Monday, March 28, 2011

Social Media Professional's Skill Sets

If you think that Social Media is an easy job then yes you are correct. It is easy for experienced persons. It is a task that skilled people can see through during crises. It is result oriented that passionate professionals can bring to the table.

Many a times I come across people asking why is Social Media not measurable. Or that since it is just the task of setting up of a profile, putting an image to the avatar and there you are your teenage kid can also put up Tweets and Posts. And some questions are borderline - the middle way: someone in the company who is not loaded with too much work can be authorized to put up Posts.

All these questions are genuine and legitimate. Answering the question of measuring Social Media, well it is very much measured and checked against ROI. The parameters may be different but at the end of the day we all are talking bottom line and ROI.

Answering if it is what we think about just setting up a profile page and doing conversations- well this is like saying that since your friend knows drawing they can do advertising. Yes, it is as closely mismatched as this.

Social Media requires the person to have the following skill sets:
  • Dedicated professional, who 'likes' the Social Media sites. This 'like' means that the person really see Social Media sites as a space to interact and to search information. The person really should be believing and trusting the sites as a resource of serious information. They should for instance be consuming news for instance. The person would be 'listening' at various discussion taking place.
  • We really cannot restrict any of our clients / customers from connecting with us all of 24/7 on Social Media you need the person to be aware of listening tools. Tools that make the person know what all conversations are taking place about your brand, business, category, competition and so on.
  • A person who understands your brand philosophy, brand personality and can translate this into action and behavior onto the Social Media Pages. A financial institute would behave very differently to a particular situation as against a beverage brand, for instance. It is critical that the person understands and translates the brand print into actual behavior.
  • This also requires a person who understands consumer mindset, usage and attitude not only towards your brand but also towards the category and towards the online net and Social Media Site as well.
  • In addition to this it requires that the same person understands mass communication and direct marketing along with the knowledge of the online medium as well. The person requires public relations as well and is adept at rising a flag when crises are about to take place.
So there you are. Who will you recruit? Who is your Brand Voice in the world of Social Media?

Below could be interesting information and reading material for you:
My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Segregating Your Community Members - Social Media

Social Media enables you to broadcast your message to your Community and it also enables you to tag individual persons and chat with them. Social Media is an amazing environment; here you can practice the entire spectrum right from mass messaging to one-on-one messaging.

If this is the case then what have we done so far with this amazing platform. Have we identified various clusters that can take place from our Fan / Business Page Communities? What we could do perhaps, is segregate our Community Members into various clusters.

The most basic format of segregation would be Active, Inactive and Lapsed.

Active:
People who are engaging with your post and comments on your Page.

Inactive:
Those that are not active.

Lapsed:
Those that have been active once and have then refrained for some reason.

Ofcourse the more we segregate the more intense and dynamic the grid could become. However on the Social Media section this could get tedious for some people who have too many Community people attached. So the least format could be
Active, Inactive and Lapsed.

Once you have identified and segregated your
Community Members you can then start to connect with them differently. You will have to take a business decision if you want to touch and connect with the Inactive cluster. While you need to keep in touch with your Active base and try to re-connect with your Lapsed people.

There perhaps is not an urgent need to dice and slice your data too much, a little segregation alone can take you a long way.

Your turn - how best do you segregate your Community Members?

My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Advantages Of The New Functions Of Facebook Fan / Business Page And iFrame - Social Media


Change is constant; and in the case of Facebook, change, definitely is consistent.
By now you will have noticed that all Pages on Facebook will have been upgraded to the new format. This goes for even those Pages that may have not opted into the new look some time back.

The new Pages have a lot of advantages with them, especially for the Page Administrator / Community Managers. These functions definitely are useful for brands and business in touching base with their Community Members.

  • For instance the capacity to post on other Pages as the business / brand Page and not necessarily as Profile Page gives a huge benefit. The fact that you post as a brand / business makes people directly click onto your Page and arrive at your end. Besides, you are creating a great association and personality via your behavior for your brand.
  • The other much welcomed feature is notifications. Previously, you may recollect, that you had to physically scroll on your Page [the Page of which you are the Administrator] and check if there are any comments / posts which you need to address. Ofcourse there are third party applications that facilitate the notifications to come right into your inbox. However Facebook did not have one of its own. With this notification you can immediately know from your email inbox itself what is the content of the comment / post, put up by your Community Members and who has said it. This enables you to respond in almost real time and saves you the tedious task to scrolling on your Page all the time.
  • The third good part is that you can give a face to your Page. In the sense you can now let your Community People know who is manning the Page. This works at two levels, one is that people relate to persons more than just some static Page / brand / business talking and secondly you get your publicity as well. Ofcourse if you do not manage well then you can be the target of some hideous stressing discussions as well. No doubt there is an option to be unseen as well.
  • Another good part is showing other Pages associations. As shared above you can now post and comment on other Pages as your brand / business Page. Which means that you will have 'liked' them as your brand / business Page, only then you can post and comment. When you do this the Pages that you have 'liked' show up on your Page. In this way association starts to form in the Community Mindset and this could be a little step towards credibility formation for your Page.
  • There are other significant feature lead upgrades like: the masthead that can be used creatively so that you can extend your brand / business personality / features etc in a visual way. This is similar to one you have on your Profile Page.
  • The edit feature is available easily - this is on your right hand side. The good part about this is now you can change your category of the Page incase you are stuck with something not so correct.
  • You will have noticed by now that there are no more tabs on your Page top side, these are now moved to your left hand side. The good part is you can have them a little longer and have descriptive text.
  • And finally the FBML feature is totally deactivated. This does not mean that your existing FBML matter is deactivated / deleted. These will remain and not be deleted. However if you do want to make new tabs you will now need to upgrade and learn the iFrame technology. With these you can start to have more tab type features on your left hand side.
Below, I will touch a little deeper on what is iFrame and how can you best possibly use it:

If you are personally or have a connection with tech person then iFrame is what you will relish more than FBML. Unlike FBML, iFrame allows you to have an eternal web page embedded onto your Facebook tab. Which means that your external Web Page can have the technology intricacies of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript like any other Web Page does. What basically you need in this case is a small patch / script / programme that connects your Facebook Page with your external Web Page. Yes, this is what iFrame enables and lends itself to.

Which means that you need:
  • scripting / programing knowledge,
  • a server space where you can upload your files if you want to fetch data, just the way you would build a Web Page,
  • the patch which is Facebook Developer application: http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/477
  • and creative, content management, planning etc.
Below are steps that you can take to create your iFrame starting from http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/477 Page.

You will require like all other applications with Facebook 'allow' the
request for permission dialog. This is similar when you apply any new first time application / game connection with your Facebook Pages. Click on the allow button. So if this is your first time then you will require the one time 'allow' permission given for the request.

Having done this, on top, on your right hand side you will see 'Set Up New App' button - click this.  Once you do this you will be taken to a dialogues box asking you to give a name to your application - you can name it best keeping your focus on SEO and Page requirement. Give the application a name, click the agree button. Once this takes place the click the 'create app button'. You will be taken to the usual security question of answering if you are a human. Indulge in this and move on.

Now you will see that you have landed onto an 'About' registration form. Go on Fill it up!.

Under 'About' you will see 'Website' fill this form as well.

Next is the 'Facebook Integration' fill this as well. 

Click 'Save'. Most crucial function.

Once you do this you will be taken to the summary Page.

Now what is left? Well you need to install your own application onto your Brand / Business Page on Facebook.

On the summary Page itself you will see the link icon namely 'Application Profile Page link' on your right hand side. Hope you have landed by now onto a huge Page that looks similar to the regular Facebook Profile Pages. Well on this Page look to your left hand side. Once you do this a pop up dialogue box will appear asking your to select the Page you want this new application of yours to be installed upon. So, go on select your page. The Pages get get seen will be the Pages that you are an Administrator of. Click 'Add to Page'.

Now go to the Pages that you have selected and check if your application is there. Your new iFrame app should now appear on your selected Fan Page / Pages.  In-case you don't see it there immediately first refresh this Page. If there is still a problem then do a little tweeting with your setting. From your Fan Page, click on the 'Edit Page link'. Then click on Apps and find the application that you just added. Click on the Edit Settings link next to the app and Add link.


So? how does your new tab look? Share your experience.

I work as Freelance Social Media Network Online Professional. My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Social Media Weaves Its Way Into Your Life

Social Media enables you as the Page Admin and Community Manager to connect with individuals on a one-to-one level. Just years ago it would be difficult for a common man to be heard and listened to by brands and business houses, Social Media has made it feasible for heads of an organization to dip into real time conversations and know where their brand and business is going, or not going.

Sometime back when calling / telephoning, writing letters and sending emails would be falling to deaf ears Social Media has made the company people stand up and react in almost real time. You could make numerous calls to the customer care and the complaint section of the company. All your pleas and anger would fall to deaf ears. You could almost be compelled to make do with a low quality product that you may have just purchased. In comes Social Media and the gravity of the situation turns on its head. A comment sent off by a grieving party creates a mass effect and hence companies have people dealing with this right away.

There are many amazing situations that you will recollect. For instance when emails came into business - procuring the email id of the top people would be a huge detective task. These email ids were one of the top well kept secrets. Today we are not really bothered with email id investigations as a simple Twitter handle connects us right to the top guys and into their mobiles as well [if they gaze at their Twitter via their cell phones].

The ripple effect of Social Media has not only been seen in the business world but it is also visible in the political issues. Elections are won with Facebook Page help. Would one have thought that an entire nation knows when to react with just one click? A revolution can take place with a single status update.

A crisis situation can avail of help with single status update. Today doctors are viewing the photos uploaded by their network and immediately sending an alarm of probable disease or operation to be done. What's more a whole operation was done with Tweets from one surgeon to another team a couple of years back.

What's more, missing people are found. You will have read how people have been found and re-united via networking connections. When there is crises and acts of terror people have kept their status flowing so that the outside world know that one is still alive.

A criminal activity is tracked and Social Media communication stands as evidence for the court. The stalker who was never seen as a suspect could be having huge evidence of illicit activities over the Social Media. The courts of the world are looking at information via Social Media as concrete and authentic evidences.

Naturally if the judiciary system can open its doors to Social Media then why would a character analysis from a recruiter be left out. Today HR personnel are also looking at Social Media to source, identify and even evaluate a candidate. What's more this is an amazing source of reference as well. Infact Social Media Sites like LinkedIn enable you to procure referral and comments about your job / work etc.

You don't have a job? You need credibility to be built up? Start with Social Media share information, solve problems online and see how you start to have a following. This in turn draws people who will want more of this experience and you could have a job in hand / your business going. A Blog does wonders here.

Citizen journalism is a growing concept in the world of journalism - this is taking place on Social Media without actually being termed as citizen journalism. You see something good or bad, what you may approve or disapprove, what may make you jubilant or angry you can quickly update on your Facebook Profile Page. You may see an oppression or a celebration and lo! you can upload this via video, audio, text photo and so on.

It is difficult for most to sleep and call it a day without a peek at the Facebook and Twitter status. And ofcourse what we login to for a quick peek ends up being minimum an hour and so on. We are logged in and very concern about someone else frame of mind. Our own state of mind is not understood by us till we broadcast a post and then we also along with the world understand what is happening to us, what we like and dislike.  Social Media Triggers Us To Be Helpful!

Ofcourse we have the negative side of Social Media as well. As the saying goes too much of good thing if not controlled can lead to negative effect. Having said this the good of Social Media cannot be ignore.

Your Turn - how did Social Media help you?

My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who And Do - Are Important Criteria To Understanding Your Target Audience In Social Media

As a Social Media Page Administrator / Community Manager how do you look at your Community? Do you take a look at your community? The humans who have joined you / your Page have a reason to do this. The reasons could be direct and obvious at the tertiary level.

For instance an offer and discount expectation could make people look forward to your Page, or some privileged preview and a sneak peek of a new launch could make people enthusiastic and so on. Reasons could be ample. They would be genuine however they would last for as long as your Page supports it. Over a period of time repeating yourself with various similar stories could drain the spirit and enthusiasm out of the Page. Unfortunately soon a blind eye turns towards your posts that throw up on your community members Feeds at their Home Page. It is not that you are to refrain from giving discounts and offer, or a sneak peak and so on. These are universal truths that make the consumer move. However if you want conversations to take place and healthy engagements to take place with regards to your Social Media Page then you need to look at triggers. What are the triggers that your community member normally reacts towards, what makes things go viral, what is it that makes the buzz take place.

Have you managed to go a little deeper. Have you checked on 'who' are your community people? What do they 'do' on your Social Media Site that you and they both co-exists? Don't be carried away only by analytic in quantitative terms. Quantitative terms are good no doubt. However qualitative understanding is also critical. To-gather quantitative and qualitative give us the whole picture.

Many a times you will notice that it is the qualitative understanding that could take the lead in determining as what is the emotional trigger and connect.

In order to know and understand your target audience in qualitative manner it does not mean that you violate privacy norms or start to stalk people in the online world. However a cursory look and a little bit of method can be used to understand who your persons are and what they do in the online Social Media world.

There are two broad and main criteria that you need to concentrate on with regards to deciphering the qualitative understanding of your community member. One is 'who' are your connections and the other is what do they 'do' online on the Social Site that you co-exists with them.

Your turn who are your connects what do they do within your Social Media Site have you figured?

What you may want to read:
How To Have Value Added Conversations In Social Media
How To Measure Your Social Media Efforts

My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.


Monday, March 7, 2011

How To Have Value Added Conversations In Social Media

We all hear about having conversations on Social Media platform. We hear about have 'engaging' conversations. Involving humans to converse, share, comment, post and so on. Thereby creating better value added networking environment.

Lets just step back and understand what is the meaning of conversation. The essence of conversation is broken down by the 'sending' and 'receiving' criteria. It is 'encoding' and 'decoding', when this takes place it is 'interaction', a two way process. On the minimum side it can be two persons and ofcourse you can have more than two persons involved as well.

It would be easier to define conversation by saying what it probably is not: It is not a monologue. Though a monologue can be a catalyst to initiate a conversation.

Conversations could be face to face  and / or over a medium. The medium could be phone like telecon, SMS and so on, it could be over net like GTalk, Yahoo chats, emails, Social Networking Sites and so on.

Conversations can be of various types. They could be serious, they could be humorous, a mix, and so on.

What are the kind of conversations that you should have on Social Media Sites while working for your brand and business is a question that we need to answer. Before we start to answer this lets take a quick understanding of the people that you would want to have conversation with. Lets dwell a little deeper into the business side of conversations on Social Media Sites.

People join Online Social Sites because they would like to see what is taking place there, this could be to know about their friends and relatives and so on. The reasons are plenty. It could be to socialize, to keep in touch, to stalk, to check out details and so on. Perhaps to pass time and therefore engage into games like Mafia Wars and so on. When you wish to have a conversation with your customer set it is imperative that you know and understand on why they have connected with your Page. Based on this knowledge will you be able to leverage your conversations that are relevant and meaningful to the audience. Conversation need to be relevant or else the person is sure to leave your Page sooner or later.

You need to know what does your target customer set think of the Social Media Site. Do they use it frequently. Do they use it to learn and consume news and information. Do they use it to share, post and so on. When you can define this you will know and understand how deep will your conversations become eventually.

Do they trust online discussions? Do they share information that enables their network to say for instance buy something at a discounted rate and so on. When you will be able to pin point on the type of talks that they do it is then that you will be able to cater to their requirement and involve them.

Emotions play a very important role. If you can trigger the emotional connect then your audience will be connected with you in a deeper manner. There are a couple of important parts to your conversations:
  • How does your target audience feel and behave while on Social Media Sites: This is imperative. As shared above you need to understand the usage and attitude towards the particular Social Media Site that you are considering.
  • Why do they join your Page: As marketeers you may indulge in giving out certain offers if people join your Page. However keep in mind the bigger picture. People do not only want to see a complete Page full of discounts and so on. The excitement will go out. Have a Page philosophy.
  • Page philosophy: While you have your Brand Philosophy in tact you also need to decide on what is your Page Differentiation and Philosophy. It is essential that you pre-decide on the reason as to 'why should people join your Page'. Is it that they will receive exclusive offers, or a launch preview etc.
  • What you mention: It is critical you have a list of things that you would like to mention. This ofcourse needs to be in tandem with what your brand stands for and what your customer set is looking for.
  • How you say it: This is all about tone of voice. What you say needs to be accompanied by the manner and tone of voice. This forms the essence of the brand behavior.
Along with this ofcourse you need to have your brand personality drawn out and well developed so you know how to behave on the Sites. 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.

More to read:
Parameters To Plan Your Social Media Strategy

My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.




Friday, March 4, 2011

Emails Are Part Of The Social Media Environment

Social Networking and Sites / Media is not confined to just the Social Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Ofcourse it is this and much more. For instance it is email as well. What would your take be for emails? Would you say that email is part of the Social Media environment?

Well lets for a moment step back and take a bird's eye view of what perhaps is Social Media.
Social Media comprises of us humans interacting on a common usually open platform / sites like for instance Facebook. Via this we share, post, comment and have interactions on an ongoing basis. So, we share text, visual and audio information. Some of these generate responses and others terminate into silent silos. Some create a slight interaction while others get us into deep engaging conversations. Add to this we use it for personal reasons and for business as well.

On the other hand what are we doing with emails?
Well very much similar. The trail mail enables us to understand the conversations at various time intervals due to its time stamp. We share via forwards. And yes we do personal and business communication as well. While email will still be considered for confidential document transfer, it also enables us to have a quick chat. It involves us and definitely in-depth conversations are taken care of.


Just the way Social Media Sites form the daily online activity for many, emails too are seen on daily basis by plenty of people. A safe bet is that people on Social Media would definitely have an email id while people with email ids may not have a Social Media Profile. Email Marketing could be on principles of Social Media

What is your take. Would you look at emails being part of the Social Media environment?
Emails Are A Part Of Our Lives - Social Media

My Business Page is on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia Do join me.