Socialmedia Catalyst

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Web Influence

SMM Campaign we love – Ford Fiesta

A majority of business outlets are recognizing the role of social media in today’s net-ridden world. The much talked about Ford’s Fiesta campaign is an apt example of this trend.

What they did was simple: Their experiment was about inviting 100 “social agents” (members of the public) to drive and review Fiesta for six months, and share their experience with the world. They had them promote the car through different social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube and blogs.

For the Fiesta Movement campaign, Ford organized the World’s Largest Tweetup by bringing together friends and family of the selected test drivers. Also, the Guinness Book of Records has marked this as the World’s Largest Tweetup.

The main touch-point of the campaign was the Fiesta Movement website, which serves as some sort-of aggregator that gathers the different content being produced on the different pages the agent’s author. On the Fiesta movement website, one can track missions, watch videos produced and read more about the agents.

Many social media commentators agree that this campaign was a huge success. The 700 videos produced by the agents have generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, and there have been more than 3.4 million impressions of Fiesta Movement on Twitter. Even photos taken by the agents have been viewed more than 670,000 times.

More first hand experiences on this blog.

Do’s and Dont’s of SMM marketing

Social media has indeed changed the face of marketing. Radio, TV, and print ads move over – online interaction is the way of the future. However there are a few pointers any new startup should keep mind –

* Start with a proper plan, not tactics
* Grow your customer base quickly
* Set specific goals
* Welcome participation, feedback and co-creation
* Connect with customers easily
* Benefit from word-of-mouth advertising
* Actively participate in online forums and air your views
* Don’t feed readers a sales pitch; let the user community decide how great the product is

And, what should be best avoided –
* Do not be pushy or overtly ‘salesy’ in messaging and communications
* Don’t broadcast useless information on social media sites
* Avoid being fake in any way
* Above all, remember that social media is about the C’s: Conversation, Connections, Community, Consumer, Collaboration and Content.

From blogging, news aggregation to social networking and Twitter presence, if you invest time wisely in social media, the rewards will be readily visible.

Trust factor is another aspect that makes viral marketing powerful. Which is more likely to influence whether or not you buy a product, a friend recommending the product or a marketer telling you to buy the product? The answer is obvious– your friend holds more influence.

Few things that will rule in the social media scene this year:

From plug-ins to location-based marketing initiatives to the move to higher bandwidth and putting updates highlighting a cause or an event, there’s plethora of change in the world of social media.

Audience will have control: Brands will have to have some presence in the online world. If a brand doesn’t have a presence on social media consumers will still talk about them. In particular, consumers will demand corporate social media presence.

Booshaka: This recent startup offers real-time look at what’s trending on Facebook based on open search keywords, as well as via topic if you’re interested in more a general browse. Listening will become even more important, even before marketing and engagement.

Moving to Higher Bandwidth (4G): The use of higher bandwidth will not only be a necessity but a demand from busy consumers.

Social media policy in offices (it might actually be enforced): If the company you work for doesn’t already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year.

Educational institutes’ adopting social media strategies: What was earlier shunned is now readily accepted and gaining popularity. Teachers themselves are getting updated with the latest news about social media so that they too can incorporate it in their learning.

Social Media trends in India

Our communiqué, interactions, online business, blogging has all changed in one decade owing to the tremendous growth and innovation in the online world. Social networking websites are now a widespread means of the way people converse everyday and also the way many youngsters earn money.

More importantly Social Media is not a Fad, it a paradigm shift which is the accepted way of communication.

The use of internet has undergone a fundamental change with anyone creating content and sharing it with others using platforms like Blogging, Social Networks, YouTube etc. People have started easily ‘connecting’ with others via tagging, locations, content creation,

Some trends identified in social media are:

Social Scanning
Smartphone owners have the world at their fingertips. As grandiose as that may sound, advances in mobile barcode scanning technology have given rise to applications that allow for comparison shopping, QR code place checkins and ultimately a social experience around product barcodes.

SMS-based mobile social network
Even as we see several innovations in location based mobile social networking internationally, the adoption of such services in India will be minimal, even with the launch of 3G and flat data rates. 3G will be restricted only to smart phones initially, before people start adopting it.

Gaming and location based applications
Foursquare.com already allows 4 million users to track the locations of their friends on their smart phones. Also gaming elements like Mayorships and badges attracts a lot of loyal followers, old and young alike.

India is not for behind the social media and tech revolution. Indian companies are focusing on growing Indian middle class, which has the fastest growing internet user base in India. Hence, one thing is sure that in this digital age social media trends and marketing will play an important role in determining any products success as well.

Real budgets for Social Media Marketing

Nothing on an average Facebook feed lasts more than a minute on top. It’s full of people: talking, sharing links and pictures and stories, taking random quizzes – making their presence felt. Social media has incredible potential in terms of presence – otherwise fulfilled by marketing and PR. Unlike other mediums of marketing, social media’s fabulous interactivity makes it invaluable in both customer service and brand value.

Social Networking on the web has caught on furiously. The fact that on Facebook, you can watch videos and have whacky conversations about them somehow makes Facebook so much attractive than TV to ‘Gen Y’. Youngsters watching 90210 log in to post “I <3 Navid” statuses ( or ‘Dil Mil Gaye’ and “I <3 Armaan”), people make political statements on status updates (short of standing up before an audience, there are few ways you can get a message across to 200 people at a time; and this is way more graceful) – basically everyone is there. Day and night. Marketing professionals would have already identified the potential of Social Media, then – possibly greater than that of advertising, because of the huge extent of time and numbers involved. However budgets for Social Media Marketing are still planned hesitantly, with an air of dubious puzzlement. For some reason, belief in the power of Social Media seems tentative and shaky. In my experience, this trend is more than a trend. The Indian Gen Y has higher self-esteem and more freedom than previous generations – they sanction and relish the exhibitionism of their lives on the web. Their obvious gratification in comments and conversation over any chosen facet of their lives tells me that Social Media is here to stay. Social Media Marketing requires truly consequential attention and considerable budgets. Think of it as an untapped reservoir in a water-starved Bombay. Corporations – big and tiny – need to turn their consciousness to it. Social networking is now too big a media to be ignored.

Audience Control in Social Media Marketing

We’re in the age of the listening parent. Children and teens don’t repress their desires for lack of money or fear of the parent anymore, and astutely enough, the parent’s methods of regulation and culling the best out of their children have changed correspondingly. Today I can see an educated breed of parent who neither smacks nor whips but ‘has a talk’ with her/his child to make the child aware of behavioral transgressions. This breed grows progressively.

Wonderfully, this trend of liberalism seems to be seeping into marketing. So long has the product been the manufacturer’s dominion, subject only to the general demands of the customer. The question then, was: Will they buy, or not buy? (Of course, there are notable exceptions – the Tatas and some international brands have relied more on building open, perceptive, dependable brand images)

Today, the question is: Do they want to buy or do they not? Today’s audience is the charmingly spoilt child. Cross them, deny them something and they react by scorning your brand. If you plan to use social media platforms to promote your business, you must be reasonable, kind and democratic in your approach. The one-sided, self-selling approach is neither appreciated nor tolerated. However, in this case the child has some great chocolates to give. A good recommendation by a consumer on a social media platform visited by hundreds is worth a hundred advertisements, in my opinion.

On social media, both the producer and the consumer have their say, and most often the consumer is more widely believed. Power of influence. What can the producer do for power? Nothing. In the words of the great Beatles: “Let it be.” And work for consumer-satisfaction.

Geo Location – FourSquare trend catching on!!

Foursquare = pure genius. It’s odd how genius can manifest itself in ways that, on seeing, you realize were right there all the time. Foursquare is one of these manifestations. There is nothing particularly difficult to imagine or do in the concept or execution of Foursquare, yet for some reason, not even Google was able to achieve location-based networking that is this clear and successful, even though they had the feature available. So did Twitter. Cheers to Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai for that one! Despite Google buying Crowley’s initial idea, Foursquare turned out more efficient than imagined.

Combining social networking, SMM and social gaming, Foursquare is one ingenious application. Foursquare gives you multiple reasons to visit that bar around the corner. Or the one at the opposite end of town, for that matter. Not only do you gain game points for visiting it, chances are that the bar has a special offer for Foursquare users who check in there and you know by a single glance at your phone, that your friends are hanging out there.

What’s more, if you visit the same place more than anyone else on Foursquare, you get a ‘Mayor’ badge – and probably free drinks too in the offline world, once the venue starts recognizing Foursquare and your loyalty to the website and the venue. This is of particular gain to the bar-owner – he knows, simply by putting his business on Foursquare, how many different people visit on any day, the regulars if any. The gaming part practically pulls people to the business.

Daniel knows that going to Red Shoes is going to get him game points, and he is going to have a great time doing it. It’s a win-win situation for him (unless he is broke). Also, if the Red Shoes bartender makes an amazing Cosmopolitan, Nina knows through a recommendation Stacy put on Foursquare – and now she also knows where she is going to be dancing away her birthday night. Foursquare combines 3 of the things youngsters are most excited about today : nightlife, friends and achievement. Party, know where your friends are and get a mayor badge for it. What adds up here is that, you are standing on hill road, and want to know, where we can go and have a nice economical burger, someone has already added the tip that you can check it out at Hearche Bakery.

Amazing psychology combined with technology that is not very difficult to comprehend = great concept and execution. The success of Foursquare is an admirable feat, especially with regard to geo-location, a scene that has been stumbling for a while. There was a missing link there – so I know where you are?

Trends in Social Media Marketing in 2010

Mobile will gain in Social Networking – people will start using cell phones more extensively for social net working needs. Fall in rates, more competition between mobile service providers, and the most anticipated 3G spectrum will fuel this growth.

Digital divide of the online and offline world will come together – there would be more explosion of interest based meet ups – feng shui, dog lovers

Social Networking will not be just a few handful of early adopters, but this time the voice would be much louder and the reach would be larger and more amplified

On the applications and websites the “coolness quotient” will move to more “utlity quotient”. The coolness will attract but then utility will make the stick around and keep coming back for more!!

One thing that might be negative or should be used with caution will the aspect of Peronsal Privacy and copy of content without giving acknowlegement to the user, specially true in case of blogging.

More celebrities will start engaing with their fans online, will use this tool not only to promote their movies, but also the causes that are close to their heart. Fans will be excited to have a tweet reply from their favourite celebrity or celebrities’ symphatasies on their fan’s loss.

From a more business perspective it would become micro-tagetting, mass-prsonalization and interest based profiling of users and demographic profiling of users would be a passe.

Facebook, Twitter will stagnate, next big thing would foursquare.com, are you on it yet or be left behind.

This article was featured in the DNA here

Social media network, the next film critic?

Avatar, the magnum opus of James Cameroon, could be the most successful film ever in the world in terms of revenues. It has also been a very big hit in India where generally Hollywood movies take time to be accepted by the audiences.

Moksh: I would partly attribute the success to the rave reviews on social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut and others. It meant that the social networking sights were loaded with the personal views of the movie-buffs who saw it in and immediately uploaded their comments on these sites especially Twitter.

Daksh: The euphoria that has ensued resulted in massive revenues at the box office. Similar can be the case with 3 Idiots. The movie was discussed threadbare and there were no-holds barred discussion where it was dissected and bisected from all the directions. A critic would surely have not done in such a detailed manner. But does it mean that the role of critic as making or opinion or marring the reputation of a film is coming to an end? It seems so but it is happening slowly but surely.

Moksh: Twitter has already made its presence felt as a medium of communication that is bringing reviews of the films in a more personalized manner and is invoking a chain of communications around it. So, is it ominous signs for the art of critique for a film? The wind is flowing in that direction.

Daksh: The discussions on the social network sites that is emanating is between those who incidentally belong to the category that forms the first week’s crowd for a movie, the fate decider of a movie so to say. If they have decided to discuss the movie threadbare on their own without bothering about the review that an official designate reviewer may have put on the newspaper, a TV channel or a website, it indeed would mean that democratization in the process of movie viewing would come into play. A viewer would be more guided by the review put up by a fellow review instead of being swayed by the review that is put up by a professional reviewer.

Moksh: But the debatable point in this development would be, whether the trend would continue for other movies as well, or it would be a passing phase? Would the same sense of participation in the same magnitude become a part for all the films that are released in India? It would indeed be a tough task, as everybody, i.e. those who want to participate would have to watch the movie to chip in with the comments. Rottentomatoes.com and imbd are websites which has loads of writers giving fair review for a movie.

For the film fraternity, it could be a bonanza, as more and more people may be viewing a movie, and could it mean that the official group of a film promoted on a social network site be accorded the privilege of viewing a movie before it is released to offer their comments and discuss the issue threadbare. This could be a sort of Paid PR activity.

Why social networking sites have become so famous?

Daksh: I was wondering as to the reason for people to use these sites and what do they do for so long on social networks, the biggest discovery happened? Pictures, bingo. People just love to look at pictures. That’s the killer application of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people’s profiles.” Why the popularity of photos? People who post pictures of themselves can show they are having fun and are popular without having to boast

Moksh: Another draw of photos (and of Social Network sites in general) is that they enable a form of voyeurism. In real life there is a strong norm against prying into other people’s lives. But online enables “a very delicate way for me to pry into your life without really prying”

Daksh: yes, also I found out that there are radical differences in gender use of sites. The biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.

Moksh: This seems to be a real big surprise: A lot of guys in relationships are looking at women they don’t know. This is true more in western world than conservative Asia. It’s an easy way to see if anyone might be a better match. Online networks act as cover.

Daksh: Social networking gives access to people who you would find difficult to meet on a very frequent basis. Moreover the geographical barriers and we get to know the various things happening with your friends and acquaintances in their daily life.

Moksh: A very different question is raised by my friends. Does social networking reduce the interpersonal skills of children who prefer interacting with friends online than in person? I completely disagree to the same. It is a new form of communication and it changes with times. There are pros and cons to it and it is as yet a grey area which will be explored in times to come.