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Social Media Marketing Dilemma

Posted by Mrityunjay on August 9, 2010

While reading this beautiful article on Aided or forced social media engagement, I wondered over start-ups or established brick and mortar companies who are trying hard to go visible on social media radar but with inadequate success. What recourses do these firms have when their carefully or should we say, impulsively devised social media plan fails to bring the desired results?

Before venturing any further, let’s clear the basic premises. One, social media has emerged as an absolutely essential part of marketing division of an organization. It would be catastrophic to ignore this aspect of marketing and promotion that has completely redefined the way marketing strategies are being formulated and implemented. In simplest terms, the success of a business depends upon its ability to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. However, the competition is extremely stiff and marketing avenues are limited. In that light, arrival of social media marketing has turned out to be a boon for companies that were willing to make a mark for themselves but had struggled with the need of finding new channels.

But what if, despite spending millions, so many companies, large and small are not actually able to register a satisfactory return on investment on the puzzle named, social media marketing. Some actually believe it to be a hype that has only benefited those who joined the bandwagon early on. Social media marketing tools like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc have turned out to be great money-spinners for quite a good number of companies who were smart and savvy enough to make the most of opportunities offered by these tools. But, same cannot be said for many other firms who either are struggling with their inability to unlock the vast potential offered by social media tools or who simply lack the planning and strategy blueprints.

Let’s term it Social Media Dilemma on the presumption that most of the firms, trying to take a dive in the treasure ocean named social media are expecting to come out with a handful of gold (read followers) are, actually trying to follow an oft-treaded path. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are quite influential but there is more to SMM than these two. It is not just about growing number of followers. It is also not just about making a fan page or starting a community or creating a profile and you start expecting overnight surge in numbers of clients who are looking desperately for you.

What’s the game plan here? Sending out 100’s of tweets everyday to your double digit followers and expecting your social media profile to become a cash cow in a double quick time? Social media is not rocket science that you fail to decipher. Like in an offline business plan, you think of all the relevant fundaments including 4 P’s, demography, target customers, investment, time horizon, ROI and expected results after a certain point of time. It works the same way in social media. Number of followers is nothing but a metric here that doesn’t actually define the total success or failure of your social media plan. Yes, you must try to reach out, connect and establish relationships with potential consumers but are you using the right platforms?

The idea of growth must be intentional in nature. You create a profile on Facebook (of course, its free), offer schemes/vouchers/coupons to your consumers and well, the next thing you start visualizing is bombardment of calls on your customer care service inquiring about your products and services? Wish, life could be that simple! You just can’t hope for things to happen on their own.

How about paying a bit of attention to some of other corporate that had to pour significant amounts of time and money to convert netizens into loyal followers? If you have money then spend it wisely and with purpose and intent. Order fresh cappuccinos and sit down with your social media consultant and play the game of Devil’s Advocate. What are the specific plans with regards to increasing Facebook Fans, attracting Twitter followers, creating a blog(s), focusing on newsletter subscribers and feeds, motivating your followers to influence their respective connections, investing a bit on online reputation management, hiring a team of bloggers, using keyword rich stuff, back linking, encouraging your users to discuss more on your products and services in diverse forums and interacting with consumers!

It takes time to register a significant increase in your bottom-line, whether it’s traditional media or social media marketing but you got to have a sound business plan, appropriate campaign strategies and renewed focus on diverse channels. As you start experiencing growth, you will have a far clearer roadmap of how to leverage to its optimum.

View Mritunjay Kumar's profile on LinkedIn

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