Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

India users and Social Networks (Observations from the US)

I'm quite a bit active on social networks. It makes sense, given that Social Media Marketing is one of our core services to our clients. What is interesting to me when I network online is how the two cultures that I understand most conduct social networking online.

When I was speaking at a conference in Ahmedabad, India (in January 2011) I briefly eluded to this difference in Social networking styles in the two countries and cultures I'm most familiar with. Given the rise of social media usage and social media users from India, I decided it was time to pen my observations about how Indian users network online and solicit feedback from folks. So  here goes…..

Celebrity Following: This happens in the US and other countries too as celebrities are naturally very popular. I mean what other medium offered such immediate and direct access to the tinsel town Gods until Twitter and Facebook came along? However, I find that celebrity following is a more popular pastime and perhaps a bigger obsession for social media users from India. It is not very surprising given that Bollywood is hugely popular with Indians and Bollywood actor and actress worship is very common to most Indian households. But my observation is that many users tweet and comment exclusively on celebrity tweets and posts and when they don't get the responses they seek, many users become belligerent and rude,  deliberately trying to antagonize celebrities into pointless discussions and unnecessary debate. And in general, most celebrities in both countries tweet and Facebook post mostly one-way messages, with little real interaction with their followers and fans.

Spamming versus Networking: Instead of networking and really forming relationships, many social networkers make job and business requests within minutes of connecting. They get belligerent and rude when they are politely told "sorry, there are no openings". Many have approached me asking me why I wouldn't help out a fellow Indian, a fellow Gujarati (state where my parents are from), etc. Many yet spam their followers, fans, and connections with debates over this topic and the other, making it very difficult to conduct fruitful networking online. LinkedIn is especially drowning in users who post messages and questions and responses on an almost daily basis. Another observation is that many LinkedIn messages are posted in an obvious attempt to gather email addresses for future use.

Content Lacking Engagement/Interaction: A lot of tweets, linkedin status updates, and Facebook posts that I read from social networkers from India lack the true nature of social networking, which is engagement. Either there is a lot of one-way messaging or there are proverbs and words of wisdom shared to which people respond to, but there are few interactions and very little real engagement to make the networking fruitful.

Email Scraping for Spam: I swear that my email is in the hands of EVERY SINGLE "leading" web and "growing" SEO company in India. I say that because I get daily emails from Indian companies wanting to become my "partner" for web and want me to send them my "requirements". I can't say that I get even 1% of similar spam from non-Indian companies who interact with me on social networks.

My observations are not meant as a blanket statement that encompasses every single user of social networks in India. There are many savvy, focused, and interactive social networkers who "GET" social networking. And there are many non-India social networkers who are guilty of what I accuse Indian users to be.

Bottom line reason for this post? The average social networker in India, who is not from the communications or marketing background or doesn't have a specific expertise or celebrity status, has a bit further to go to truly gain benefit from social networking. The learning may also come with better understanding their own goals of being online.

Social networking is a huge opportunity for individuals and companies looking to grow brand reach, engage with prospects, and promote their expertise and company or services. Social networks truly make us a global market place.  Shouldn't we use then use this valuable resource more wisely and with a more strategic focus?

 

Online Marketing Blog: Engage, Connect and See a Tangible ROI

Disney is a social media giant. With over 200 millions “likes” across its Facebook pages, it is one of the most powerful brands on the web. So, I’ve decided to explore how Disney accomplishes such a feat. In order to do so, we must examine how they engage with their fans and the impact that interaction has on consumers.

Disney builds a community, not just a pitch
If you look closely at Disney’s tweets or Facebook posts, you’ll notice that most of the communications are centered on interacting with fans. Their goal for social media is not to be commercial but, rather, informational. And, you can see this easily. Take their recent Youtube video about creating life-size LEGO models of Toy Story characters. The content of the video wasn’t made to promote that LEGO has a Toy Story line of toys. Instead, it tries to give something back to the fans.
  
  
Disney invests in digital publishing
Disney moves with the times. In just 18 months, it has launched more than a dozen children’s book apps. In fact, Disney Publishing has seven out of the top 10 apps in the Paid Books category. And now that Disney owns Marvel (Yes, you heard me right— Marvel comics.), they are expanding to put comics online.
 
  
Disney sees social media as a powerhouse to use

In today’s age, it still amazes me that people question the benefit of social media. Disney decided to communicate with fans and develop emotional connections with them through their social media strategy. Naturally, what’s bringing people together is a shared love for the brand. But, it’s also deeper then that. Not only are people connecting with Disney; they are connecting with each other, and that goes back to creating a community.
  
Your business can grow through the strategic use of social media. When you integrate social media with other marketing strategies, you can see the ROI clearly in the form of visitors converting into customers. Social media marketing is less about "being there" and more about "what you do when you are there".

"It's not for me", "my business is different and all referral based", or "we're too small" are not reasons not to engage in online marketing. Social and search marketing are imperative to small business growth. It is the most cost-effective form of marketing you can and should leverage. All you need is a strategy, a plan, and a company who knows how to execute the marketing plan.

Contact us today to learn how we can be your  designer radiators marketing partner, regardless of  your budget.

Online Marketing Blog: Cyber-Crime May be an Act of War Says the Pentagon!

Hollywood has long speculated and shown us how cyber crime could be serious. In our movies, we have become accustom to seeing the ultimate super villain not armed with guns, but with a laptop.

Well, it seems that Hollywood is meeting reality as the Pentagon has announced that hacking into the government is not only a crime, but can be considered an act of war.

Yep, a new way of looking things for sure eh?

For the first time, a hack can result in the U.S. dispatching military forces. Although the Pentagon said this is just to deter someone or something from attacking, it sure puts a whole new light on cyber crime and may even prevent the most experienced to think twice before hitting “enter.”

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is thinking of taking an “equivalence” approach when judging how to punish such an attack. Personally, it’s like the old “eye for an eye” philosophy to me, but you will have to decide for yourself.

Basically, they are saying if a cyber attack’s by-products equal the same amount of destruction that a military attack could, then the Pentagon would be allowed to respond with military.

I know I have said it once already, but I suppose I’ll have to say it again. Cyber crime is serious. And, as our technology evolves, so will the rules and laws that bind them.

If even the Pentagon is taking action, that should tell us something. So, be careful. Think before you Tweet or Facebook.  Realize that a simple prank may not look so simple to Uncle Sam.
 

Online Marketing Blog: Online Marketing Spend to Grow in 2012

In 2010, purse strings were cut, and everyone who owned a small business was preparing for the worst. The result was grim for most companies’ marketing departments as they were the first to go.

But, now, only one year later, AMI’s 2010 – 2011 U.S. Small Business Marketing Activity& Spending study is predicting that companies are going to spend, and in a big way!

And what are they putting their $36 billion into? Believe it or not— marketing activities.

Confused? Well, let me help you understand.

You see, most business owners have a tendency not to be –what I like to call—marketing focused. While it is simple to see how a business can profit from sales or production, the same cannot be said for marketing.

The value that marketing provides can usually only be determined over a period of time. And this is where the problem comes in. This often makes it harder to see improvement where improvement was made. As a result, most owners target marketing first and foremost in difficult times.

My thoughts on this? While sometimes budgeting is absolutely necessary, it is important not to make any decisions without analyzing what the repercussions will be. If you, as a business owner, stop marketing for your company, you have to realize that the same cannot be said for your competition, which is what most of the businesses who will be investing in marketing for 2012 have found out.

In any case, this report suggests that marketing is on the mend. Hopefully, the next time the economy takes a turn for the worst, owners will think twice before cutting what pushes their brand to the front in their customers’ minds.

Online Marketing Blog: Facebook’s been Twitterized!!!

They are calling Facebook’s new feature “Happening Now,” but it looks, acts and functions exactly like Twitter. The only difference I can see is that it’s on Facebook.

Experts say it’s an attempt to launch Facebook into real-time. And, although the Facebook community remains on the fence about this change, business owners are starting to see the advantage.

This is because Happening Now is geared towards “in the moment” things. It’s taking the appeal of Twitter and putting it on Facebook. The result is that businesses can now base the construction their response by a customer’s location.

Not following? Completely understandable as this is not Facebook’s normal thing. Let me break it down for you.

Say Bill is a friend of a restaurant’s Facebook. He eats a meal at the restaurant and likes it so much that he posts a good review to Happening Now. Because the new tool is in real time, the restaurant can automatically see Bill’s praise. The restaurant can choose to take further marketing action now. For example, they can send Bill a coupon via Happening Now for 20 percent off his desert.

Are we starting to see the appeal?

The only argument against Happening Now is that Facebook is not Twitter. And, if Facebook users wanted real-time, they would be tweeting instead of posting. Regardless of this response, it seems Happening Now is here to stay.

And if Facebook can convince its users that <a style="text-decoration: none" href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=personals.single.dating.free"><font color="#555555">tinder app</font></a> Happening Now is really the place to be, results could be dire for Twitter.

Online Marketing Blog: Show me the Money with Social Media Marketing

Whenever I talk to people about online marketing, “show me the money” is the phrase I often hear. People want proof it works.

Well, I have some— Movies, Egypt, Japan, Anthony Weiner, and so on. Enough said? Let me explain with the Movie example.

Moviefone.com’s list is out, and it includes seven movies that used viral marketing campaigns to promote their premieres. The list includes box offices hits like “The Dark Knight” to promising flops like “Snakes on a Plane.” The thing that remains constant about the films is that all of them have the money to show exactly how much digital marketing works.

So, how did they do it?

According their campaigns, the cause of success was intrigue and mystery. And, to me, that makes perfect sense. Those are the two big factors in a successful promotion. If you look at it from a business perspective, it’s always important to make whatever your selling something people can be curious about.

After all, you don’t just want to promote;; you want to generate a buzz.
 
Take the makers of “Paranormal Activity.” They attributed the success of their $15,000 film to social networks and rightly so. One of the things they did was simply encourage people to review their film in 140 character tweets. By leveraging applications like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube and dozens of others, “Paranormal Activity” was able to gross over $193 million.

Proving once again that there is literally no limit of what one can do with an online marketing campaign… whether it be for a small business or a low budget film. You just need to be able to invest in it to make it work for you. The old adage of "gotta give some to get some" works best here.

Online Marketing Blog: Who are you Marketing to Anymore? The Largest Growing Social Media Users are in their 50’s & 60’s?

If your business has decided not to use online networking because it’s just a kid’s toy, you might want to take another look at the facts. The largest growing group is actually the Baby Boomer generation, consisting of people in their 50s to their 60s. And this means one thing.

The money makers are now online.

If anything, you should be thinking that that’s a dramatic change in your demographic. As a business owner, you will have to take a step back and re-examine your marketing plan. After all, you will no longer be tweeting the latest to teens. You will be dealing with adults, and that’s a whole different ball field.

So, what should you do?

I would recommend dialogue management. When you think about this, it makes sense. As a person, you wouldn’t use the same language around your mother as you do your friends, right? Well, it’s the same online.

Words like “Yo” or phrases like “Check this out” are probably not going to cut it anymore. You need to start using language in your 140 tweets or Facebook posts that will appeal to all. And a big part of that is staying away from young slang or old terms.

The key in all this is to keep your wording simple. And that will make everything easier, whether you are dealing with ma, pop or the kids.

Online Marketing Blog: Social Media is Free, Right? Wrong!

Let’s face it; in today’s world, the idea that you can get something for nothing is absurd. So, if you aren’t paying for it, what are you giving up? When it comes to social media, the answer is time.

Whenever you are promoting your services or products online, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself spending a bit longer then you originally planned. Answering questions and interacting with customers is an time-consuming job. And if you are doing it yourself, guess how many billion tasks are you leaving undone?

On one hand, it is fun. You know what you are doing is working when people respond back and engage with you. That ripple effect is proof, if anything else. On the other, you find yourself being more and more a social media manager, and it makes you wonder how on earth you are supposed to do, well, everything.
 
And this is why several companies— ourselves included –are encouraging business owners to budget for their online marketing activities.

The idea is that if you want your website to appear in search results, to connect to more visitors or start more conversations, you need to spend an enormous amount of time promoting that. If you find throughout the year that you can’t do it yourself, this calls for hiring someone and having a budget in place will solve that hiccup.

Whether you choose to do this or not is entirely up to you, but we can’t pretend that social media is free. After all, there is a reason for the saying that time is money. And, as a business owner, you must determine how much your time is worth to you. 

Online Marketing Blog: France Bans Twitter & Facebook Mention – Fair or Not?

How many times have you told someone to find you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter? Countless, right? Because that’s how we communicate these days. It’s normal.

The idea that someone prohibited us from saying that is ridiculous. But that is exactly what the French government is doing its citizens. Because as of June 6, 2011 –the words “Twitter” and “Facebook” will be officially banned on French media.
 
Why? They say they are doing this to be fair. One spokeswoman for France’s Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) said that all this usage of “Twitter” and “Facebook” has given the social networks an advantage against the millions of others sites that are struggling for recognition.
 
But when has preference stopped competitors from springing up? I pretty sure many of you reach for a tissue while simultaneously calling it a Kleenex. And, as far as I know, that hasn’t stopped the tissue industry from growing.

What I mean is that, whether one likes it or not, Twitter and Facebook are the big dogs and the trendsetters. If another network like Twitter appears, I guarantee we will still think of it as tweeting. They are intertwined in our lives like that.

Banning the words, regardless of what one thinks, won’t make Facebook and Twitter go away. Right? Right?

Social Media Blog: The Information Superhighway that Rivals the Billboards on the Freeway!

We'd all be on billboards seen on the major freeways in our town!

Yes, we would. If we could afford it that is.

Most of us smaller businesses can only dream of being on those big, beautiful billboards being visible to the millions of people driving down the major freeway. We all want everyone to know what we do, who we are, what we sell. Right?

But wait! There's another freeway known as the information superhighway or the Internet as we call it. It offers you Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites to make sure that you get an even better reach than that billboard you so covet.
 
Today’s online business world is all about creating a buzz around your brand and getting better connected with prospects and customers. By appealing to their interests and interacting with them, your company has a much greater chance of driving prospects to your site.

Stop casting a wide net of spam and advertisements that rarely provide the necessary Return on Investment (ROI). Use tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to shorten your sales cycle, build credibility, and convey what your customers want to hear. With just one 140 character tweet or with just one Facebook post, you can reach millions. Billboards on the other hand can only be seen by the few thousand who drive up and down that area each day.

Social media is here to stay. You can hide from it for a while, but you can't run from it forever. And if you haven't checked lately, check what your competition is doing online. If they've already leap-frogged you, there's your first worry. If they haven't, there's your first step. Call us either way and we'll make sure you stay abreast and get ahead of your competition!

It's time to get social. It's time to go gangbusters online. What are you waiting for again?