Sumit Bedi, VP-Marketing IndiaMART shares 7 social media marketing tips that helped the brand break through the clutter.
It should not be surprising since 40% of the 200 minutes that an average Indian user spends online goes to social media. This increased time spent on social networks has resulted in many opportunities and a few challenges as well for marketers looking to engage with their target audience. Many brands have used it to build awareness and reach while a few have succeeded in building brand loyalty through such platforms.
It has also become a great enabler for modern customers to voice their concerns, opinions, dissatisfaction and liking for the brands that are part of their lives. Here are some of the key lessons that my team and I have realized over that last couple of years while building our social media strategy:
- Video reigns over the digital world: According to Cisco, 75% of the world’s mobile data trafficwill be video by 2020. And the way we are consuming video content these days, we might get there sooner!
If we look at the China market right now, out of the top 15 media apps that have over 50 Mn DAUs, 7 are Video based.
Video has always been the most versatile marketing medium of them all and with such volumes, as marketers we must keep videos in the center of our social media strategy.
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With more than 241 Mn users in India alone, Facebook has become a predominant medium of video consumption for different segments of audiences. Similarly, viewership on YouTube is growing every year.1.5 billion logged-in viewers visit YouTube every single month.Younger audiences are watching YouTube as a replacement for television entertainment; others are searching for how-to videos. On Facebook, videos appear in user’s news feed and have better chances to go viral. Brands need to ensure their content caters to both the platforms. E.g.- Facebook is where we launch all our brand campaigns for instant reach while for our self-help videos YouTube playlists are the best option as it grows over a period of time.
- Create content that reflects your brand’s personality: As marketers, sometimes a creative idea takes over the brand’s personality. But as a brand we should always stand for a few things that describe the organisation’s personality. For instance, we recently created a video campaign, #DreamOn on the lives of 4 women entrepreneurs on the occasion of Women’s Day featuring their struggles and growth stories. The video reached 5Million people at a comparatively lower cost because our audience could connect with the subject and put us in the right brand space. While social media pages like Facebook or Twitter are casual spaces for marketing a brand through memes or videos, it still requires careful attention to be paid in terms of the brand’s personality and finding a way to evoke the right emotions through visuals.
- Tell stories that connect with the audience – A brand should not just focus on emphasizing or promoting itself through a ‘Me-first’ attitude. On Social Media, it is important to create content that connects with your audience and at the same time puts your brand in the right space. IndiaMART is a young at heart brand that comes with a legacy and wisdom. So, as a brand we maintain a tonality which connects with the youth but also maintains the essence of the topic or the theme. For instance, our #HatsOffLadies campaign went viral because people could very well connect with it. The video received more than 3.7Mn views and reached around 9.5Mn people 80% of whom were organic.
- Ride the topical wave but don’t forget your brand’s positioning – Women’s day, Father’s day, Mother’s day, Teacher’s day, New year’s, Diwali and Holi – today, every brand is trying to leverage these occasions for their brand. The key here is to keep the brand’s personality and tonality in mind, understand the audience and their preferences and then create a campaign. Otherwise you’ll get lost in the clutter. For our brand, Father’s Day is not about fathers but the fathers who run small businesses.The trick is to create content that is relatable and sounds logical when one associates it with the brand.
- Keep experimenting: There is no guarantee of a successful campaign every time it kicks off but that should not stop companies from ideating and executing one. For instance, we recently created and posted some memes on our Facebook page which were around the life of a businessman during the last days of a Financial Year end. The memes were topical as well as highly engaging and worked well for us. So, while some of the campaigns might click with the viewers and some won’t, brands or companies must not stop creating them as they can be produced at a very low cost. Moreover, their life on social media is also short, which leaves more opportunities for experimentation.
- Employees as brand ambassadors: We constantly focus on building trust in our employees and consider them as a very vital part of our content strategy. The lesson that needs to be learned here is that by featuring one’s employees on Social Media, they not only feel motivated but also become a part of the story, resulting in greater engagement. For example, in many of our social media campaigns we have featured our employees only. Whether it is our Women’s Day (3.7 Mn views), Mother’s Day (300K views) or Teacher’s Day (217K views) campaigns, some of our best performing content has been the one that featured our employees.
We have also begun to use Social Media for hiring. So, when we rolled out a hiring campaign for our Sales & Services department on the social media pages, we posted case studies and success stories of our existing employees. Basis these posts, we have received more than 500 applications and great employee engagementat literally no cost.
- Create Social Media Advocates: Most brands today have a dedicated team that oversees and handles the complaints made on social media. Now, this is what almost everyone is doing, but if you want to give your users some great experience then you will have to go that extra mile. We believe that the people who take to social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to put in their complaints are the ones who like the product or have used it but are struggling somewhere if the results do not turn up as per their expectations. A case in point – rather than considering these regular customers as detractors, we turned turn them into promoters of the product by implementing some serious complaint supervision. We have also brought down the response time considerably and try to resolve a Social Media issues on priority.
We also ask our existing promoters to rate us on Google or answer some relevant questions about us on Quora, this way we aren’t only interacting with the complainants but are also engaging with the users who have already given us a positive feedback through other mediums and hence eventually turning them into Social Media advocates for our brand.
Thus, the future of social media marketing would be guided by creative content formats and decreasing attention spans. Data driven distribution of native content would drive social media marketing in the next few years.