Social media marketing is gradually becoming a frequent marketing avenue for bigger brands. In 2012 Indian brands got their hands dirty with social media marketing in terms of product promotion, rebranding, fan engagement, etc. The enthusiasm somehow lacked with the Indian SMEs and the reasons have been many. However, the common ones have been due to the lack of understanding about the medium and setting unexpected results.
So when we are still in the very early part of 2013, we thought of speaking to the social media experts who breathe the space, have seen the market very closely and moreover, are also practitioners in their daily life. And this is what they had to say:
1. Sanjay Mehta, Founder and Jt CEO at Social Wavelength
The simple message to them in regards to Social Media is: “Do it yourself, do it with commitment and dedication, you WILL see the results!”
The main challenge that I have seen with SMEs is first a lack of faith, and then, a lack of dedication, to this new media. Due to this reason, even when they are facing challenges in traditional marketing ways, and feel that social media can be an alternative, there is not enough of a buy-in, to actually commit time. The hesitation leads to half-hearted efforts, which don’t take them anywhere. Or a feeling that they should get an agency to help them. Due to the limited marketing budgets, they usually do not afford decent fees for the agency, and are also impatient to get quick results from the agency.
With all this challenge, they struggle to get results out of social media. Hence, their best bet really lies in sinking their teeth into the monster themselves.
2. Nimesh Shah, Co-Founder of Windchimes Communications Pvt Ltd
I find that majority of Indian SMEs still shy away from social media mostly because of the assumption that it is expensive to carry out or that it can’t help a small business like theirs. Both assumptions are completely wrong and baseless. You don’t have to hire an expensive social media agency to carry it out. Basic knowledge of platforms and understanding of your own business and consumers is enough to build an engaging presence. You have to be true in representing yourself in the social space as you are in the offline space. Recreate the experience, stories and magic that draws your customers to you in real world onto the social space.
Don’t try selling your products or services, don’t communicate as if you are giving out news; instead talk with them, give out information but engage while doing so. Things go wrong when you start thinking that people become completely different in their attitude when they are online. That’s never really the case ever. Make them feel comfortable hanging around on your page before you introduce your offerings. This is similar to what you would do in the real world too. Educate yourself on social media by reading articles or attending workshops and then start experimenting.
3. Lakshmanan (Lux) Narayan , CEO & Co-Founder, Unmetric Inc
For a new entrant in social media, it can seem pretty overwhelming, and as a consequence, social is often misconstrued as being just about technology, tools and platforms. While technology is an enabler, the core dimensions of a Brand’s efforts must still be rooted in endearing itself to its community – just like they would in a one to one conversation.
Brands/SMEs would do well to keep reminding themselves that social is most about chemistry – quite literally! People are glued to Facebook because of the dopamine rush or elevated levels of serotonin that a red and rising notification count can provide. First figure how to get that (chemical) connection going, and then focus on technology and scale. Too many brands get enveloped by the latter and forget what the core of their social avatar is.
Like many things that regulate human behavior, this is governed by hormones and emotions too!
4. Pradeep Chopra, CEO & Co-Founder at Digital Vidya
Given Social Media will grow bigger in 2013, SMEs have many more reasons to pay attention towards it. Unlike large brands, which will always take more time to respond to big changes in Social Media, SMEs should grab every such opportunity at the earliest. I personally recommend exploiting the yet-to-be-tapped opportunity offered by Twitter. Similarly, Content Marketing (especially visual) and Mobile should be other focus areas for SMEs.
On the other hand, I believe that opportunity of Social Media for B2B sector will become even bigger and SMEs are better placed to leverage the same. Founding team should get their hands dirty if they are still on the fence.
5. Manish Sinha, Co-Founder & COO at Oravel.com
Tools, metrics, platforms are all needed to navigate your way but equally important is to understand consumer behavior and psychology.
Additionally try being interesting. You cannot depend on one way brand messages like in traditional media. As a brand or SME your job now is to be interesting which can be achieved by sharing interesting facts about your brand, category, etc.
And finally in social media the context is as important as the content of the message. Be topical. If you are a sports brand, and the country gets a drubbing in a cricket test match; have a point of view. Merely sharing the TVC on Facebook won’t get you hits.
Hopefully, the advice and experiences shared here could guide SMEs not only in understanding but during execution too.