Powering Your Business With Social Media
Social media is increasingly becoming a practical necessity. While it has changed the way we communicate, connect and collaborate today, companies cannot ignore social networking platforms and the value these bring to business if they want to stay relevant. At a recent digital summit held in Kolkata, Abhishek Rungta, digital evangelist and Founder-CEO of Indus Net Technologies, a digital marketing company, explains to CXOtoday how businesses can successfully incorporate social in their business strategy.
Rungta believes while nearly every business today has a so called ‘social media presence,’ unfortunately most have kept social platforms separate from their essential businesses. “Simply having a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account is not enough. Businesses need to actually use these tools to promote their brands if they do not want to miss out on a valuable marketing opportunity,” he says.
According to him, as the information-savvy customers would want you to be active on all relevant social platforms, on one hand, marketers need to select the right channel to target the customers, as well as ensure that they know the ins and outs of social media because that’s where your potential customers hang out.
“Marketers need to research which social media sites they should be using, or rather using them correctly? What are some of the things you should be doing with your social media and what do you want to achieve through the information you post on those sites,” he says adding that social media requires dedicated planning and successful execution, followed by feedback and evaluation for it to be a success.
Rungta believes to stay healthy and relevant, you need to show up everyday. However, he cautions that businesses should be careful not to weigh down customers with too many postings, but it is essential to show you are active on social media sites.
“If you are planning to create a buzz everyday, make it a point of posting at least one interesting thing daily so customers will want to check out,” he says. For example, you post a special promotion code for Twitter followers or give out freebies or discounts to customers who “Like” your Facebook page. You need to tweet that special post on the topic so as to generate more interest on your brand.
Rungta believes one aspect of social media posts that’s often overlooked is Content. “Your content needs to be engaging, entertaining and compelling,” he says adding that “Create visually engaging images and photos –those that best represent or visually tell a story or describe your product or service. Like, info-graphics and short two-minute videos can also be powerful ways of reaching the right audience.
He also notes that while marketers build great social media plans, they often tend to forget simple things such as about the time of day they should tweet or post. “If you post too early or too late, many people will miss what you have to say.” Say if you are tweeting on a food item, it should be around the lunch or dinner hour. Or if it’s about a hotel stay or shopping, it has to be seasonal, keeping in mind holidays and festival times, he says.
Some knowledge on all the new applications in LinkedIn and Facebook that are business-focused can help marketers build communities, interact with clients effectively and get valuable feedback. “Companies need to build strategic online alliances with others on social media sites - non-profit organizations, trade publications, manufacturers and distributors of products and services to expand. “It is important to be conversant and help others,” says Rungta. Whenever possible, share blog posts, re-tweet messages, follow them and subscribe to their sites in order to stay relevant.
Social media is not to be seen in silos or the work of the CIO or CMO alone (or a CDO in some case as some organizations have appointed), says Rungta. CEOs and decision makers in the company should play proactive role to take social media to the next level. “Consistency is critical to social media success. Online marketing has a short shelf life. While making the commitment to leverage this tool, you got to be consistent,” he sums up.
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