Your LinkedIn profile is a goldmine. Time to dig for some gold.
I ask a lot of people what they do with their LinkedIn profile and most often the answer is that people look for jobs, read some articles, ‘connect’ with people and that’s largely it. What most people don’t seem to realise is that this most important professional network they are on, can open a lot of new doors for them, only if they realise to use it wisely. This is the first in a series of articles where we try and see what LinkedIn can do for you.
For all you sales professionals, HR managers, and all the people wanting to get in touch with people, this is how you can extract EMail IDs of all your contacts on LinkedIn.
Step 1 : Mouse over My Network on the header bar and click on Connections
Step 2 : Click on the ‘gear’ Settings Button on the far right
Step 3 : On the next page, under Advanced Settings, click on Export LinkedIn Connections
Step 4 : Now simply choose the format that suits you the best and click on Export
Step 5 : Fill in the words shown in the security verification / Captcha image and proceed
Step 6 : Your download appears in the bottom download bar
Step 7 : This Excel sheet holds a lot of rich information about all your contacts
The email ids you extract here can be used for multiple purposes, right from targeting custom audiences on Facebook, EMail Marketing, direct one on one marketing and so on. Ideally, you must keep taking a download of this data for you never know when LinkedIn stops allowing users to do it. So if you haven’t done it so far, then right now wouldn’t be too bad a time either :)
More articles in the how to series to follow. If you have any specific questions, post them in the comments below, request an article or ask a question in our forum section.
Now there are lots of ways to go about promoting your e commerce startup, but when there’s a funds crunch and every resource counts, then you better be careful about each step you take. Here are some tips, tricks and strategy suggestions that should help you better promote that e commerce startup of yours.
1. Stop spending money on increasing likes on Facebook Pages
Organic reach is at an all time low. Yes, you may hope that most of your customers may come from facebook, but there is simply no point these days in spending any money on facebook likes. Less likes and more hits on a website will lead to more conversions, concentrate on the latter.
2. Don’t use the boost post feature on your facebook page
The next temptation is clicking on boost post because facebook says it helps you reach out to more people. It does, but it is flawed. The right way to go about boosting a post is by going in your ad manager and targeting as extensively as you can. Make sure you choose interests, demographics as well as behaviour considering your target audience.
3. Don’t use twitter to simply promote, use it to hunt for customers instead
There’s a tool on twitter that most people don’t seem to use. Advanced Search. Use it to find customers looking for products that you sell, and then tweet to them in as personalised a manner as you can. Many many companies do the same, you should try it too.
4. Instagram should be on top of your mind
Pictures speak a thousand words, ones on Instagram can get you orders too. Upload pictures of all your products, customers, related pictures, banners and just about everything one by one. Add all the hashtags in the world that relate your product. Add your web address and a phone number if possible. Slowly people will discover. Slowly sales will happen.
5. Write about your startup, share your experience
Now this is a subtle, yet not so subtle way of making your startup reach your audience. This article made me order a Socratees tee. Stories about your startup, blogs where you share your experience, posts on LinkedIn talking about your business can earn you partnerships, admirers and customers.
6. EMail Marketing
The most important thing that most people miss out on. Now don’t start sending mass mails to lists you bought on the internet, but do this carefully and rightfully. Once somebody gets in touch with you, it is your job to engage them and make sure they come back again. You must subscribe to Utpatang and Nirogam‘s mailing list to see how its done right. (Goes without saying you should subscribe to our mailing list too)
7. Facebook profile as a tool for promotion
Now stop acting shy, will you. You have started up and its time to tell the world about it. Be the salesman you ought to be, and sell. There’s no better place to sell than home and no better people to sell to than friends. They wouldn’t be the first ones to buy, that’s a different story, but you’ve got to harp on about the startup on your profile. Don’t sell the products directly, but sell your customer’s experience, their testimonials and just what you and the company is up to. If biggies like Vijay Shekhar Sharma (PayTM), Kunal Shah(FreeCharge) and Alok Kejriwal(Games2Win) can do it effectively, then so can you.
T.E.A.M (Together Everybody Achieves More) said an Archies Mug that I saw one day. What you can’t do alone, you can do together. Try looking for opportunities to partner, try to see how can you mutually benefit by partnering with somebody. This is often the most overlooked aspect of them all, yet the most effective. We go all gaga looking for partners.
9. Attend events
Now don’t just attend any events, but look for ones where you might end up finding relevant people to your domain. I made a lot of friends over the years at Indiblogger and Rodinhoods events, and many have turned out to some of the most helpful people over time. It is not about how many people a person networks with, but whom one meets that matters. Meet people offline, connect with them online, build relationships for a lifetime.
10. Stop Selling
Ya right. Don’t sell. Just become incredibly interesting. Ok, a little interesting to begin with. That’s how Happily Unmarried, Chumbak or Daily Objects became so big. They just became so interesting over time with their products, promotion and more. It took them lot of time, might take you a lot too. But if you concentrate on becoming more interesting with your products and as a company over time, then that’s lesser time you will spend on selling your products over time. Become interesting, people will want to buy themselves.
Think I missed on some important points? Please add them in the comments below. Hope this helps you e commerce portals on how to market and promote your startup better. All the best! For any related queries, comment here or head over here to our forum for getting answers to all your digital marketing queries.
Nothing in digital marketing is simple, the title is well just to make you click and read on.
There’s almost nothing that changes as fast as the digital industry. New ideas, new technologies, new companies, they all make changes happen drastically. Users want something today, and something completely different the day after. While there is no one sure shot way of being sure about what the future holds in store, one can always look back, connect the dots, witness what is currently happening and plan for the future.
Presenting what I think are some ways in which you can plan well for 2016, some thoughts and perspectives which can help you shape your digital marketing strategies better for the year that lies ahead. Here are ’16 simple ways to become better at Digital Marketing in 2016′ –
1. Never forget the 3Cs
The 3Cs of digital marketing are these 3 pillars, 3 commandments, 3 rules which you should never break. The sad reality is that most brand managers and digital marketers tend to make the usual mistakes of not abiding by these 3 Cs, and as a result, most campaigns suffer.
..is king they say, and they are right. But just to clarify, content doesn’t just mean what we write, it is about the very thought that goes into creating something valuable. Write well, produce well, but most importantly think well on the drawing board to make sure somebody finds your ‘content’ worthy of ‘consumption’
Creativity doesn’t mean Photoshop, or that video editing software, or Canva for that matter. Creativity is the creation of something interesting, something enticing, something that makes people come towards it, something that draws attention. Be creative at the very core of what you do, right from the time you think of that product.
c. Common Sense
Now it’s one thing to have great content and be innovative, but another to go overboard. Don’t let creativity and content get the better of you, and make sure your ideas do end up catering to the very people they are meant for in the first place. Make things simple for the user they are intended for. People don’t want to see the best creativity and content, they just want something they can understand and relate to, try and give them that.
2. Research before you begin
Digital marketing gives us the power that traditional marketing never could, the power of instant search and research. No matter if it is a campaign in Africa or a video that is doing really well in Australia, you can watch it all, and find it all on the internet. If only we would start investing 10% of our marketing efforts in doing due research, analysing existing case studies, studying different models, our ROI of all sorts would naturally improve. Research before you invest, and the returns will surely be better.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket
2013-2015 practically belonged to social media, but there seems to be a shift already. Brands are realising they facebook can’t just be their entire digital marketing strategy. Digital Marketing needs to go beyond social, and needs to mean much more than just facebook and twitter. Go back to SEO, invest in email marketing, try indulging in good old blogging and essentially keep trying.
4. Digital Marketing is not free. You need to start spending money.
One big problem with many people’s perception towards digital is that they hope and expect it to be affordable if not outright free. Yes, there are stories of people having made it big online simply with brilliant content, but those examples are few and far between. If you really want your brand to do well, you need to get serious about spending some serious money in 2016.
5. Build something concrete
So you have a facebook page, and a twitter handle, maybe even a LinkedIn or an instagram account. But do you have something concrete that actually supports all this? Is there something sturdy where you try to redirect all this traffic to? Is your website up to date and responsive? The problem is we have got so consumed by the fluff, that we have almost forgotten to concentrate on that which is concrete. Let us go back to building rich and beautiful websites whose content gets discovered and shared on its own.
The thing with digital marketing is that it keeps evolving practically every day. Now no matter who takes care of your digital marketing, you need to remember that digital marketing is so vast that nobody can truly know everything. In such a scenario, it becomes important for you as an important stakeholder to try and stay up to date, and know what the industry is up to. One great way to do that of course is to keep coming back to Digital Defynd : )
7. Define what you want to measure. Stop shooting in the dark.
So a lot of people invest in campaigns and then complain that they didn’t work. Whether or not something will work entirely depends upon how you define success. Before you go on to investing any time money or other resources on a campaign, define what you want to get out of it. Branding/Leads/WalkIns or Sales? A campaign without an objective is much like a football match without a goal.
8. Analyse. As much as you can.
Many a times, simple analysis of where your customers are coming from, what are they clicking on, why are they no visiting a page can be enough to help you optimise your campaigns better and earn better ROI. Just start analysing. And if you are the kinds who get scared by Google Analytics, try installing something simpler on your WordPress Website (like Jetpack Stats), or try shortening your URLs using bitly.com and then track different clicks on different sources, or use native analytics for different platforms to try and find out how your campaigns are doing individually on each platform. No matter how little or how much you do, you need to analyse. Start small, and keep enhancing your efforts.
9. Think visual. Think video.
Facebook is hell bent on becoming a strong YouTube competitor, Vines and Periscopes are already generating buzz, 3G has moved to 4G and smart phones are becoming smarter. No matter where you look, video creation and consumption is rising. Needless to say, you need to start investing your energy in video as well.
Subscribers through followers on social networking sites, remarketing data through pixels, email ids through data capturing forms. Capture everything, capture it all. You have facebook fans, but no reach, you have email ids, but nobody opens the emails you send, you have remarketing data, but nobody gets converted into a customer. In such a scenario, it becomes important to capture everything everywhere because you don’t know what will turn out to be useful tomorrow.
More specifically, email ids are set to play a major role in the times ahead, because in addition to email marketing becoming more relevant, you can use email ids to target customers on facebook and Google. Who knows maybe LinkedIn throws a surprise in the time to come too, and we get to target customers on LinkedIn through email ids!
11. Write for people and not for brands or search engines
I read this at so many places that I thought of including it here as well. Our website, DigitalDefynd is a few months old when this is being written. While many a people recommend and suggest to do in depth keyword analysis before writing every article, we don’t do it. While part of the reason for that is that we are lazy, the other reason is that if certain keywords or key phrases don’t let my content feel fresh, interesting or exciting to read, then what is the point of writing it in the first place?
Yes search traffic matters, but over time Google is becoming more human. As it becomes more human, it will start
reading articles as a human reads articles and not keep worrying or wondering about keywords and key phrases and length and back links and so on. If a news app like InShorts (News In Shorts) does so well, it is because of the reason that people don’t like reading too much these days.We are in fact a headline reading generation, if people click and actually read, then you are mighty successful already. So while there is definite merit in writing as per SEO guidelines, I personally feel SEO is only set to become more human, and what better than catering to the future with your content right now.
12. Invest in mobile. Start with a responsive website
Apps were the talk of the town all through 2015. What famously started by Myntra going app only and Flipkart announcing that it is following suit ended in Flipkart backtracking from their stance (with the launch of Flipkart Lite) and last heard, Myntra is also slowly going back to the mobile website version. Apps are great, but they aren’t the only answer. People don’t need your app if they don’t need it at least once a week if not everyday. Ask yourself honestly if people will want to check out your app every week, and if the answer is no, then better can that idea of creating an app and create a beautiful responsive website instead, one whose updates don’t need to be downloaded every now and then, one that doesn’t take up too much space on somebody’s phone and one that doesn’t feel too intrusive for people.
13. Don’t ignore the new platforms. Don’t try to be on every platform.
This is one big challenge actually. Every now and then I hear a query, “So what should we do on Snapchat?”. The answer simply lies in the fact that is your target audience on the relevant platform? You may want to target LinkedIn or YouTube or Whatsapp(Check out this Liquor Ticker campaign on Whatsapp) or some other platform based on where you think your audience exists. Don’t refer to random researches that suggest that a random platform is rising in popularity and therefore you invest on it, try to instead see how your audience is behaving and in which direction are they moving. Look globally, localise that information and then act. What works in America doesn’t necessarily have to work in India.
There is only as much one can do alone. While companies are getting acquired left right and centre, another important trend is partnerships. Not like its a new concept, but you can go a long way digitally if you partner with people, with brands, with online properties. Our website for that matter is a great example itself. While individual blogs of professionals may or may not reach out to many people, this collective power of everybody coming together is helping amplify the thoughts, messages and conversations to a far wider audience. Sometimes, a simple partnership is the very ‘Growth Hack’ that can take you places.
15. There are no miracles. There is no secret. Pure hard work.
Like I personally love to say “Peeche Pad Jaao“. Miracles happen every now and then in marketing, but to build and sustain campaigns over a long term, you really need to invest all your energy in demystifying the various mediums, demystifying your audience, demystifying patterns and constantly learning while you do all that.
I am a trainer myself and I can tell you training is very crucial to help you grow, but if you don’t inculcate the habit of learning things through and through, then beyond a point you will never grow. We are all trying to climb this mountain of digital marketing, and one great way to do it is to work hard in the beginning, work together, so that the more experienced you become at working hard with time, the easier your journey will become.
16. Stop Marketing
Like seriously, why don’t we stop selling under the guise of marketing. Sell when you sell, but please stick to marketing when you do the latter. Nobody likes people to be in their face anymore, and the same applies to marketing. Let us respect people’s space and privacy, and start telling instead of selling. And if you want to get better at the art of marketing without marketing, pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People.
That will be all from my side, wish you the best with all your marketing efforts in 2016! Chak de Fatte!
You can also check out the webinar version of these 16 simple ways that I conducted for LeadSquared –
This article is part of the #2016defynd series where we have experts from the industry talk about what digital marketers need to do to keep up with Digital Marketing in 2016. You can check out the entire series here.
Wow! Wow! Wow! EMail Marketing works. Here is how.
Its 2 am in the night as I write it, but I couldn’t help but post this right now. Saw this mail in the inbox captioned ‘I am on the way to build a million dollars company and I will tell you how’ and the text read “Hi Prateek, We are connected on LinkedIn :)” Now while that got me reading, it is only some minutes into the mail that I realised it was an automated mail sent via MailChimp sent so effctively that you can’t help but read it all the way through.
So I wouldn’t keep you from it, and would easily call this the coolest mail I’ve received this year. EMail Marketing professionals, that’s how you do it.
Mail reads –
We are connected on LinkedIn :)
A quick 3-minutes update seconds update over what has been going on with me lately.
If you read this till the end there will be small surprise waiting for you there.
I wrote to you last somewhere in February. I was getting ready to launch my first startup – www.stayuncle.com
I was a rookie at that time and needless to say the launching was a complete fiasco.
My own mother laughed at me. When will you realize you have no future in this poor country – she said.
She was at hospital at the time recovering from clinical depression. She keps blaming me for that.
We re-launched a month later. Noting better.
Around April we started seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
We were no longer doing one booking per decade. Transaction started happening daily. Well, OK every second day.
On May we got Ajay Naqvi aka Big Daddy to invest in StayUncle. He lives in Romania. His wife is really hot. and I kept her as my desktop background for a while. Please don’t tell him I said this.
That same month we moved into newer better flat at Hauz Khaz.
We bid farewell to Sanchit’s old bedroom.
There was only one chair one table and a wooden bed. I used to sleep on it while Sanchit slept on the ground. Just one week before we got the money in our bank account, the chair collapsed.
May was a great month also because we got Nandi our CTO formerly working with General Electric. Sometimes he shaves his head for no reason. His mother is very cute. He keeps a Gurka (old Nepali military knife) in his locker, so please don’t tell him I said this.
Tough times returned during June and July.
I was absent from India and the core team was split. I am very bad at maintaining distant communication via Skype and stuff. Don’t ask where I was.
On August I was back triumphantly. We discussed the possible directionStayUncle would take on the basis the new learning we got.
We noticed that our most common customers are young unmarried couples looking for space to hang out privately.
I don’t know how much you know about India but this is a major issue here. Hotels refuse to let unmarried couples in because of cultural orthodoxies and fear of police raids.
That was THE moment
We decided to revamp StayUncle into India’s first online hotel booking portal which lets unmarried couples book a hotel for 10 hours and pay only for 10 hours.
Initially not much changed.
When you start running out of money your brain gets into power mode and the primeval instinct takes over. You lose the common code of civilized behavior. You start making sounds..
We weren’t radical enough. We had to turn fluid and re-invent ourselves in a way we could have never imagined.
We evolved. New ideas started colliding deep inside us.
The guerrilla campaigns we started running made some people run after us and others full of gaze. Here is a preview of it
We were flooded with comments and plenty of critique.
They said in future you guys are going to face troubles from India’s moral brigade, Shiv Sena (a terrorist group) and perhaps even the police.
We say thanks and we leave. We could not afford to spend too much time around well-intentioned talkers.
We chose to hang around doers instead.
The team got bigger too.
We hired Tanmay from a dying startup. He almost started a fight once because a guy said something about his sister. (trust me she’s ugly).
Then Rajan came straight from his father’s threading factory. He has the funniest laughter you will ever hear.
In October we got Shravan, the brother of Ravan the demon with 10 heads and we daily enjoy his gambling stories from his past times in London. He used to sell SIM cards on the street at that time.
I don’t know if we are a dream team.
I do know that we managed to build something unique, a special maybe slightly dysfunctional family.
A family that sticks sticks together and get chased by the police.
A bunch of great people that must hide from their parents about what exactly they are doing (promoting pre-marital sex in India), else they’ll never get married.
How do I know that?
Recently I told them that we are likely going to be out of funds after two months and unless we nail it we are as good as dead. Therefore if someone is willing to abandon the boat in advance, and seek for greener pastures there will be no hard feelings.
All of them remained.
That makes it a dream team right?
The game is on and is getting hotter by the hour.
Media is buzzing about the unusual gang of boys holding posters around Central Delhi which say – Couples need a room, not a judgement.
They seem to be alone against the world.
They get a lot of high-fives too. The ultimate satisfaction comes when a person comes to them and says – I am your client guys. Keep up the good work. Entire India needs this. Your market is huge.
We get excited when we hear that. We like huge things :D
Yesterday we got the information that the community is nominating StayUncleas a startup of the year. I made a public promise that if we win the award, I will dress a saree and walk around Delhi for entire day. Cast your vote here.
I guess I can stop now, unless you have specific questions to ask me.
Here is the surprised I announced.
I have this weird habit of sending people a list of 10 ideas that could solve a particular challenge they are facing – business or professional.
Feel free to reply back with your challenge and you can rent my brain to you for a while.
And if you are still wondering, you can download all your contacts from LinkedIn, and Mailchimp and most other ESPs (EMail Service Providers) allow you to use substitution tags to personalise emails. All I can say is Good Job you guys! And I am waiting for you for just writing this mail!
Over the past few years, social media has taken the political scene by storm. Whether its toppling regimes during Jasmine Revolution or helping countries find new leaders like we saw in the US and in India, social media is playing a major role in shaping political opinion, affecting outcomes and changing the very premise of politics in some cases.
Having said that, social media has its limitations and can many a times simply be adding to the hype without making many changes to the ground reality. To demystify all that and to help you make better strategies when planning for your social media campaigns for politics and elections, here are 10 simple points –
1. Social Media is not equal to the electorate
Now there are multiple ways to look at this. First let’s talk about the all important twitter. While twitter is one the most important news and discussion platform out there, the number of people actually active on twitter is quite less than what people imagine it to be. The ones who are active indulge in heated arguments, trade charges and create enough noise, for everybody to feel that twitter is the game changer. It is ‘a’ very important influencer for sure, but not the only one. Secondly, even though there are many netizens all around, it doesn’t always necessarily mean that they are voters or that they are the people, influencing whom will help you win the elections.
2. Likes are not equal to votes
Fans and followers can be, and are bought by one and all, officially as well as unethically, in some cases. No matter if you have a few thousand, lakhs or a few million followers, the number of followers or likes that one has aren’t really always the people who will vote or ask somebody to vote for you, but simply the people who are subscribed to you, which includes well wishers, fence sitters and also the ones who are waiting for the next opportunity to take a pot-shot at you. To be able to actively do that, some people even subscribe to pages’ notifications so they can be the first one to comment and criticise when somebody says something.
3. Never solely rely on social media
You see, the basic point is that social media is easy, and that’s why everybody does it. If you also unconsciously belong to the same category, then maybe it’s time to change gears. Social media can help create influence, can also help you win an increased number of votes, but if your entire strategy is a social media only strategy, then it can only get you as far. Depending on where one is contesting an election from, the social media influence will change (A simple way to know how many people in your region are on social media is to log on to facebook advertising manager and select your city to get the number of facebook users, which can be a fair estimate of the total users as well). Eventually the work that you do on the ground, the way traditional media positions you and the word of mouth publicity that happens will all impact the results.
4. You see everybody and everybody sees you
No matter how smart a strategy you think you have come up with, everybody sees what you are doing, just the way you keep a track of what they are up to. This is in fact one of the most important characteristics of social media – everybody sees everything, and everybody can know everything. So while you act smart and think up new strategies, you need to be extra smart by keeping an eye on what everybody is up to so you can be a step ahead of the game.
5. LinkedIn can swing it
LinkedIn can contribute in immensely powerful ways to your campaign. While many global political leaders are already on LinkedIn, others also realise its importance and are slowly getting on to it. The logic is simple, to win an election, you need to influence all sections of the society. Even though the busy working class may in a lot of elections be a smaller percentage if you compare it with the masses living in the hinterlands or the people spending time on facebook, but that small niche segment of people on LinkedIn can give you a very significant edge over competitors, not just in terms of number of votes, but also in terms of finding sponsors for your campaigns, driving corporate support and spreading positive influence in the power corridoors of an industry.
6. Instagram and Snapchat should be on your radar too
Who does instagram and snapchat is the question lot of people seem to be asking. While you may not be there, lot of people are. The second argument that follows is that aren’t these same people who are already on facebook? Why should I spend extra time in reaching out to them on these frivolous apps. Youth, or early voters are increasingly becoming the key factor in deciding elections. It’s not just because they are large in number, but because they make excellent volunteers and have the power and passion to convince & convert others. No number of mediums could be less when it comes to talking to them. We are talking about people with really short attention spans. What if they missed you on facebook, what if they are too bored to be on facebook? What if you could talk to them on instagram, and even if you don’t directly convert someone into a believer, influence them subtly to become one? Not just pictures, but videos could also be an integral part of your strategy, and as these platforms mature, the strategies for these platforms will mature as well.
7. Whatsapp for localized and remote marketing
Make no mistake to not consider whatsapp as one of the most important social media tools when trying to influence the masses. You see, apps like whatsapp have truly revolutionized social media. Facebook didn’t buy it just like that, they see the potential, they know this is one of the keys they need to reach everybody eventually. Talk to a vegetable vendor and there is a strong chance he uses whatsapp on their smartphone. They may not have facebook, but whatsapp, they do. Now extrapolate this information and apply it to rural areas. People may not have 24 hour electricity, may not have TV, but increasingly, you will notice, they have a smart phone. Mobile, as we know is the device on which the next billion will first access the internet. Carrying forward that thought, apps like whatsapp will be the first ones these people will come in touch with. While that is the part about reach, the other part is what whatsapp means as a medium. It’s a fun medium which people love to use. It’s a platform to share jokes, make groups and share multimedia. Effectively, whatsapp is like a mini tv for a group of people who also have the opportunity to discuss the same with each other, and if they like what they see, share the same with others who may not have access to such a medium. In a true sense, whatsapp can effectively be the medium that politicians can use to reach out remotely to the far-fetched corners of any country.
8. Advertising doesn’t win elections, good content still can
It’s the classic Advertising vs PR battle, and it’s no different on social media. Advertising can take you to more people, but it is the strong content that can make people come to you. Eventually, over a longer term, the idea is not to keep spending to reach out to people, but build a brand that people feel like getting associated with. Concentrate on the content, the thoughts and the messaging. Do that right and everything else will follow.
9. Customise content and strategy as per online analytics
Your online analytics can tell you more about the people you are trying to reach out to than you think. The cities they come from, the age they belong to, the languages they speak – everything must contribute to your strategy, your messaging and your offline campaign on the whole. After all people are people, and all data that can tell you more people is good for you.
10. Great Marketing begins with a Great Product
Gone are the days that you could do one thing, project another and win. We are moving towards an increasingly transparent world, one where your work speaks more than anything else. If you do good work, then great marketing will follow; do nothing and no amount of marketing can save you. Social Media works best for the people who do well to begin with.
Those are some things that I thought are important while planning and executing a social media campaign for politics or elections. What do you think are some of the ways in which politicians can leverage the power of this medium?
The web is full of tricks, and facebook is no different. While more often than not, it is the users who make use of smart tricks to outsmart the net, sometimes it’s the websites with a trick or two up their sleeve. So here’s a trick facebook uses to make you pay for getting more page likes!
If you have set up a facebook page anytime recently, you would have seen a welcome change from the social network’s side. Your likes increase almost without any effort. Just create, maybe invite some friends, and even if you don’t do much with the page, the likes on the page will keep increasing. Some of these likes will come from unknown obscure sources, no connection with you whatsoever, something that doesn’t usually happen when you are trying to make your facebook page grow.
And to quash all doubts of advertising being behind this growth, here is the next graph that shows the source of these likes
The posts published on the days around this growth also saw a lot of reach, but the same went down later on with the passage of time.
Most of these likes come via page suggestions like these, on your timeline or right hand side column.
Now here’s what facebook seems to be trying to do. First it tries to get you acquainted with reach, get you lot of likes, literally drive engagement at one point, and as you start becoming comfortable with such reach and engagement, take it all away. You can argue and perhaps also say that it is good on the part of facebook to be supporting new pages by getting them much-required publicity, but what it does in the process is make them unnaturally grow, which is otherwise only possible through advertising.
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.
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.
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 : )