social - dwaipayan chakraborty

10 Social Media Myths Debunked

social - dwaipayan chakraborty
It has been long since i wrote something, and this post has been in draft stage for far too long now. At last i could complete it and here is my thoughts on some myths that surrounds social media which i have come across while talking to clients.

In addition to being the hot craze among internet users, social media websites also serve as great platforms for internet marketers and online businesses. Traditionalists shy away from developing their social media marketing (SMM) strategies, because of some common delusions that plague the reputation of social media.

Several myths have spread around regarding its effectiveness, but according to Social Time Reports – Instagram has grown by 50% in just 9 months, and SnapChat grew 56% in a year. This clearly suggests that social media marketing is the future, and it is here to stay.

If you are one of those, who are reluctant to jump the social bandwagon, because of your own apprehensions and floating myths about social media, then you might want to step back a bit and reconsider. Without social media marketing, your business will lose out badly to your competitors. Not only will it slow down your brand progress, but can also hurt your potential market share.

1st Myth – A belief that most consumers do not utilize social media

Many small businesses still continue to think that their consumers do not hang around on social sites. This is the biggest myth, which prevents majority of companies from interacting with potential consumers on social networking sites.

Even though social media sites were first developed to attract teens and youngsters, they have now rapidly transformed into powerful branding tools to engage with the users.

According to the demographics of social media, such sites attract people between 45 to 54 years old. Some brands argue that their consumer base comprises of senior users, and they are not using social networking channels. However, reports indicate that 71 % adult populations are FaceBook users.

Social networking has developed into a cultural standard, and people are signing in to their accounts everyday. If you are operating with an idea that your targeted market is not on social site means, you are missing huge potential consumer base.

Social channels have become an omnipresent form of communication, sharing, and communication, across all age groups. It is important for you to know that your competition companies will be using social media sites for targeting their clients.

2nd Myth – Objection of not having ways to measure social media effectiveness

This is another common objection given by companies for not participating in social media marketing campaigns. It is a fact that measuring social media efficiency is different, than how the how traditional marketing efficacy is analyzed. It does not mean there are no methods. Well, there are many new analytical tools, and you will need to learn about them, in order to identify what works and what doesn’t in your SMM efforts.

You can also use different tools for ongoing analytics and also to measure the campaign focused metrics.

Through ongoing analytics, the results of your overall social media activity can be tracked everyday. You can use the historical data with date range, to analyze the efficiency of your SMM strategies.

Through campaign focused metrics, you can get the clear picture of the impact created by your specific campaigns. In this category, one-time sales are also included. It may sound complicated, but you can find a number of tools that can make measuring a lot easier.

3rd Myth – No time for managing social media activities

A common delusion among many is that social media activities take a lot of time. It is the reason why many business owners, who are already overloaded with works, tend to deviate from it. The fact is that it is very easy to understand how to communicate on social media and maintain a dynamic presence on social sites.

You can make this process easy using numerous tools that are available online. The results of investing time and efforts on posting engaging and valuable content will go a long way improving your band name. You could also outsource the SMM jobs to professional service providers.

4th Myth – Social media means exposure to negative feedbacks

Businesses desire to keep away from negative comments. It is natural, but business owners experience negative feedback, even when they are not active on social media. When you receive negative comments, and if you are active on social networking platforms, then you can respond rapidly and have the issue addressed.

Ignoring social media means, you will miss the chance on opportunities to address the potentially negative feedback and comments speedily. Now, such non-responsiveness can damage your business more than just getting a few negative comments. Responding in public to consumer complaints, gives you an opportunity to display your organization’s excellent policy of timely customer service.

It is also true that brands occasionally get harassed by irate customers. If you are not doing something wrong, they will just end up looking silly.

5th Myth – Misconceptions about content

Sharing your competitor’s content is not a good idea – Contrary to that belief, experts believe that it is a good idea.

It certainly is obvious why this myth has occurred – why must you promote your competitor?

Well, sharing competitor’s content will help you in many ways.

It shows your fans your determination to give them the most excellent information, even if it comes from your rival. Another benefit is that your competitor will also start sharing your content, because you too are a professional in their niche.

In this way, you can keep a close eye on your competitor’s activities, or build a relationship by actively engaging with materials they produce.

Only post brand related or promotional content – You can communicate with followers on social media but avoid pushing your products. Fans desire to listen to your discounts and promotional deals, but avoid including sales pitch on every post.

You can connect with prospective customers and fans on personal level on social sites, so try to post contents that will keep your fans engaged, Give them something that they can share and discuss.

Generating lead is impossible with social media – Posting quality and relevant content certainly generates new followers, who can be directed to your website through sales funnel.

Blog posts including 300 to 700 words are the best –

To write interesting information, you will to create contents of least 600-800 words, but there are no hard and fast rules on this matter. Blogs are meant for providing comprehensive and helpful information, which is why the short contents or snippets might not do the trick for you. Long articles and blogs perform better on search engines, because you get to cover more keywords.

6th Myth – Social media is just a broadcast channel

Traditional marketing program included social media just as a channel to broadcast their message. If you believe that promoting your brand or inviting audience to buy from you via social media is a good way, then think again. You can end up with lesser followers every day, if you persist doing this.

In fact, social media is for two-way communication with followers and audience. Therefore identify your fans and share reviews and photos. Even post real-time useful and genuine content to keep your fans engaged. You can even communicate with the people responding to your content.

7th Myth – Social media marketing strategies are waste of time

Creating accounts on popular social channels like FaceBook, Twitter, or Tumblr, is easy, but it does not mean that they guarantee your business success.

Businesses follow the trend of creating new accounts with most social media sites, instead of a selected few. They end up using inappropriate platforms, or send wrong messages to wrong people. The results will be certainly poor, and they start believing that social media is not right for their business.

Basically, they have to think strategically of what their purpose of social media use is, what their message is, who they are talking with, and what those fans desire to hear. Using social media without strategic planning is like walking in wilderness without a map.

Certainly, you may reach your destination, but you my even end up at a lot of dead ends. This can be time consuming and frustrating process, which can make you give up ultimately.

8th Myth – No one has an idea of what works right on social media

Social media is newer concept than blogs, so not may marketers understand how to use it for business promotions – So, what is right and what is wrong?

Actually, there are experienced professionals, but they too do not give you guarantees on the effectives of their strategies within a definite timeframe. The experts are aware that the strategy has a big chance to succeed, but it also depends on the content creation and targeting of audience.

A well-formed social media strategy takes into consideration your audiences’ natures, assesses your content, and ensures that you select the appropriate social media platform that suits your business promotional needs.

9th Myth – Social media is just for teens or youngsters

Today’s youngsters understand digital technology innately, while elderly people will have to put in efforts to learn new stuff. The belief is that elders are not capable of understanding how social media works. The truth is that their technological abilities, interests, and accesses, are not same as that of young people, but they are very much active on social sites in their own way.

Young people link themselves to their technology differently, but it does not mean that they have developed deep understanding of it, than the elders. Therefore, it is vital that business marketers understand this myth, because it will also affect recruitment and marketing.

They hire inexperienced or too young people to handle their social networking communications. They forget the fact that the experienced people recognize the business, market, and consumers better. They have the communication skills necessary to perform well on social media platforms. A good balance of youthful vigor and experience make great SMM teams.

10th Myth – Some believe social media is 9 to 5 job

This is absolutely wrong. Internet is open 24/7/365, so make sure your marketing message impacts the social media world meaningfully, because there is switch-off at any given point of time. Post the right kind of content and see your consumer-base grow even, if when you are sleeping at night.

It is suggested for all businesses to register for accounts on the right social networking sites, even though they is surrounded by myths.

This is a new platform and people are still learning about different ways to leverage it. Have a strong strategy planned, before plunging on social media, in order to see great results.

Let me know by comment if i have left something or if you have a different perspective. All point of views are welcome.

Image courtesy to Luke Smith – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljesmith/

10 Valuable Pointers on How to Brand a Company

Branding-of-company

Although branding is important for long-term growth, expansion, and success of any company, very few people really understand what it means. Well, branding is basically making your business stand out in the crowd, where people will be able to relate certain products or services exclusively to your company, despite you having many competitors.

Unlike marketing, where your main focus will be to attract the customer for the first time, branding is more about making your company name memorable in their minds. You can consider your branding efforts to be successful, when people immediately picture your company logo and taglines, whenever your products or services are mentioned.

There are as many definitions of branding, yet only a handful of companies are able to create a brand that keeps attracting customers.

Why is branding important? 

If you want to create a successful brand for your company, there are many ways to look at it.

Here is a useful way to think about branding:

  • When people hear your company’s name, what will be their first thought?
  • When people see two similar products, why would they pick your brand over the other?

Instead of haggling over the exact meaning of how to brand a company, if you think about it in terms of answering the above questions, you will spend your time more wisely.

Whatever brand you create, it must evoke trust among customers. People will only buy a product that they trust. You will want people to actively gravitate towards your brand, so that you can sell more products and maximize your profits.

Take a look at some of the most successful companies in any field (preferably the ones in similar business domain to yours). You will find that their customers instantly recognize their name. You will often hear the phrase to the effect of, “you can’t go wrong with ‘xx’ company.”

Once you identify the reasons why their brand is so trusted by customers, you will find a lot of answers for branding your company successfully. Here are some key points that can help you create a lasting brand that people will trust.

  1. What do your customers want? 

Before you start your branding exercise, you will want to know about what your customers want from you. No matter how great your branding efforts are. If your products do not match their expectations, then you will have a hard time profiting in the long term.

Here are some key things you will want to learn about:

  • What kind of demographic does your product cater to (young, senior citizens, kids, middle class, etc.)?
  • What is your value proposition (better price, higher quality, reliability, etc.)?
  • How much are your potential customers willing to pay for the product?

A modest amount of market research will answer those questions for you, and give you the vital cues about where to start with branding your business. A brand for luxury products will definitely be different from that of budget ones.

  • What do you have? 

If you have the perfect product that has all the qualities without any compromises, then you can let it speak for your brand to quite and extent. However in reality, you will have to make the appeasements, because your customer needs also keep changing.

What you will want to know is:

  • What are the limitations of your products, when compared to those of your competitors
  • What are the strong points that make your product better than others
  • How does the disparity impact your product sales

The question is how to brand a company with the existing variations in what you and your competitors have to offer. To start with, you will obviously have to highlight your strong points. However, it will give you only a limited period to buffer your weaknesses. Even if your customers still choose your products, they will eventually see through your branding strategy. Therefore, companies always try to improve their products in order to plug the loopholes, and add more value to their customers.

Ideally, your brand should tell people about your priorities, and you will need to be transparent about it, so they can trust your company.

  1. Branding before marketing 

As you keep introducing new products and services, you will have to develop new marketing campaigns to give them the required exposure. Now, different products require different types of push.

Some of them will need greater presence on news media, while others will rely more on PPC campaigns, or email marketing. Even as you utilize different platforms to market your product, you want to make sure that your marketing is always in line with your branding.

For example, if you are selling a luxury product, you will not want to send emails to every address you have in your database, because that would corrupt your brand.

Know your customers well, before you sell your brand. Therefore, you must narrow down the focus of your marketing, exclusively to those who will actually buy your products.

  • Picking the right channels 

Most company branding tips today given by the so called mainstream experts involves bombarding all platforms with marketing, so that the customers will notice. However, as statistics prove, this is only a road to disaster. First of all, you should take stock of the platforms that are available to you for branding.

These include:

  • Television advertising
  • Billboards
  • Web ads
  • In app advertising on mobile devices
  • Social networks (Facebook, twitter, Google+)
  • Video platforms (YouTube, Vine, Vimeo)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasts
  • Your own website

Now, if you are a small company, taking on all the above platforms for your branding will spread you too thin. Therefore when you are starting out, pick two platforms that you believe will give your business the best exposure. This again depends on what demographic you are targeting for your brand.

  • Brand standards and guidelines 

Your brand will eventually be present on all the major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, emails and what not. If you want your customers to recognize the brand instantly, there needs to be a consistency among various platforms. You therefore have to form some strong standards and guidelines for your brand.

For example:

  • How the logo is placed in your ads, letter heads, emails etc.
  • What color themes are used across all your web properties, including social networking pages
  • The font face and size used, relative to the size of the logo
  • Where your tagline goes in every message

These standards will be uniform on all your communication, so your customers will always know that it is from your company, whether they receive a flyer, an email, or if they visit your website. Having consistent brand guidelines is one of the most important business branding tips that you will need to adopt.

  • Propagate your brand through social media 

You were told above that you have to pick one or two platforms first to start your branding efforts. One of those has to be online social networks. That is because more than half of your potential customers are probably on Facebook or Twitter. These are the best platforms currently to spread brand awareness quickly.

Of course, you are not the only company who is going to use social media to promote the brand. What will set you apart from the others are the contents, and the ways in which you communicate with your followers. You might want to hire a social media expert to help you leverage the platform for building maximum awareness.

  • Reinforcing your brand through website 

Even though your web presence will be spread across social networks and blogs, your website will still be the anchor. It will be the central place, from where the customers will be able to buy your products. Therefore, it is important that you use the website as your primary branding exercise:

  • See to it that the design of your website strongly adheres to your branding standards
  • Make sure that your site interaction is fluid, and it reflects your website’s values

Too many small businesses ignore the importance of a professional website that works smoothly and helps customers. A great website will help increase your brand visibility, and earn you higher positions on search engine rankings.

  • Keeping it consistent 

When branding your company, it is important to remember that your brand as a whole will have to rise above any individual product.

You might have a new product that is radically different from others, for better or worse. Still, you will need to make sure that your customers get the very same feel and experience that your most successful existing products give to them.

When customers find the same reliability, feeling and trust when using multiple products from your company, your brand only gets strengthened more.

As you progress along, you will notice that even small design choices for your product will be informed by your branding strategy.

  1. A standout logo 

The most obvious way that company brands are recognized by people, is by their logo. Two companies may have the same name, but never the same logo. Your logo does not just differentiate your brand from others, but it should evoke feelings among customers.

Your logo should:

  • Reflect your core value (simplicity, energy, reliability, variety, speed etc., pick one)
  • Be distinctive (You can refer to other logos as inspiration, but never copy them even remotely)
  • Translate well to different media (billboards, emails, web properties, etc.)

Creating a good logo should be the first tangible step towards building a good brand for your company.

  • A concise and clear slogan 

Coming up with a clear slogan that will advocate your core value is more difficult than it seems. There are entire departments in marketing companies that are tasked for simply coming up with effective tag lines. Here are some of the things that make a tagline stick to your brand, and helps in gaining recognition:

  • It addresses your customer needs
  • It matches in feel with your logo
  • It conveys precisely one vision (e.g. A computer in every home, Microsoft)

Even though it is single line content, coming up with a good tagline takes time and efforts. It requires that you have clear-cut goals and values. The part about how to brand a company by using consumer expectations and your own strengths rings very true here.

All of these steps might seem like too much for a small business that is just starting out and wanting to create a compelling brand. However, when you have enough information and have a clear vision, the rest of the steps are just details of implementation, and they will get easier.

 

 

Branding Tips - Dwaipayan.com

10 Quick Tips about Branding In Marketing Management

Branding Tips - Dwaipayan.com

If you were to look up 10 different places for what branding means, you may see 10 wildly different definitions. That is because branding is not well-understood by most businesses, which is why they don’t succeed in creating memorable products. Branding in marketing management is considered to be the primary goal of advertisements and promotions.

Branding helps you establish:

  • What comes to mind first when people see your brand logo or brand name
  • How your products are perceived (cheap, expensive, low quality, luxury, reliable etc.)

Once you get a hold of these goals, you will understand the importance of branding in marketing management. All your decisions and strategies will be determined by the above mentioned bullet points.

Here are some tips for beginners who want to establish their business and create a brand that will last the distance.

  1. Consistency

The most important thing about branding is that you need to have a consistent message across all platforms that you use to market or promote your products or services. You have multiple avenues of marketing. Some of them are:

  • Television ads
  • Website ads
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Online videos
  • Twitter page, etc

Now, these are wildly different media and they play by different rules. However, even as you create a different strategy for each of them, you will need to use the same branding elements like your logo, color schemes, brand name, and tag lines.

It is only when you hit customers with the same message over a period of time across multiple channels, that you will be able to successfully establish awareness. This is how, when people see your logo on the web, they remember it from a social media post or from a billboard.

  1. Understand your competition

Everybody knows that if you want your brand to be more memorable, it needs to be different from the dozens of others out there. However, you can’t be different just for the sake of it. When you do that, it means you have very little idea about your target market. To understand how you can be different from the competition, you will first want to understand them deeply.

Here are some key pieces of insights to look into:

  • How do customers and other potential leads perceive a competing brand
  • Why do people like their brand
  • Why do people dislike their brand
  • Where do their strengths and weaknesses lie

If you are very similar to your competition, you are likely to have similar pros and cons as well. Understanding this, will help you craft a unique brand that addresses customer concerns in the long term.

  1. What are your strengths

Even if your product is the best among the competition, it doesn’t guarantee that customers will flock to buy your products and services. As always, it is the branding that draws people to certain products. This becomes even more important, when your products are similar to the competition in most ways.

Internal and market research should tell you:

  • What are the key ways in which your brand is different from others
  • What are the most important strengths that help you trump the competition
  • Which of those strengths are most relevant to your customers

If you want more insights, look at the major brand logos in other business areas, rather than just yours. You will see how the successful ones have logos and messages that make a positive impression. It would do you well to study brands, and see why they are successful.

  1. Know your customers

It is easy enough to identify who your customers are going to be, by using demographic information. However, even within the same demographic, your potential customers will each have different things they want from your product. For instance, some will want a cheap and reliable service, while others will want a premium service that gives them everything.

Your brand logo and design can convey these values to your customers, so you need to understand how. For instance, compare premium watch brand logos to more affordable ones. Do the same with airlines and hotels, or really any type of business. You will see what types of designs convey premium quality, reliability, costs. For instance, Apple never brands their products as cheap, but it is still sells more than its competition.

Once you know what your customers’ expectations are, you can hire a designer to craft a brand that reflects those, and makes people feel closer to your brand.

  1. Branding signature

Your signature brand represents the very best that you can give your customers. In a line of products or services, this is the flagship that tells your customers just how good a company you are.

If you want your brand to be memorable, you will want a brand signature that is:

  • Of the highest quality and suggests it will meet your customers’ expectations
  • Has a lively or calm feel around it, depending on what zone it is in
  • Is instantly recognizable by people when they see it

Admittedly, this is not an easy task. It does take a lot of effort. Many a times, it also requires expert counsel for brand management strategies. Even the best companies hire branding consultants to help create a signature that will outlast the latest product hype. You may want to do it too.

  1. Reputation management

In an ideal world, our brand will attract tons of customers, and they will always use our products, and will always be satisfied. In reality, there will always be corner cases, where your product will not meet the customer expectations. Given that the internet allows for expressing of views freely, it is very likely that you will receive strong negative responses.

Now, a few negative perceptions will always stick out, and become more visible among the sea of good ones. If you want to ensure that your brand name stays clean, you will want a strong reputation management strategy. Some might also call it brand management.

A good strategy in this regard will make sure that:

  • Customers concerns are addressed in the most appropriate manner
  • When somebody tries to tarnish your brand, you can make sure that your overall brand retains a positive connection with the customers
  • Your brand equity keeps growing in value over time

 7. Blogging for branding

Blogging started as a personal hobby for people who had something to say. However, it has now turned into an integral part of professional business marketing strategy. With that being the case, it is being used successfully by businesses to give their brand more visibility.

Blogging is important for branding in marketing management because:

  • It make your readers aware of the current status of your products and support
  • It keeps your brand fresh in readers’ minds
  • It gives you an opportunity for your customers to get closer to you

When your customers see that you are willing to engage with them in a two way conversation, they will naturally like you more. Regular blogs with genuinely interesting and informative content can help you build a strong brand in a thousand small ways.

  1. SEO branding

Not many companies pursuing SEO to attract traffic to their sites think of it from a branding perspective. They do not fully understand the importance of branding in marketing management. Well, it does matter to your customers. They will observe what kind of searches or search terms will pull out your website and brand name.

For instance, if a user is looking at complaints for a particular product category, and your brand name features multiple times on the search hits, her perception of your company will change for the worse.

When you are optimizing your site for search engines, you will need to target the right keywords and also check out what kind of other keywords, bring your brand to the fore in SERPs.

If you find the concept complicated, you might want to hire professional services for developing brand management strategies and integrate their advice with your SEO campaign.

  1. Measure your branding

Many businesses think that branding is an abstract concept and that it has no measurable value in currency. That is however not true. Your brand does have a monetary value, and is called as brand equity. If you do not know what that is, you will need to start learning about how to measure it.

Your branding strategy decides:

  • How many customers choose your products because of a strong brand
  • How many of them are loyal to your brand and keep coming back
  • How customers recommend your products, because they believe in your brand

It does matter to people what kind of brand they are buying into. Think about how many people will buy the same product if it had a different brand label on it. Now, you can see just how important it is to measure your brand, and keep growing its value over time.

  1. Website branding

Every company has its own website, and it should be the focal point or center of your branding. You cannot fully control how your brand is perceived on social networks because all kinds of people participate in it. The same is true of online videos. However, your website is the one online entity where you have the full control, and it should have your brand stamped all over it.

This can be achieved through clever design and color schemes. However, it is much more than just that. If you want your brand to evoke trust among people, their experiences and interactions with your website should reflect that. If you promote simplicity, your site design should reflect that.

The performance your website has a great impact on your brand name. Let me know if I have left some important points out or if you if you disagree with me on something in the comments section.