Let’s face it! Social media in India refers only to Facebook and Twitter. May be a few more similar websites plus some messaging services like BBM and What’s App and may be extending up to Youtube.
People in India are yet to know and harness the power of social media in its true sense viz., building personal profiles, business strategies, generating online sales, consumer reviews, etc. When you ask someone in business whether they are utilising social media for developing their business, the most common reply is – Yeah! Sure. We are on Facebook. On the other hand, you want to know if the person looking for better prospects in business or career is using social media. The best answer will be Oh Yes! I have a Linked In profile.
Pluheeezzz! Guys! Harnessing the power of social media is definitely more than FB, What’s App and Linked In. They are just the first baby steps in the world of social media before you are able to take a giant leap in social marketing. They are not more than having a computer in your office or a refrigerator at your home. They are just tools. You really need to work on your computer to get something useful out of it.
Social Media vs. Social Media Strategy
According to a survey by Altimeter, businesses are often not able to differentiate between social media tools and social media strategy. Social media strategy refers to a complete integration of social media tools and its methodologies with that of the overall goal and outcome decided by the business house.
What needs to be done?
– Businesses need to first prioritize and finalise the outcome or the goal that needs to be achieved by social marketing. In order to achieve the goal, a complete plan needs to be chalked out along with clear milestones defined.
– There needs to be a core team for taking up the social marketing challenges. The team will work dedicatedly towards achieving the desired goal and a single person should be entitled to be actually the face of the company.
– Top leaders or the executives should be apprised of the entire strategy and should be a part of it as well. Moreover, there should be clear guidelines and an established governance to make the strategy successful and achieve the desired goal.
– Dedicate appropriate funds and resources including man hours in order to achieve the desired goal. A periodic review of the milestone achieved is definitely important. These goals and milestones need to be readjusted according to the ongoing progress and experience gained with implementation of social media strategy.
Who Needs to be Targeted and How?
Customers!!!! Definitely! Who else? After all everything is about sales, profits or raising interest to make a point. Customers are actually your target audience. Even if you are not generating profits and you are only a charitable trust wanting to save whales or tigers, you should know about targeting your audience correctly.
One of the most common pitfalls that businesses do while doing social marketing is they land up wanting to be present at every available social channel. In the real sense, you should be driving the social channels towards your business and not the other way round.
Customer engagement is a must but not to the extent of over-whelming them. You should have a clear balance between direct emailing, Facebooking, Tweeting, etc. Mostly Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are able to do maximum impact to your target audience. If you spread too thinly amongst large social network, you will be spending too much time online rather than your actual brick mortar business. In the end, you might not getting desired results or only as much that you may have got with concentrated efforts on few selected social media tools.
So what lies in for my business?
Research shows that at least 50% of small businesses need help with social media. That does not mean, if you are plumber you also need to showcase how many leaking taps and broken toilets you have fixed. But yes! If you are an interior designer starting afresh or even if an established one, you will definitely like to showcase your expertise and portfolio.
It is a well known fact that social media is good for new businesses or online businesses but what about old-time business houses that are already well-established? Well, the new age era is competitive. You need to retain your customers and entrust them with your years of experience and market presence. Social media helps existing business houses to reach out to their customers directly, ensure them of their quality, entrust them with their years of presence and gain customer loyalty.
Well! You see, social media strategy is not for the newbie’s or only for the gen-next. It is a new marketing tool on the block that can do a lot of value addition to your business if used correctly.