Key Factors that make Brands succeed on Facebook

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“Your Brand needs to be on Facebook.” It’s the first thing anyone says these days and honestly, it makes me wince. There’s a reason why most brand ‘Fan Pages’ on Facebook are desolate wastelands that do precisely nothing for the brand’s reputation or sales. Starting a Fan Page is easy, getting a few hundred people to join (your friends, their friends, so on and so forth) is also very easy. And then, what? How does that make your brand a Superstar on Facebook? This post is not about being a Facebook party-pooper, it’s about the factors that make certain brands a phenomenal success on Facebook while the majority report no measurable success whatsoever. Social Media Marketing is not very different from conventional marketing, when it comes down to the basics, and it is essential that the fundamentals of the latter are not ignored in an attempt to quickly adopt the former. Let’s go back and take a look at dear old Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy is one of the first theories taught in any marketing course, as a basis of understanding the consumer’s motives behind choosing one brand over another in the market. A brand that fills up any or some of the above-mentioned 5 types of voids (or deficiency needs) in the consumer’s life, better than the competitor, will be the one the consumer chooses. Extending the theory to social media, the first question one needs to ask oneself before creating a Fan Page is what void does the brand fulfill in the target group’s life. The second question, of course, is whether that need is something a consumer would like to have all their Facebook contacts know of. In the context of consumer behaviour, social media is all about the top two deficiency needs– Self actualisation and Esteem. I might love a  cheap value-for-money brand, but I really don’t want that to be displayed on my Facebook profile where everyone can see it! I might prefer a no-fuss, reasonably priced Transcend mp3 player but I’m going to be a ‘fan’ of the iPod because it makes me seem discerning, individualistic (ironically) and well-to-do. I may not care much for Body Shop cosmetics but the company has a reputation for being ‘ethical’ and ‘environment-friendly’: it gives me a chance to display my support for these causes. Am I saying that some Brands just can’t be ‘Big’ on Facebook because of the identity they have built? Yes.

However, if  coolness-by-association and/or the opportunity to be an activist without having to move from one’s seat, is not what your brand can provide consumers online, can you provide them with  information that  is unique and can make life easier for them in some way? You could be a bank, an engineering firm or an Equity firm- not very cool- but the information you can provide can make you valuable on Facebook. Like I said, making a Fan Page on Facebook is very easy but the question that will define your brand’s success on Facebook is, “What’s in it for me?”

 

 

8 simple rules for Social Media Marketers

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Conversations about yor Brand are already happening on lineI’m going to keep it short and simple because that was how I liked it when I was scouting for information on SMM not very long ago. Here’s 8 simple rules every Social Media Marketer must keep in mind while considering to launch a Social Media campaign.

  1. Your Brand must be Social:There’s no if, there’s only a when. Conversations about your Brand are happening even as you read this and you need to join in. There will always be rough patches and the companies that go Social sooner have a better chance of weathering them.
  2. Marketing campaign Vs. SMM campaign:The two have objectives that are quite different. While the point of a Marketing campaign would be to simply generate or increase demand, a Social Media campaign would aim to engage with the Brand’s consumers; to generate WoM ,consumer goodwill and hopefully a loyal consumer base. A Marketing campaign would have a certain ‘life’, after which it would be killed or replaced,while a Social Media campaign is an ongoing process.However, it is possible to combine the two. The catch is to determine the ‘life’ of the campaign and bring it to a close such that the consumers you’ve engaged with have a sense of closure.
  3. One size does NOT fit all: What works for one Brand might not work for another Brand, even within the same category. A campaign built for a Cola might not work for a milk-based beverage. Continue reading

Social Media Marketing made Easy

How does one use Social Media to build brands? Well one begins by being present in social networks and understanding how they work. On-line communities and portals already exist, what one needs to do is to understand how to facilitate conversations about ones brands over there and to add value by providing the community with tools and content to help them do what they want to do. The next step is to listen. To encourage and be a part of their discussions and act on their feedback, if any. Basically to interact, share, listen and observe ; because every conversation will be an either an opportunity to build a relationship with a consumer or an insight that can be used to either better brands or to build new brands.

Since the Internet is now a mass of conversations, what needs to be done as Marketers is to get one’s brands to be talked about. Every community will have a few very active and authoritative people- the objective should be to know who they are, and engage with them and get them on our side; create a buzz.

Brands are not people and therefore cannot build relationships with other people. It is therefore imperative to get the people behind the brands to share their passion and stories about the brand with the consumers. If one can get ones consumers to see then as their peers, they’ve done their job pretty well, because in today’s world, that is what is going to translate into sales and consumer goodwill.

One needs to initiate conversations about their products on non-marketing communities and get people to talk, connect with them and keep them informed about their brands. It is imperative to take their feedback seriously and in the event of negative feedback, respond immediately. Many a times a company’s employees are their biggest source of Word-of-Mouth, there is a need to harness this and allow employees to engage with consumers on-line, albeit after revealing their identities in order to maintain transparency.