Is Twitter right for your business?

by Gayatri Sriram3. February 2012 05:09       Bookmark and Share

Facebook has long held all the cards in the social game, and businesses of all sizes have, at some point or another, utilised this magical medium that instantly connects one with millions of users.

But how many companies are effectively utilizing Twitter in their digital marketing strategy?

The 100 million active Twitter users today might pale in front of the more impressive 800 million active users on Facebook, but Twitter is one treasure trove of superior marketing potential. Done right, Twitter provides an easier way of reaching out to a niche population. A user base that is just right for your business. Whether it is a clothing line, software solutions provider or a dog breeding company, there's a Twitter strategy for all.

5 Things to get you started on Twitter

Twitter Handle: This one is a no brainer. Decide on something that is consistent with your brand. If befitting, brands can benefit from working in a person’s name into the handle; @Varunatcompany. Check out how @Kohler displays their company tweeters.

Promote your brand on Twitter

Bio:  Twitter allows you 20 extra characters for your bio and we suggest you really use them. Keep it relevant to your brand and what it does. Over 1.6 billion searches are made on twitter every day, establish what it is that your customers are looking for and use those keywords in your bio.

Profile Pic: It is important for your profile pic to reflect your brand. If you’ve used your own name for the handle, go ahead and put up a warm, smiling picture of yourself. Company logo is also commonly used; make sure to reduce it down to a smaller size allowing a nice bigger picture to pop up should someone click on it.

Profile Skin: Twitter skin is a great branding tool for businesses and the opportunities are limitless! Your background is the first thing that pops out when someone visits your profile, be creative, be memorable and use this opportunity to reposition your brand in the online space.

Tracking Tools : Establish clear metrics to measure your engagement on Twitter. There are a variety of superior tools available; Topsy, Tweet Analyzer and Klout are some that are reigning supreme in the twit sphere. Twitter’s own search tool is pretty darn good too.

All the above tips follow one common purpose; Branding. Brand your twitter page, be memorable, and position yourself as an interesting, social brand.

Also remember, nothing says amateur like an incomplete twitter profile!



Stay tuned for our next segment – Promote your brand on Twitter.

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Online Marketing

A glimpse of Google+ Project

by Subodh Doharey6. August 2011 06:22       Bookmark and Share

The Big news in the internet industry is that Google is launching a brand new social platform called “Google +”.  Besides having Facebook as the first option for social networking, “Google +” brings about a new dimension, filling in the space for #2.  Google plus project is a conglomeration of social networking tools and not limited to only Google+1 button by which you can like, share or add sites to your Google profile.  If you look historically, the Google search engine itself, Google Docs, Buzz and a variety of other products originated elsewhere but Google made it faster and (in some cases) better.  The PLUS project seems to follow this trend.

A glimpse of Google+ Project

In extension to Google profile and Google buzz, Google has launched this real time interaction tool for web & mobile where you and your friends can share videos, photos, upload in real-time and have loads of interesting conversations.

 

Istrat - Google+1

 

 

Google Circle: This has a unique graphic interface to slot friends in various groups like friends, family, geeks, coworkers etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocPeAdpe_A8&feature=player_embedded

Google Spark: Acts as an information hub for interesting new Web pages related to your interests. The content shared may be articles, videos etc. Simply add your interests, and you'll always have something to watch, read and share.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DoAl4JXhQo&feature=player_embedded

Google Hangout: Video conferencing application with a limit of 10 participants. Hangouts are created by one person, but everyone in the hangout shares the ability to invite others. It is a method of combining a casual meet up with live multi-person video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN38vHZjWXw&feature=player_embedded

Google Huddle: Somewhat like an IM chat feature for groups. You can add your location to all your posts, share photos from your phone's camera album immediately after they're created and chat with your friends as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA22daAstNg&feature=player_embedded

Google Mobile: Upload content, pictures and videos instantly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8gvHaX1cwY&feature=player_embedded

Google is well on their way towards releasing an API for their social platform. Once released, it will open Google Plus to the world of social media apps and other additions.

Reactions in people

People are still thinking about the failure of Google buzz and may not take this as seriously. For those who are looking for options other than Facebook are happier at the moment as they found an alternative to go with. SEO teams are afraid of whether links shared there will be counted as back links or not. Some assume Google+ can be safer & more private than Facebook. On another side people are hesitating to give all their private information to Google. In short, we can say that Google + is a spamless & clutterless structure compared to Facebook just by having a more secure sharing platform. Will web marketing strategies everywhere be altered to include the new kid on the block? Only time will tell…

 

 

Indian Brands Leveraging Facebook

by Sonya Sahni22. July 2010 09:28       Bookmark and Share

I was sitting with my son and teaching him a chapter in geography on "Our Changing Environment", Changes that our Planet earth is witnessing over a period of time. How Earthquakes are caused by shifting plates in the crust of the Earth. While this phenomenon happens only once in a while, it causes significant damage. I couldn’t help relate this to my professional space. How Digital Communication as a medium is always in the realm of earth shattering changes. The new undisputed digital communication channel on the Block and Agenda No.1 amongst all Marketers is FACEBOOK.

At iStrat we are busy crafting meaningful social media strategies for our clients. Some Must Do's for everyone who is contemplating getting on this channel:

What is your objective:
Your intent could be outreach, communicating with your target audience updating them with your new offers, products, Television commercial et al. Facebook also is an excellent platform to listen to what customers have to say about you. In fact a lot of marketers are sifting through Social media channels to get first hand feedback on product or service experience. Or your Facebook Page could be about bringing your fans together and allowing them to hang out and converge and just talk about how great your brand is. You must identify your objective since this will help you plan your posts and integrate facebook applications.

 

Communication Plan:
Facebook is about frequent conversations with your fans. That surely means it cannot always be a Me or an I (as in just talking about your brand). You should align contextually with some kind of value added content. For example if you are a Car Manufacturer amongst some of your own posts you can have updates on Music to Suit your Drive, Quotes On leadership to get you through the day. Including interesting applications that will engage the user, are simple intuitive and are designed within Facebook Specifications. You have to have a dedicated monthly plan and what will you communicate on Facebook.

 

Team:
You need a dedicated team to manage this initiative for you, team that includes Content Writers, Graphic Designers and Online marketing experts. Internally, it's important to have identified Subject Champions, that allow immediate attention to any comment or post that needs attention. A well designed escalation tree. The criticality of the needs to be understood by the Senior management. In fact on most of our accounts we have access escalation process defined up to the CEO or CMO.

 

Content Update Plan:
After having everything in place, the last thing you want is for users to land on your facebook page and leave immediately. Marketing your company on facebook is a process not a time plan. Here, engagement is the key. To maintain the interest of people we need to talk about what interests them, which is never the same everyday. So, to make them stay on your page and comeback often, a well defined content update plan is the key.

Moderation:
Facebook settings allow you to control how your fans will interact with your page. You can limit them to comment only on your post or allow them to start a post, update a picture video or more. Basis what your fan page settings are you will have to define a team that will moderate FGC (Fan generated Content). An ideal way to moderate a post is by defining a scenario and then preparing predefined templates to respond to your fans. Also your House rules will help you define what is Off-Topic.

Promoting your Facebook Page:
Given a choice today, how do you wish to be updated? AHHH! Yes on Facebook. Have you thought why?, Because you have limited time in a day and with the News Feed you get updates across your friends, family and Now even Brands you Like. In fact even if a Fan comments on your post a few days later, the posts re-enters the NewsFeed for all to see. So make sure you as a Marketer leverage this. Include cool Facebook Widgets. Include the LIKE widget on all your Marketing communications; make sure your ads, TVC, newsletters, In-store Collaterals, Products include your facebook Page. You will be surprised to see how your Customers first ‘Like’ you to then blatantly dislike you with Comments!!!! That was just a PJ to leave this post with a smile :)


Cheers for now!

The All New Maruti Estilo’s Online Launch by iStrat had India Saying “WOW”!!

by Shveta Singh31. August 2009 09:03       Bookmark and Share

 

 

We recently worked on an online campaign for the launch of Maruti's All New Estilo. Here are some insights into the Campaign: 

Objectives 

To generate a ‘WOW’ around the All New Estilo launch through an online campaign comprising a teaser website, viral promotion and a launch website. 

Campaign Duration

5 days 

Campaign Details 

  • A teaser website — www.GuesstheWOWCar.com  was conceptualised and developed to intrigue the visitors with sneak peaks and WOW views and invite them to Guess the WOW Car’s name. The highlights of the site were the intro teaser video and the interactive games that gave out hints for the guessing contest. 
  • Along with the teaser website, a teaser promotion campaign was executed leveraging social media platforms. The teaser video was optimized and posted across video sharing sites such as YouTube. Subsequently the site and the video were viralled through car forums, networking communities, car blogs and social bookmarking sites. 
  • The launch day was marked by the live webcast of the estilo launch event on the teaser site and the transition to the all new www.Marutisuzukiestilo.com. This flash based interactive site takes forward the freshness of the New Estilo through animated virtual environments, a completely innovative execution of the 360 degree car view and audio video elements. 

Results Achieved 

  • The teaser site received more than 40000 visitors within just 4 days of the campaign and a phenomenal 15000 forms were submitted 
  • The teaser video received around 5000 views and was syndicated across networks, forums, and blogs in record time 
  • The online visibility of the teaser site shot up phenomenally and the social media was buzzing with conversations around the launch

Social Media – The Weekly Roundup

by Shveta Singh13. July 2009 12:36       Bookmark and Share

Michael Jackson’s death and funeral service broke records online

He broke records not just in life, but even after his death.  Michael Jackson’s death was the most talked about subject online this past week. His fans thronged social networking sites to express their emotions and read what others had to say. Here’s a snapshot: 

MJ’s Facebook fan page following grew from 80,000 fans to a phenomenal 8.9 million as of today. This has made Michael Jackson’s fan page the most popular ever on FB, going even beyond President Obama. 

His funeral service, streamed live on the net, also created a record. According to Yahoo, the ceremony was the single most streamed in its history with 5 million streams. In addition to this, the global web traffic was as high as 33% above normal during the event, and almost 800,000 status updates related to online broadcast of the funeral service were posted on Facebook. 

Google to launch Google Chrome Operating System 

Last Tuesday, Google announced that it will soon launch Google Chrome OS, an operating system, designed to work with its Chrome browser. Seen as a direct threat to Microsoft’s Windows, the OS will be available for use by second half of 2010.

This will be a fast and lightweight OS with an ability to take the user onto the web in just a few seconds. According to Google, the software will be optimized for small, lightweight laptop computers called netbooks, used primarily to surf the web and check e-mail.

US president Obama gives African new media usage a fillip with his recent visit 

He did it again…US president Barack Obama made extensive use of social media and mobile tools to stay in touch with the people of Africa during his visit last week. 

According to sources, a very aggressive new media strategy was planned to speak directly to the people of Africa. Web users were invited to sign up to receive SMS alerts offering news and updates on his activities in the country and excerpts of his speech. Additionally, live streams of his speech were also available on social networking websites such as Facebook and the White House official blog.

Shrinking Advertising Spends Make Way for the Rise of Online Marketing

by Shveta Singh8. July 2009 11:15       Bookmark and Share

 

In a recent announcement, ZenithOptimedia, a unit of French advertising group Publicis, has revised its global advertising growth forecast. They now predict that the global advertising market to decline 8.5% this year, compared to its previous forecast of a 6.9% decline. The worst hit are the North American and European markets with US leading the way with a sharp 10.6 percent decline. China and India seem to be the only promising markets as of now, with ad spends still on their way up.

 

However, globally internet ad spending is the sole media likely to grow in 2009. A rise of almost 10.1% is expected for online spends, which ZenithOptimedia has attributed to this medium’s inherent virtues of transparency, accountability and flexibility. Another recent study conducted in India, suggests a whopping 40% growth for digital media in India, even as the offline spend falls by 10%.

 

Good news for all stakeholders of the online media industry!

 

But what does this really mean for us? While such reports & predictions sound music to recession hit ears, we need to go beyond these numbers. We need to understand the present scenario and look at ways to leverage this trend.

 

When it comes to marketing online, most Indian brands are very myopic and unwilling to tread the road less traveled. For them Online Marketing is limited to homepage banners on Yahoo, Indiatimes and the likes.  Little do they know that display is the least targeted, low on ROI tactic amongst the bouquet of online activities available.  But now that the rupee is shifting online, brand marketers need to understand the medium better and look at it holistically, as a part of the complete strategy rather than a banner here or an email shot there. They need to look at online plans that ensure a consistent presence through a varied mix of tactics and channels available instead of a standalone activity.

 

Therefore, a clear responsibility for digital agencies like iStrat is to steer the marketers’ money in the right direction, so that they derive maximum returns and develop trust on the medium. And in the long run, create evangelists for this medium, who will not shift the budgets back to the traditional media even after the economy has recovered.

Social Media – The Week That Was

by Shveta Singh3. July 2009 12:34       Bookmark and Share

What made news in the social media circles last week. Here’s a snapshot:

YouTube doubles upload limit to 2GB

YouTube announced this week that it would be increasing the maximum upload limit from 1GB to 2GB. This upgrade was revealed along with tips for sharing and embedding HD videos.  The upgrade is targeted at users focusing on HD video uploads.

Bing builds Twitter results into its search

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has now begun including the latest tweets of popular Twitter users in its search results. As of now, this new feature is available only for a few thousand Twitter accounts based on their number of followers and the volume of tweets they produce. Ashton Kutcher is one of them. 


Facebook gaining ground in Orkut dominated countries

Facebook of late is making inroads in Brazil and India -- countries where Google-owned Orkut is the leading social media property. The number of Facebook users in the two countries has doubled in the last two months, while Orkut has seen a relative slowdown in activity.

Countdown to the Facebook Vanity URLs — Will your brand page get one?

by Shveta Singh12. June 2009 12:07       Bookmark and Share

Almost 200 million people around the world will be busy boosting their vanity this Saturday, June 13th.

What are your plans for the day?

For those who haven’t yet guessed it, Facebook is offering Vanity URLs to all its members starting Saturday, 9.31 am India time. This would allow Facebook members to get customised URLs for their profiles and pages. Currently, the Facebook URLs appear as a string of numbers that are neither user friendly nor search friendly. 


With this switch, Facebook profiles will become easily searchable and Facebook brand fan pages will become more accessible. And, we think it is a fairly strategic move by Facebook, considering the fact that some other sites in the domain, like Twitter, already have this feature.

What it means for Facebook Users and Marketers?

• Come Saturday, millions will vie for their preferred URL. Some will get, some will be disappointed and will have to settle for other options.

• For brand marketers with Facebook fan pages, it is a golden opportunity. They would want to secure the relevant URLs before a squatter does that, under all circumstances.

But what’s written in fine print?

Facebook has put in some restrictions to ensure that this exercise does not become a happy ground for cyber squatters. According to the FAQs published, a Fan Page must “have a minimum 1,000 fans as of May 31, 2009”, to be able to lay claim for a customised URL.

This is good news for some of the big brands with very popular fan pages, but bad news for start ups and smaller brands with less than 1000 fans.

So, what are the options available to brands with lesser fan base?

• Brands can protect their URLs by preventing their trademarks from being registered as usernames. All one has to do is fill up this form on Facebook.
• Wait till June 28th. Since according to a
recent revelation, the 1,000 fan restriction will be lifted on this day. Details are still awaited though.

All in all, something to look forward to. Just keep your fingers crossed and wish that your URL is not taken by someone before you get hold of it.

Webby Awards 2009 announced. And the Webby goes to…Twitter

by Shveta Singh7. May 2009 18:59       Bookmark and Share

 

 

 

 

Twitter, the micro-blogging phenomenon, has won the prestigious Webby Breakout of the Year Award this year. This award, according to many, will help catapult Twitter into the big league, considering the fact that the previous winners of this award were the likes of YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr.  

Just 3 years old, Twitter has grown by 900% last year, and has managed to draw many a celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher and President Obama to its list of evangelists. The official Webby website goes on to call Twitter “the ultimate embodiment of the democratic spirit of the Web”, because of the level playing field it offers to one and all. 

Very well deserved we must say! 

Some of the other notable winners from the social media space include the photo-sharing site Flickr for the online community award, YouTube LIVE for online event, Digg for social networking and Pasricha's blog 1000awesomethings.com for Personal/Cultural blog category. 

In news category, NYTimes.com won the Webby for best writing and practices, whereas The Guardian was awarded the title of Best Newspaper site. Further, BBC won the webby for best news site category. 

This year the Webby Awards received almost 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries, including India. However, India’s presence in the final list is hardly anything to talk about. The two Indian mentions we could find in the “Honoree List” are the Jaago Re website and the mobile site of Moneycontrol.com.  

Hope to see some awards coming India’s way next year.

TheIt’s Advani Vs Congress in India’s First Digital Elections

by Shveta Singh10. April 2009 12:30       Bookmark and Share

Mr. Advani is not the only one wooing voter online now. With Congress waking up to the reality of online media, Election 2009 has truly turned into a digital war. Though Congress had stepped in late, still it is interesting to see what activities they are doing online.

 

Here are a few observations:

  • Unlike BJP where the whole Campaign is built around the communication Advani as PM, Congress’s online campaign is more party centric than personality oriented. Congress party’s ads are driving clicks to the party website www.aicc.org.in, whereas the BJP ads are linked to Mr. Advani’s website http://www.lkadvani.in
  • Both parties are using Google Adwords for their campaign. This has resulted in a unique situation where, on a single page, there are multiple ads where both BJP and Congress are vying for space from each other.
  • Congress has gone for 720x80 positioning and text-ads compared to BJP’s wide range of ads. Also it looks like Congress is offering a higher bid price, because, most ads are now showing Congress in the 720x80 positioning.
  • Mr. Advani’s blog http://blog.lkadvani.in/ has shaped up very well. His posts are frequent and well written. On the other hand, Congress’s blog http://votecongress2009.blogspot.com/ looks like an initiative gone wrong – bad formatting, errors, uneven fonts and the list goes on…
  • On YouTube, Congress seems to have got it right. The channel http://www.youtube.com/user/congressindia has 31 videos. The party’s Jai Ho Film is very popular with views as many as 40000. The BJP uploader http://www.youtube.com/user/bjpuploader?gl=IN&hl=en-GB  on YouTube is also very popular and has 260 videos.
  • Congress’s presence on Facebook and Orkut also leaves much to desire, when compared with BJP.

From whatever we have observed, BJP comes out a clear winner so far as the digital marketing strategy and execution is concerned. Partly because BJP had started its online campaign long before Congress. Now what remains to be seen is who eventually wins the elections.

 

 

 
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Welcome to the iStrat Digital Marketing Blog!

This blog is a platform for us to share news, views, reviews and analysis around digital media and communications. We have just started but our plans are big. With time, we intend to evolve this blog into “The Destination” for the Indian digital media industry. We invite you to be a part of our endeavour. We look forward to your active participation in discussions initiated on this forum and featuring your views, feedback and suggestions on a regular basis.

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