Archive for Social Media

Step by Step Guide to Set up a LinkedIn Advertising Campaign – Direct Ads

// August 17th, 2013 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Social Media

LinkedIn Advertising, commonly known as LinkedIn Direct Ads, offers a marketer access to millions of users who are business decisions makers. Learn all the tips, tricks and know hows of creating and managing your LinkedIn Ad campaign:


    Step1:

    Click on the Link – https://www.linkedin.com/ads/

    Step2:

    Login to your LinkedIn Profile

    Step3:

    Add a campaign name. This is just for your own reference and visible only to you. Try naming it unique, so that you can identify and relate to the campaign later, if you start running multiple ad campaigns. For example, if am running monthly campaigns for sales, targeting prospects from a specific demographic target group or region and this time its for our new product launch, I might name my campaign as Product Release Ad – Date, Month, Year – Region NW.

    Step4:

    Select Language… English if you are targeting most of US, UK, India, Australia, Canada…

    Step5:

    Media Type: Chose Basic for now which is nothing but a Text Ad.

    Step6:

    Write your Ad Copy:
    LinkedIn Ads - Ad Copy

    • Ad Destination: or in other words Landing page. First, decide where you want people to be directed after clicking on your ad. Your first campaign is about Product Launch, hence give your products’ deep link as destination URL, something www.yourcompanyurl.com/product-name.html
    • Ad Body: The body of a LinkedIn ad has three components:
      • Ad Headline: can be upto 25 characters. This is where you need to be creative.
      • Ad Description: can be up to 75 characters long. Copy of the ad should be relevant both to the person viewing the ad, and the offer or page to which you’re sending them.
      • Image: 50×50 dimensions | Max 2 MB in size.
      • For best results, create a different ad for each buyer persona, and tweak the copy accordingly. You can create up to 15 variations of your ad in each campaign.

      • Audience Specific: Putting the words right, be specific to each buyer persona.
      • Call-to-Action (CTA): Having an actionable CTA within your ad copy will also help you improve your ad’s click-through-rate. Tell people what to do next (e.g., “Connect with our Solutions Architect”).
      • Value: Incorporate your value proposition into the ad copy, making people more likely to click on our offer. We’re letting people know what specifically they can gain from clicking on our ad right now (e.g, Whitepaper Download, Event Invite…)

    Step7:

    Targeting: There is no limit, it depends on your personal network reach… you can specifically target by gender, age, company, job title, skills, location, school and group.

    Step8:

    Payment Method: Two very commonly known options available are

    • Pay-per-Click (or Cost per Click – CPC) – you’ll be charged $X only when a user clicks on your ad. This is obviously a preferred choice but minimum $X bid is randomly fixed by LinkedIn and the platform don’t really give you a logical reason why it is recommending $X or $Y for that specific targeting
    • Pay-per-1000-Impressions (CPM) – This is traditional way of buying internet media. As the name says, here you pay $X for 1000 users just viewing your ad. They might or might not click on the ad
    • LinkedIn Ad - Payment Option

      Ideally you should test both and see the performance in terms of ROI ( which could be in terms of Clicks / Inquiry etc.). Optimize your campaigns based on the results for a couple of weeks. Next set of campaigns can be either on CPC or CPM. you can also test both cost models:

    • Creating two campaigns: Product Release Ad DD1-MM1-YY1- Region NW – CPC and Product Release Ad DD2-MM2-YY2- Region NW – CPM
    • Create 5 Ad Variations for your CPC campaign and use the same set for CPM campaign
    • Rest of the process is same. In the end you will have two campaign results to look at.

    Step9:

    Daily Budget: Again there is a minimum budget fixed by LinkedIn. Test the waters for each campaign with minimum daily budget cap. It will automatically pick up the currency based on the region you have logged in from.

    LinkedIn Ad - Daily Budget Cap

    Step10:

    Don’t forget to switch on the Lead Collection Option (Read more here on Lead Collection process from LinkedIn Ads)

    LinkedIn Ad - Lead Collection Option

    Step11:

    You have your daily budget fixed and you know what is the total budget you have for the LinkedIn Ad campaign. Set a specific End date for a campaign accordingly. You can always switch your campaigns on again whenever you wish to.

    LI5

    Step12:

    Enter Contact details and CC information. That’s it, you are Good to Go.

    Track performance of your ads on the LinkedIn Dashboard with all the graphs mapping your spend with CTR.

    • You can optimize performing ads / remove (deactivate) non performing ads from the system anytime.
    • There can be good performing ads (Average CTR but good conversions) and not so good performing ads (good CTR but no conversions) – Play around with daily budget fixes
    • Optimize CTR by running multiple ads

Do let me know how it goes, while you set up your first LinkedIn Direct Ad.

Facebook announces a Social Search Engine called ‘Graph Search’

// January 20th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Brands, Social Media

graph-search

Facebook Announces A Social Search Engine Called ‘Graph Search’, in partnership with BING. How does it work? Unlike how Google does it, this is not a web search. Graph search basically shows private information that isn’t available on Internet search. On Google if you look for Apple, there are chances that you and me get the same search results with a little variation on the type of searches you have already made or the OS you are using etc, but on Facebook’s Graph Search, every person gets different set of results coz of depth of personalization we all have done while posting photos, interests, likes, check-ins etc. It works on four basic parameters of a Facebook profile – people, photos, places and interests. In other words, its a Search for people, photos, places and interests. The list can also be narrowed down by school, hometown, gender, relationship and other factors using drop downs on the right hand side of the search results.

Here is what Graph Search offers:

  • Find people who have similar interest that you have – Want to start a music club or find a buddy to join you for a game of squash? Graph Search will make available people who like the same activities — connect with friends/new people.
  • Explore your know-how via photos. Graph Search allows you to use simple, specific phrases like “Photos my friends took in Bangalore City” to find anything you want. For example, you have plans to visit New Delhi and wana find set of friends in Delhi, here is Graph Search for your help…
  • Discover restaurants, music, sports and even a dentist. For example, one of my friend who is in the city on a 2 month’s official tour and suffers from Tooth Ache. There are chances that he might find an answer while looking for a dentist coz I recently went to one, to get my wisdom tooth removed and that particular dentist did an awesome job.

I have met a lot of people who don’t want the world to see their personal information, and yes ideally that is how it should be. So the next question is, ‘How Privacy works on Graph Search?’ Checkout the video, Facebook tries to answer this question:

Graph Search, is going beyond the Timeline and Newsfeed, where you were mapping out your own circle of friends and staying in connection with people you already know. It allows you to find stuff beyond your own set of connections, where now you can find people who have similar interests that you have, people that you may wana work with. Might work for Recruiters / Staffing companies to find talents.

As Business Owner here is what you need to know about Facebook Graph Search
Its all about search and how people can find information on a particular platform. Business owners, for obvious reasons would be interested in How-to on getting the visibility tips. Search results, on Graph Search will be based on the combination of information created/shared by the business (Pages) and connections of the person doing the search (friends, likes, check-ins, etc.).

  • Tip#1 — Businesses may show up if customers or someone else has added them as a “place.” What you need is to get as many number of check-ins as possible via your fans as possible for your business place.
  • Tip#2 – Fancy your ‘About Us’ section with your organization name, vertical/category you operate in, domain URL (also called as Vanity URL), and your hot story in brief that you wana share. All of it will help people find your commerce.
  • Tip#3 – Create if you haven’t created a Location or Local place page on Google yet. If you have one live already then update your official address to ensure that you are there on search results page when a prospect is looking/searching for a specific address.

Things to notice when the Graph Search opens for all would be how “Pages” and “places” are listed separately.

Where does Bing comes into the picture? When you type in a search and you dont have the answer for your search, you get suggestions from Bing. Bing has written a post with more on how its search results will show in the new Facebook search experience. For now, Graph Search Beta is available only for US (English) Audience… keep an eye for the worldwide release

New Social Network – Qyuki

// December 5th, 2012 // No Comments » // Brands, Social Media

A new social network focused on Indian Audience. Guess who is behind it… non other than AR Rehman and Shekhar Kapoor. Qyuki is for anyone and everyone who want to get inspired by a specific art form is invited to join Qyuki and start their creative journey from here. On a more business note, Qyuki is for Artists – writers, artists, musicians, dancers among others who would join, interact and publish their respective art for open market. For marketers/brands they will be able to harness the creative community, to their marketing advantage and communicate with Indian consumers located across the length and breadth of India in unique and interactive ways. There are a couple of networking websites already making rounds – Behance Network for example is a platform where creative world showcase their creative work. Companies around the world explore the Behance platform, discover creative work and access talent. Look and feel wise Behance, Pinterest and Qyuki have similar aesthetics.

Qyuki Comparision with Behance and Pinterest

Wonder how come a Music maestro and a Film Maker is getting into digital business space… Shekhar Kapoor says with Qyuki he wants to provoke the creative part of everyone’s brain, of people in general, to be imaginative of the world around us. You don’t necessarily have to be a professional photographer/writer/designer to be called creative, just be expressive. And Qyuki is the place for everyone to come share, interact and be creative. AR Rehman says, every individual has a passion and not necessarily everyone makes living out of their passion. But your daily work life shouldn’t ideally kill that passion. Infact everyone can be creative and to trigger that imagination is to be excited in what one does.

Qyuki

Great! Words well taken. For talents like budding writers, designers, dancers, singers, musicians, painters, photographers yes join Qyuki. Be part of the community to showcase, view and share creativity. Learn from the experts, co-create, get inspired, explore your own imaginative horizons and get recognized. For everyone else reality TV Shows like ‘India’s Got Talent’ is good :)

How Hubspot is doing Inbound Marketing? Part1 – Blog Marketing

// December 3rd, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media

Inbound Marketing specialists do what they preach, do they? I decided to do a bit of research on this and who other than Hubspot to follow and see if they really do follow the principles of Inbound Marketing themselves. So, on what parameters should I start checking their Inbound marketing practices.

The three most important pillars of Inbound marketing are Blogs, Social Media and Organic Search. So let us see how Hubspot is doing on these front.

Blogging:

To start with I visited Hubspot Blog. A couple of Best practices that they preach and I found they follow:

    Content Creation and Frequency of Blog Postings-
    Best Practice: Decide on the topics and set your content calendar in advance to make sure you have fresh and, goes without saying, interesting information for people to come back again and again. Consistency in posting your content is the key in Blog Marketing. Ideally, one post a day should be perfect. It obviously depends on the industry vertical, but I personally feel there shouldn’t be information overload, which today is a growing concern. Hubspot has consistently posted one or more posts every day.

    Frequency of Blog Posts on Hubspot Blog

    Click on the image to see the enlarged view


    Along with keeping it consistent, they make sure their posts are interesting and users are encouraged to comment. How do they do that?? – by using titles/topics like:

  • Questions: How to / Why a Marketer or Enterprise / What’s new with…
  • Numbers: Top 5 Reasons or 10 Critical Factors or 7 Advanced Techniques or 16 Most important things…
  • Using most news making keywords in your industry e.g., Hubspot uses – Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter / LinkedIn / Inbound Marketing /…
  • Other important factor under your content creation strategy is to stick to the Blog Topic and just don’t go about writing about Britney Spears coz that might attract some visitors.

    Content Promotion -
    Best Practice: Content Creation is not of much use if its not reaching to its due audience. So the question is, how would you promote your content on a daily basis? The least you can do is automate Social Sharing and Email to subscribers. Hubspot has gained a huge following with consistent 360 marketing + building subscriber base which they leverage to the fullest to promote their fresh content. I am sure there is a lot of engagement that they gain out of the content promotion… one thing that am not sure of is how is the lead generation out of this engagement, coz most of the content sharing on social hemisphere is happening via fans/followers and is happening from quite some time. So do all the content generate good leads that add value to bottom line or does it just satisfy the Happy Brand Building factor.

    email-automation

    Internal Link Building is important but you got to know how many links are not too many. Link to text ratio per SEO standards is one link for every 125-150 words.

    Call to Action: Strategically placed
    Best Practice: Rule is to align content with the relevant offer CTAs or vice versa just to make sure you have conversions in other words you are generating leads out of your well written content. I randomly checked a couple of Blog Posts at HubSpot Blog and realized that they are rotating their offer CTA’s (Free eBook Downloads) at two positions – Top of the blog post and at right side bar – and that is at many times not relevant to the content of the blog post. Break the rule coz in the internet space there is no one set rule that works. They are rotating their best performing and the latest per the trend information/offers as eBooks. Makes sense isn’t it?
    Some Blog Design Must Haves -

  • Images/Infographics: Mix your content with Text/Images/Infographics/Videos/Presentations to make it more interesting – 10 on 10 to Hubspot on this
  • Long Posts are not liked much: I personally don’t agree. If the topic demands that kind of exhaustive content we can surely put things in place accordingly. What we can do to keep the interest on is to mix the post with some graphics/videos etc and if it still requires more may be divide the post into two parts (Part1 / Part2…) which I am going to do with this post. Hubspot keeps the Balance
  • Custom 404 Error: Everyone knows what this is and the use of the same… but on Hubspot Blog, its interesting. They have a default page with interesting set of contents in front of you as 404 Error landing page.
  • Subscription: Two ways of accomplishing this and Hubspot is increasing its subscriber base by both RSS Feed Subscription and Sign-up for Regular Updates (as another CTA)
  • Other important functionalities: To make your blog user friendly add: Search Box, Header, Footer, Tags and Pluggins like ‘Most Read Articles’ & ‘You might also like’ are good to provide easy navigation…

Hence, this is proved that Hubspot is practicing exactly what they preach when it comes to Blog Marketing… the first pillar of Inbound Marketing for Hubspot is standing strong!

My next post is going to be about the second pillar of Inbound Marketing and that is – Social Media Optimization / Marketing.

Social Network Analysis SNA

// October 5th, 2012 // No Comments » // Social Media

Modeling the world around us as network is indeed a complex piece of work. So how do we establish network between huge chunk of information flowing across internet. Classic example of the same is delivered by Mark Lombardi, an American neo-conceptual artist who specialized in drawings that document ideas/information as medium to be aspects. He tracked and mapped political, financial and corporate connections/networks to expose global financial frauds just by going over news articles available publicly. When you read his hand drawn maps you would realize that those news items have such great piece of information and they are related which might otherwise might not sound related if studied one by one.

Mark Lombardi

In our world we are making connections that are not obvious. Make an attempt to study these connections and you will have revelatory results. Not because the personal and/or professional connections mapped would be new to you but because how distantly differentiable information can be courtly networked to make sense of things.

Let me start by analyzing my own Facebook Connections. So here I have people from all walks of my life. From school to college to work. Again in that set of connections some are those who am connected directly like my family and friends and some with whom am connected through my direct contacts. For example, my brother-in-law’s friend is in a bikers club which is my area of interest as well and hence we got introduced and now we are connected. Now when you have the connections mapped and if you analyze the information flowing between those connections with a low or high frequency, you can easily draw the patterns and get useful information out of the data. It could show that some people you are connected more than some others in the network. That how some people are more active on a particular group or community which could be outside of their direct contacts. This shows how you can understand quite a bit about someone without really knowing that person personally. And that kind of information could be useful.

This Network structure study of thousands of users using automated layout algorithms can easily be used to understand knowledge flow and the patterns. These in-turn can give insights into:

  • how different structures influence different processes occurring on that network. For example how a piece of information goes viral.
  • consumer insights to predict how a product or services can be received in the market and/or which feature in a product or feature if introduced or removed can create the required impact.
  • how a particular network/community can be developed or grown
  • how to create interventions to improve, reinforce or change the patterns of the knowledge flow. For example, what strategies can be used to may be diffuse an information to go viral.
  • and so on….

Now we understand that a network analysis in itself carry so much of information that can be made useful which otherwise is invisible to us, and hence this gives is nice insight into Why Social Network Analysis is important. My next post will be about some of the Network analysis tools and what can be drawn out of them… test

B2B Inbound Marketing

// August 15th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media

All of us know that there is a paradigm shift in today’s Marketing. The shift is from traditional approach of going outbound, to being more inbound in nature with the use of technology. The challenge is more in B2B Marketing circle compared to B2C. The obvious reasons being: the value of a B2B deal is higher hence the sales cycle is longer which makes it a multi stage process; there are generally more than one decision makers and in most cases they are well informed subject matter experts. To add to all of the above, there is nothing called impulsive buying in B2B space for a marketer to make it a mass campaign.

This change is further confirmed by a study done by DemandGen, clearly showing today’s B2B buyer is more informed and empowered.

B2B Buying Behavior Change

As you see it, going outbound (the green part) is thinning. In all other cases buyers are doing their homework, are well informed and are getting in touch with the service providers themselves. Hence, it becomes imperative to be visible and to be found.

With these practical challenges in B2B marketing hemisphere and with ever changing marketing game, what are those basic formulae that today’s marketer should be following? I personally like this approach of questioning self. So, lets start by asking some basic but critical questions to ourselves. As a B2B marketer, whether your prospects found you or you approached them, before you initiate the conversation, be ready to answer if your prospect asks you:

  1. Who you are? (Prospect dint find you/your top guys on LinkedIn)
  2. What is your company into (Prospect dint find Company ‘s link on first page of Google???)
  3. What’s your company’s services (Your website is not easy to go through. Ah damn! that’s so basic)
  4. Who are your company’s partners (not so well known in the industry)
  5. Who are your company’s customers (someone is talking about you as Tier3 vendor in one of the forums / communities)
  6. What’s your company’s reputation (your ex-employee is talking bad about the work culture on social platforms)

Imagine where your sales pitch goes after falling nose down on all or any of the above queries posed by your prospect. Are you prepared??

So now, when you know it is imperative to be found whether or not you are going out to sell, there are things to be taken care from a marketing point of view. This is termed as ‘Inbound Marketing’.
Because Inbound marketing has been a proven concept, everyone is working on making their business easy-to-be-found. Now the Inbound marketing game is more than being visible, its all about earning the attention of your prospects and engaging them in the conversation.

The question is, what are those magical techniques that can do the dual magic of being found and earning attention.

Inbound Marketing Techniques:

  1. Website: Well Designed/Developed
  2. Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing WEBSITE content and codes
  3. Business Blogs: Creating Thought Leadership
  4. Social Media Optimization: Engage prospects on Social Platforms
  5. Digital Asset Creation and Distribution

Step by Step Process of Creating Long-Term Inbound Marketing Plan:

  1. Keyword and Competitor Analysis – Finding Killer Keywords and Putting Them to Work for you. Know how to find keywords and phrases that your target audiences could use to find your business.
  2. Fixing Website – Content + Codes + Call to action + Navigation + On-page SEO – Optimizing your site to make search engine bots love it, even if you think you’re doing “just fine” without it.
  3. Off-page SEO Plan post Penguine/Panda updates – Giving Away Content Will Build Your Business. Your overall search presence can be influenced by your online social interaction, online pressrooms, targeted blogging, and link branding.
  4. Content Strategy for Blog Marketing – Would you be the one to break news about changing trend?
  5. Conversation Plan for Social Media Engagement – your social activity can influence where your site or blog ranks on search engine result pages (SERP).
  6. Digital Asset Creation around Service portfolio – (Whitepapers/ Presentations/ Videos / Infographics / Case Studies / eBooks / Webinars…)
  7. Use Marketing Automation Tool to manage conversations and leads – Be on top of the execution coz this is not a day’s or a week’s activity. It takes months to start getting quality back links and create brand ambassadors

In my next set of posts, I’ll be explaining each of the Inbound Marketing Techniques along with some cheat sheets required at each of the above steps in the B2B Marketing Plan.

Do let me know, if you agree with me that the whole inbound marketing game is no more about just being found…

Measure your Social Media ROI

// June 24th, 2012 // 1 Comment » // Digital Marketing, Social Media

For Businesses, whether or not they are directly dealing with end consumers, social media is either about networking or branding? Point is how would a Social Media manager review the ROI of his social media efforts.

Lemme list down some parameters and for the ease of understanding, I’v divided them into two categories – quantifiable and non-quantifiable:

A) Quantifiable Social Media Metrics:

  1. Bottom Line: Do all of your updates, tweets, posts getting new business or in other words making money for you end of the day? If not then why at all you invest your time and money in it? Though this is the most important indicator of all, there are other pointers that we mentioned above, networking or branding. Sound more subjective but these are strong reasons how your overall marketing ROI can be judged positive. Lets dig a bit more.
  2. Traffic: Here is another quantifiable result that can indicate whether or not your social media efforts are paying off! Traffic increase can mean increase in unique visitors to your website or product’s landing page that in-turn might results in improved foot-fall in your offline store, which would end-up making sales. All that sounds so great, but how do you measure your traffic coming from Social Media. There are hundreds of tools out there.

SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS
Image by Sociolytics

Top 10 Best Tools For Tracking Social Media Traffic:

  • BrandReact (Paid) – Allows monitoring the Social Media, News & Blogs. Uses KLOUT Influence determination. Allows you to organize your items and react to them, starting a dialogue with your customer.
  • QuickTagger (Free) – Categorize your links that you post on social media websites.Once you categorize where you want to publicize your links, the QuickTagger software will do all the necessary coding and will generate an extended link that will be interpreted by Google to sum up the visitors to enable you to analyze them in Google Analytics. In addition, you may use the shortened version of the link to track the number of impressions and further demographies of social accounts you reach if you have a tweetburner account.
  • Radian6 (Paid) – It helps companies to use the power of social media understanding more about it through measurements, analytic reporting, and metrics. Its social media tracking, listening, engagement and monitoring tools can help businesses in employing social media strategies and understanding the impact Social CRM and Social Graph have on their overall success.
  • Wildfire (Free) – Monitors Facebook and Twitter, it provides you with various tools and plugins for enhancing your social media engagement options and measure your performance using powerful analytics. You can monitor your growth trends and can also gauge your success on social media against your competitors by successfully comparing your followers across all leading networks.
  • HootSuite (Basic Free and Premium Paid Version available) – You can easily manage multiple social media profiles, schedule tweets and messages, analyze and track your social media traffic and brand mentions. Most of the analytics part is available under Paid version.
  • TweetDeck (Free) – This tool unified LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, Buzz, MySpace and Facebook to give you an easy way to monitor and use social media. What’s great is that when you immediately respond when your keywords are mentioned without leaving the program.
  • SproutSocial (Paid) – It Provides an inbox that combines your multiple social streams and then allows you to respond or flag messages for follow-up, making it easy to automatically post your RSS feed from your blog to your Twitter accounts. It helps you to remember the names of the people you follow by auto-suggesting their handles after you type the @ sign. Makes scheduling recurring messages easily but without being annoying.
  • Social Mention (Free) – It helps you in tracking and measuring what others are saying about your company, products, or other topic across the Internet’s social media landscape. It monitors more than 100 social media properties including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Digg, etc.
  • SocialPointer (Free) – It offers real-time monitoring tools for social media for individuals and marketing agencies and helps them in tracking, monitoring and responding to all relevant use conversations and social media mentions in real time.
  • BuzzStream (Free) – Automate mundane tasks like finding and saving profile and contact information. Get an instant snapshot of metrics to help you prioritize your activities. Build an instant dossier for each influencer.

B) Subjective Social Media Metrics:

  1. Create Brand Ambassadors: Having more and more Facebook fans, Twitter followers and LinkedIn Connections means something and that is? This means you have more and more people like something about your business. They will spread the word about how your brand influence them. Doesn’t that sound great? Something that a Social Media Manager has to make sure is that the followers are just not following or fans are not just linking and connections are just not connecting. Positive ROI is about the active engagement e.g., followers are re-tweeting or fans are sharing.
  2. Create business relationships: Are your contacts giving you more business, increasing sales, referring to prospects? Here is the importance of not falling for the number game but meaningful relationships. Am not saying having 1,000 fans is not good… but lets again dont go for tricks like I scratch yours, you scratch mine!
  3. Increased brand awareness: This is more subjective than any of the above, but not less important as well. Consumers are spending more time than ever using social media, as demonstrated in the Social Media Report recently published by Nielsen and NM Incite. Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products. Read more here on how important Branding becomes when it comes to making Social Media as an important part of the Marketing strategy – http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/how-social-media-impacts-brand-marketing/
  4. Online Brand reputation Management: When you Google your brand, what do you see? Where are people talking about you or your industry? What are they saying about you? Better yet, what aren’t they saying about you? By taking the time to discover and listen, you can help distinguish pain points among your perceived or prospective audience. Social Media plays a key role in protecting brands: 58 percent of social media users say they write product reviews to protect others from bad experiences, and nearly 1 in 4 say they share their negative experiences to “punish companies”. Many customers also use social media to engage with brands on a customer service level, with 42 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds acknowledging that they expect customer support within 12 hours of a complaint.

Social Media strategy has to be well defined. Quite often, companies just join the band wagon and dive into any and every platform without a plan because they think they have to be there. Businesses need to identify who their customers are, how they share information and where they feel comfortable and then which are the best platforms. Once you have decided the platforms to be part of, you need to keep your analytics in place to track, analyze and tweak it when-ever necessary.

Have heard enough, but what is Pinterest?

// February 29th, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Social Media

Some say its another big wave in the social networking world. If we agree with those some, then the question is, does it allow you to share what you are upto? how are ya feeling today? what you love/hate most? whom are you angry/in love with today? which side of the bed you got up today or whose face did you see first see in the morning? falana-dhimkana i.e.,bla bla bla… that is what most of us are interested in right? and too add to it then how others react on those emotions of yours and others for the day… of ‘awww cho chweet’ types of reactions among the most famous ones…

Well, if thats what a Social Network offers, then YES Pinterest is one of that kind which gives you the same feeling. Its just different in a way about how it lets you share things. So how do you share what you like on Pinterest.com? Do you remember, how we used to clip out our favorite actors/animals/places images and pasted them in our drawing books, scrap books or push-pinned them to boards, pasted them on walls? This is exactly what you do on Pinterest.com, virtually pinning your favorite images onto a board. People “pin” images that they find interesting on internet and “re-pin” those images from people they follow. People also get a chance to exercise their organizational sensibilities by act of creating “boards” and pinning images to them.

No wonder, why Pinterest attracted women at first place? Wouldn’t a girl want to know ways to apply makeup, to sit down and still have a flat stomach (this kind of everyone wants to know :p), cool hairstyles to try for the d-day or interesting designs for her bags matching to what she is gona wear for a specific event, etc etc etc.

Pinterest

Whats in here for marketers? Recent shift in online consumer’s behavior from Search to Discovery is what fueling the growth of Pinterest.com as that is what Pinterest lets users do. Discover what they like, for instance you are out to buy a camera/lens. You will first go to your friends’ board who are photographers or passionate about photography or atleast are interested in photography. You discover what you want, organize it by pinning or re-pinning onto your board and take an informed decision. The very nature of this is going to attract eyes of retailers. You can get your virtual store literally on Pinterest.com and let people not only re-pin but comment on it. Clearly a Word of mouth for your product or ideas. It quite work as how retweet works, anyone can “repin” (retweet) one of your images/pics (tweets) to one of their own boards, making content go virally hot.

Everyone is aware of Mark Zuckerberg, there is no harm in knowing who are founders of Pinterest.com, fastest growing website in Social circles. Pinterest was co-founded by X-Google Ben Silberman, Investment specialist Paul Sciarra, and X-Facebook and Pinterest Designer Evan Sharp.

From left, founders Paul Sciarra, Ben Silbermann, and Evan Sharp Mathew
From left, founders Paul Sciarra, Ben Silbermann, and Evan Sharp
Image Source: www.Businessweek.com

Linkedin Has gone the Klout Way!

// October 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Social Media

Linkedin I guess found Klout’s Home Page strategy attractive. Having an awesome homepage is a popular entry point, and likely the place most visitors arrive.

Klout got the users who are most influencial in their social circle on its home page. Make sense to attract more sign-ups! Klout claimed to have reached 100 million sign-ups (read more here)… i.e., 100 million people now have Klout Scores.

Klout Home Page as on Oct 31st 2011

Klout Home Page as on Oct 31st 2011

Linkedin, under the NYSE symbol “LNKD”, already has more than 120 million registered users in more than 200 countries (Linkedin Facts). Using the same home page strategy as Klout, Linkedin went a step ahead got its own employees become brand ambassodors. It serves the very basic purpose of Social Networking.

Linkedin Home Page as on Oct 31st 2011

Linkedin Home Page as on Oct 31st 2011

Wondering how many other online brands have the same Home Page Strategy?

Facebook Feature Fatigue

// October 7th, 2011 // 3 Comments » // Social Media

What did you join Facebook for? To find and reconnect with old buddies, keep in touch with friends and family, and of course enjoy a stream of updates, the like and dislikes, photos, events, groups from everyone we care for.

With recent changes and new features added, all is not well with Facebook. Users are just not liking it but infact hating what comes with it. Change is part of the process which is fine if its for good. The two basic underlying rules for any social networking service to make users be happy about using it:

  • Simple Interface – Remember old Facebook days? The interface was good for eyes to look and for mind to use. The more is not good, though there is technological advancement and increase in competition. Look at Google! Type in Google.com in your address bar and the page that opens is still as simple as it was and as it is required. Not that Google hasn’t changed since its launched. Its getting bigger and bigger.
  • Communications (Comments / Messages / Chats) Structured Linear one after another with latest on top. Facebook has messed up this basic feature. You have to put some mental effort after logging in, before you understand what is going on… whether the News Feeds are putting all the Top Stories on top with some users having all items in reverse-chronological order and for some reverse-chronological below.

Awkwardly, with new features on Facebook is violating the basics. The new features are confusing users with the information overload. Users surely want to get updated about each other but guess with new features its going a bit off-limits. Facebook’s new look the “ticker” app updates send real time feed on the right hand side of the page.

Average user on Facebook has 150-250 friends and the EdgeRank algorithm of Facebook has been deciding what is good and important for users – censoring the News Feed based on an invisible score, gained on affinity, weight and time of every post.

  • Affinity – Measuring how important is the Relationship
  • Weight – Quality of Content, a text post or an image, Liked or commented by number of other users.
  • Time – Scores decreases over time.

Here is an example in the image below, where we don’t want a software to decide what we want to see.

Facebook Feature Fatigue

Only Facebook is measuring relationships. Google sorts results but not filters them and Twitter just gives you everything your connection posts. With friend lists getting bigger, is Facebook finding it difficult to manage the interface for users? Twitter and Google are smiling at users’ Facebook feature fatigue.