by March 21, 2012 0 comments



Snapshot

Applies to: SEM, Social Media Manage
USP: Learn how SMEs are leveraging various tools to simplify SMO activities
Primary Links: None

Search engine keywords: SMO, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter

Social media use is on the rise. More than 65% of businesses plan on increasing their use of YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, blogging and LinkedIn in 2012, according to 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Having said that, social media marketing can be a scary prospect for SMEs, for it puts parts of your business up in the hands of customers. However, given the host of benefits that it brings to the table, the risks can be outweighed if you utilize the sevices cautiously. The benefits of social media are many, the top three being generating more exposure for your business, increasing traffic to your site and the abilty to engage in conversations directly with your customers. Using this medium also offers you enhanced customer loyalty and engagement.

While more and more businesses are investing on social media, measuring ROI is one of the key chalenges being faced by SMEs. Plus, though the channel is maturing, this brings a host of new challenges for marketers. Primary among those challenges is that social media is becoming an awfully cluttered and noisy space, as Gartner reports. As more and more marketers get into the space, it becomes noisy. Cutting through the noise to reach your audience and make an impression isn’t a cakewalk. So, the privacy issue of the social channels is something you should be wary of.


Commonly used social media tools

Top four social media tools incl­ude Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkeIn, and Blog. Besides, SMEs also use YouTube, discussion forums and Four­square to gain business insight. Plus, B2B social media use differs from B2C-based businesses.

Facebook is strongly used by B2C community, while B2B businesses use LinkedIn along with blogs. Blogs seem to be the voice of a company with almost all businesses running a blog.

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­­Tools to simplify your social media marketing

Buffer: Buffer is an efficient solution to handle sharing on social media.The service offers you a way to schedule the great content you find. You just need to fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and it automatically posts them for you through the day. The app is available to iPhone and Android. You can add updates from any website with browser extensions (Chrome, Safari or Firefox). All you do is click the Buffer icon whenever you want to share an article, and click “add to Buffer”.

Crowdbooster: This is a smart social media optimization platform that offers you detailed analytics of your posts and tweets. You can analyze the performance of your individual tweets and posts with an interactive graph and table to quickly understand what’s working.



You can customize the date range to understand the impact of your campaign and drill down to view engagement and reach metrics on Facebook and Twitter. The service costs $99/ month for a business wherein you can run total of 30 accounts (on Facebook & Twitter).

TweetDeck: A desktop application, TweetDeck offers the user management over four of the popular sites – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace. You can easily send out updates, and post photos, videos, and more. And then there other popular tools that are being used increasingly by businesses. The list include Google Alerts, Follow Company botton in LinkedIn and WordPress.


How to sell with social media?

Social media plays a more significant role as a platform for user engagement-both proactive (e.g., marketing communication) and reactive (e.g., responding to queries, suggestions and complaints)-than as a platform to sell, says Satya Prabhakar, CEO, Sulekha.com. “We derive critical insights into customer needs through analysis of events that has triggered engagement, and catering to these needs by presenting content of high relevance and interest. The instantaneous nature of feedback through comments posted on a social media site helps consumers in making purchase decisions. Hence, Social Media is a potent source to gain significant customer traction through product presentation, product awareness and feedback. We believe in a meticulously charted Social Media strategy that straddles a company’s brand and product strategy maps through good customer endorsements and needs-triggered innovation. Adds Satya.

There are certain elementary points that one should keep in mind while devising a social media strategy. Get in for a long stay, have a focussed strategy and define success metrics at the start. Create cross channel synergies, says Niraj Seth, Chief MarketingOfficer – Cleartrip, through good content strategy and keep a check on consumers’ pulse regarding consumer affinity points and seasons hottest trends. Leverage these insights in your content strategy to create a strong social media plan. The above helps in building strong relationships with consumers and eventually generate leads and purchase.

SEO & SMO works for us in different ways, says Sukanta Pal, Head Consumer marketing, Sify. This is very much part of our business operation irrespective of any marketing campaign. We do not make specific attempts to optimize our pages to a specific search engine, we have relevant content in our site, which helps us in the discovery process of any visitor through a search. While a good SEO page gives organic traffic and complements our SEM (search engine marketing) campaigns, we have seen that the time spent by visitors coming from our social media campaign are much more. Social media is all about driving conversations. A relevant conversation helps in building context related to a brand. We believe social media is a strategic tool to engage consumers while a good optimized site (with relevant content) gives immediate results in terms of driving marketing ROI.

Tools used by SMEs to optimize their businesses online[image_library_tag 352/67352, border=”0″ align=”right” hspace=”4″ vspace=”4″ ,default]

“We continuously track the pre-defined success metric and keep optimizing the same everyday. We keep a keen watch on engagements levels, conversions and searches through tools like Facebook Insights, Klout, Buzzref, Radian6 and Google Insights.”

Niraj Seth – Chief MarketingOfficer – Cleartrip
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“The tools we use are built in house to meet our unique requirements, primarily focusing on Online Reputation Management. We also leverage all publically available tools like FB Insights, Google Analytics, Twitter, YouTube and Google Alerts to optimize our business online.”

Satya Prabhakar, CEO, Sulekha.com
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“We create relevant content discovered by visitors from any search engines. The thrust is to constantly connect and establish our relevance with our customers. If we focus and do that part well, all other strategies would complement the same. On Social media we initiate relevant conversation and focus on engaging with audience”.

Sukanta Pal, Head, Consumer Mktg, Sify Technologies




Measuring the success of social media initiatives

We keep a track of the engagement levels as well as ROI in terms of searches and purchases resulted through our social media activities. We use tools like Facebook insight, buzzref.com, radian6 etc to keep a track of engagement levels and interactions on social platforms. We also use deep links on all our social media communication to measure the conversions and searches initiated through our social media communication. Niraj Seth – Chief MarketingOfficer – Cleartrip

The success of a social media and content marketing initiative is measured using reach and frequency. The ratio of engagement levels and the number of views help measure the success of campaigns on Social Media sites. Satya Prabhakar, CEO, Sulekha.com.

Any marketing initiative, online or offline, has to be aligned with the brand’s objectives to add value to the organization. Our Social media measurement metrics are different from SEO or SEM or banner advertisement. We measure Social media with metrics like comments posted, relevant conversation by consumers, time spends on the site from SM source traffic and not just the followers on FB /Twitter. Sukanta Pal, Head – Consumer Marketing, Sify Technologies

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Advice for social media marketers

Most important part is to identify the objective for your social media campaigns. This is followed by identifying the role of different social media channels within the social media mix. Finally for each of the chosen platform, defining the success metrics and setting benchmark will result in tracking objectives and optimization simple.

Every company should have their own in-house Social media policy and meticulously maintain the same. Important tip: Employees are great brand ambassadors; motivate them to spread the word!

To identity the most relevant social media vehicle that suits their requirements

Articulate a clear brand positioning and tailor your Social Media presence around this

Social media should be considered strategic. Each Marketer has his own unique set of users and products. Thus there is no catch all strategy for Social Media or even online marketing. Each activity has to be framed against the relevant marketing objectives. Swift execution and an ability to be flexible are huge plus points for Social media initiatives.


Issues SMEs face from social media?

While the social networks have become useful for both personal and professional advantage, there are issue that you should be worry about.

Due to the availability of multiple platforms, most of companies fall into a trap of assigning same objectives across different social channels. Also, by not identifying right success metrics at the start of the campaign, most companies resort to midway assessment of objectives and only track the metrics which looks the best irrespective whether they are the most relevant, Says chief marketing officer of Cleartrip, Niraj Seth . Failed interactions with users; companies should always connect with users on all comments/feedback shared, be it positive or negative. Social Media is an easy platform for users to communicate their feedback or comments, attracts consumers to raise queries, issues and apprehensions. These comments/feedback should be constantly monitored and resolved, feels Satya Prabhakar, CEO, Sulekha.com..

It is not yet very easy to calculate ROI on Social Media says Sukanta Pal, Head – Consumer Marketing, Sify Technologies. While that will evolve, as the industry grows, the markets should use this medium to connect with their audiences. Adds Pal.

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