When Blogger Outreach Has the Maximum Impact on Branding

August 25th, 2014

Bloggers have become a force to reckon with for digital marketers today. According to Social Media Today, 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post that recommends a product. Brands have begun to realize the potential of building relationships with their target audience using bloggers as the connecting medium. The benefits of blogger outreach are proven – While most brands have started jumping onto the blogger bandwagon, few actually know how to create effective strategies that actually bring in measurable results. Let’s look at a few strategies that can add value to blogger outreach campaigns:

1. Know Your Blogger: No one likes to receive an email that looks like it has been sent to a few hundred people with the same message. In order to truly pique a blogger’s interest, do some research. Get familiar with the tone of the blog, the topics he/she usually blogs about and their areas of interest. In your email, write to the blogger in a way that shows how well-versed you are with what he/she writes about. Offer a topic that resonates both with the blogger and the brand.

2. Host interesting events: Think of the products the brand offers, and think of an event that truly stands out and educates the consumer or makes them build a genuine connection with the brand. When we organized the ‘The Truth About Hair Colour’ event for Wella, the event saw tremendous response for the way they learnt so many new things about hair colouring that they weren’t aware of before.

3. Think out of the box: It’s time to move beyond mere product reviews. How does your product fit into your typical target audience’s lifestyle? How does it change their lives for the better? Why should they use it? Think of topics that would resonate well with your TA and build interesting blog ideas for them to write on.

4. Educate your blogger base: Spend timeon getting your brand values through to the bloggers you get in touch with. Give them a glimpse of what your brand stands for, and help them get the message through – share resources with them and talk to them about your brand culture, and USPs.

A powerful blogger outreach programme can create advocates for your brand – influential bloggers that speak positively about your brand and also encourage their audience to patronize your brand or store. It’s time that brands truly looked into spending on blogger outreach programmes for an enhanced brand image and a satisfied set of consumers.

Discover the power of brand advocacy and influencer engagement – get in touch with us to find out how your brand can benefit.

What Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report means for social media this year

July 10th, 2014

All marketers look forward to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report for its valuable data and actionable insights that can be incorporated into the overall marketing strategy. This year’s report makes it evident that digital marketing is constantly growing in significance as compared to traditional media. Social media is bigger than ever as a platform for content sharing, and offers a plethora of opportunities to brands for engagement. Here our understanding of the 4 key takeaways and trends for social media from the 2014 edition of Mary Meeker’s report:

1. The Internet Trifecta: According to Meeker, it is more crucial than ever for brands to integrate content with community and commerce, a concept she named ‘the internet trifecta’. Before the advent of the internet, customers would engage with each other during shopping trips, social gatherings and visits to their preferred places of worship; talking about the latest news, or the best places to shop, latest purchases and so on.

2. The importance of visual content: About 1.8 billion photographs are uploaded and shared on the internet and mobile daily. The growth of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest points to a growing increase in the importance of visual content. The key to shareable content? Images and video. The last time you shared something interesting with your friends on social platforms is more likely to be a fun video or an interesting image. In fact, 2/3 of what Meeker calls “digital universal content” is consumed or created by customers.

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3. Share of screen: 84% of mobile owners use their devices while watching TV, in this era of multi-tasking – they do this to combine shopping, texting, searching for information and checking the latest scores. Clearly, marketers need to push relevant content that integrates both platforms. The TV budget you allocated needs to ensure that you are covered on mobile as well, for the same campaign, or you risk losing your customer’s attention. With shrinking attention spans and the increasing number of devices, marketers need to be prepared and have a digital and social strategy that encompasses all media.

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4. The increasing importance of data: Big data is one of the most popular buzzwords in marketing and social today. However, Meeker’s report suggests that of all the data collected on the ‘digital universe’, only 34% of it is useful. Further, only 1% of this is actually analysed. This underlines the value of converting data into meaningful insights that can improve the overall customer experience.

Here’s how brands can leverage these insights and translate them into action items:
1. Bloggers as spokespersons: This sense of community lives on in social media when customers recommend products, ‘talk’ to brands and interact with friends at the click of a button. Brands that invest in digital need to also focus on building relationships with their consumers. The blogging community has become powerful as a tool for brand PR when they are ready to write relevant, targeted and useful content for your brand. The value proposition by the brand needs to be strong to attract the right kind of influence online through bloggers and micro-bloggers.

2. Contextual content creation: Today’s consumers are no longer interested in sales-y, pushy messages from brands – they look for values and benefits that they can relate to and connect with their daily life. This is where contextual content creation comes in. Brands need to focus on targeting their messages with a dual objective:
i) provide value or delight and ii) make it easy relatable to the current happenings in the world, to the consumer’s daily habits or to certain specific pain points they may have.

3. Targeting keeping the audience in mind: Brands need to adopt multi-faceted approaches to promoting and marketing themselves. When we roped in a B2B brand for managing their digital presence, we soon learnt that we have to unlearn everything we knew from other client experiences because the B2B space is so different. Brands need to deep dive into digital and separate the consumer industry approach from the purely business approach for better results.

The power and influence of digital and mobile on marketing this year is evident in Mary Meeker’s report for 2014. Has the time for brands to re-evaluate their marketing strategy arrived? Has traditional media finally taken the backseat for once? Only time will tell.

Panda & Penguin – Finding Your Way Through Google’s Wilderness

August 20th, 2013

 
Google Panda and Penguin Updates
 
Love it. Hate it. You can’t ignore it. The behemoth that is Google. In its efforts to make it search algorithms more dynamic and stringent, it has been doing regular updates on Panda and Penguin. No, do not mistake them to be and animal or a bird. They are code names for Google’s algorithm that police websites which violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
 
What are the Panda & Penguin Updates?
 
For Panda, Google said, “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on”. And for Penguin 2.0, Google said “Important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”
 
Impacts of the Panda & Penguin Updates:
 
In our efforts to assess the impact of this new-age Panda and Penguin on websites and blogs, we deciphered the following:
 
• Panda comes in to slap poor quality content that are published with a lot of spam-like keywords. It is up against those ‘authors’ who spam numerous blogs, websites with one blog link, often without any relation.
 
• Penguin targets indiscriminate use of black hat tactics like keyword stuffing, inorganic advertorials. With these, it becomes imperative on the part of website owners and bloggers to publish content that is original, has quality and which doesn’t spam.
 
How then can we find our way through this wilderness created by Google Panda and Penguin?
 
Big question for by now it is obvious that Panda and Penguin penalizes the ‘quick-buck’ seeker in the world of content. Let’s see what options we have in order to promote content in the online world then:
 
i. Plough in your friends, family, colleagues and social networks using the ever-friendly and popular Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Most people definitely more than one of these in their daily life.
 
ii. Try building an audience in YouTube too by transforming your content, especially product description and services differentiation, at video sites like YouTube.
 
iii. Project yourself as a thought-leader by uploading whitepapers or slides in document upload sites like SlideShare, AuthorStream
 
iv. How about transforming snippets of your content into informative creatives and use these infographices on Pinterest?
 
v. And finally, consider guest blogging. This will give you and your company a lot of visibility thereby helping you to carry the word.
 

Digital Media and Big Data – A New Devil?

August 19th, 2013

The words ‘Big Data’ seemed to be an alien word, surely from the world of Star Trek and Star Wars. Up until now though. For this ‘alien’ has now come out of the exclusive tech walls, to stay and haunt the world of the humans!! Forgive us for painting such a grim picture, for while the online and offline world is abuzz with the chatter of ‘big data’, no one seems to know with certainty how to tackle the new devil.
 
Come to the digital world, and the problem seems to be magnified. What with the millions of Facebook likes, tweets, posts, photos, blogs shared everyday. Take a look at this interesting infographics from DOMO. As they rightly said, “With no signs of slowing, the data keeps growing”.
 
big data infographic
 
How To Decipher The Big Data In The Digital World?
 
You would have been ploughing all sorts of data on customer behaviour and preferences through their buying patterns, queries, footprints in the digital media, web server logs, mobile phone call detail records, various analytical tools both from the online and traditional world. And now you are faced with a bigger question – how do you decipher all the data that you have gathered?
 
Your primary goal is to make better business decisions with the help of this data. Remember, not only the unstructured data constitute big data, but also data generated from transactions and other structured processes.
 
The need to make ‘sense of it all’ stares you on the face. We help you with a few pointers:
 
1. First, use the data to analyse which aspect of your product or service you customers are more hooked with.
 
2. Next, find out where improvements/changes are sought and get them changed accordingly
 
3. Assess which marketing campaign get you maximum results and document the learnings
 
4. In the same way, assess which marketing campaign failed and attempt a root-cause analysis.
 
5. Try to hear what new your customers expect. This can be a good sounding board for you to get into the research mode for a new product.
 
McKinsey says that Big Data is “The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”. True.It will also be the harbinger of a lot more changes in the way organisations operates, strategizes and communicates.
 
In the days ahead, the explosion of Big Data will just get bigger. Your state of preparedness to handle this explosion proactively for the benefit of your operations and strategies will be a key game-changer in the competitive market. How well you are prepared will contribute significantly to your success or otherwise.
 
Image Courtesy: Domo

The Optimal Duration For Prospects Research

April 19th, 2013

 

How much time should you spend on researching your prospects?

How much time should you spend on researching your prospects?


 
The past half-decade has witnessed a massive change in the way companies (even countries) do business. Global recession coupled with liquidity crisis, the fall of iconic institutions, collapse of investor-customer confidence, increased regulatory compliance requirements in the aftermath, have left organisations to grapple with stiffer competition, tighter budgets and higher targets. Nowhere perhaps the pressure is so acutely felt than in the sales teams across companies who have to overcome lengthened sales cycles, reduced spending and increased quotas. The direness of the situation has forced many companies to embrace Sales Intelligence programs in a big way. Sales teams are increasingly contextualizing business opportunities by unearthing relevant industry, corporate and personal information to improve the quality and quantity of sales leads. But question is, “How much time can you, or rather, should you devote to research on prospective customers”?
 
A vital question, since too much time spent on researching could be a waste, while too little may lead to awkwardness in the meeting or the call as the case may be. How do you arrive at the optimal time then? Difficult to pin-point, for it will depend on a variety of factors such as:
 
• The size of the company under consideration
• The penetration of its brands, particularly, the brand you are vying for
• The history of its marketing strategies
• The prospect you are engaging with
 
Having said this, the following points will help you to take a call on how much time should be spent on researching about your prospects.
 
What is the quantum of information available in the public domain? Despite the age of the internet and social-media, you may come across many prospects who do not have much information about their company in the public domain. In most of these cases, you will at best get their basic contact details upon searching. Why then, waste time and resources scouting for what is unavailable? Make sure you advise your sales intelligence team to spend minimal time researching about such prospects.
 
What is your anticipated deal size? This should be, by far, your most important consideration. It is advisable to have a questionnaire ready, such that the basic details and information are quickly filled in before the team member moves on to the next prospect.
 
What if you are vying for a large account? An account that could change the dynamics of your business? Suggest you elaborate the essentials to your team emphasising the importance and stakes involved. Give them decent time to draw up an informative list of the prospects footprints across interest areas. Monitor the progress personally so that you get the desired results with minimal waste and rework
 
Finally, weigh your options of setting up a highly digitised gear or a big sales intelligence team for your prospects research function, ascertain if you really need that kind of infrastructure and an internal 360 Degree monitoring function. Check if you could benefit by outsourcing your sales-intelligence requirements to an expert research agency for monetary consideration, scale and time. A cost-benefit analysis against the above-mentioned parameters should be your path-finder.
 
For a free sample report on one of your prospects, Click Here.

Case Study – Online & Offline Marketing Integration

January 8th, 2013

Marketing Integration is vital for a business as there is a danger of losing potential customers if it’s online and offline marketing activities doesn’t work in tandem. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most successful and classic case study which integrated online & offline marketing activities at its best – Bing’s Campaign to increase their traffic.

Online Offline Marketing Integration Case Study

 

Many would say it’s not a good idea to take on Google!! However Bing (Microsoft’s Search Engine) came up with an innovative campaign in October 2010 and took a handful of market share from Google for a particular time period. Bing partnered with JayZ, who is a financially successful Hip-Hop artist and entrepreneur in America. JayZ was about to launch his auto biography ‘Decode’ in late 2010. The campaign also helped JayZ to put his book on the year’s Best Sellers List.

 

Objective of the Campaign:
To encourage people start using Bing for maps and searches (where Google is the Market Leader)

 

Execution:
This campaign can be described as one of the best examples of Offline & Online Marketing Integration Technique.
• Bing decided to run the campaign around JayZ’s book release. Prior to the book release, Pages from JayZ’s Biography were taken and shown to the world in number of innovative ways like Bill Boards, Swimming Pool, Snooker Table, Wrapped around a Cadillac, On the Walls of buildings, Unique Collectable Items etc..
• Every location where the pages were placed is inspired from the story of JayZ’s book (The places where he’s been and grew up). Bing tied every element in the campaign together to an integrated online game that directed Fans to the location of the Pages.
• The clues to the location were seeded through Facebook & Twitter Pages of JayZ and Bing. The users should use Bing Maps to find the location using the clues.
• The campaign ran for almost one month and showed some remarkable results. Please take a look at this video to understand how the campaign was executed.
 

Results:
• Average time spent by a person on the website during the campaign was around 11 minutes.
• Bing got 11.7% increase in visits to their search engine which finally paved way for them to enter Top 10 Most visited Websites of the year for the first time.
• Large number of people preferred using BING for search and maps over Google during the campaign
• The campaign was covered by leading traditional media, blogs & Magazines
• The campaign resulted in 1.1 billion media impressions
• Jay-Z’s grew his Facebook Page by a whopping 1 Million Fans
• Jay-Z’s book was on the Best Sellers List for almost 4 months

 

Conclusion:
If you would like to reach a large set of your target audience, integrating your offline and online marketing campaigns is considered to be a best practice across the world. Most of our social media strategies are aligned with the offline marketing practices of our clients, to help them achieve better results.

 

Things to keep in mind while preparing a social media plan

November 20th, 2012

plan

With number of social media users increasing day by day, brands can’t afford to miss their presence in social media. If you want to walk on the cutting edge of social media, a well crafted social media plan will be critical for your long term success in Social Media. While preparing a social media plan or a campaign, it’s very important to keep few things in mind.

1) Deep understanding of your target audience:

To start with, a company has to know who their target audiences are i.e. Who can be their customers? Who can be their potential customers? In addition to that, the company also has to understand what their users would like to read on their social media page and how do they make use of their social media profiles? If you sell your products/services to the top designations of MNC’s then Facebook might not be a good choice for you. However you can still make use of Facebook to increase your brand awareness and LinkedIn to sell your products/services. The target user behavior and his keyword preferences can give you a lot of insights on how to project your brand on social media. Identifying keywords with the help of ‘Google Trends’ and aligning it with your content strategy would help a lot in engaging fans via social media.

2) Clear Understanding of your objective:

What is your objective? Is it to increase the level of engagement with your existing fans? Is it to increase the organic searches and traffic to your website? If your objective is to increase the engagement level, then you should start studying the behavior of your fans. Create a concept around your services which could be highly shareable, get the fans to comment on it and start building a community. If your objective is to increase your product usage, you can come up with a viral app like we did. The app details are as follows

Client: txtWeb
Objective: To increase Txtweb’s product usage
Viral App Concept: The app was created during 2012-T20 World cup. The fans were asked to create their own T20 cricket Team with the real players. Every time the player scores in the cricket match, the point of the fan increases. The users can also increase their points by using Txtweb’s SMS based products. End of the day, the user with maximum number of points were rewarded with gift vouchers.
Result: 27% Increase in Engagement (Facebook) and a rapid increase in Product Usage compared to the previous month.

3) Content Strategy:

You need to have interesting content that your target audience would like to read. This will entirely depend on your audience’s demographics (such as age-group, gender) and the platform that you want to engage them with. For example, if the platform is Facebook, the content has to be correct, crisp and engaging. Twitter requires you to be crisper with the content. On the other hand, if your platform is a blog, make sure the content is well structured, well-written, focused and engaging too. Remember, in a world of information boom, you get a very small window of opportunity to capture your reader’s attention. Therefore, unless your content is different and teaches something new, nobody will be interested in it, let alone follow it. In order to ensure a following then, be true to your product/service, communicate effectively and creatively.

4) Presentation:

The content that you produce has to be presented in a pleasant and an appealing way. Even the best content which is presented badly would fail to garner necessary engagement for the post. Hence a company needs to be very careful in presenting their content for the users.

5) Frequency of Posts:

You need to very sure in the number of posts you put in Facebook everyday. It’s a good practice, to maintain an average ‘X’ number of posts everyday at regular time intervals. Experts suggest that number of posts ranging from 3-6 is ideal for a Facebook page.

6) Time Interval of Posts:

It is suggested by many Social Media Gurus to maintain a time interval of 3-4 hours for every Facebook post you create and publish. Publishing too many posts everyday can confuse the target audience as well as Facebook in calculating the ‘Edge Rank’ and ranking your post in user’s newsfeed.

7) Editorial Calendar:

Any social media plan (or) campaign needs to have an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps to present the content produced by you across different platforms at different time intervals effectively.

editorial calendar

You can’t deny the fact that content is the king and all your social media activities and engagement revolves around that. Which of the above points do you consider a ‘must’? Do you have any more to add?

Generate Leads Through Linkedin

November 8th, 2012

How do you generate leads for your products/services? Is your lead generation method effective? If so, how do you measure it?

It is the industry insider’s opinion that many of the leads generated through Event Marketing, Tele Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Direct E-mail, Newsletters and Print Advertising are not effective. Instead, the leads which are generated through LinkedIn are considered to be highly effective because you clearly know about the prospect’s industry and needs.
A study has also revealed that B2B companies are highly successful in generating leads through LinkedIn.

Linkedin-leads

So how should it be done? Here is an article that will help you to generate leads through LinkedIn.

Optimize your company’s LinkedIn page: Many companies simply set up a LinkedIn page and forget to tweak it. After setting up a page, you need to add your products and services in the option provided by LinkedIn. You can also ask your customers to endorse your products and services. Please do not forget to provide your contact information in the page which will also help in people reaching out to you. Make sure you share content in your LinkedIn page on a frequent basis to let people know that you are active. LinkedIn also gives you the option of ‘Free Banner’ in your services page, through which you can advertise your products/services and redirect your prospect to the target page. Once the prospects reach the target page, use a ‘Lead form’ to collect his/her information and check the list after a week, you’ve got a decent list of leads. Isn’t it?

LinkedIn Connections: This is a great tool for sales professionals, people who are looking for a job in their industry and for people who are involved in B2B Sales. Look out for the search bar and search for the company you are looking for. Make sure the option near the search bar is chosen as ‘Companies’. The same can be done for People and Events too. Once you click the company, the company’s page will be opened. On the right hand side, you will able to see your first connections (The people to whom you are connected directly). If you don’t find any first connections, you will able to see you second and third connection by clicking ‘View all connections’ which is located on the right side of the company page. You can get introduced to a prospect through a second connection and you have just cracked it. Connect to your prospects, impress them with your business proposal and convert them into your customer.

LinkedIn Groups: Look out for different groups in Industry on LinkedIn and join them. You can also join in groups which you think is out of your industry but still be able to generate business for you. For example, if you are a social media agency, you don’t just join ‘Social Media’ related groups but also can join different industry groups such as IT/ITES, Automobile, and Pharmaceuticals to understand them deeply and provide them efficient customized services. After joining the group, you can position yourselves as a thought leader by joining in discussions and providing your meaningful thoughts. This helps people to identify you as an expert in that particular field and also makes them to come to you for providing them the services you are specialized in. You can also monitor for relevant discussions, where people are speaking about a need and you’ve a solution for that. Bingo! You’ve got a lead.

LinkedIn Answers: This is one of the most effective tools in LinkedIn. People come here to post their questions they’ve got about any business. Here you can provide answers to position yourself as an expert in the section you are participating in. This helps building your personal as well as your company’s brand value. If the question posted by a user is a problem and you’ve the solution for it, you’ve got a lead in your hand now. Monitor for relevant questions in your industry and start building your list of leads now.

Is Government Monitoring of Social Media Justifiable?

September 27th, 2012

Post the North-East ethnic violence and the resulting exodus of the north-east people from different parts of the country, the Government of India has been very critical of the role of social-media and has even pointed fingers at the social networks to be the root cause for inciting violence. They have decided to monitor every feed and update that would goon social networking sites. It is indeed a good move by the government, considering that posts that incite violence need to be nipped in the bud.

Having said that, all is well and good, as long as the GOI does not hinder a person’s freedom of expression.But is that what is happening? A recent article stated that a girl from Chandigarh was arrested for posting updates on Facebook against the traffic police. She pointed out a bad experience and expressed the same. Is this crime enough to court arrest?

Ripple Links

The Indian Constitution promises “LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,”to every citizen. Every person has the right to express, even if it is something about/against the government, its new rule or activity, corruption of the politicians, local police or even the rise in fuel prices.

Monitoring the social media then, should be about monitoring hate materials and not gagging it. Such incidents will not only trespass on the freedom of expression, but will also bring a lot of discredit to the government. Our democratic government cannot suddenly turn autocratic.

How can the govt decide what is decent and what is not? Well, for starters, it would be best if they lay ground rules for people to follow. If there is evidence, targeted monitoring can be processed but if the GOI wants to go through every tweet and status update, it’s just waste of money and resources.

The Rise and Fall of Fake Profiles on Facebook

September 20th, 2012

It’s the time of the year when Facebook hits the hot news again, this time for identifying around 83 million fake profiles. This serious move by Facebook is to prevent misuse of such identities in India and worldwide. Facebook has found few tips which they consider as basis for recognising fake profiles. Some of them are:

Profile & Tagged Pictures–Facebook profile pictures of cartoons or just a single picture with a model face can be considered a fake. Tagged pictures of these profiles would generally be on comics, cartoons or festival wishes.
Unknown Friend Requests – When you get a friend request from an unknown person with a very good looking profile picture and it is someone you have not even heard off, it is most likely to be a fake profile.
Status Updates and Profile Details – Most of their status updates would have no likes or comments simply because nobody really knows them. Their profile description is generally empty as the profile creator would not take the effort to fill in these details.

fb fake

Facebook is asking the fake profilers to identify themselves as measures to determine the authenticity of the profile.Facebook authorities have figured that these profiles have been created either to monitor some information or mostly created by companies to increase traction in the likes and comments of their pages. They believe that it is generally the advertisers who are behind most of these profiles for the same reason.

The basis on which Facebook is going to assume that the profiles are fake is not valid at all points. What if some people actually do have many friends? What if there are people who like to keep their Facebook private and use just a single picture for identity? Or is using your favourite celebrity’s picture as your display picture suddenly a crime? These are questions that are being asked by the same committee who uses these as reasons to confirm whether a profile is real or not.

Reporting Facebook profile users who harm others or instigate hate against a person, community or nation is justifiable. But what would happen to those start- ups, advertisers, social media marketers who initially need to use these fake Facebook profiles to increase page engagement? With the automatic deletion of these profiles hurting sentiments of real users, looks like Facebook is going onto hot waters again.