right purchase decision. The above infographic provides information on the digital and social media activities of Indian Real Estate Developers, with a special focus on Chennai.

Digital-Social-Media-for-Real-Estate-Chenna-India-Infographic-419x1024

As the infographic points out, almost 49% of the companies are not leveraging the digital media to boost their business and hence loosing out a huge opportunity to leverage their offline business.

Some of the developers covered include Prestige Developers, Vijay Shanthi, BBCL, Ceebros and Akshaya. Watch out for the next infographic in the Real Estate Space, which will cover best practices in online media by Global Real Estate companies. You can also read our complete guide for digital marketing for real estate for more information.

Re-hiring Retirees: Social Beat Advisor Jagdish gets featured in Small Medium Entrepreneur Magazine

Social Beat Advisor Jagdish featured in Small Business Entrepreneur Magazine

 

Our advisor, Jagdish Chawla was recently featured in the Small Medium Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find the full interview below and can read the article on Entrepreneur India here.

Do you think it is a good idea for retired individuals to go for second employment in start up firms

Startups are usually started by young enterprising individuals. Having senior advisors and mentors will ensure that the young team can leverage their experience and pursue faster and profitable growth.

Since start ups generally face a talent crunch, do you think retired individuals with their age and experience can help in serving the firm on their advisory board or provide valuable mentorship/training?

Absolutely. Experienced professionals have seen a lot of business cycles and have worked with people with different personality types and motivation. Bringing such experience to a startup can only be helpful.

Do you think it is viable to encourage such post retirement opportunities, keeping in mind that India is mushrooming with start ups?

A platform to connect Advisors/Mentors with such young startups would be very useful. There are angel investors and startup communities, but none for retirees.

Do you think there is any downside towards hiring ex-servicemen?

None I can think of. Its a win-win situation for both.

Research shows that there is a wide mismatch, a “generation gap” between the brains behind a start up firm and an ex-serviceman? Have you faced any such notable hindrances? If yes, have you to managed to overcome them and still be an active member of the firm?

Opportunities today are much higher than say 20 years ago. This has meant that youngsters are a lot more ambitious. While growth is critical, young startups should also focus on business fundamentals and cash flow management.

In what measure have you provided growth opportunities to the start up firm and helped it in its foundation days?

End of the day its the founding team which does all the work. As advisors, we can provide a good sounding board for key decisions

Bidding Farewell to Abhishek with 140 Pani Puri’s

Social Beat Chennai: Abhishek Farewell

To bid farewell to Abhishek, who was at Social Beat for a 2 month internship, the team went for a Pani Puri competition, thanks to Abhishek’s inspiration whose earlier record is 85 pani puri’s. So, 6 of us crowded around the pani puri wala at Gangothree on RK Salai, Chennai. Ofcourse, no surprises that Abhishek won the competition with 35 pani puris, with a total of 140 puris being consumed by the entire team. Gangothree was visibly happy 🙂

On a more serious note, Abhishek played an integral role in many initiatives including the Social Media Survey. Quoting Abhishek “The past 2 months has allowed me to grow immensely as an individual as well as a professional. The realities of the business world is immensely different from the classroom learnings. It was the first thing I learnt here while working for our clients. The immense exposure that i received in the course of 2 months involved direct client pitches, closing contracts, managing accounts for existing clients, delivering results for clients, participating in networking events; you name it and I have done it. Social Beat has shown me the result oriented approach for its clients.”

Abhishek wanted to share his experience with the Social Beat team “The whole team worked and bonded together as one big family, whether it was parties or outings, every moment was special and memorable. And how can i forget the farewell party that ended with the awesome Paani-poori competition and I would be humble enough to mention myself as the winner :). I can say I could have never dreamt of a better internship. When I look back now, I wish the summers would not have ended.”

Social Beat is glad to have had Abhishek over and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

Pure offline business adopting the internet

Offline and Online : Getting the mix right Offline and Online : Getting the mix right

The recent Havell’s advertisement “Havaa Badlegi” aptly sums up many of the changes we are seeing in Indian Businesses today. Entire industries are beginning to get disrupted by technology and innovation. While businesses have been doing things the same way for decades, the drastic changes in the landscape, both globally and in India, have prompted many senior executives to relook at their digital strategy. While some industries have already seen massive changes in the last 5 years, for some industries, the next 5 years are going to be even more impactful.

Sectors where we have seen significant impact already

Offline Retailers: Offline Book retailers have been one of the first casualties of the ecommerce space. With a standardised product and ease of shipping, ecommece players have undercut book prices to take away a large chunk of the book market. Similarly, mobiles and small gadget sales are growing significantly online. Apart from sales, pre-purchase research online now plays a decisive role, where one recent survey showed over 80% of urban consumers now look up for research online prior to buying a mobile. Window shopping at stores and then going online to buy has prompted many large players in the US to shut shop. We haven’t seen a similar impact in India as yet, but this shift from offline to online is irreversible.

Travel Booking: Travel booking for nearly all segments – flights, trains, buses, taxis and now even Autos in some cities, have seen significant market share being taken by online players. While holiday booking has some strong online players (e.g. SOTC, Thomas Cook and regional players like Raj Travels), online travel companies are now going aggressively after the holiday market. Expect more people to book their holiday packages online in the near future. As per a report by the IAMAI, over 80% of online commerce is travel related, reaching Rs.15000 Crores in 2012 and growing at a staggering 40% annually.

Recruitment / Hiring: Technology has changed the way someone searches for a job. From mass market sites like Naukri to Linkedin and Referring friends for jobs on Facebook, technology disrupted the way the 1990’s head hunter worked. The HR agencies adopted to add value on top of these platforms instead of taking them head on, ensuring profitable growth. Due to the smart repositioning by off-line players, Online portals account for only 3% of the $250M market, while still playing a critical role in the ecosystem.

Upcoming sectors where technology will drive change

Education: Elearning has been a buzz word for a while, but there have been no large education companies which have nailed learning in India. Schools have changes, with smart blackboards, digital media lessons and online report cards, but the fundamental way of teaching and learning has not really shifted. On the other hand, globally, there are companies really breaking out. Successful examples include Coursera which allows anyone to take a virtual class from the best universities in the world on a wide range of topics to Codecademy, where one can learn computer programming. These global companies are seeing traction, even from Indian consumers. Some Indian players like Sikkim Manipal University have started initiatives like the EMBA course. It won’t be too long before innovations in elearning change the way we learn.

Healthcare: Hospitals and Doctors in India are being swamped by the number of patients. While the leading hospitals and chains have invested a lot in technology, seamless connect with the patients pre-treatment and post-care is missing. New initiatives like booking a doctor appointment online to storage of reports on the cloud are seeing traction amongst the more adaptable medical organisations. Read our Healthcare Digital Marketing Case Study.

In our upcoming blogs, we shall discuss more about the options you have in your industry to adapt and lead the digital revolution.

SEO for Indian website: What is it going to take?

With paid advertising getting more expensive by the day, SEO is a critical part of any digital media plan. Not many businesses in India are doing a good job at SEO, which leaves an opportunity for young businesses to capitalise on the growing digital market. So, where does one start? Below are the key aspects of SEO of executing an SEO plan.

SEO in Chennai

1. Pre-work to SEO: The first step is to analyse competition and where one stands relative to them. Importantly, one needs to finalise the target keywords by combining data on (a) focus areas for the business and (b) intensity of competition for those keywords. Google Adwords Keyword Tool it the best way to research relevant keywords. It’s a good practise to place some paid ads to test the effectiveness of the keywords. Tools like SEOMOZ are also useful in assessing competition and their strategy.

2: On-page SEO: Once the keywords are finalised, the website needs to be made as informative as possible for the consumer and for search engines. For the search engine, the critical factors are

  • Appropriate Title Tags
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Internal Links and site structure
  • Valid Sitemap
  • Error free website (no 404 errors)

Search engines value what consumers value – which is, relevant and original content. Professional reviews or reviews from consumers, blogs, articles, case studies will add significant value to a website.

3. Off-page SEO: Given the intense competition, on page SEO is usually not enough to start ranking high. Especially in India, some sectors, such as ecommerce, have seen a lot of off page link building. A link is considered a “vote” by google, about a websites popularity. While it’s easy to go for “paid links”, the path is very tricky and businesses deploying such strategies have been severely penalised by google in the past. Building links from high quality sources (relevant blogs, mass media, consumer blogs and social media) is a much more viable and long term strategy. Finally, For local businesses, it critical to rank high on Google Places. More about that in a future column.

No discussion on SEO is complete without understanding how search engines rank websites. The key factors they look at are:

  • Relevance: How relevant is your page to the search query? Are the search terms part of your page title and page content?
  • Popularity: Have you got links from other websites for the content related to the search term? What’s the ranking of such sites?
  • Recency: How recently was your content posted? Is it old material which needs to be refreshed or is it up-to-date relevant material?

SEO continues to be a excellent customer acquisition channel and any business investing in it will see returns in 3-6 months, depending on the competition in the category.

Designing effective online ads with images

 

Design effective online ads through clear images

 

It is getting increasingly expensive to advertise online in India, across sectors, including ecommerce, healthcare, education and entertainment. Prices have gone up for PPC and PPM across Google, Facebook and channels such as retargeting. It has become imperative now to optimise the ads to increase effectiveness and make the most of our marketing budget. How do we do that? Simple. Images decide over 80% of the ads effectiveness. Below are 6 of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your online ads through images:

 

1. Keep the image simple and clean: Focus on one aspect in the image, which is obvious even when the image size is very small. Acknowledge that the customer is not on a particular page to view your advertisement. Your image needs to be clear to stand out and attract a click.

 

2.  Communicate the USP of your brand: Pick your image based on the USP of your business. Are you showcasing the most desired brands or are you showcasing your unique products or services? Ensure that the image you pick showcases this USP. If you retail a brand people love, ensure that it’s prominently called out in the Image. If it’s unique products that you represent, ensure that the image clearly establishes that in the users mind.

 

3. Show images with a model: Your product may be great, but for the customer, she is looking at how it fits into her life. Bring it alive for her by showcasing your product on or with a model wherever possible. Images with models have a significantly higher click through rate.

 

4. Call out a sale or deal: We Indians love to bargain and in the online world, that’s substituted with a deal. Highlight the best deal you are running, with a % off sign.

 

5. Stand apart from the interface: Any communication needs to breakthrough through the clutter. Ensure that your image and copy stand out from the rest of the ads and the environment where it’s being showed. For example, if you are advertising on Facebook, ensure that the image does not have a white background as it will blend into the Facebook interface.

 

6. Test, Test, Test: Finally, there is no easy answer to optimising your advertisement. Test different type of images and copies on different target segments and track which ones give you the highest conversion rates for clicks and transactions.

 

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