Monday, 12 September 2011

Is Social Media A Component Of Your Marketing Mix?

Marketing and PR experts are advocating the use of social media as this is now a days the only medium to reach out to customers and stake holders at the speed of light. Brands are investing heavily on social media marketing taking into consideration the growing Internet usage in households as well as in rural areas. Although, experts are still in the process of finding out a way on how to measure the ROI for such a form of marketing, the advantage of reaching out to their target customers and spreading the message with the blink of an eye keeps them motivated to invest in social media. I have tried to cover a few points on how brands are being benefited by choosing social media as a platform for marketing purposes.

- Reaching out to target audiences and creating brand awareness
- Track and analyze competitors as well as market development
- Introduce new products in an innovative way
- Build brand loyalty and increase customer confidence
- Direct interaction with the end user
- Social media acts as a platform for conducting market research
- Getting feedback and improving customer satisfaction
- Post job vacancies and find the right candidate
- Increasing business contacts and establishing partnerships

- Identify like minded social media users to further promote their product and services:
There are some people who are termed as “Influencers” in social media. These are individuals with rich experience in their respective domains. Influencers are generally bloggers who blog about a particular subject and create an impact on others decision making. Interested online audience reach out to them for suggestions and referrals. A lot of brands have started identifying such influencers to hire them to act as a medium to advertise their brand and products.

All the above mentioned points are self explanatory. I have explained some points in detail where I found the marketing concept fairly innovative. I have kept the rest open for discussion. Let me know your thoughts on these.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Social Media at workplace: A time killer or a knowledge sharing platform!!

I have come across various articles and blog posts about the increasing usage of social media by employees at their workplace. Some companies have even expressed concerns of unproductive employee engagement and some have given complete access to employees to use social media at their workplace. In my opinion, it depends on the nature of work/ company to set parameters for employees to use social media at work. If the job, like in a banking and financial services sector, where employees are prone to numbers and statistics, it is quite important to remain focused in order to fulfill ones responsibilities efficiently. Whereas, the marketing, social media or communications departments of similar organizations are bound to use social media as it is now a days the most efficient and productive medium of advertising and communication. It is therefore the responsibility of the employer to gauge the usage of social media in accordance to the roles and responsibilities assigned to a particular employee and to clearly communicate the level of social media usage along with the job responsibilities. By saying that, I don't want to say that an employer can restrict social media access for some employees and make that fully available for another group of employees. But, it is advisable to track the social media usage of the employees and to determine how much of the time spent in social media has been helpful in building expertise and promoting knowledge sharing across the organization. Social media channels that allow people to upload user generated content like photographs, videos etc. should be restricted for employees as a good amount of productive time is spent on such activities by the employees that results in a loss for the employer in some or the other way. Atleast, as per my observation, one should allow his/her employees to access sites like Twitter, Linkedin and domain related blog posts as these are channels that add on to the expertise and help in knowledge building across teams. I have tried to support both the sides of usage of social media at work. Finally it goes unsaid that, employees have to be mature enough to understand the importance of the time spent at their workplace and should choose to either engage or refrain from using social media.