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March 11th, 2010

facebook-marketing

The most significant point to note is that the more time you put in your Facebook strategy (part of your overall social media marketing strategy) the better your brand will receive response. It is through persistence and actively attending to your brand page that you will grow your fan base and eventually new customers.

The power of social media tools and platforms cannot be overemphasized. To maximize on its full potential for your brand, below are 10 tips that will help you create an interactive Facebook marketing page.

1. Custom Tabs for Custom Ads – The new Facebook Strategy pages allow you to customize your page according to your target group. By placing an advertisement, you can direct your target group to specific areas of your pages that you want them to go to. You can create as many tabs as you see fit and this can increase the number of visitors to your fan page. This Facebook strategy enables you to reach different markets with different tabs.

2. Direct New Users to safer pages – You should learn to monitor your visitors such that they don’t get uncontrolled information that may drive them away from your Facebook Marketing pages. Make provision for a safe landing for new comers to your page as they seek to know more, they will follow through to the other pages. Make their first encounter with your brand exciting and appealing.

3. Unique Page Image – Your profile photo is very important in providing a unique entrance to your users. Ensure that your Facebook page has a photo that is exciting and engaging. The importance of the image reflects the impression it will create the first time users will interact with it. As tiny as the provision of the image box is, find a creative photo that will leave a lasting impression to potential fans.

4. Integrate Applications for more Engagement – Ensure that your Facebook strategy page has many applications that will keep your visitors staying on your page longer. There are many Facebook applications available to users and a good choice of exciting applications will keep visitors navigating your page longer. Applications may vary with the type and size of brands and a good choice of applications will hold the attention of the users and have them engaged for a while.

5. Make a Conversation – With increased brand presence and user privilege, you must seek to interact with your users. Should you have feedback or comments posted against your status on your Facebook Marketing page, be on the front line in making the conversation. You cannot opt not to participate because it is crucial for your brand growth and eventually revenue growth. Furthermore, someone else will engage with the user and you may lose the opportunity to retain them as your customer. Your engagement with your potential customers or existing ones will keep them coming back for your services, just like in any other business.

6. Interesting and Relevant Content – Content that is interesting and relevant will keep users coming back to your page. Repeat users will one way or another eventually pay for your services. It is important to keep visitors coming to your fan page and increasing their engagement. Finding interesting content is significant in returning potential customers to your page. There are several ways to find these including searching the web for relevant information on blogs and websites. It may need an effort to find interesting reads but there are many sources out there that are appropriate to help you find interesting and relevant content for your Facebook Marketing page.

7. Repost Comments made By Other Users – Reposting other peoples comments increases your relationship with the user. Many times, the brand carries its own name but may require your face to go with it. The interaction with other users increases the fan base as the reuse of their comments shows the value you place in their contribution. This however should be used on average.

8. Give regular Updates – Posting regular updates on your Facebook marketing page is very important in keeping your visitors engaged. Discussion forums should be active with new relevant topics posted regularly. Engaging in these discussions also allows for interaction with your visitors who may be fans or potential fans. Regular updates and engagements with your visitors will keep fans coming back and new ones visiting.

9. Post and Tag Users in Photos and Videos – This is a very important way of keeping your users engaged to your Facebook page. It acts as a promotional item especially after hosting events that hosted some of your fans. In addition, you may hold several activities that may include photos of some of your fans for example contests. Tagging users on photos will direct the traffic to your page as their friends will also be able to see and eventually navigate to your fan page to view the photo album. However this works well only with friends and fan pages don’t have provision for tagging. You should be able to come up with tactics that are legal on ways you can turn a fan into a friend.

10. Take Advantage of Facebook Events – Many events posted on Facebook Marketing pages are generally for everyone and this may be a good platform to engage your fans. As your fans RSVP the events, the updates are automatically seen by their friends and thus may increase traffic to your fan page. The events may not go into individual users inboxes but with the new Facebook pages, they are visible on the events updates on the homepage.

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February 15th, 2010

The digital marketing professionals of this world have a unifying group known as the Society of Digital Agencies (SODA) whose work is to champion for, among other things, upholding the industry ‘s best practices, education and advertising. I received a copy of the results of a survey that SODA conducted that featured over 1000 digital marketing executives drawn from different agencies of the world. The captivating insights captured in the survey are the subject that I would like to share.

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Digital marketing is by no doubt the most effective means of advertising that any big corporation relies on to maintain its market share dominance. You may want to remember that companies like the carmakers; Ford, which was reeling in lethargic sales indices once, spent 25% of the marketing budget on digital marketing. This was bold, coming from a depressed world economic state and now thanks to the social media, they are making significant sales less than a year later. The impact created t by this economic downturn forced marketers who work for leading manufacturers to rethink their strategies and come up with more cut throat tactics to stay ahead of the pack. All these were focused on digital marketing and the results are baffling, yet effective; a sign that digital marketing has come a long way and by the look of things, it’s just getting started.

The survey is contained in a wholesome 70 page script of facts that have been sampled from various regions of the Americas, Europe, and Russia that highlight among other main issues, the emerging trends, changing policies, social media (an example is China)and more.

Online marketing spending has risen from last year to this year’s forecast with almost two thirds of companies surveyed opting to spend more or the same amount that they spent last year. They plan to significantly increase their proprietary media. The budgets show that more spending this year will most definitely be on social networks, web based applications and the digital infrastructure in general.

The emerging trends in social media marketing are another key pointer this year. The focus will be on customer experience. Marketing skills will involve using emotional as well as persuasive methods of storytelling that will convince customers that they need these products. Location will be just as important, and the speed at which these strategies can be thought up, approved and implemented will be of great importance. This will eventually mark the beginning of a new breed of online marketing techniques that will above all things hit the last nail on the coffin of banner ads.

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Paid media will rapidly and malevolently be replaced by brand content syndication; to put this into perspective, an estimated 40% of the spending will primarily be spent on mobile content.

Social media marketing is effective as it is lately because of its ability to remain increasingly mobile. Dimensions will be more significant than has ever been seen previously, while the

2010 digital marketing outlook

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February 3rd, 2010

Many companies prefer to get feedbacks from their customers and clients. It helps them evolve and suggestions for betterment are always welcomed. With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace becoming popular, many companies are using them effectively to get suggestions from their customers or rather potential customers.

There is one question that keeps popping up though; are all feedbacks addressed? Is the customer treated the way they would like to be? Most companies having global reach on the Web have difficulties addressing customer feedbacks since there seems to be so many almost at the same time.

There are services and applications to gather and process the feedbacks, as a customer, how can you be sure that your grievances are heard? The answer is plain yet perfect; it all depends on where you post and how you post.

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Posting multiple tweets about a situation can surely get out of hand at times. You get the desired response but will your problem be addressed? Employees working for Global Reach companies are keen on replying to your tweet and getting updates from their seniors rather than giving you a solution to the persisting problem.

If once you have tweeted the problem and got a response, the best thing to do in such a situation is to start an e-mail thread and keep track of all the replies that you receive from the company so that you can be sure that your problem is at least in the process of being addressed. Most people believe that getting the problem over to the peak is easier however it is advised to look for others who list User Experience, Community, Content or Support within their profiles.

Alternatively if you do not know who to address your problem to or which Twitter contact can offer you assistance, you could try using the services of Twellow that is a type of yellow pages directory offering you assistance for Twitter.

Customer Services has a number of feedback based consumer forums like SuggestionBox, UserVoice or the latest GetSatisfaction. They are easier to manage and use and are innovative yet informative and friendly. Though the services go by various names they solve one single purpose to help you get your voice heard through posts, ratings and tags.

Everyone has jobs to do; you and the other person at the receiving end also have a fair share of priorities, the best thing to post on feedback forums would be to voice your opinion in plain simple English. The type of information that you should voice would be the exact nature of the problem, the type of company and the solution you require.

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When using the services of Facebook an account is needed to get started and you can be sure that there is a person out there addressing your grievances. Facebook also has the facility of providing you with the e-mail address of the person you need to contact and you could be superficial about the problem when addressing it publicly rather than getting into the intricacies of it.

Patience is definitely the mother of all virtues and it pays to be patient. You could give the company a few days to respond before you start a grievance group against the customer service of the particular company. Do not post hate mail; it would only show you in poor light since there may be many happy customers out there who would not respond to your overtures and invariably your entire problem is back to square one. The best thing to do would be to stay calm, make sure that you have given the complete details of your problem to elicit a response and finally have patience.

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January 22nd, 2010

Mehta Inc. specializes in providing end to end internet marketing services and campaigns as per client. We started offering social media marketing campaigns as a new service to clients – specially targeting small and medium sized businesses.

As an offshore marketing company based in India, when we started social media marketing services,   we started contacting agencies offering similar services. They would basically up sell the services to businesses in US, UK and Australia at a much higher rate than what we’ll charge them. Using our expertise, our people, and our infrastructure the only thing they’d have to concentrate on was marketing.

The services which we were offering initially had defined metrics, outputs and we did significant amount of interactions with our clients including managing their website content management, search engine optimization, email marketing and everything which would help them improve and enhance their web presence.

Now, with the new service, the rules changed a little. Our overseas consultants started offering social media marketing campaigns to clients as a mix of hours where they would allow clients to choose the number of hours from as low as 40 hours a month and also allowed them to define a set of activities they needed us to do in those hours. They never realized that any new marketing technique SHOULD be in line with clients current marketing strategy – they did, but it was taken as a obvious necessity.

As a result, we ended up offering marketing on Facebook, twitter, article marketing, online PR posting and much more just spending 40 hours per month per client. There was no time to think! The time for execution was measured in number of fans we drive to a Facebook page, number of relevant followers we had on twitter, number of articles we created and posted and more.

While each activity did make sense, the level of activity was so minimal that they barely generated significant results. The explanation was very obvious – we dint CHANNELIZE efforts in one direction but the efforts were spent in an ad hoc manner spread across various channels.

Over a period of a year and a half handling social media marketing campaigns, we have learnt that efforts SHOULD be channelized and each channel should be maintained be a knowledgeable, intelligent and well trained individual.

If you budget is a few hundred dollars a month – we don’t think social media campaigns do make sense for your business. The activities would help you indirectly in SEO and would give you a little exposure, we really think your money is better spent doing an Search engine optimization campaign rather than social media marketing.

Social media marketing campaigns are more focused towards brand building and awareness rather than lead generation. So, be sure what you are looking for before signing up with ANY social media marketing consultant.

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January 15th, 2010

Social networking websites have been very successful over the internet. They have appealed to the masses with the ability to connect with family and friends, share pictures, videos and Internet links.

Facebook, Twitter and similar sites have a huge user base. Sharing of information is becoming easy and in this scenario businesses should be all set to leverage the communication channels in their benefit to increase credibility and sales.

Online marketing

Retailers have understood that recommendations on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter play an important role in buying decisions of their consumers. Potential customers are relying on comments, suggestions and communication streams on social media sites and blogs more and more. Effectiveness of one way communication in forms of brochures, catalogs and even online newsletters is decreasing.

Many retail business owners have realized the power of social media channels to influence buyer decisions. While many are still suspicious, all would agree that monitoring the social media communications and influencing them should become a part of their online marketing strategy.

Also, one has to be creative enough to create conversations on these sites just as it is required to throw in a few free goodies to a package tied elegantly with a red ribbon.

While there are still unanswered questions regarding the value and ROI of social commerce initiatives; retailers are prepared to make use of 2010 for the initiatives irrespective of whether they have to tolerate the vagueness that surrounds ROI.

Here are a few tips that could help retailers increase their sales indirectly if they adapt themselves to leverage social networking.

1. Defining the social networking strategy.

a. Getting on to a right social media channel is very important. There are various social media channels available – social networking sites (such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter), blogs, wikis, etc. It is very important that retailers find out which social channels are most visited by their potential customers and make the best use of them. While the idea of social commerce is still emerging, the impact of social media channels on people’s buying decisions is increasing day by day.

Also, it is a wrong notion to believe that social media channels can only attract young cloud. Research proves that two third of Facebook users are adults – already passed out from their college and the user base which is growing more is in the age group of 35 and above.

b. As any conventional marketing person would tell you – allocating a very low amount of resources to a particular campaign is worse than doing no campaign at all. The social media marketing initiative should be a strategic initiative and should have a dedicated team of professionals working towards a common goal – influencing social media communications in favor of the company.

2. Build relationships by communicating with customers through social media.

a. By nature, the social media channels are ‘interactive’ in nature. Best use of the channels can be done to interact directly with your current and potential customers – provide information, resolve grievances, communicate offers and more.

b. One more interesting use of utilizing social networking sites would be to gather customer reviews and suggestions. A simple yet effective way to know what your customers are thinking, what they really want and why they prefer you or your competitor. Perceptions become clear when you run a defined and monitored campaign which can be useful for your overall marketing strategy. Discussion Forums, Ratings, Blog Entries, Surveys, Polls and Reviews are some ways to get to know your customer and your product reach better added with new idea suggestion areas and a place to leave comments would help make the retailer communicate effectively.

c. As a cliché but correct marketing thought goes – “In today’s digital world, you do not find your customers but your customers find you”. Reviews, comments and interactions on social media sites increase your visibility in eyes of your potential customers.

3. Social Networking needs to be used as a Marketing Tool.

a. Effectively allow Customer’s networks to become viral through word of mouth, share conversations about latest offers, Gift coupons and use every possible way to relate to your customer.

For example, your Facebook page can be filled with pictures of your product, customers giving feedbacks not only about the product but also about their experience shopping with you or suggestion to improvise and make your product better.

Your Twitter account should send updates on a regular basis that announce sales, product updates etc. Also, customers can post their comments, suggestions and grievances on twitter to get a fast resolution.

Interesting you tube videos can be marketed. And all these channels can be linked on to your website.

b. A gift coupon, a freebie or exclusive promotions for members of your online channels. This would encourage participation and increase your influence.

4. Targeting the right audience

a. Social networking sites have a wealth of information about your customers. Now you know where you customer lives, what he does daily and what plans he has in the coming months.

All this opens up huge potential for targeting the right consumers in a right way. If you have a right strategy – the world is yours.

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December 15th, 2009

When you develop a social media marketing strategy, you automatically start adding values to people’s lives. As a company, you need to build and maintain integrity.

In the digital world this becomes far more important than anything else. Messages spread easily via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook – and they can create huge positive or negative impacts.

There are four A’s for you to build and maintain your social media integrity

1. Acquaint
2. Aim
3. Alacrity
4. Attention.

Acquaint- At the bottom rung of the ladder lays “Acquaint” though it may not look important, the foundation for any relationship is acquaintance. Unless you know a little something about the person, it will not be easy to break the ice no matter how much you try.

You need to remember that you are dealing with real individuals with emotions while marketing on social media. Although obvious, we tend to forget this more often than not. “Acquainting” yourself will definitely help you know what to say at the appropriate time. If you do not know what to say, there is no point in continuing the conversation any further.

Aim - The next rung of the ladder is “Aim”. Focusing can only strengthen your abilities to interact on social media platforms. Concentrating on areas where you know your strength lies and genuinely helping people helps you maintain focus.

How to stand out from the crowd and let your voice be heard over millions of incessant chatters? When you are focused and honest, it shows and people warm up to you instantly. You start building energy and trust that keep you connected with the audience rather than wearing glossy masks.

Alacrity - Any Consistent activity on your blog and social media platforms will help you go a long way. When a business or personnel engages in a conversation and has the right amount of positive energy it, shows and people relate more to you.

If you cannot show enthusiasm about what you do then who else would. If you absolutely know that you have written in complete honesty then the right amount of positive energy will automatically flow. And this shows very clearly on your social media profiles.

Attention - The top-most rung of the ladder has all the attention..If you are able to pay a little attention to your audience and show concern you have won half the battle.

When you pay attention, it shows. It does not matter if you are trying to get new friends, sell something or holding conversations with people on Twitter or Facebook. If you are able to grab attention, it is all that matters.

A small amount of acquaintance with focused efforts and paying attention to your social media friends and fans is a sure shot way to build and maintain integrity on social media platforms.

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