Thursday, March 29, 2018

Social Branding & Personalized Content – Bringing a paradigm shift to consumer’s buying decision

We all know that brand awareness plays a crucial role in consumer’s buying decision. Consumers who search for a product or a service often take a decision based on their prior knowledge of a brand. For example if you are searching for a latest smartphone with all new features, you will probably go with the brand that you have heard in the past while a new Smartphone manufacturer offers almost all the attributes that you are looking for; may be at a much more cheaper price. Sometimes the brand and the product becomes so synonymous that when you think about the product, you actually think about the brand. ‘Coalgate’ and ‘Xerox’ are few good examples that have done this miracle over the years.

But, today’s generation is more informed and more knowledgeable. They are ready to experiment and go for the new ones. And, social media plays the most significant role here. Social media has grown rapidly in last one decade. Today, there are 3 billion active social media users worldwide, which is almost 40% of world’s total population. This is a huge number that brands can’t ignore.

Brands have to be more social and approachable to reach out to their consumers and should establish direct dialogues with them; of course, more frequently and ethically. Brand owners have to put ethics at the top of their agenda in their social communication strategy. For example, the CSR initiatives taken up by big brands not only just showcase their social face; but also establish them as ethical brands. Consumers often relate themselves to these messages easily. P&G’s ‘Shiksha’ is one of such examples where consumers take the pride of being part of a social cause.

A social post can create more noise than an official communication like a press release or a news release could do in the past. Traditional communication strategies have to be modified according to today’s consumer behavior. And, for the success of any of such communication strategy, you have to consider social media as more of an engagement platform rather than a medium to push out your marketing messages. From marketing perspective, the future of social media is all about nurturing your relationship with the consumer and taking this to the level of personal know-how. Personalized content better connect with a consumer taking his/her specific wants and needs into consideration. In this context, personalized content means creating specific content based on factors such as the audience, their geography, their content consumption behavior and the devices they use. When consumers feel that their voices are being heard, brands can build a valuable relationship with them. This change is just one among the many changes that the future of social media branding will witness and influence consumer’s buying decisions significantly.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“Big-Picture” of Multi-Channel Social Measurement

Facebook’s “Insights” tab or Twitter’s “Activity Dashboard,” are few examples how the social networks are gradually accepting the importance of measurement for the social marketers. However, majority of the marketers struggle to get the “Big-Picture” of their social media data analysis. To get the view of their social landscape, often they find it challenging to standardize the metrics or analyzing the data in context. To conclude with the deeper insight of any complex social media data, there are few fundamental rules for multi-channel measurement.

The list of social networks that are relevant to marketers is long and diverse. One of the biggest problems that marketers face with multi-channel analysis is having access to all of their data across all platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

Most of the social media analyst measure and report on Facebook and Twitter. However, to get the big-picture, you should analyze at least six networks. This breadth of reporting equates to a lot of time and energy in compiling the data and filtering out the noise. The data aggregation process is about balance, gathering as much context as possible and put it in the most simple and practical format possible.

Putting metrics from various channels in context is crucial to understanding social performance and gaining useful, tactical insights. The problem is that the growth in number of social channels makes it hard to consolidate and standardize reporting. The key to putting this massive amount of data in context is standardization. By standardizing terminologies around similar metrics, you will be able to look at activity and engagement in a simple format and with full context. For example, instead of Facebook Fans and Pinterest or Twitter Followers, use a term like “Audience.”

Once you standardize your terminologies, focus on benchmarking the methodology. The most effective and commonly used benchmarking methods for social media marketers are: taking at-least three periods as an average and apples-to-apples comparison of these periods like pre-campaign performance measurement to the post-campaign monthly reports. Just average the last three months to benchmark the most recent efforts and you will get a solid rolling average. With this type of comparison, it makes the most sense to focus on rates and ratios. You should focus on measuring things like growth rate and engagement rate. This approach will allow you to normalize over time periods without worrying about the scale differences.

Data has become a central need for social media marketers. No longer are aggregate totals enough. Marketers need complete, practical measurement that allows them to review all of their activities. Multi-channel analysis is the key to this holistic approach while each puzzle piece is crucial. It’s the complete picture that helps social media marketers do their best work in terms of taking a corrective measure during a mass-media campaign.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

LinkedIn as the Content Marketing Hub

LinkedIn is gradually becoming a hub for professional content. 1.5 million publishers are actively using LinkedIn “Share” button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform. There were 184 million unique visitors worldwide to LinkedIn in Q3 of 2013. According to a recent survey, “Content Managers spend 8 hours each week consuming professionally relevant content. 61% of them consider that professional content is necessary for success. 91% of them are using it weekly for professionally relevant content vs. 64% for online news sites and only 29% for Twitter and 27% for Facebook.”

Some quick facts about LinkedIn marketing:

Unique content: Create content that sparks the discussion. Increase the frequency of updates and publish unique content via LinkedIn. The opportunity to build programs around LinkedIn leverages content to drive engagement life-cycles and stimulate organic community building. Members are more likely to share professional content that builds their professional brands, strengthens their professional networks, or helps them sell to their networks.

Popular content: Emphasize on sharing popular content types such as new research, breaking industry news, case studies, content produced by business leaders, etc.

Sponsored updates: LinkedIn sponsored updates can increase the visibility of the content by many folds.

Optimized employee profile: An optimized employee profile can boost the visibility of the company and its content in the search results—both on and off the network. That’s because search engines like Google scour pages and URLs for keywords, and LinkedIn profiles offer many opportunities to embed keywords, such as within the LinkedIn URL, other URLs listed on personal profiles, job titles and descriptions, and content links the profile holder includes.

LinkedIn influencers: Connect with the LinkedIn influencers. Take advantage of discovery modules within LinkedIn to help you find more relevant content based on the people you’re following and the posts you’re reading.

Display ads: Make use of LinkedIn Premium Display Advertising and integrate display ads.

Follow company ads: Use “Follow Company Ads” to deliver personalized messages on the homepages of your target audience, establishing the relevance of your business to these members and building your Follower audience.

Make use of “Pulse”: Using LinkedIn Pulse, access full articles and rich graphics, from a wealth of resources and more than 750 publishers. Start liking the most relevant and share a few periodically.

Showcase pages: With “Showcase Pages”, you can build a presence and present a unique voice for every important part of your business. By creating dedicated pages for your more prominent brands, businesses, and initiatives using “Showcase Pages,” you can extend your LinkedIn presence.

Attract more followers: Cultivate a larger following with a multi-channel approach. Encourage employees to add a link to the company page in their email signatures and add a Follow button to your website.

Follow the 4-1-1 Rule: The 4-1-1 Rule was coined by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, originally created for Twitter. It can successfully be applied to company’s content marketing strategy using LinkedIn. The rule states: “For every one self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.” Instead of constantly bombarding your followers with demos, webinars, and whitepaper downloads, create a cadence of helpful insights relevant to your audience.

LinkedIn groups: Create more focused groups for the services and products category, encourage members to actively participate, and get aligned for community success.

Track the success/failure: Keep a track of your “Content Marketing Score” and the “Trending Content” to qualify your content marketing efforts on LinkedIn.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The real numbers behind your social media indices

According to a new survey by online business community Manta, Social media use is trending upward and nearly 50% have increased time spent on social media this year and nearly 55% say they’re using platforms like Twitter and Facebook as the most important tool for either acquiring new customers of generating sales leads. It is very praiseworthy that more and more companies are getting involved in social media, but few are able to report its real value. According to eMarketer, only 13% of marketers feel they are "very effective" at measuring social media efforts. In terms of measurement and accountability, social media should be treated the same as email, search, display and other marketing channels. If you want to see social media's true impact on your business, you need to have a system and framework for pulling real meaning from the data and trends that emerge from your measurement and monitoring.

You need to build a social media measurement strategy that aligns with business objectives, exhibits the business value of your social media program, and provides the insight that enables you to optimize for maximum impact. Put meaning behind the data you gather from social media.

Why it is so that few businesses have a framework in place to measure the real value behind social media? You need to align your business objectives with social measurement.

1. Monitor and react to social media 24/7:
Every minute is vital when it comes to preventing a Social Media crisis. 24/7 moderation protects a brand’s reputation and alerts them to developing issues as they occur.

2. Moderate and remove unsuitable content such as racism and pornography immediately:
Seventy-five percent of Facebook users believe pornographic and racist comments on a brand page are completely inappropriate. Sixty-six percent users would ‘unlike’ the brand and 39% would never buy the product again.

3. Implement strong threat detection and escalation processes:
You need to react immediately to your Twitter account being hi-jacked on a holiday. As we saw with the recent hacking of a fast food chain’s social media account, it is critical to be alerted to a hacked account as quickly as possible. In this instance, it resulted in 53 hijacked tweets that were retweeted more than 70,000 times.

4. Monitor your campaign sentiment:
A badly thought out Social Media campaign can spread like wild fire. A quick reaction to negative sentiment will make all the difference. A recent example involved the banking sector using charitable organizations in their campaigns receiving a huge social media backlash.

5. Influencers need to be responded fast:
A celebrity tweet complaining about your product or service will only go one way if it’s not dealt with fast. Conversely, a quick and proactive response can do wonders for your brand’s reputation.

Through today's technology, your business likely has increasing access to information about how customers and potential ones behave especially online - consuming media, interacting with friends, indicating interest in products, and of course making purchases. Needless to say, this data is a source of competitive advantage that your group, large or small, can and should leverage to predict future behavior and better position yourself in the marketplace. The challenge, for many businesses, is in lacking the tools, know-how, and resources. Once you've found the data you know matters, you can analyze and make interpretations that means to all parts of your business planning and practical execution, which will help you to take actionable decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Virtual clinics - breaking the boundaries of onsite vs. online

Web-enabled medical care has become very popular in recent times and many big healthcare brands are now associated with this business model. As per reports from BCC Research, the telemedicine market will hit $27.3 billion by 2016. The whole concept of a virtual clinic is very interesting. Basically this involves few specialist doctors or medical practitioners who are highly devoted to their profession, a virtual interactive platform and few technologies that support this collaborative atmosphere. These health portals give patients the ability to discuss the preliminary symptoms with the doctors or specialists online and take necessary advice to take further steps. However, few people suggest that online examinations should not be allowed unless a patient has made an in-person visit to a doctor first.

Service providers in this segment, often emphasize on how experienced and skilled their doctors are and how quickly they respond to their patients' queries. Spreading the awareness via word-of-mouth is very crucial in running these clinics. Although there is a up-rise trend of telemedicine based portals and physicians' forums, patients and their relatives often feel hesitant in discussing the medical issues in public. Hence, these forums and portals should emphasize on educating doctors about the appropriate ways to use these types of digital networks to communicate sensitive information about patients.

The concept of virtual clinic is evolving rapidly and social media will soon become an integral part of the conversation. Digital media is transforming the doctor-patient relationship empowering patients to seek out information and make more informed decisions. Digital platforms leverage the patients comparing care options and its outcomes. While doing so, patients become informed and educated advocates of their own care and put more control in their hands. Patients can get real-time information through these portals about medications being recalled or outbreaks detected. Physicians can push this information out to patients within seconds through a simple tweet or a comment. Young physicians, grown up surrounded by technologies such as computers, smart phones and social media, are more adept at utilizing these avenues and perhaps more open to it. There are increasingly more reasons to adopt tele-health as a solution for a variety of healthcare crises and issues.

Irrespective of challenges like patient privacy or return on investment, digital media is transforming the concept of healthcare. In recent times, we have seen more and more health related apps are being designed, more health blogs are being authored, and more web-based technologies are being developed. Soon this trend will enhance the conventional healthcare system we will see more and more clinics on the cloud.

Article Source:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Content Marketing - making of a newsletter

In today’s competitive scenario, every big enterprise wants to prove themselves as a thought leader in their respective segment. Newsletters play an important role in brand-building strategy to target a specific audience which might convert into your potential customer. It is an effective way to build a relationship with a prospect, nurturing them along until they become a customer. Great content can always be helpful in getting their attention and keeping their attention. Newsletters often play the role of a strong medium for external and internal communication. Making of a newsletter involves specific skill sets and goes through the following process:

  • Decide on the theme and periodicity of the newsletter.
  • Based on the theme, co-ordinate with the writer, copy-editor and the designer to decide on the requirements to accomplish the assignment.
  • Come up with a project schedule and scope of the work document.
  • Based on the theme, the writer will come-up with a table of content (TOC) and will take approval from the competent authority.
  • The writer starts working on creating the content.
  • The content is sent to the copy-editor for proof-reading, grammatical and linguistic changes.
  • The copy-editor sends back the copy-edited versions to the writer for final approval.
  • The second copy-edited version is sent for final approval. This step may repeat multiple times based on the complexity of the project.
  • During the quality check process for the content, the design team comes up with a design template for the newsletter.
  • The design template gets approved and the final content is sent to the designer for creation of the final print-ready pdf version.
  • The print ready pdf version is again checked by the copy-editor to ensure the quality of the content.
  • Create the final draft of the print-ready pdf.
  • The pdf version is made available online and downloadable from the required website and html pages are made online for the website visitors.
  • Send an E-mailer to the client database to inform the subscribers about publishing the newsletter.
  • Share it through your social media portals. Your readers will love to re-share it as long as it carries great and knowledgeable content.
  • Request for email responses to the newsletter content.
  • Think about using a moderated blog with audience posting as a source of newsletter content as it might be useful not only to get directly involved with your target audience but also to generate curiosity and interest about the content. 
By following these simple steps, you can easily design your newsletter. But, involvement of quality contributors in every step to accomplish the task is more important and crucial. At any cost, you have to provide quality content maintaining the periodicity of the newsletter.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Impact of a case-study in building brand credibility

A case-study may be defined as an analysis of a given scenario or a situation that often regarded as a challenge for an establishment. A case-study gives a solution to a problem which might be technical or non-technical. It is often seen that case-studies play an important role in establishing a strong opinion about finding the ways to solve a business challenge. Manufacturing giants and business service providers are mostly benefited by the facts they share about their products/services through these studies.

In current business scenario, case studies are not just limited to any management curriculum. They are widely used for brand-building activities. These studies often help the business giants to establish themselves as the thought leaders in their respective segment. The main challenge in designing a case study could be inspiring the reader to make a favorable decision. Even tiny little things like the design and layout could impact readers' decision making process. The content has to provide potential customers, investors and/or partners the information they require to make buying or investment decisions. It should also showcase the first-hand experience with a company, product or service and hence build credibility. The case evaluates the effectiveness of a product or service. Hence, the writer should be careful in delivering message through this new form of journalism that complements traditional mediums of advertising.

A case study can also help introducing a new product or service with impact extending the value of advertising message with in-depth and content-rich coverage. An effective message will surely generate the desired impact. Designing an influential case-study involves lots of research on how others have defined the situation. If the situation is common then the challenge is more as you will also have to deal with a competitive scenario and you have to establish the facts in favor of your product/service. Interviewing the key resources in developing the case helps you establish the facts. These skilled resources can be quoted directly to present it in more convincing way.

Detailed analysis of all the information collected plays a significant role in ascertaining your overall statement that you are well-versed with the situation. Finally, conclude the study in such a way that it gives a fruitful solution to the situation described. The whole purpose of designing a case can not be successful without a clear and crisp message. A message that directly influences your potential customers, investors and/or partners to make a investment decision.

Article Source:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Evolution of media monitoring as an integral part of PR strategy

It has always been difficult for large enterprises to track the exact picture of the effectiveness of their public relation and marketing campaigns. This requires specific skill sets to monitor and gather relevant information of the media coverage related to these campaigns.

Evolution of online media in different forms has made it more difficult as online media is more viral than traditional print media. Broadcast media also plays an important role in successful implementation of PR and marketing strategies designed by these big enterprises, which involve a big chunk of their investments. So, monitoring media coverage is more important than ever before. Enterprises must be confident that their PR campaigns are creating significant impact in the media. They need comprehensive information how they are being talked about by different forms of media and media influencers.

Media monitoring provides an easy to view and analyze dashboard that clearly shows the effectiveness of these PR campaigns. Media monitoring service providers research and aggregate the media coverage for a particular company, product, brand, event, industry, etc. and synthesize & analyze the relevant coverage. Then, they present the synopsis of the coverage to their clients in an easy, reader friendly format. Enterprises get educated about what's being said about their company, products, brands, etc, in the media. They learn about media perception of their competitors. They learn about the latest industry developments as portrayed by the media. They get an idea of the share of voice that they have in the media and this serves as a backdrop for them to fine tune their communications strategy.

It is always advisable to take a consolidated approach in handling different forms of media. Emergence of social media has made it more obvious for the enterprises to get the information real-time. Consolidated media measurement approach involves media monitoring, media audit, user-generated media monitoring, user-generated media audit, key-influencer analysis, industry trend analysis, company analysis, competitive analysis, audience analysis, etc. Service providers handle the huge volume of information by utilizing several media monitoring tools, online sources and some alert services. Involvement of skilled professionals in mining the relevant information, analyzing, presenting and summarizing it in an easy-to-understand report is very crucial. "Dashboard" view of media performance helps marketing and PR professionals to sharpen competitive edge and demonstrate return on their corporate communication investment. So, media monitoring and measurement has evolved as an integral part of enterprises' public relations campaign management process.

Article Source:

Friday, October 19, 2012

KOLs - today's pharma thought leaders

In today's volatile market scenario, listening and engaging Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs in your digital marketing plan is very crucial. In order to identify KOLs, there has to be a firm understanding of the issues and circumstances that make them key in the first place. Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those who accept his or her opinions. KOLs are often regarded as the key to business success in Pharmaceutical/Healthcare industry. They are the agents who actively participate in discussions or forums in order to address drug-related issues or queries raised by people. Now, the question is “How do they influence your brand perception?”

KOLs may not necessarily be involved directly with your brand; however, they have the ability to build or destroy your brand image by influencing their followers. They are the people others are watching. Irrespective of the therapeutic field, the use of KOLs is a global phenomenon for business success. In pharmaceutical business research, KOL management and mapping play important role. Your KOL databases have to have the names who can easily tell what your research should focus and what are the target customers’ current needs. In terms of marketing & sales, KOLs act as a the leading indicator of therapy acceptance. Pharma companies generally connect with the KOLs early in the drug development process to provide advocacy activity and key marketing feedback.

To identify the KOLs, you need to know their key characteristics. Market Strategies International conducted a research study among a selected group of 100 national and regional KOLs and came out with the following key characteristics of a KOL:

  • Regularly sought out by their colleagues for opinions or advice
  • Speak often at regional or national conferences
  • Have published articles in a major journal during the past two years
  • Consider themselves early adopters of new treatments or procedures
  • Help establish protocols for patient care

Identifying KOLs using social network analysis
Mostly medical practitioners use their local network to advice, opine and showcase their expertise. You can term it as a closed community that has the ability to influence millions of people. It needs a sophisticated algorithm that takes into account both the direct and indirect links in the network to identify the best influencers who really can create an impact on your consumers to build an opinion or a sentiment. If you have a strong community management model around your brand, these influencers will bring in more people to talk about your brand. Building an interacting model of communication and closely monitoring the conversation help to build strong brand perceptions which result in increase velocity of product adoption.

So, are you listening???

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salesforce gives the Cloud a new social direction

Is this an aggressive marketing move? Or, is this a step to stay ahead in this social revolution age? Salesforce launching today its new social media analytics software suite “Marketing Cloud” is regarded as a timely push to bring in consumer social media features into business and industrial settings.

Salesforce is no longer a company that provides only online software managing your sales process. It has evolved itself to explore new markets like social media marketing in order to sustain growth. Marketing Cloud is a product of Salesforce's closely watched, $689 million acquisition of Buddy Media. However, the company is getting tough challenge from its rival Oracle, which has captured headlines with its social media-related acquisitions recently.

Marc Benioff, CEO and founder of Salesforce, said at the Dreamforce conference 2012, “Are you and your company going through a social revolution? We see your customers and your employees and your partners are all connected.”

Yes, Mr. Benioff. You are right in saying so. Everyday or rather every moment, big brands face challenges from social media either in the form of opinions or reviews or customer sentiment. Listening, analyzing and engaging – these are the three ways how one can counter the challenges and this forms three closely-related market segments called Social Media Analytics, Social Media Marketing and Social Media Consulting. All the big players like Adobe, Oracle, Microsoft and Google have their own interest to dominate this market. This might be too early to predict who will win the race, but this competition is slowly getting very interesting to watch out for.