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Social Media – Let’s get real about it
I happened to meet a friend, who turns out to be an enthusiastic brand manager. We were discussing the challenges his brand and the category was facing and how social media could play a role – given the various constraints and challenges. Slowly, it struck me that maybe a lot of marketers don’t really go to the lengths of defining what social media means to them – forget understanding what social media really means. In this post I try to tackle three wrong beliefs that marketers in India harbour about this medium:
1) I don’t need social media: I think it takes a lot to make such a statement, especially if you think your brand is an established one. The fact is that your consumers are already expressing themselves in this medium. And among the many experiences or feelings they share, your brand clearly has a chance to fit in there! Nobody can stop it. Another fact is that business ideas and investments have clearly seen a rise especially in the social media segment. Any media planner would include Facebook in his plan today, as it has become the largest social networking site in India with 20 million users. Trends also show that certain consumer segments in India are increasingly expressing themselves in this medium. Even social shopping is evolving in its own way in India. And these are new dynamics marketers have to deal it. The challenge lies in acknowledging the potential of this medium with regard to your brand. Most importantly it’s the strategy that could really make or break your presence in this medium.
2) Social Media means a Facebook Page: Another trend (a rather unhealthy one) that I have noticed is that many marketers believe that social media starts with a Facebook Page and ends with an official Twitter account. As per our tool – that tracks Indian brands on Facebook - http://socialbrands.media2win.com – there are more than 200+ Facebook pages of Indian brands and a sizeable portion have a Twitter account too! No doubt that Facebook looks very tempting to every social media marketer. But social media is not just about Facebook page marketing. It has to go many steps beyond it. The role of listening is clearly misunderstood and the various impacts it can have on your brand is never questioned. Also, many a times marketers and agencies themselves tend to be clueless about what they intend to do with their Facebook communities.
3) Social media execution is to be handled by trainees: In many scenarios an enthusiastic CMO might decide to plunge into this medium, leaving the day to day execution in the hands of the juniors. But little do they realize that every word that a brand conveys on this medium needs to be treated as a “communication message”. Little things like poor grammar, sentence formation, etc can place your brand in poor standing. A detailed eye for the social media initiatives is very essential. Look at this way – a tech savvy junior executive might not be able to handle your brand’s presence in one of the most dynamic and ever evolving medium.