It is the Internet era where people consider Google to be the universal encyclopedia that has answers for every query under the sun. As much as users love browsing information, interactive platforms like Quora have made their way through the plethora of information available online. For the past decade, users have embraced Quora for the concept that common people can share their thoughts as answers. It has emerged as a powerful tool that brings like-minds together on common grounds for knowledge sharing. It has also grown as one of the best platforms to amplify your content and ads.
Recently, Quora has introduced three new targeting options for ads that advertisers can utilise to enhance customer engagement, with an interested and valued audience. Here are the three new features added to Quora.
Advertisers can customise their Display Ads to a relevant audience depending on their history of content consumption. Targeting is based on the keyword search, or related questions read previously. Say, for example, let the keyword be ‘baby food chart’. If users search or read questions regarding baby food or nutrition, then Quora narrows down the target audience and displays your ads in their feed and question pages. Advertisers can target audiences who have typed in the keyword in their search or read related questions in the past 20 days. This feature enables advertisers to focus on the interested audience, thereby improving the number of leads.
Gender targeting paves the way for more specific targeting of ads. If your product is women-centric, like cosmetics, then you can opt to display your ads in the Quora accounts of women. Similarly, for products relating only to men, the same principle applies. You will be able to find this option under the demographic category in the ‘Ads Manager’ search box. This streamlines your ad spends on targeting the right users who are potential customers.
If your ad pertains to any software that is useful for a particular browser, you can choose to target customers with respect to the browser that they are using. This is an add-on to the existing feature, in which Quora targets the users depending on the mobile and device usage.
It is always exciting to experiment on different ad platforms. Now is the time to leverage the interactive Q&A platform of Quora with the new features introduced for targeted customer engagement. Implement these latest strategies to accelerate lead generation through Quora and reap maximum benefits.
With the advent of technology and social media, a consumer’s journey to make a purchase has become very complex. Consumers can now easily discover new brands on various social media platforms and are researching multiple brands, choosing to compare the pricing/offers before making a final decision. This new consumer decision journey has given rise to a highly evolved and aware consumer.
So, how can brands modify the marketing funnel to engage with this new digital-age consumer? The full-funnel approach is one of the most significant aspects of a marketing strategy as this helps brands convert the prospective audience into customers. This can be done on digital platforms by showcasing relevant messaging to the target audiences, moving them along the funnel from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Consideration’ and finally ‘Conversion’.
Most marketers, however, tend to focus on the bottom-of-the-funnel directly and optimise all digital campaigns to drive consumer action. However, this could lead to increased cost per acquisitions and lower conversion rates. While performance-based campaigns are key as these drive business results, it would not be an optimal strategy to focus on these alone as consumers need to be aware of the brand and build an affinity towards the same before making a purchase or enquiring.
With the shift from traditional to digital, it is also essential that a brand adapts their marketing funnel with a digital-first marketing strategy. This approach implies that it is essential for the brand to have a mobile-first approach for all digital assets in order to reach and engage with potential customers. Brands should leverage Accelerated Mobile Pages to improve the speed of landing pages and interactive ad formats to ensure the best experience for consumers.
In the first stage, the focus should be on creating awareness of the brand and its legacy. It is considered a good idea to leverage short videos in this stage to engage with potential buyers. Brands should also look at highlighting the benefits for the consumer by showcasing how the product or service can help them and resolve a pain point.
The top-of-the-funnel should be looked at as a process of casting a wider net to reach potential consumers. The users at this stage might not be familiar with the brand and only be cold prospects. Using the full-funnel marketing strategy, brands could push consumers towards the next stage of the marketing funnel.
Brands could explore various options like masthead on YouTube or Reach & Frequency campaigns on Facebook/Instagram to drive the high-impact reach for the brand’s top of the funnel strategy. One other interesting option could be to explore vernacular videos for brand awareness depending on the brand’s target audience. With the launch of Jio, smartphones and data plans have become quite affordable, leading to increased consumption of vernacular content. In the current scenario, brands should look to adopt a multi-lingual marketing strategy to tap into the next billion users.
YouTube: Bumper Ad, Masthead, TrueView For Reach are the best ad inventories to explore using YouTube.
Facebook/Instagram: Reach & Frequency Campaigns and Brand-Awareness are instrumental in ad inventories to explore using Facebook/Instagram.
The metrics to track go as Cost Per Thousand Impressions and Cost Per Video View.
Keep In Mind: As brands, avoid using product-specific/sales material in this stage of the funnel.
Users who engage with the brand’s top-of-the-funnel activity will have to familiarise themselves with the brand through more details about the product/service via relevant content. It is recommended to leverage the power of thumb-stopping content to re-engage with these users. Brands should share more context about the product/service so that consumers could consider engaging with them and finally making the purchase. The middle of the funnel should be looked at as a broad set of interested audiences who are not customers yet but are strongly considering the particular brand.
At this stage, the key focus should be on showcasing educational content in order to build trust and consideration for the brand. Case studies, Blog posts, White Papers, Ebooks, etc. are simple yet very effective tools for the brand’s middle of the funnel strategy. On Facebook, brands could explore Instant Experience ads which can help nurture intent and further drive engagement.
YouTube: Bearing Ad Inventory in mind, Trueview In-Stream Ad is typically explored on YouTube.
Facebook: In terms of Ad Inventory for Facebook, the way to go is through Traffic, Engagement, and Video Views.
To track metrics, CPC, Ad Recall and Landing Page Views are taken into account.
Keep In Mind: Alongside sharing educational content, brands should start positioning their product/service at this stage.
Once users are aware and have developed consideration for the brand, it is time to drive action with focused creatives and clear Call-To-Actions. At this stage, the consumer is already aware of the brand and is in a ready-to-buy frame of mind. With the right communication strategy, the users can easily convert into customers from a prospect lead. The focus here is to make the final pitch and keep it straight forward with the brand’s product/service details and pricing. Some potential buyers might require the extra push in the form of a time-bound offers/discounted prices to make the final decision. In the last state of the funnel, brands should highlight why consumers should opt for their product/service instead of their competitor’s as part of the content strategy. It might also be interesting to segment different audience types based on demographics/behaviour and show customers highly personalised content in this stage to drive the conversion.
By following a full-funnel, approach brands should be able to generate high-quality leads as the users have gone through the entire customer journey of awareness and consideration before purchasing or enquiring from the brand. This is especially important in industries such as Real Estate where the purchase cycle is relatively long, and consumers are continually researching options.
YouTube: TrueView For Action is often explored bearing YouTube Ad Inventory in mind.
Facebook: The best Ad Inventory to explore using Facebook is Lead Gen/Website Conversion.
CPL is typically used to track metrics.
Keep In Mind: Showcasing a time-bound offer in this stage can create an urgency and prompt consumers to take action.
For a more in-depth explanation on full-funnel marketing, take a look at this video:
Analyse those leads, work on strategies that converts them to customers, and drive revenue to the business. At the end of the day, a full-funnel strategy involves a lot of work and time, but with an efficient marketing machine, the battle is half won.
Our co-founders, Suneil and Vikas Chawla, were recently featured in the March 2019 edition of Insights Success magazine, as part of “The Top Ten Mind-Blowing Corporate Media Solutions Provider”.
Digital solutions today are an indispensable part of any brand or company’s marketing mix. While there are several digital agencies in India, the founding brothers spoke in-depth about what sets Social Beat apart from their peers – a client-centric approach backed by creativity.
Suneil and Vikas opine that while multiple agencies are churning out impressive results, one of the biggest challenges facing India’s digital marketing landscape is attracting and retaining quality talent for both the creative and digital marketing areas. The other challenge lies in the dynamism of the landscape and its ever-changing trends. You can take a look at the top digital marketing trends in India that will shape 2019.
To overcome these challenges, the founders speak about adopting new technology for better solutions for their customers including influencer marketing platform Influencer.in and multilingual content marketing platform 22 Languages.
The duo also spoke in depth about Social Beat’s YouTube knowledge series – Digital Bytes that sheds light on current and upcoming digital marketing trends, as well as Social Beat’s book, “Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018” – that provides comprehensive insights into how brands today leverage the power of digital to intensify their marketing efforts.
The success of any company lies in the well-being of its employees. And Social Beat prides itself on creating an inclusive, transparent and empowering work-culture. The founders allude to creativity and enthusiasm running high throughout the organisation that has helped Social Beat grow from strength to strength since its inception six years ago.
Read the entire article on Social Beat: A Homegrown Digital Marketing Leader here.
Are you still stuck in the paradigm of an offline marketing strategy with a 60-second TV commercial being your leading mode of communication, supported by print and outdoor advertising? If you are nodding your head in approval, you are being rapidly left behind by those who have adopted a ‘Digital-First’ marketing approach!
Brands are steadily transitioning from traditional advertising to digital marketing because of the higher reach, better engagement and increase in generating high-quality leads. Read on for the top seven reasons why your brand should adopt a digital approach.
With over 450 million Indians online today, your prospects and customers are spending more of their time online than ever before. And this number is slated to grow to 735 million online by 2021. Of these, 199 million will be English speaking, and 536 million language speaking, with over 70% of them accessing the Internet from a smartphone throughout the day. They are increasingly spending more time online than on any other medium. Is there a better way for your brand to engage with India’s next billion Internet users and reach the tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India as well?
The online population accesses digital platforms over 150 times a day for various reasons including search. Additionally, 80% of Indian users use their phones to access the Internet. This only proves that it is imperative for your brand to adopt a mobile-first strategy to rank higher than your competitors and leave a stamp in the digital world. From accelerated mobile pages for lightning-fast speed to optimising your web pages for better visibility on a mobile search, you need to leverage a custom-made digital strategy with a mobile-first approach to reach your potential consumers. Everything starts with the recognition that your digital marketing assets need to be optimised for the way consumers are behaving online now and in the future.
We leveraged the speed of accelerated mobile pages for a landing page developed for India Home Health Care, a top provider of home nursing and related healthcare services. The page helped reduce the cost per lead by a whopping 33% with a 20% increase in conversions.
How discoverable is your brand or business? Search Engine Optimisation today is very different from what it was a few years ago. Deep and relevant content, like pillar pages and other long-form content, which is easily discoverable and distributed across multiple platforms, or amplified using social media works well. Consumers today are information seeking, with a ‘discovery mindset’, using search many times a day for multiple purposes- both business and personal. So why not market your brand by making it rank on the most used search engine in the world? Featured snippets are a great way to increase brand visibility and drive organic traffic to your website.
This is exactly what we achieved for Casagrand – one of India’s leading property developers with a strong presence in the south. Their blog on the best places to invest in Bangalore got highlighted as a featured snippet with an image and a list of all the locations presented in the blog.
Being discoverable is a key result area for your digital marketing assets so that consumers find your brand when they are searching for something they need. From using SEO plugins for WordPress to leveraging local SEO and Google Maps for your business, ensure your brand gets the visibility it deserves.
The world's second largest search engine, YouTube, is also a great platform to reach your target audience on. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.
Is your online communication primarily elements of your offline marketing campaign? If you have to spend to reach your target group with your advertising, what makes you think they will choose to come to your social media pages to see your ads? Instead, your online marketing campaigns must seek to engage consumers by rewarding them in some way with relevant communications on social media platforms. Make sure all your online assets are designed in such a way that they trigger engagement and ultimately result in conversions. You need to leverage the two-way communication model that digital platforms offer to understand what your audience finds intriguing and feed them with high-quality content that converts. Read our blog on how a redesign strategy for Chola helped increase social engagement for more insights.
YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world after Google with over 100 million Indian users watching YouTube videos every single day! To add to that, according to YouTube Brandcast 2018, 9 out of 10 users consume videos that are in regional languages. This means that you must have a strategy for YouTube that could involve videos on your YouTube channel, or advertising on YouTube to maximise impact. Your channel must be optimised with effective YouTube SEO tips for discoverability, and the videos disseminated on social media platforms. And your ads on YouTube can be optimised based on brand objectives including calls to action. What you cannot afford to do is be absent from a burgeoning channel teeming with users.
Showcasing your brand through engaging and informative videos on your YouTube channel is one of the most effective ways to reach potential consumers and widen your clientele. Social Beat’s YouTube channel features a section on “Digital Bytes”, where experts share their insights on the top digital marketing trends of the industry.
With the introduction of affordable data plans by Reliance Jio and the drop in the prices of smartphones in India, Internet usage has seeped into the tier 2 and tier 3 regions of the nation. This has unlocked a huge database of online users waiting to be targeted. The only way to connect and convert with these users is by incorporating an end-to-end multilingual marketing approach in a language your consumer is comfortable in – which is exactly what we offer at 22 languages. With the growth of regional content online, we tailor-make a language roadmap for your brand from landing pages and website development to social media campaigns and search engine optimisation. The sooner you start, the faster you will become proficient in the use of language content and communications to grow your business.
For instance, we tapped the reach of vernacular content for Cholamandalam Finance by creating an engaging video about the financial life lessons you can learn from an ant. The English video reached 96,000 users with 3,113 shares. However, the same video in Hindi reached 2.3 million users with 80,524 shares, proving that going regional is the best way to increase your brand’s visibility and reach.
Today, digital platforms enable you to interact with consumers when they are in the decision-making process to positively influence their choice towards your brand. From information search, comparison of brands, to the sites they visit, consumers signal their intent with their digital footprint. They can be addressed during this process to move them down the marketing funnel to fulfillment. Affinity and custom intent audiences of consumers who have expressed their interest in certain kinds of products or services can also be addressed to get their attention at the top of the funnel. Your offline marketing efforts should drive people online to your content or messaging so that you can engage with them positively to influence their decision.
Keeping these fool-proof reasons in mind, it is time you shift from print to digital media and give your brand the launch pad it needs. Whether you are a leading real estate developer, a top FMCG brand, a renowned financial organisation or a celebrated B2B firm, unleash the power of going digital and take your business to towering heights.
Over the five years since our inception, Social Beat has consistently pushed the envelope and stood at the helm of digital innovations. This relentless drive towards perfection has been a key factor in the successful business results we have achieved for each of our clients. But the digital landscape within which we operate is continuously changing and with it, so are we. As we progress from being a startup to a meaningful player in the digital ecosystem, we are charging head-first towards a phase of rapid growth and impactful creativity. To keep up with our constantly evolving nature, we have re-launched our brand identity to better reflect the values we strive to embody today. But while the overall look of our brand might have changed, our core promise remains the same: to achieve measurable milestones for our clients through ROI-driven digital marketing.
Social Beat today is a powerhouse of talent, creativity, strategy and innovation. With our vibrant 80-member team spread across our offices in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, we have the best resources to help brands meet their business objectives. With our unparalleled capabilities in the field, we can say with full confidence that no one understands the digital landscape of India better than us. Social Beat has several unique tools at our disposal to meet the challenges and potential of India’s consumer audience today.
As the importance of video marketing continues to grow, our expertise in creating engaging, insightful video content is one of our biggest strengths. With a talented in-house video team, we offer brands a special edge to capture the attention of their consumers. Influencer by Social Beat is one of our most important services, capitalising on the rapid emergence of influencer marketing. Through Influencer, we put brands in touch with key influencers in the category, helping them achieve greater brand awareness and trust. As tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India benefit from easier access to high-speed internet and low-cost phones, regional language marketing is crucial to help brands engage with India’s next billion internet users. This is why 22 Languages by Social Beat helps brands create engaging content for their audiences in the language they are most comfortable in. This focus on results through a comprehensive marketing strategy is perfectly encapsulated in our new brand identity.
The new brand identity symbolises the progressive vision of our company. From the choice of contemporary fonts to the colours used, every aspect of the logo is an embodiment of the values, culture and innovative methods used by us. After weeks of brainstorming and ideation, our in-house creative team led by Creative Head Panisa Shah finally conceptualized a logo that was the best representation of all that our brand stands for. We adopted a clean, minimal and contemporary look to symbolise our progressive approach to digital strategy. Aside from our new logo, our brand relaunch also involves a redesign of the Social Beat website. In keeping with the minimalist theme, we are giving our website an uncluttered, clean layout that is captivating in its simplicity.
The brand new Social Beat logo is minimalistic and contemporary with clear-cut edges and a bold, yet refined design language that is reflective of our distinctive identity. It successfully captures our passion, energy, creativity and professionalism in a memorable way.
Every component of the logo has a symbolism of its own that throws light on the values, ethics and passionate spirit that defines who we are.
Solid colours with a rock-solid approach: The colour strategy behind the logo was to combine the enthusiastic vibe of orangish red with the reliability and expertise of royal blue. A typical day at Social Beat is replete with vibrant minds working towards reinforcing our clients’ trust and confidence in us. This is why we chose a vibrant red to represent our fresh ideas, passion, creativity and energy, while royal blue represents our dependability and trustworthiness.
Bettering the lettering: We opted for an uppercase, clean, sans-serif font to portray the professionalism we offer. The straight lines reiterate our commitment towards providing polished, masterful end-results for our clients.
Forward is the way to go: The forward arrows represent the result-driven business generation approach and the progressive vision of the company. We are constantly scouting for the latest trends in digital marketing to ensure that brands stay ahead of the curve.
Energetic, enthusiastic and youthful: The strategically placed flash symbol symbolises the energetic and dynamic nature of the team, driven by fresh ideas and new-age concepts.
Strategy comes full-circle: The circle encompassing the logo stands for the holistic digital marketing solution that Social Beat offers to each of our clients.
Our re-envisioned brand identity will accelerate us towards our goal of becoming amongst India’s top companies offering digital marketing solutions. This new identity resonates with our USP of boosting ROI for our clients across a variety of sectors like the finance industry, FMCG industry, real estate sector and more by being a holistic digital marketing partner. It's a brand new identity but the same bold promise!
Who doesn’t love a good story? We, humans are inherent suckers for good stories. They make us feel happy, sad, motivated, joyous, angry and the way they touch us and impact our thoughts, nothing else can. There is a reason why we spend hours binge-watching series, or why we watch movies or bury ourselves in books. All of these mediums have one thing in common – stories! It’s all around us.
Storytelling is a very powerful communication tool and is probably the best way to build a brand. Brands that have made a mark and who stand apart today have been successful in telling their stories in the most unique manner. There is also an art to storytelling and when done right it can help you get exceptionally good results!
We are all aware of the classic ways of storytelling through words and images. Today, however, the trend has shifted towards videos. This holds true especially when applied to digital marketing. Videos are more powerful than simple imagery and are super illustrative; they are also easily memorable and allow creating a stronger bond between the brand and the audience.
Videos in digital marketing can prove to be extremely powerful & worthwhile for both brands and consumers. A lot of effort goes into conceptualizing & producing a video and it can prove to be quite costly. But today, there are a lot of ways in which you can create good quality videos with a low budget.
1. Opt for short videos to convey your message – Short videos go well with our hectic lives and concise attention spans. Also 70% of the smartphone users are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, thus, the crisper & briefer the content, the better it is. Youtube is not the only video-embracing platform available online. There is no dearth of video-centric platforms and 90% of these platforms are famous for hosting short-form videos. Instagram, Vine and many other channels today host videos including Facebook & Twitter. The world’s first Instagram trailer was released back in 2013 for the movie Jobs which was a 15 second packed video with dramatic music, slow-motion shots of Ashton Kutcher reciting inspiring dialogs about eccentric, misfit rebels. It's almost like the first full theatrical trailer for the movie, except shorter.
Creating short-form videos is all about how creative you can get in less than a minute. These videos are streamed to viewers on a range of platforms that increases the reach exponentially. They are also far more successful and have wider reach because they are “snackable” in nature and easier to consume and producing them costs far lesser than creating a long video.
2. Smartphones are the best chattels–It’s not necessary to film a video with the help of high-end equipment & lights. Your best asset is in your pocket – your smartphone. As a brand, it might come across as a ridiculous idea but it actually is a very cost-effective & quick way of creating videos. It is not necessary to get engulfed in creating huge budget videos. You can convey your story through an excellent video shot on your smartphone or tablet (of course with a good quality camera)
3. Your script is paramount –The script plays a huge role in the video as well. The content should be clear and precise with no ambiguity. The video holds no power if the visuals are perfect and the content is lacking. Both are of great importance. Thus, make sure you get your script right first. If you choose to outsource the production of a video inclusive of the conceptualization, it will cost you a substantial amount of money. However, if you decide to prepare the script beforehand then it might save you time & money. There are also affordable marketplaces from where you can subcontract video productions and these come at a remarkably low cost.
4. Affordable online marketplaces – The internet is a great place to find the solution for your woes, and this case is no different. There are some really affordable marketplaces like Fiverr.com that has professionals from all over the world who can help create the video of your choice at really affordable prices starting from 5$. All you have to do is describe how you want your video to be and they’ll get it done for you within a matter of 24-48 hours. The system is commendable and you get what you seek for at really good rates.
5. DIY Videos – However, if you do not wish you outsource your videos then there is also an option to create your own videos with readily available online tools. Even beginners can create videos like a pro! Example of such websites include Videoscribe, Animoto, Sparkol. With Videoscribe and Sparkol you can create amazing whiteboard style animation videos. Animoto is inclined towards servicing users who are looking for a really simple way to create a video. All you need to do is select images and upload them with soundtracks provided by the tool.
With these tips, you can surely make the right impression with your videos. To make an amazing video all you need is an idea, a good script and the right tools. Gone are the days where we had to buy expensive video equipment! With the development of technology, you can create the perfect video for your brand at an affordable rate!
For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.
Much has already been said and written about managing brands: creating awareness and loyalty, refreshing them, launching brand extensions successfully and increasing revenues from a brand’s franchise year after year. Companies like P&G and Unilever honed this to a fine art and became sought after employers by eager MBAs raring to manage brands.
This was when the television commercial and its production was the high point of months of research, mapping, positioning and creative options. Print and outdoor media supported the core TV effort, while promotions drove an increase in sales through value offer to encourage brand switch and sampling by new users. It was always about using mass media to build brand image, and influence the audience to buy a brand based on promised benefits and lifestyle cues.
With the advent of the Internet and digital content, many things changed fundamentally. The Internet was mass media, but in a very different way: instead of being a ‘one-to-many’ communication (broadcast) that was information push, the Internet offered the chance of engaging (conversations) with many in an interactive manner. For it is a ‘many-to-many’ medium, with users generating content as they engage with each other.
The nature of the medium itself changed how brands reach out to audiences:
Digital marketing is, in a sense, permission marketing. How would you like it if a brand manager came in and put up a poster on your living room wall? Yet, when we advertise on Facebook, that is what we are doing in a sense! Their ‘walls’ belong to the users, not Facebook, not you. So if you’re going to be there, then you better reward them in some way: with a great story, with humour, with new information, with emotion or a new idea - commonly known as content marketing. It not only has to be worth their while to view, it must earn that place on their wall. And if it does, they will, in turn, share it on their friends’ walls like it was their own.
One example is this video by the BBC on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.
It is no longer about just pushing out information on a brand or product and building its image based on benefits and lifestyle cues. It’s about engaging with audiences and starting conversations.
In the nineties, as the Internet spread and broadband began to proliferate, BMW was doing a big push into the US market which was then dominated by Mercedes. But BMW did not have the financial strength and budgets that Mercedes had on conventional media. The spread of broadband was an opportunity that BMW capitalized on with the famous BMW films. Only, instead of commercials on mass media, they produced short films by well-known directors starring Clive Owen and other stars based on the storyline. Central to each film and a star in its own right was, of course, a BMW: BMW Star and BMW Ticker.
In all, some ten films were produced over a three-year period and went viral quickly. The viewers it was aimed at, a younger, highly successful, independent thinking audience as compared to the older Benz traditionalists, owned the films and shared them widely with their peers. The result was electric, with BMW’s sales in the US surging without having to spend on mass media.
In the days of conventional marketing, it was all about the message. Consumer research threw up problem statements and provided insights, based on which, brands were tweaked. Then came the all important messaging based on the problem that was being addressed. At all times, the communication was from the brand to its audience; one to many; a one way communication. Creativity played an important role as audiences were being bombarded with thousands of messages a day, from when they awoke to when they went to sleep. The power of an idea is what got the brand past the filter of the mind through relevance and originality-enough to get their attention. Still, it was one more message that they absorbed, with the outcome still in doubt!
With the Internet, everything changed. Ideas are still important, as is creativity, to reward the audience for viewing the message and provoking them to engage with the brand. This starts a conversation, and the beginning of building a relationship with the audience that relates to the brand based on the idea. The idea must reward the reader or viewer in some way: either through humour, or by giving them information of value they were unaware of, or by simply capturing their imagination in a sociable way.
Large media houses do not own the Internet, its users do. They not only ‘own’ it, they initiate its use according to their convenience. Their use of the Internet, depending on time of day and context, can be to consume the news, network with friends, send emails, work or entertain themselves. A single medium serves to satisfy all their needs depending on time or context. A good marketer knows what kind of message to reach to them, when and in what context, always keeping in mind that the message must earn its place on their walls with relevance and reward them. Done well, it will gain their ‘ownership’, so they share it with their friends.
Social media is two-way communication
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses and helps them stay connected to, and build a strong relationship with, their target audience. The best part of social media is that it's not just limited to one-way brand communication – it allows customers to get in touch with and interact with brands as well, giving brands (who are active listeners on social media) invaluable customer feedback, which they can plug back into their products and services to build better consumer experiences.
However, this two-way communication, if not managed properly can be more of a bane than a boon and can end up causing considerable damage to the brand's reputation.
The guide to social media response management
Research shows that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions. Also, BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey 2014 says that 85% of consumers read up to 10 online reviews before they can trust a brand. Hence the effectiveness with which you manage your comments could have a great impact on your business.
Here’s a detailed guide to social media comments management – monitoring, responding and managing comments on your social media profiles. Since the guide is a little over 3000-word beast, we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.
Infographic – Social media response management
Google alerts is a free tool to monitor mentions of your brand anywhere on the web. You can setup alerts for various queries – your brand name, competitors, industry specific keywords etc. and Google Alerts will send you emails notifying you whenever any of these keywords you specified was mentioned online.
You can even set the frequency of notifications to get notifications for every mention, or as a daily or weekly digest.
These are paid tools and are best suited for SMEs and mid-sized businesses.
Mention allows you to monitor in real-time any mentions of your brand not just on social networks but anywhere on the web. Like Hootsuite, it also allows you to connect your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to your alerts and react instantly from within the application itself.
Mention has some interesting setup features which allow you to include specific keyword matches and also exclude keywords that may be irrelevant to your brand. This helps get rid of the noise coming from homonyms and spam. Another interesting feature is that it also flags comments from Twitter or Facebook users who are influential so you can take them up on priority.
Pricing starts at 29 Euros/month
Brandwatch is a social media listening and analytics solution that helps you discover the conversations around your brand on the web and turn data insights into actionable business decisions.
Brandwatch has a pro package for small and medium brands and an enterprise package for larger brands
These are enterprise level solutions and would work best for big brands with a well-established brand presence
Meltwater is a media monitoring and media intelligence platform used by big global companies like HSBC, HP and Nike. It monitors your media content from all over the web, scans billions of conversations and helps you filter out what’s relevant and important, with meaningful metrics.
It also helps you get to the right audience by finding and building relationships with key influencers.
Managing Negative Comments on Social Media
Managing negative comments is one of the most critical parts of social media comment management as it involves responding to customers who are at best unhappy and at worst frustrated or livid with your product or service.Here are twelve steps to effectively deal with and respond to negative comments and reviews on social media:
Do not ignore/delete
Deleting a genuine negative comment (trolls are an exception) is never a good thing to do on social media as it straightaway raises questions on the brand’s integrity. It may also stoke the customer’s anger and frustration and cause him to post a flurry of negative comments on various platforms, which may eventually boil over into an uncontrollable crisis-like situation. There are also good chances that the comment may have already been seen and possibly even saved as a screenshot by other customers.
Below is an example of what could happen if a you ignore a comment on your social media pages:
It is best to respond as quickly as possible to negative comments. Irate customers generally lack patience and expect quick resolution of issues. Undue delays could only make matters worse. The ideal time could vary from up to 24 hours for sectors such as real estate to 30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.
Here’s an example of a quick reply from Flipkart within an hour of the comment being posted:
Apologize first & acknowledge the error
Always begin the comment with a polite and courteous apology. This gives the brand a human face and also shows any other readers that the brand does not shy away from accepting errors when they do happen that once in a while.
Here’s another example from Flipkart:
Ask for more info, where required
Sometimes, frustrated customers may not give all the info that may be required to help sort out the issue. In such cases, it is best to politely request them for the info and, where possible, also tell them why this info is required to help quickly resolve the issue.
Here’s an example of Amazon asking for more info:
As a brand, it is important to be absolutely transparent and not make it seem to the customer that the brand is trying to cover up for the error
Give an explanation, where required
If there is a genuine reason for the issue, do not hesitate to communicate the same to the customer. However, ensure that the explanation is succinct and to the point. Irate customers are definitely not in the frame of mind to read stories. Also, ensure that the tone doesn’t seem like the brand is giving an excuse for the error.
Be absolutely honest – it pays
Lying about a fact or trying to hide facts is the worst mistake a brand can make. In the social world, lies get caught quickly and can cause the issue to snowball into a bigger one. Being honest on the other hand strengthens the brand reputation and builds trust, especially when the comment thread is viewed by other users.
Make it fun and interactive
Sometimes, making the conversation fun and interactive can go a long way in not only resolving the issue but also ensuring customer delight. Here's an excellent example:
For issues that might take a while to get resolved, it is best to notify them of action being taken as well as be proactive in giving them constant updates of the progress. This would help reassure them that their issue is being looked into and will definitely get resolved in due course
Offer an incentive, where applicable
One of the best ways to quickly turn an unhappy customer to a happy one is to offer an incentive. For ecommerce businesses, for example, this could be a coupon code for their next purchase, a reduction in price on the current one or even a complete waiver of the cost, where the situation seems appropriate.
Go private, if necessary
It may be prudent to take the conversation private in some cases. This could be either because of platform limitations, such as the 140 character limit on twitter or cases where the situation demands that the issue be taken out of the spotlight.
Here’s a good example of Hilton hotels taking the matter offline:
However, in such cases, once the issue is resolved in private, it is a best practice to close the issue on the social media comment thread as well, so other users know that the brand has responded and sorted out the issue.
Keep your cool – Be polite at all times
Irritated customers may get emotional and be downright rude, but it is imperative that you, as a brand representative, must keep your cool, not take things personally and reply with an absolutely calm state of mind.
Update and close
Always ensure that the comment thread has been updated once the issue is resolved, so that the same is visible to other customers glancing through the thread, while in the process of making a purchase decision.
On a closing note, each case of a negative comment would be different and would require a different handling of the situation. It is important that the team handling social media response management is trained to be able to judge correctly and rightly use their discretion in dealing with customer issues.
Managing Positive Comments on social media
Thankfully the two-way communication on social media is not only about negative comments. There are happy customers out there as well who are so overjoyed by your product or service that they revert with positive feedback of their experience.It is just as important, if not more, to reply to these positive comments, as it is to reply to negative comments. This could help turn those fans into loyal brand evangelists which could work wonders for your business.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while responding to positive comments and reviews:
The bare minimum that is required while responding to a positive social media comment or review is to thank the customer for the feedback to acknowledge and appreciate the effort
Avoid canned, template-like responses
Canned template-like responses, like a standard “Thank you for feedback. We really appreciate your effort”, take away the brand’s human side and do not build a relationship with the customer. These are best avoided.
The response to every positive review must be personalized – addressing the customer by their name is a bare minimum. The more personalized the response is the more elated the customer would feel and this increases the chances of not only turning them into loyal customers but also evangelists for the brand.
Encourage them to visit again
Always encourage your customers to come back and bring their friends along as well. This helps build a long-term relationship with them.
Here’s an example of Raintree hotels, a popular hotel chain, interacting with a fan, who had left a comment on their post on Mangalorean cuisine:
Relay the feedback
If the comment or review mentions names of staff the customer was particularly impressed with, do mention that you will relay the feedback to staff member concerned. And do actually relay the feedback – you will make the staff member’s day as well!
Request reviews on other platforms
Where applicable, it might make sense to request the customer to leave a review on other platforms as well. For example, for the hospitality sector this could be Zomato or TripAdvisor while for local businesses, it could be a review on the Google Local Business page.
Leverage the feedback
Positive customer feedback can be showcased as testimonials on your website as well as promoted across your social media channels. This is the best way to leverage these reviews and make the most of them to help build consumer trust in your brand.
Here's an excellent example:
Managing inappropriate comments and trolls
The world is filled with different kinds of people and so is the social universe. You will invariably come across that one-off customer who just wants to create an issue where none honestly exists, or who is plain interested in causing trouble.It is best to verify their claims first and once it is confirmed that they are baseless, the best response strategy would be to ignore the troll, as engaging in conversation with them would only encourage them to troll further – these are people who generally enjoy the attention they get this way. The comment could be deleted at a later point in time, once the troll has moved elsewhere to seek attention.
On occasions though, at the discretion of the team in charge of managing social media comments, it may be appropriate to craft a tactical response to silence the troll and put him in place by stating the inaccuracies in his facts. This helps maintain transparency and may deter other trolls as well.
The perils of automated social media responses
Although auto-responders can help manage social media comments at scale and reduce the response time by a huge margin, when they go wrong they can go wrong terribly. Though automated response management tools are getting better at analyzing comments and responding appropriately, they still can’t make sense of things the way humans do. They can’t add a human touch to the response either.
Here are some examples of automated social media response bloopers:
Social media response management metrics
You can’t manage what you cannot measure. Here are three key metrics to help you figure out how you’re faring when it comes to managing comments on your social media channels.Average First Response Time
The average response time can be calculated by taking the average of all the individual response times for each post. These can be calculated as the time difference between the first response to the customer comment and the time the comment was posted
The ideal response time would vary from industry to industry - ranging from about 24 hours for industries like real estate to 15-30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.
Average Time to Resolution
The average time to resolution is the time taken from the opening of a comment thread to the time the issue is resolved and the thread is closed. This will depend on the type and gravity of the issue and may vary from a few hours to a few days or even weeks in some cases. In these cases, it is important to keep the customer constantly updated on the progress.
Average number of replies to resolution
This is the total number of interactions it takes to resolve the issue. This number should ideally be one. However, this is seldom the case and the average tends to be a lot of higher.
Outsourcing social media response management:
If you do not have an in-house team for managing comments and you don’t want to take the trouble of hiring and training, you can always explore the option of outsourcing this to an agency specialized in social media or in customer response management. The agency would normally listen for mentions and respond to comments and consult you for any customer response information they may need from your end. They would also normally send you reports covering response metrics to evaluate your performance as well as sentiment metrics to evaluate how people feel about your brand.
Tools for managing social media comments at scale
For big brands, especially in sectors such as ecommerce, where customer engagement is high, the number of mentions, comments and reviews across channels and platforms may become difficult to keep track of, and reply to, without a software solution in place.Thankfully, there are quite a few online customer support softwares and help-desk solutions to help you streamline your social media response management process and keep your customers happy.
Here’s a list of the 5 best customer support softwares you could choose from. All of them offer a free trial - so you can try a couple of them that you think would work best for you and evaluate which one you could go ahead with.
Desk.com is Salesforce’s customer support software solution. It is mainly targeted to small and medium businesses but is also powerful and comprehensive for large enterprises. It can be integrated with over 50 applications including Mailchimp, Cyfe, Shopify and Trello
The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 30/month, billed annually.
Founded in 2007, Zendesk is probably the largest cloud-based customer service platform available with over 50,000 companies as clients. It can be integrated with most content management systems, customer relationship management tools, and web apps – the number of apps that can be integrated with its API exceeds 300.
Its base plan starts at USD 1 per agent per month (billed annually), while the regular plan costs USD 25/month (billed annually),
Founded in 2010, Freshdesk has scaled up quickly to become a major player in the space, with over 40,000 customers.
Apart from being able to be integrated with 70+ popular applications, Freshdesk is also tightly integrated with Google Apps including Analytics, Contacts, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, and Gmail. These enable a slew of additional capabilities including the ability to schedule customer calls, attach large files to tickets, and much more.
Freshdesk is the only tool on this list that offers a freemium solution – with a free forever plan for up to 3 agents.
Founded back in 2001, Kayako was one of the original pioneers of the multichannel helpdesk and the first to bring the helpdesk to the cloud. Apart from its cloud-based customer support solution, Kayako also offers a downloadable on-premise, self-hosted solution for Windows users.
The base plan starts at USD 24/month, billed annually.
Happyfox is not as big a company as the ones listed above, but it is quite popular for its absolute ease of setup and no-nonsense user interface.
The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 19/agent/month, billed annually.
Is there anything else about managing comments on social media that you'd like to know or have any questions on? Do reach out to us in the comments below. Have any experiences to share? We'd love to hear from you!
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.