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Chapter 4

Social Media Business Ecosystem and Non-Social Media Marketing

If I logically or say ethically look at the concept of ‘social media marketing,’ I would say that it is an act of ‘spamming’ by brands. Social networking sites were initially meant for people to network and interact; brands took this as an opportunity to sneak into the conversations and start offering services. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg for considering a business value for Facebook by allowing brands to have business pages on it. There are various Facebook features that are closely associated with business and together they make Facebook a complete package for businesses when compared to the other social networking sites. After Facebook offererd IPO, there have been many changes or inventions made especially for businesses to use Facebook.

Twitter was primarily meant for celebrities to be a 140-character messaging service, which was then followed by the general public, and brands, and then followed by new features for brands where Twitter came up with promoted tweets, new brand pages, promoted trends etc

With sites such as SlideShare, the features such as pro-account integrated with lead generation form came later when SlideShare became one of the active social networking sites. However, YouTube has been fixed to the sponsored video and the AdSense models since its inception.

Well, each of these social networking sites are becoming popular by selling their space or creating opportunities for businesses and increasing their revenue streams. Many businesses have been smartly using social media from various perspectives of business and not just marketing.

Be There Where Your Customers Are

As stated, the objectives of social networking sites were to help people stay connected. Marketing was the next angle that happened knowingly and unknowingly. Knowingly because brands started creating their presence on social networking platforms and started communicating with the audience and unknowingly because customers started talking about the positive and negative experiences they started having with brands. India is now pepping up to the concept ‘Be there where your customers are and where your prospects are going to be. ’Social media is where the urban youth populace of India is dwelling and as stated earlier in Chapter 2, we have seen every form of communication growing in India and social media is just in the beginning of the growth phase.

Social Media Is an Opportunity!

The cosmopolitan businesses seek opportunities and Social Media is an “opportunity.” More than marketing, Social Media is about establishing your brand’s presence in a way that can be considered as virtual office connecting customers, well-wishers, stakeholders, prospects, employees and others through one single platform. In the past, we had only internet properties such as website or blog; however, now, we have social media channels customized to our businesses. Social media is an opportunity because the young today dwell on these sites and you are officially allowed to enter in their most comfortable zones through social media channels.

Social Media Business Ecosystem—Mix and Match!

Till date, I have not been able to understand why the term ‘social media marketing’ was coined. Today, a brand uses social media not only to promote their products, announce their deals, or generate leads, but also to talk about their staff/employees and opening of a new store, distribute press releases, listen to customer queries, manage relationships with customers, engage prospects, announce work opportunities, create a strong online presence, etc., which make them become thought leaders. A brand’s relationship with social media is a mix and match. Depending on the brand’s convenience and objectives, social media platforms can be customized.

Social Media Business Ecosystem

Social media business ecosystem is a concept that I strongly believe in. Considering social media for business should not be the point to ponder for the marketing wing alone; going on social media is a decision that needs to be taken considering the opinion of every wing of the business such as Marketing, Public Relations, Business Development, Human Resource Management, Customer Service, and Finance. After looking at various brands using Social Media with different objectives and my perspectives on Social Media Business Ecosystem, I conclude with the ring system in Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1 shows how they are all closely interconnected and entangled to the businesses getting established on social media. In the following chapters, each ring has been considered to be explained in detail with relevant case studies from India and with some guidelines.

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