Linkedin finally has a new app and you will love it

I can’t seem to remember the number of people who I have come across who have told me how they hate Linkedin’s UI. How they can’t search for stuff on the platform, can’t find what is happening where and most importantly can’t even see at one place what they posted on the portal!

Well, all that has been slowly changing, and today Linkedin took a long stride in moving towards improved customer experience. This year, Linkedin already came up with the Publish Post feature and the new groups interface, and today it announced the arrival of the new Linkedin app, which looks classy and is smooth to use.

While the app will make for a lot of people logging on more regularly to see the latest in the platform, what it has more importantly done is added one of the most important feature that many people have been missing for far too long, a simple place where people can see their activities including what they have posted. Sharing some screenshots of the all new app.

LinkedIn New App 2015 DigitalDefynd

 

LinkedIn New App 2015 DigitalDefynd

 

LinkedIn New App 2015 DigitalDefynd

10 Simple Social Media Lessons from Politics and Elections

10 simple social media lessons from politics and elections digital defynd

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?

A trick Facebook uses to make you pay for getting more page likes

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.

Unnatural Rise Plateau Thereafter Facebook Page Tricks Like Digital Defynd
The unnatural rise in page likes followed by a Plateau

And to quash all doubts of advertising being behind this growth, here is the next graph that shows the source of these likes

Organic Likes Unnatural Rise Plateau Thereafter Facebook Page Tricks Like Digital Defynd
Organic likes led to this growth, no ads were run to increase the likes during this period

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.

startup saturday Noida page suggestion
A page suggestion I saw on the RHC Right Hand 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.

I have been observing multiple pages and have seen this happen to many of them. Must admit that it doesn’t seem to be happening to all the pages, but yes somebody in the tricks department at the largest social network definitely seems to have come up with a neat little one to draw more people towards advertising. You might also be interested in reading Stop building facebook pages, start creating websites instead and Its time to start migrating from the city of facebook.

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.

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.

10 simple lessons from Kolaveri Di

The fact that Kolaveri Di has taken an entire country by storm is a fact that we all know. Here are few ‘lessons’ we all could learn from the same

 

 

1. Under promise, Over deliver – Calling it a ‘Flop Song’ reduces one’s expectations

2. Social Media is not = Facebook – Other sites, one of them by the name of YouTube can also be used to make powerful campaigns

3. If you are good, the campaign works – And if you are not, then no amount of marketing can help you

4. When many like, others follow – You need to wait till your campaign reaches the tipping point Even overnight success takes decades to happen

5. Social Media campaigns are global – Age no bar, language no bar, caste no bar Powerful campaigns can even bring North and South together

6. Online is not about babies and beautiful – Not so beautiful faces(only)Beautiful In the online space, if you are good, you are good If you are not, even angels can’t help you

7. Online TV is no more a hypothetical term – There is a 90% chance that you did not hear this song first on TV. (The rest 10% didn’t have an internet connection)

8. Social Media Success can make other media talk about you – First some cover you, then others join in, and finally rest wonder why they haven’t talked about you so far

9. Be certain about online medias uncertainty – They would have not known when recording the song as to how successful will it eventually become Nobody knows if you will do well on social media, but the only way to know it is to try

10. Simplicity wins – At the end, it’s a simple song that everybody can relate to, that’s exactly why it works. People’s lives are complex already, don’t over complicate them

And just in case you are one of those people who hasn’t even heard the song so far( what! like really?) , then here you go