Marketing is a specialization and a choice; however, every individual is born with a marketing ability, and we all have practiced marketing tactics in some form or the other in our lifetime. Sometimes we try to brand ourselves and position amongst others in a corporate world, sometimes we tend to dress up well to impress and attract the opposite gender, and many a times we have strategized and packaged ourselves enough to win a competition. This is a fair play! “Life is marketing. And marketing is life of any business.” If you run a business and do not MARKET your product/services, you shall NEVER succeed.
Social media as an activity starts with social networking that goes through the route of personal branding and if you are an entrepreneur you will also end up figuring out getting your business on these channels. There are hundreds of small and large enterprises who have invested their time, resources, money, and brains in executing innovative and smart social media marketing, and in this chapter we shall look into those various components:
- Branding and design opportunities
- Messaging and value based communication opportunities
- Opportunities to showcase innovation in marketing
Choosing new platforms
Driving enthusiasm technically
The marketing mixture
Novelty in customer engagement
Scope of listening
- Customer service – A way forward
- Social Media – A story telling
- Social advertisements
- Experiential marketing and social media wedding
Opportunity 1: Branding and Design Opportunities
The finest of all marketing advantages that social media provides to a brand is its positioning and opportunity to create awareness through various means. The first thing you will notice that any brand do on social media is setting up the design elements of the channel in a way that syncs with the branding guidelines of the organization or the present offline or online campaign and strategies. Sometimes it depends completely upon the target audience, the situation, and the texture of the business.
Fastrack, the popular youth accessory brand in India, has a very old presence on social media in India. Fastrack was one of the first Indian brands that crossed 1 lakh fans, and today it claims to have more than 40 lakh fans on Facebook and 12,000+ followers on Twitter. Fastrack till date ensures to aptly use the landing pages, logo, time line banner on Facebook, background on Twitter, and images used while updating content to engage the audience completely in line with the seasonal theme of the brand in the offline world. A full-fledged timely connection with its offline promotion helps customers on social media understand what the brand is up to. With 77+ different profile pictures posted on Facebook since 14 March 2008 itself indicates that Fastrack is one of those very few Indian brands that understands the importance of social media branding. Be it Virat Kohli or Genelia as the ambassador of the brand, they all have their regular displays on the social media branding elements.
Brands usually adapt to different design elements suiting a particular theme, season, festival, or promotional campaign. Profile picture is stagnant in all possible social media channels; however, other branding specifications with different social networking sites differ. Like the clothes you wear to meet your first date or to attend a job interview, a smart looking social profile creates the first impression and is definitely taken seriously.
- Add a lot of creative touch on regular basis to your social profile, you increase the chance of creating a charm around your designs on web
- Keep your design in sync with the offline theme
- Follow the norms and specifications of the design as per the rules of social networking sites
- Keep it unique and clean
Opportunity 2: Messaging and Beyond
Social media allows brands to host their communication channels for free and promote it in an inexpensive way. Today many businesses in the world have considered the usage of social media for their brands. Social media helps your brand’s message get popularity, reaches with ease, creates elements of interactivity, and allows you to communicate at your comfort, liberty, and control.
What Fastrack cannot do via traditional channels or via physical presence it tries on social media. It adds the sexy, naughty element to its communication, branding and regular engagements to appeal the youth segment—the actual target audience of the brand. Example of the engagement (Figure 6.1) is as follows:
“Both words begin with ‘B’. Girls like one kind, guys like the other. Bags and bikinis.
On the other hand, when brands are trying to go little naughty to attract the youth segment, the popular baked chips brand “Hippo” keeps a third party tone making “Hippo” an imaginary character/mascot in the conversations, which is also the case in packaging and traditional way of advertising. Though the messaging is the extension of its offline branding, the communication through social media is not just limited to the brand alone; however, the Hippo shares its personal view in his way on current affairs too (Figure 6.2).
Messaging on social media can be considered out of control as you are not really given a specific time or allocation of a particular space to be aligned with while conveying your message. While you are trying to position your brand on social media, your choice of social networks and messaging in a particular topic of your business specialization is highly essential.
Case Study 6.1: How Zara Tapas Bar Made People Drink and Drive Responsibly
When Yamaraj Went Viral!
On Saturday the 16th, our Facebook and Twitter accounts had one common post from friends (Figure 6.3); a reality video of Yamaraj inside people’s car, leaving them baffled. An initiative taken by Chennai’s Tapas bar Zara’s with the Chennai City Traffic Police, it was made to create awareness for ‘drunk and driving’. Titled “Drink and Be Driven,” the campaign’s focus was to remind people leaving the bar of Yamaraj, widely known as the God of death in Hindu mythology who is considered scary. Without taking their lives, however, Yamaraj blesses them with a “Drink and Be Driven” card, prompting visitors to hire a driver to drive them home. The video, within hours of being uploaded on YouTube clinched up to 85,000 likes and became immediately popular, having gone viral. Eliciting numerous responses, the initiative received widespread attention and made it to the newspapers the next day. Rathish Subramaniam of ad agency McCann Erickson who conceptualized the ad said the idea was to drive home the point that drunk driving is not safe. Having had to capture the reaction of people coming out of the bar and seeing the lord of death in their car was not a daunting task for Mr. Subramaniam. “Many reacted emotionally and the ones in the video are only the subtle reactions” he added. Having dangerous roads and ones no stranger to those who frequent, Chennai has had 1411 accidents in 2012, the highest in the country.
- Test different facets of your brand’s avatar to understand what message or content works well for your customers on social media.
- Choose a particular subject or topic in relevance to your industry to keep your positioning right and not confusing.
- Be informative but not boring.
- Be humorous but not insulting.
- Do not use abusive language.
Opportunity 3: Value-based Positioning Via Contents
“Value-based positioning” is the best opportunity social media can offer to any business. “Value-based positioning” is either not possible or very expensive to maintain on traditional media channels. Social media helps brands create their own editorials, which is very much handy and allows live interaction with the audience. Many businesses miss out on this chunk of social media marketing practice for their brands; they rather spend on announcing promotional and sales offers or keep boasting about their products which put audience off at the end of the day.
Businesses today practice value-based communication in relevance to the industry they belong and also in relevance to the positioning they have in mind for their brand. These contents benefit audience in some way or the other at the same time creates a thought leadership image towards the brand in the space they are offering value-based content. Followings are some examples: (Table 6.1)
- Be consistent on a particular subject to become a thought leader in the social media space.
- Build a community before adding content-based value.
- Be unique and regular.
- Encourage dialogue.
Opportunity 4: Innovation in Marketing
If your organization is traditional and you are opting to go for social media marketing, then you are adapting to innovation. In this era of competition, there are many businesses that are showcasing innovative practices in social media marketing. Considering social media in a different way is innovation that marketing could ever have, and considering innovation in social media marketing is uniqueness that industry can look upon to. Based on some examples here are some ways that a brand can consider going on social media in a unique way.
Choosing New Platforms
There are many social networking sites in the world today; some are popular globally, some are known in a particular nation or region, and some do not even get the limelight. With time some channels slowly become popular and brands trying to adapt a new marketing strategy show interest in trying new channels with an innovative idea of being present. Facebook and Twitter are choice of almost all the brands. How about being different?
Case Study 6.2:
Zomato, a popular restaurant review site, hosted a contest for Instagram users (a popular photo sharing network/app on smart phones) that asked participants to post pictures of the food they eat in the restaurants with the name of the dish, restaurant, and hashtag #ZOMATO in order to track the photographs. Though this contest could have been hosted on Twitter and Facebook too, believing in Instagram was definitely thoughtful.
Case Study 6.3:
Pepe Jeans India used Pinterest to display nine of its products and announced a contest via Facebook asking people to follow the brand on Pinterest and re-pin the photographs in order to win a freebie from the brand. Pinterest is an upcoming picture-based networking platform and brands turning toward it can be called an innovative thought. Slowly brands in India such as Lavasa, Croma, and Vivanta by Taj have started looking at using this picture-based social networking site from different perspectives of promoting destination, driving traffic, and engaging audience, respectively.
Case Study 6.4:
Sunburn, a popular music fest of Goa, used Google+ to host a “Sunburn Contest” encouraging people to share the Google+ page on their circles and answer why should they be at the sunburn festival. The most creative and the most +1ed update received a free ticket to the event. Google+ was also used by the Bollywood movie Don 2 where the movie, actors (Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, and Sharukh Khan) had their presence on Google+ sharing regular updates and hosting hangouts on Don 2, and encouraging people to re-share them.
Fanta Rescue Operation on Facebook
Facebook’s timeline was met with mixed emotions when it was launched in the late 2011. People cribbed and whined and complained about being thrust yet another change in the site without prior notifications. We are not sure how brands responded to the change; however, some brands creatively used it up to their advantage, such as Fanta. Since 2012 was a leap year, Fanta ran a contest that brought its characters Fanta characters, Gigi, Lola, Floyd, and Tristan back from time on the 29th of February (Figure 6.4). The characters were hidden in the timeline, so that the audience could scroll down to the particular year and were made to like the post, thus bringing back the character to the present, 2012. The first character to be hidden was Gigi in the year 1956 so the audience had to like the post 1956 times!
Femina’s Made by You Issue
Femina India took its magazine to the next level by deciding to crowdsource its stories. It campaigned on Facebook, Twitter, Video Ads, and Google+. An app was created on its Facebook page where it reached almost 21k followers. The articles were contributed by the audience; a Google+ hangout was created to make the audience at ease with the editors, and therefore everyone could join and interact with the editors and break ice between them. It was a huge hit, bringing in women from all over the country.
Google+ Sings Main Hoon Don for Don2
Don2, instead of going the usual way by creating a Facebook page and marketing the movie, took a detour and opened a page on Google+ instead, paving the way for users to join the bandwagon (Figure 6.5). Joining in was actress Priyanka Chopra and director Farhan Akthar. The page was circled by more than 9500 people. Later a Google+ hangout was hosted featuring Farhan Akhtar talking about the movie.
Driving Enthusiasm with Technology
Businesses that have a huge budget on social media marketing and believe in not just creating the regular engagements and conversations prefer to invest in a technology-based idea that can be integrated with social networking sites. These applications are widely talked about and creates enormous amount of enthusiasm amongst the audience at the same time stands out due to innovation.
Case Study 6.5:
Titan on Facebook Titan on Facebook came up with exclusive application (Figure 6.6) to showcase its HTSE watches that run on light. In order to check how the light works in the watch the audience had to throw light on their webcam (mobile display/flash torch/night lamp/bulb, etc.) As soon as the app is powered, the screen gets brightened and the battery cell shown becomes green. Once you have powered the app, you get to see all the latest models and descriptions of the HTSE watches (Figure 6.7). Select the one that you like and you are given two options “TRY NOW” and “KNOW MORE.” “TRY NOW” feature uses “Augmented Reality” that brings your chosen HTSE watch in front of your webcam display, and you can place your wrist and take a picture of it (refer the image below).
Case Study 6.6: Barfi on YouTube
Barfi A Bollywood movie directed by Anurag Basu starring the popular Ranbir Kapoor came up with a interesting concept on YouTube by creating a separate tab on the UTV Motion Picture’s official YouTube channel titled “Barfi” which has a video showing the actor Ranbir Kapoor introducing his character “Barfi” in the movie he later asks people to play with the character by typing the emotions they want Barfi to enact. Viewers can type cute, dance, give flowers, go shopping, plays the guitar, and lot more (Refer Figure 6.8) to learn from Barfi how to impress girls in different ways and different expressions. The choice of platform is not unique as almost all the Bollywood movies host their trailers on YouTube, however, customizing the channel and making it interactive by allowing people to type expressions that they want the character to play is the innovation that has been very well thought processed by the digital team.
Case Study 6.7: Shoppers Stop #SSTweetStore App on Twitter
@Shoppersstop on Twitter came up with amazing application and hashtag-based contest that stands unique when compared to all other hashtag-based contests till date in the country. This time the contest is not about quality of tweet or creativity of tweet or number of tweet, it was about probability of the tweet.
- @Shoppersstop came up with an external shoppers stop tweet store application first of its kind in India with an inbuilt Twitter API that can track all your tweets with #SStweetstore.
- @Shoppersstop announced giveaways for every 850th or 1000th tweet or was fixing up from the lot on different giveaways at different numbers for tweeters tweeting with #SStweetstore. For example the one displayed in the picture above (Figure 6.9) shows a gift voucher worth Rs. 1,000 on 1000th tweet and there are about 500 tweets remaining to win that one up.
- The application is smartly built, and it tracks and displays every tweet with #SStweetstore. Every tweet is counted and a serial-wise number is allocated to every tweet, which is displayed on the tweet store. As the tweet reaches the bidding point or the announced number, the tweeter is declared a winner.
The contest resulted in numerous tweets on Twitter making the hashtag go literally viral and attracting more people to join the contest, and the application was much talked about in the marketing world.
The Marketing Mixture
Social media marketing works really well when your communication online and offline are well integrated with a right blend of communication that serves different purpose on Twitter and Facebook. Though many businesses try to co-relate their offline and online communication, some go in an extraordinary integration of different platforms and different objectives showcasing innovation.
Case Study 6.8: #Anything4Jetta Campaign
Volkswagen hosted a contest integrating the print media and social media. While launching its new car “Jetta,” the brand advertised in almost all popular national dailies on the front page asking people “What will you do for all the new jetta?” To answer the same, the readers had to log on to Twitter and tweet their responses with #Anything4jetta. As per the contest rules, amazing responses were to be awarded daily with grand prize for the winner of final day. “The Jetta Itself”. The responses started pouring in thousands making #Anything4Jetta a trending topic in India on Twitter. The trend #Anything4Jetta made the contest go really viral; more and more people participated in the contest and became aware of the new car. Thus brand met its purpose of making people aware about the launch of the car through the blend of traditional and social media – showcasing innovation in integration of distinct channels.
Case Study 6.9: #InViratsHead by Cinthol
Godrej Cinthol roped in the young and dynamic Virat Kholi for its campaign “Alive Is Awesome.” A teaser campaign showing Virat in his dressing room just about to go into the field and Virat asks what do you think is going on in his head was released. People were asked to guess what went on his head and tweet their guesses with #InViratsHead hashtag. A Facebook app was made to participate from Facebook. Leading to Cinthol’s microsite, one can participate in the contest from the site. The winner would receive an autographed merchandise, IPL tickets, iPads, iPods, and more.
The strategy was understandably successful as the hashtag trended for a couple of days with everyone tweeting with #InViratsHead. Going a step ahead from its previous “Alive Is Awesome” campaigns, this time there was a twist. Few selected questions posted by audience during the contest were answered by Virat himself.
Novelty in Customer Engagement
The possibilities of customer engagement on day-to-day basis in reality require a lot of resources, uniqueness and expense in order to manage them. The primary or well, secondary objectives of most of the businesses on social media is to engage audience. Social media media has given immense opportunities to the brands to showcase novel ideas to engage audience. Refer case study 6.10
Case Study 6.10: Gangs of Wasseypur—Bringing Characters Online
Gangs of Wasseypur a famous Bollywood movie having its presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube had ventured in something novel while launching the Part 2 sequel of the movie in order to engage the audience and fans of the Part 1. This movie is based on a political scenario, the marketing agency of the movie created the virtual presence of the characters of the movie by creating Twitter profile and gather support to win the election battle (a sequel of the movie) (Figure 6.10).
The characters of the movie @RamdhirSingh, @FaizalSKhan on Twitter communicated with the tweeters in the same tone that they have it in the movie, thus making audience excited to participate and respond to them. In the reality world the actors usually go as characters in events and reality shows to promote the movie. And in social media world creating profiles of characters to engage audience was a really unique concept and clearly a winner.
Scope of Listening
Social media has become frustration/discussion/appreciation/complaint hub for people. Whether or not your business enters into social media, people will still talk about it. Small brands promote their presence on social media to get responses from their audience whereas, large enterprises are mostly discussed on social media that can be monitored using listening tools. Most of the brands today hire full-time resources or employee agencies to listen to what customers are talking about them so that them so that the brand can respond to the customer concerns online. This is a complete innovation that social media can offer to your business, helping you control your reputation online and also offline.
Case Study 6.11: Amrutanjan Listening to People Suffering on Social Media
Relief (@WuhooRelief) and Roll On (@KickOutPain) from the Amrutanjan family found a unique way of positioning the brand on social media by using Twitter to offer home remedies first and their products later to people using words such as head ache, nose blocked, cough, cold, sore throat, sardi, jhukaam, gale mai dard, and many other words representing cough, cold, and headache in different regional languages. Imagine you tweet to the world saying “Hey I am not feeling well my nose is blocked” and Amrutanjan from nowhere listens to your concern and shows sympathy towards your suffering and offers a remedy to you for quick relief, wouldn’t it be surprising? It definitely was for many Indians who tweeted about their sufferings and received a get well soon message and a quick home remedy from Amrutanjan.
In less than 2 months, the brand received more than 1000 retweets to their tweets showcasing concern. Below is the example of the conversation that was built only on the basis of listening: (Figure 6.11)
Tips for innovation in Marketing
- Research and invest time in understanding new social networking sites, be an early adapter—think of something different on these platforms— have a social media expert in-house.
- Track relevant businesses in your industry space in different markets to understand what their strategies are to engage their customers in their market—Successful campaigns can be adapted to your country or market (with due credits)
- Have a small portion of your budget allocated towards developments of technical aspects of social media—Engaging audience with a technically strong application will help you engage and showcase innovation.
- There is no standard process to engage the audience. Test and play and understand what your audience really like.
- Set up listening channels to all those keywords relevant to your business, surprise people by hearing them and joining in a healthy conversation and thus creating your brand image.
Opportunity 5: Customer Service—A Way Forward
If your business’s objective on social media is not to serve customers then getting your business on social media is not suggestible, rather let not enter your brand in the public world. A research report from customer service company “Genesis” shows more than half of fortune 500 companies are socially shy, and they see social media as just another marketing channel and not as a channel to serve the customers. Though many companies have readily embraced social media for marketing, the customer service desk is yet not ready or taking time to establish. Source: Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/08/24/big-companiesarent-using-social-media-for-customer-service/
Four Reasons Why Customer Service Is Important on Social Media?
- Customer Expects: On social media if your customer subscribes to your communication channels they also reach to you when they are not happy with your services or products.
- You Learn the Loopholes: As they approach you with their problems, you learn from the glitches the loop holes in the services or products sold to them. Learning which, you can make your process or product better for customer satisfaction.
- Spreads Positivity and Controls Negativity: The quicker you solve their concern, the better as it will help you control the negativity on time; at the same time there is a fair possibility that your customer come back appreciating your prompt service.
- Research Ground for Your Customers: If your business misses out on sorting these customer concerns, they get accumulated in abundance on your social media platforms and thus causing hindrance to people who are still in decision phase to become your customer who has just turned to your online channel to see reaction of customers in the past.
Angry Customers: While I was planning to buy my smart phone I was confused between Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X, I preferred to log on to communication channels of both the brands on Facebook and evaluated what customers were saying about the products. Upon evaluation, I could see complaints (Figure 6.12) about post sales service on the platform of both the brands and found HTC One X extremely responsible to the queries coming its way than its competitor; at the same time I could also notice some angry customers campaigning against both the brand and making inquiring people aware of why not to purchase the product, ensuring to spread negativity.
The images above are from the official page of HTC and Samsung India. On the complaint made on Samsung page, the query is yet not answered; on the other hand HTC has replied back with a generic response which customers know it anyway.
Considering best practices of social media, here are a few suggestions that businesses can follow to help their customers and help protect their brand from negativity.
- 1. Set Up “Customer Service” as an Objective: Inviting customers to ask questions or register complaint on social media might require a lot of backend work, set them all. Put yourself into the shoes of customers and evaluate your product from different phases of its life cycle. Write down all those questions that you as a customer would have in mind. Find answers for the same.
- 2. Get Answers Links Fixed: On a blog or on the website, answer all the questions which could be frequently asked questions (FAQs) and suggest the relevant links whenever customer ask queries.
- Showcase FAQs: Have a separate tab on the social media platforms wherever possible or on the website with FAQs and thus officially helping customers to get answers in advance.
- Be Quick: People asking queries on any platform expect quick response. Brands need to be prepared with the customer service team to sort out problems in any given volumes.
- Be Polite: Avoid using abusive or rude tone while conversing with people, a brand’s response is always evaluated. Confrontation is what people are looking for; therefore do not take the bait, rather be humble and say things like “thanks for the feedback, we are working towards making experience better in future.”
- Take It Personally: If there is a complaint registered, try talking to the person and get it solved. Do not run the conversations on the platform itself as the entire world is watching it and waiting for conclusions. You might not really want to offer a refund on a product in full view of thousands of people on Facebook.
- Solve It Day and Night: Brands usually do this; they have a resource person answering queries between 9 AM and 7 PM. Brand must allocate another resource person to answer queries from 7 PM to 9 AM. This will not just surprise your customers; it will also help you control the negativity that could spread during the non working hours of your business.
- Avoid Generic Responses: What really annoys people are those set of generic responses that has no conclusions to it. Example: email us on ___________ or please click here to register your complaint.
- Involve Experts: Pass on the relevant questions to the relevant people. A complaint to the customer service person, a query related to the process to the process expert, and any query related to the industry trends to the analysts or relevant thought leaders in the organization etc.
Opportunity 7: Social Media—A Story Telling!
The prime reason why timeline was introduced on Facebook was to help you showcase your story right from the birth and later this concept was introduced to the Facebook business pages too as every brand has its own story to share as well. Traditional media in most business cases helps in promoting the finalized products to the consumers; whereas on social media, a consumer can become part of the product journey, it can learn from brands on why, how, who, and where exactly the product they purchased was manufactured. I always believe social media is all about storytelling; it is the story that inspires people and provokes thought process to make perception towards the brand resulting in conversations or actions.
If you compare your daily activities to social media, you probably will conclude yourself as a “storyteller” who shares life stories through words, videos, and pictures. This is either done to generate perceptions or preserve memories for lifetime. As soon as Facebook timeline was introduced for business pages, many brands took opportunity to show customers what they were in the past. Popular brands such as BMW India updated its timeline since 1916 onwards highlighting all those milestones achieved throughout the journey of the brand (Figure 6.13).
In a similar manner blackberry India used Facebook timeline to showcase its story from its first mobile launch since 2002, thus making all the information about the loyal brand lovers easily accessible.
On channels such as YouTube, Blog, SlideShare and Pinterest when stories are shared in the format of a video, blog post, presentations, or pictures, respectively, it becomes a part of Internet world and can be ever accessible via respective search engines or through the links, thus the content uploaded ever since your entry in the internet world will by itself showcase what you were in the past, what you are today, and what are you intended to become in future Businesses need to understand that there is a difference between brand’s promotion and storytelling; both need to have different objectives. Three things brands can do while sharing its story:
- Share the “Making Of”: Did you ever imagine why people love discovery or animal planet? Not just because it shows mind-boggling things but also because it shows what goes in making of a forest, what goes in making of wildness in an animal, what goes in making of exotic travel plan, what happens to wildness when the conditions of drought exists, etc. I would always be excited to learn what goes in making of my favorite recipe at a restaurant. If you are a car manufacturer, use social media to let your consumers know why you chose yellow color for the car—it definitely will help them buy your decision in creating an experience. A 3-min video on the making of product would be a great idea.
- Share Backstage Activities: Behind every successful business there are many processes, people, promotions, practices, etc. Not all are exposed via your promotional campaigns or product packaging. Let consumers know how much fun you have at work or how many people are involved in making of one dream product. Story of first employee to the best employee in the lowest category will definitely help you create an emotional bond with your customers.
- Show the Human Side: Going green, using solar power, raising trees, supporting needy, working with NGOs there might be some corporate responsibility that your business might be following. Showcase that, let the world know what steps their favourite brand is taking to make the world a better place to live.
- Capture Milestones: 100th employee, 1 year successful completion, 1000 products sold, success figures achieved, launching of a new product and opening of a new office all this happy information helps you spread the positivity around the brand. When a customer invests in your product or idea, he or she would love to be a part of the organization that is growing leaps and bounds and also sharing the same via social media.
- Use Real Life Examples: Testimonials of your happy customers, case studies of your work and sharing of customer experiences is always a good way to let your audience know what customers felt in the past. Sharing story of your customers will help you make impact on your readers and that in turn will help you spread the word via them.
Opportunity 8: Social Advertisements
Social Advertisements are main reasons why Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire today and why Facebook and LinkedIn entered IPO. If you look at some of the activities of Google in the last few years, you will realize how enthusiastic Google could be to make its brand Social. It launched Google Buzz, Google Wave, and later Google+ to make things really social for its users and at the later introduced Social Advertisements to enjoy new share of ad revenues besides its regular search engine advertisement platform.
Most of the popular ecommerce sites use Social Advertisements to run targeted advertisements and drive traffic to their website to increase sales. The advertisement above (Figure 6.14) was captured when it was displayed on my profile on clicking which it led me to the website where the product was displayed in much better fashion with all the information and offer price. I later realized this advertisement started displaying soon after I joined some pages of popular innerwear brands. Very much apt to my behaviour is it not? This ad was either targeting the youth men of the country or was targeting audiences who showed interests in innerwear and briefs through their activities.
When you create your profile on LinkedIn or Facebook you tend to define yourself with your age, gender, nationality, sexuality, marital status, interests, education, designation, city, and your activities on these platforms by further joining groups and pages. These help Facebook or LinkedIn categorize your profiles better. The information provided and activities performed by people help advertisers to refine their target audience and reach only to the key niche through the advertisements.
Social Advertisements have become a popular phenomenon globally and marketers must know why:
- The Ads Are Social: Social Advertisements are excellent media for community-building. If your ads are compelling enough it will convince your target audience to interact with your company on Facebook, that action in turn will advise all their friends in their network about his or her interest in your company (in case of Facebook).
- You Know Who You Are Reaching: Unlike traditional ads where a particular space or tie slot is purchased and advertisement is designed considering the target audience in mind with no control over the reach and no direct interaction, Social Advertisements come with advantage of defining and refining your TA, can avail quick response and allows you to directly interact with the audience.
- You Define and Limit the Budget: If you are a startup or small business owner and your budget on marketing spend is limited, Social Advertisements are not going to be heavy on your pockets. As you can run ads even if your budget is as less as US$1 on Facebook and around US$10 on LinkedIn. Your budget defines your reach here.
- Enhances Possibilities of Lead Generation: For consumer brands or ecommerce portal selling consumer goods, Facebook advertisements are effective way of lead generation. At the same time if you are targeting the higher officials or senior level executives or professionals in the corporate world LinkedIn Ads is a must try. Social Ads are unlike search engine ads where the ads are shown as a result of search made by people, hence meeting the demand. Social Advertisements help creating demand by increasing visibility of ads while your target audience surf through the social networks. Refer to the case study in “Lead Generation” chapter about how EchoVME generated leads via Facebook Ads for our social media workshops.
- Creates Your Communication Channel: Social Advertisements are effective way to grow your community on web and, help promote any specific contests or content of your business that you think can go viral but needs an initial spark through first level reach. Most of the popular brands on social media invest in Social Advertisements to grow their community as it is important to have audience to make creativity, promotional offers or content to go viral.
- You Need Not Be Tech Savvy: To run advertisements on LinkedIn or Facebook you do not have to learn any special coding or do not have to be a marketing genius. The Social Advertisements platforms are devised conveniently with a lot of resources available on the web or can be obtained from the help centre of respective channels. Social media advertisements come along with a dash board that allows you to control the ad and make necessary bids in format of cost per click or opt for cost per impression. I still remember when a participant of our social media workshops after learning how to advertise on LinkedIn and Facebook Ads said “Oh my god! They are so easy, I was a fool to shed Rs. 30,000 as a agency fee to run these! No More!”
Opportunity 9: Experiential Marketing and Social Media Wedding
To create emotional or rationale responses and have the engagement edge to the relationship with customers many brands today are embracing the opportunity of linking experiential marketing and social media together as one. As many brands globally are getting on social media platforms, the social media sphere is getting cluttered adding the strategic marketing value considering experiential marketing makes the social media marketing practices stand out.
Experiential marketing is a popular process that a brand adapts to create two ways communication with customers to generate emotional connections and establish a strong identity of the brand in the minds of consumers. Both experiential marketing and social media marketing aims at engaging audience through different channels. Kingfisher Beer has strategically married its experiential marketing campaign with social media effectively to produce incredible results. Refer the following case study:
If you love drinking beer and are offered FREE unlimited with your friends, what more will you ask for? I am sure you will glorify the various attributes of host for a long time to offer you that unlimited FREE beer experience with your friends. Kingfisher beer, a very popular brand known nationwide, organizes something similar for the Twitter community. Kingfisher announces a tweetup for beer lovers every week on Saturday that limits to “Twitter Users” only! In fact, this beer up is announced on Twitter and restricts to 50-80 twitteratis registering first-come first-serve basis.
Kingfisher promises #KFBeerup in a city 1 month in advance and if you have registered, you can drink as much Kingfisher Premium Beer as you can. No conditions apply.
- From the time, Kingfisher announces the #KfBeerup in a city with Invitation (figure 6.15) for registrations (on twitvite.com). The word starts spreading, Twitter world starts buzzing (figure 6.16) with hashtag “#Kfbeerup”, people start tagging their friends on Twitter to inform them about the #Kfbeerup and many make fake profiles of their friends for sake of registrations.
- Experiential Marketing: While the participants have unlimited free beer during the #KfBeerup, there is a tweet wall displayed at the venue that adds to the enthusiasm. The organizers host some contests or bring in some performers such as standup comedians to make the sharing fun and memorable.
- The videos and photos of the event are later posted on their social media channels for more fun conversations to happen.
A very smart way to build relationship with people is to encourage word of mouth. This event is completely aimed at creating brand advocates on social media. Very few brands in the world believe that the usage of Twitter is beyond limitations and when used they can create wonders. Kingfisher brand have linked their experiential marketing strategy to Twitter by pre-promoting the experiential marketing event (Twitvite) or generating buzz during the event by using the #KFBEERUP or creating conversations after the incident by posting photos and announcing next events.
Below are some benefits that the brand avails by hosting #KfBeerup:
- The event helps spreading the word of mouth about the brand when people talk about the registrations, live-event activity and post-event experience, thus reaching thousands of people with #KfBeerup.
- While people tweet about the incidents and number of beers they are gulping down, their followers from other cities who are curious and excited starts requesting @Kingfisherworld to host the next #KFbeerup in their city. Thus generating demand for creating brand advocacy.
- The event creates brand enthusiasm amongst the Twitter community and the enthusiasm impacts the brand equity.
- Brand is well aware that the Twitter is the new trend in the country and going with the trend in an innovative way is the need of the hour. Thus it secures the future communication strategies and+ attracting the mainstream media to cover the innovation.
- The aim of giving customers an experience definitely impacts the brand loyalty and thus anticipating sales in the future as the experience results in memorability of the event and the unlimited free beer.
Experiential marketing and social media is a perfect combination and their complimentary relationship can see brand messages reach to the mass through valuable and personalized experiences. Brands and organizations have started to create user experiences to amplify activities on social media or achievements on the same. For example, US Consulate of Chennai organized a networking party at a city-based cafeteria to mark 2 years completion of their Facebook presence. This helped brand in different ways; (1) By showing how serious the organization is with their Facebook presence and it is not mere a presence. (2) By giving people a real-life experience of the organization. This clearly shows that online activities performed are more relevant to the people or are made relevant to them by organizing the meetup, and (3) finally US consulate invited some celebrities and clicked pictures and re-posted it on their Facebook page to interact the audience again, thus making it a complete life cycle.