Stop creating Facebook pages, Start building websites instead

 

Stop creating facebook pages start building websites Digital Marketing Digital Defynd

What a dumb thing to say, you might say. How can you compare a website with a facebook page, that’s like Apples and Oranges. But this is such an interesting and deep topic, that we need to begin from the beginning.

Around 6-7 years ago, the facebook bug bit everybody. It was this new cool looking platform that was much fancier than the likes of MySpace or Orkut. More importantly, its time had come. The internet was growing at a good pace, people were looking to ‘connect’ and facebook happened. We logged on and no one ever looked back.

Then brands got pages, Fans converted into Likes. Advertising opened up. Companies acquired thousands, millions of likes, whom they thought were subscribers, just like you have them in email. They were right then, they are wrong now. Facebook reach over time has decreased. It has decreased so badly that it is derogatory to use the term decrease to signify what has happened. There are brands with lakhs of fans, and the average reach for something they post is around a few thousand. That’s not even the 10% reach that a lot of people assume the reach to be. Organic reach is down, it’s practically dead. Brands get to make their content reach out to only 1-5% of their fans. That’s like saying, that if you spent Rs 5 at acquiring every fan and you now have 1,00,000 fans, then you have effectively spent around Rs 5,00,000 to reach out to around 5,000 people(considering reach to be 5%) with every post. That hurts.

While part of the blame lies with facebook, brands are to be blamed as well. Facebook kept asking brands to focus on engagement, discussion, community, but brands kept focusing on branding, sales and more sales. What most brands don’t understand is that facebook’s algorithm has over time penalized them heavily and made their reach become lower. But most brands haven’t paid heed to that and have found an easy alternative to keep themselves happy, Boost post(using which in itself is flawed, considering most people do it from the page itself, but more about that later).

So this is where we stand. You have either spent the money and don’t organically get to reach out to fans. Or you haven’t spent any money, don’t have any fans, and naturally don’t reach out to anybody. Either way, you are stuck. Facebook pages are still extremely helpful, relevant and perhaps the backbone of most organisations’ social media strategy, but if you put all your virtual eggs in the e-basket of facebook, then sooner or later, you are surely going to suffer. Move out, get out, and think afresh. Start from scratch in terms of understanding what can you do better, how can you engage fans, what do people like. Now while a lot of answers will come to your mind right from LinkedIn to twitter to Instagram(Do read 10 Instagram tips to make your campaign rock), one suggestion I’d personally like to make is building a website and making it grow. Might sound like the most boring idea in town, but there’s a logic behind it, so let me explain.

Social Media is easy.

You see what has happened over the past few years is that we have all got comfortable with easy. Social Media, primarily is easy, and that’s why everybody does it. Now the more people got used to easy, the more they forgot the basics. For instance, building a website. So let’s say, you did a wonderful campaign on facebook 2 years ago, and a fan of yours wants to access it. Can s/he do it easily? No, because social media doesn’t work that way. It’s more like Snapchat, things vanish after a point(They don’t really, but you get the point). A website on the other hand stores all information at one place and also allows Google to keep crawling and tracking it slowly. What you get after many months and years is a content repository that is not just relevant today, but will be useful tomorrow as well. You get a collection of posts and blogs that can be re-purposed, reused, re-promoted and more. The thing is, that if you slowly  build a website, then it can eventually do wonders for you. Your website is in your hands, you control it, you define the content, you find numerous ways to reach out to your fans. No third party controlling what happens to it, nobody determining where your subscribers go. If you carefully nurture it over time, then it grows in SEO, if you write great articles on it, then you get multiple people to share it too.

Despite those reasons why most people shy away from making one grow, is because a) They either don’t know how to build one b) A wordpress or any other blogging platform doesn’t look as easy to master. Only if we move over our inhibitions and work hard towards going back to making beautiful websites for brands, can we succeed in owning and becoming better at our online campaigns. What is more important is that a website enables us to track a lot of behavioral traits of a user, right from visiting patterns to using cookie tracking for retargeting or capturing email ids for custom targeting on facebook(soon enough on google) or the plain old email marketing, which if done well can work wonders for you.

So you do need a facebook page, you do need to build it too, the same way you need all other social media profiles too, but more importantly, you need a good strong website at the back end. Facebook pages will grow, virality will happen, reach will dwindle but over time facebook might as well give up on you. Your website, on the other hand, it stays with you; you can change it the way you want and get users to engage the way you like. Use facebook to reach out to people, invest in it to promote your brand, but don’t let facebook become the backbone of your entire online marketing campaign.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like reading Its time to migrate from the city of Facebook.

Digital Marketing Industry – Everybody knows something, nobody knows everything

Nobody knows everything Prateek Shah Digital Defynd Digital Marketing Industry

I say this with a fair amount of confidence after having interacted with possibly more than a thousand Digital Marketing professionals from India and some other countries. The truth about the digital marketing industry is that everybody knows something, nobody knows everything.

To understand why we are where we are, it is important to understand how this industry came into being. Let us see who constitutes the industry.

– The web development industry of the 90s – The early risers, these guys set the base for the internet revolution in the region. Google was new, and they latched on. They were the early adopters of SEO and SEM. While many also happened to do some bit of SEO and SEM along with web development, there were some who made the switch full time – The first set of Digital Marketing Professionals.

– The ad and PR agencies of the 2000s – PR and Advertising industry don’t exactly go hand in hand, but there is one thing that binds them both – High Paying Clients. Some of these clients suddenly started demanding ‘Social Media Services’, which naturally lead to the creation of multiple social media wings within Ad and PR agencies, with many of these wings now having flown away to service clients on their own.

– The startups and the college kids – Now what is a good startup idea? One that makes you money and is easy to do! That’s social media right there for you. Brands had only started understanding the potential of this whole social media business, and many jumped on the bandwagon.

– The agency owners and the clients – Owing to them having started early and risen up thanks to their hard work; many people in this category happen to know more than many others. But don’t be mistaken, there are many brand managers, who are in positions of authority, handling multiple digital agencies but still just as unaware as some of the agencies themselves.

So that broadly gives you three set of people if we discount the creme de la creme – The SEO/SEM experts who know their tech, their website development and more; the Ad and PR professionals, with their gift of the gab and the art of creativity; and finally the young kids on the block, who are practically your social media champions by default since they live this stuff.

Now this presents an interesting problem when some of the agencies or the clients are looking to hire. They need not 3 people but one person who knows it all. But where is that person? Who are those people? How can there be many such people when most clients and brands themselves are only trying to figure out how all of this digital media works?

There are more jobs than takers. There is an immense need of experienced individuals, but unfortunately not enough experience. There is a lack of enough knowledge and awareness at possibly every node – the client, the agency and the executioners.

It’s the time to give chances, the time to offer people the opportunity to learn as they work for you, the time to make people grow along with you. Looking for the quintessential digital marketing professional right now is much like every guy looking for an Angelina Jolie or every girl wanting a Brad Pitt. It’s time to look for the will in people to learn, the hunger to grow and the passion to perform. You might make a mistake, and so might they, but if you keep waiting for long for the perfect candidate, then you are surely making one big mistake.

Digital Marketing – This industry blew out of proportion before people could catch up to it. Let us share, learn and grow : )

Creating Awesome Online Communities with Asha and Akshay!

DigitalDefyndChat Asha Chaudhry Akshay Chhugani Prateek Shah

Presenting India’s first ever Digital Marketing Chat Show! To be conducted over YouTube Hangouts, this show is about bringing hidden gems of the digital marketing industry to the forefront! Guests for the first edition of the same are two bright individuals, Asha and Akshay who have created Awesome Online Communities!

Asha Chaudhry (https://twitter.com/ashaonthebeach) is the Co-founder & Editor of India’s most vibrant online community of entrepreneurs –TheRodinhoods.com – which is around 10,500 members strong. In her previous life she was an advertising professional.

Akshay Chhugani (https://twitter.com/backpackerindia) is Founder & Chief Backpacker of Indian Backpacker, which was recently acquired by ixigo; Akshay now heads Traveler Communities there.

Prateek Shah (www.prateekshah.com), Digital Marketing Trainer will be hosting the show, and comes with several years of training and consulting experience.

Join here – https://www.facebook.com/events/948784041831884/

Its time to start migrating from the city of Facebook

Social Media Leave facebook

I like to talk about this analogy in my trainings. Facebook is like a city. Brands are shop owners. Originally there were few, business was booming, then the shopkeepers grew, now the struggle signs are looming. Look around the world, and a common pattern can be observed across metro towns. They slowly become too expensive for the very people who lived, worked and built the city. Facebook is no different. Its becoming an increasingly expensive city.

The people’s social network, the one which gave birth and voice to millions of voices across the world is actually becoming unlivable for smaller brands who don’t have the money to reach out to too many people. Organic reach is at an all time low, and even if some brands manage to come up with exquisite content and creativity to stand out and be noticed, most of them that are small in size are increasingly finding it difficult to find customers in this city. Many, who have spent months and years in building their pages and profiles are wondering what to do next. With more people and more brands joining in, fewer things are happening organically. Spend the money if you want to grow, don’t and then the stagnation shows.

One simple solution is migration. Move to another city, expand to another country, where there are lesser brands, more opportunity, one where you might find the required publicity. You may not leave facebook in entirety, but places like instagram, pinterest, linkedin or other platforms of digital marketing could well be your new digital home. But will the next station be the final bet? Who knows, in the online world, nothing in stone is set. If we can be sure of one thing in the social space, it is to not settle down, keep moving on :)

Social Media has left traditional media behind

social media traditional media

Circa 2009. People started giving up Orkut accounts to switch to facebook. This fancy looking suave place was so full of promise. More privacy, more control, more style, more chutzpah. Oh those were the times, when we were all busy discovering friends on facebook. “Hey, are you on facebook? Yeah! Add me!” Time passed, and the numbers slowly started swelling, literally everybody started trickling, the brands had started shouting, the people had resorted to ranting and the spammers had found newer ways to do seeding. The Singapore skyline had started looking more like the busy streets of Bangalore. While this clutter affects and hurts everybody equally, what hurts the most is what we the people turned social media into.

This new media was supposed to be an alternate to media. Sadly, over time, it has actually turned out to be just the same at many levels. Pages and communities originally built to cater to certain niche segments all seem to be posting the same content. Click bait in all its glory is used everywhere. Anything sensational is spread all across, while the real deal gets missed in the mayhem. There are lots of good pages and channels all around, but most seem to have taken the simpler route to drive more traffic. There are examples of news publications posting provocative content just to get more likes, while there are many niche websites who have had to resort to promote the same content being posted everywhere just because that’s what grabs the eyeballs. Murder mysteries get more coverage here as well, while important events get lost in the process. Journalists are often blamed to not go to the depth of the matter, and people on social media don’t tend to read beyond the headlines before forming their opinions.

What was new, has actually left behind the old in creating an absolutely new kind of sensational media, one that thrives on virality, sensation and negativity.

From NDTV, its become closer to India TV. From The Hindu, its closer to Delhi Times. Not that any of this will change, or that it needs to, but just feels a little sad to see a medium for the people by the people become a victim of the same fate as other media. Social media, over the years has not just caught up with traditional media, but has actually surged ahead in spreading a lot of nonsense. May wisdom prevail.

E Commerce : The Great Indian Palika Bazaar

I love e commerce. I really do. It has made life easier for a lot of people. It has also created lots of job opportunities for a lot of people, B School grads and delivery boys alike. It has also taken away business from thousands of retailers, but that’s another story.

First came the bookstore, then came the deal merchants, followed by the recharge coupons and then came the tipping point. I am not an avid reader of books, but this one by Malcom Gladwell, titled ‘Tipping Point’ suggests how every trend, every industry sees a build up to a point after which it tips and spreads everywhere like wildfire. India has seen an e commerce revolution, and everyday there are many new players joining the bandwagon. Palika-Bazaar

With time, the book merchant expanded, the deal model didn’t seem to be paying off, and well there was never going to be enough money in just phone recharges. So they all started selling, the same thing. Clothes to gadgets to kitchen appliances to unusable items, they all sell it all. Its like a Palika Bazaar out there, with everybody doing their best to lure you to their store. Logging on to the internet has become much like entering Palika Bazaar, whether or not you want something, there’s somebody selling you something. Some shout louder, some are more creative, but one way or the other, they all want to catch your attention and make you visit their site. Once at their store, you browse around, ask “Kitne ka doge?”, make up your mind and move ahead. They then try remarketing, with a sales boy chasing you offering better prices for the same deal. But you are a seasoned shopper. You go to another store, and the story continues before you finally put something in your kart at one store.

The merchants at Palika Bazaar are smart enough to give deep discounts and yet manage to earn a profit, thus making it a win win. E commerce brands on the other hand are concentrating right now on just making the customer win. 2013-2015 has truly been the years of discounts in India. From free frames to cash backs to free rides to even Onion being made available practically for free. While the going’s been great and we have many customers who’ve adopted online as their first preference while buying something, it might be time for companies to start concentrating on the part of making profits as well. The good part is that there have been healthy signs of etailers cutting down on deep discounting and rationalising costs, just hope to see more of it happen in the time to come.

As for the customers, well, there’s nothing an Indian loves more than getting a good discount :)

Find more views, news and insights from the world of digital marketing at www.digitaldefynd.com

How about an Uber cool world?

I’ve lately been using a lot of Uber and I must say I am in love with the app. The moment you log on, you are shown all these cars in the vicinity, and then one comes flying to your pick up location. The best part about all of it is the GPS tracking along the way, all the way. Uber pvt driver

Now just the way I can see my car come to me, wouldn’t it be great if this technology could be extended everywhere. Say everybody in this world has a location enabled, high speed internet smart phone. You wake up in the morning and the maid hasn’t turned up to do the dishes from last night. Instead of frantically calling to find out where s/he is, you simply check the location on the map, an app shows you the time it will take for her to reach you and voila! You might as well go back to your sleep.MaidApp.

BossApp(Rightly titled Bapp). The meeting’s at 10. The boss is there at 9:54. Employee No. 4576 is missing. A call is made by No. 4577. The missing one says he is stuck in traffic on NH76. BossApp says otherwise. There goes the appraisal.

You just got free from a meeting in that far fetched location you’ve never been to before. You’ve got time to kill. You think of calling random people up to check if they aroung. Better still, you post a tweet or a facebook post asking if anybody’s around to catch up. Nobody responds. You add another small failure to an ever increasing list. But that will happen no more! With CatchApp you can track all your friends, colleagues, relatives, acquaintances, and the people who are trying to avoid you, all around you! Simply log on to the app, see who’s around, send a few messages and you are having the next frAppe at that nearby joint with the 4.3 rating on FApp(No wait, we’ll let that be FoodApp).

Those will be the days. That will be the future. Until then, gotta rush, UberApp says the driver’s almost here!

Making social media work for SMEs and Startups

Even though social media was coined a people’s medium when it came around, it is the big brands which seem to be making the most use of it, making small setups wonder whether they can even use this medium. Here are quick case studies of organisations from India that have gone from the unknown to being unknown thanks to Social Media. Features some of our clients at Green Smyles

 

Find more views, news and insights from the world of social media marketing at www.digitaldefynd.com

Model Indian Governance Summit

Spoke yesterday at the Model Indian Governance Summit! Great experience to have interacted with change makers from the country who had gathered to discuss ways to bring about change in policy making. Spoke about how social and online media can help enable the same by discussing some examples from across the globe and India.

Speaking at the Model Indian Governance Summit 2012 in Greater Noida

 


Thanks to the organising team for the opportunity :) It was a happy experience being there :)