Friday, April 2, 2010

3 E’S of Social media

Internet has ushered in the next revolution called ‘social media’. The catch here is the word ‘social’. I have been observing the industry for quite some time and I have seen a seismic shift in this domain. ‘Social media’ has evolved itself as tool of marketing, branding and networking. On the other hand it is moving as the fastest growing communication medium around. This opportunity has paved a way for various brands, companies and marketers to be a part of this media. What makes social media even more exciting is the introduction if Web 2.0, WiMax and 3G connectivity. Studies have reviled that more than 60% of mobile web page views are to social networking sites. Users are increasing at an astronomical rate and ample of web application are being introduced to churn into this market. In the end it’s not about number of users it’s about level of engagement and 360 degree view of users’ experience. It’s about relationship building, reputation management and sharing of ideas and knowledge. Social media has become a catalyst and it’s neither an end nor a beginning of any marketing activities. It is turn out to be an effective tool when, it is finely woven into the fabric of a brand’s activity other product information. After spending fair amount of time, I got 3 most effecting activities that shaping social media into a ‘multipolar world’.

Entertain: Quotient of entertainment starts from ‘engagement’. Social media is offering millions of multimedia applications and features that not only increasing the number of users but also entertaining them. Data indicates, that average time spend by users are increasing day by day. Users are making friends, fans and followers by sharing status massage, uploading photos, playing games, downloading music, blogging and getting customized information. Some of the examples are like coke FB Fan club. It has fans around 5,290373. Game like Mafia Wars and Farmville are the most played games on FB.
Educate: Social media is about connecting with real people and networking. The interactive social media platform offers a higher credibility because these are open, transparent and carry third party opinions. Today digital world has fulfilled a consumer’s need for reliable information. People are talking about brands 24*7 with their peer networks and even other network influencers. Within a fraction of second users get to know information about products and services. Brands are engaging them to create better product, improve existing one and thereby building the brand together.
Earn: social media is giving an opportunities to monetize their audience through marketing and advertising. Social media has the power to expose website/brand to large group of people through active syndication. Results in higher visibility and multiple search entries. For users, presence + performance = leads = sales = revenue. Like Dell has earned around $ 6.5 million sales with social media as an advertising platform.

Take away: Effectiveness of social media majorly depends upon understanding the customers. It’s about getting the right message, at the right time and in the right way. Social media is not a sales mechanism, it’s a relationship mechanism that eventually drives sales.

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