Monday, October 4, 2010

Social Media Is A Path To Achieving Brand Objectives

Many a times we may wonder where is Social Media taking us. Is it really going to benefit the brand that we are looking at? What are the tactical tools to be employed? What could be the objectives to be achieved?

Most of us have heard that we need to have Facebook and Twitter for business. Well by setting up your profile page does not get us any business. We need to look at this as a very long term community event. At the start we are to have a plan of action. Social Media is like an investment. What you do today leaves footprints on the internet that enables you to draw positive fruits later on. Ofcourse if you do not use it wisely then you could suffer as well. Social Media requires focus, planning, adherence to plan, continuity, consistency and freshness.

Social Media comprises of various elements which I have shared below. Together they start to form the complete picture for our target audience.
We need to understand that there's a high degree of correlation between good customer / stakeholder experiences and their willingness to associate with the same organization, brand, product and service. Social Media Networking is part of the overall marketing scenario. It is not a separate silo that one works within. Our Social Media efforts are an extension of the brand's overall marketing efforts. Just like any other aspect of marketing like advertising [print, tv, radio, outdoors etc], Social Media is also one of these. Ofcourse the modus operandi would be different. However our target audience would be part of the overall target audience itself.

Social Media needs SEO [Search Engine Optimization] Management. The reason to work on SEO while managing and handling Social Media is so that your brand comes up ahead on the Google and other search engines. This is not paid for and it is known as chronologically high ranking on the search engines. It is similar to Page Rank. The higher your page rank the more plausible is good ranking on search engines. SEO comprises of on-page method and off-page method.

Social Media efforts like any other marketing effort requires that it be measured, monitored and be accountable. This is simple business practice not restricted and not limited by marketing efforts alone. Typically in business terminology called Return On Investments or ROI.

Add to all this we definitely do need to be ethical and not start to spam every online page that we come across.
Monitoring Social Media can be overwhelming. From the outside it looks like a mayhem. Lots of people chatting, couple of praises, many silent monologues that could lead the Community Manager themselves into utter silence and the rest of the time stressing with negative feedback. Add to this some person posting an affiliate programme link and someone else venting out their frustration.

Below am sharing some tactical pointers that would enable you to work towards a Social Media strategy so as to achieve your Brand's objectives:
  • Setting Of 'Alerts' 
    • To track your brand and your competitors
      • To enable us to understand the positive and negative mentions online
  • Blogging 
  • Online Community Management 
  • Networking on Social Network Sites Like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn 
  • Article Writing 
  • Press Release Writing 
  • Submission To Search Engines, Articles Sites, Directories For Sites, Blogs
  • All Writing Will Be Done Keeping Search Engine Optimization [SEO] In Focus
When we employ the above and more of Social Media touch points what you, your brand and company would benefit in is shared below, ofcourse it varies based on the brand, category and the Social Media task taken:

  • Acquisition
  • Retention
  • Customer Value Enhancement
  • Referral [Friend Get Friend] Programme, Member Get Member Programme, Viral Marketing
  • Encourage Non Active Members To Participate
  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Personality Re-Enforcement, Build Brand Identity And Thereby Brand Recognition
  • Bring In Positive Brand Perceptions
  • Progress Towards Brand Associations, Familiarity, Attitudes, Identity, Personality, Image And Brand Preference
  • Increase The Brand - Consumer Bond, Loyalty Towards Your Brand, Service, Product, Company Etc
  • Over A Period Of Time Customer Intelligence Can Be Built - Who They Are, What Interests Them, And So On Based On What Is Feasible From The Connection Online
  • Create Brand Difference
  • Consumer Insights
  • What Does Your Customer Like And Not Like About Your Brand, Product, Service Etc.
  • Enhance Brand Proposition And Positioning 
  • Try Preventing Attrition
  • Nurturing Brand - Customer Relationship Over Time Thereby Deepening Relationships
  • Identify Active Participants To Give Them More Benefits And Thereby Get Them To Feel More Belonging Towards Your Brand, Product, Service Etc
  • Facilitating Cross Sell And Up Sell
So what is your opinion? How does Social Media take you closer towards your Brand's objectives? Share your thoughts here. Let's discuss.