Facebook promotions. Twitter trends. Brand faux-pas on Facebook. Celebrity foot-in-the-mouth on Twitter. #outrage. #theekhai. #dentedandpainted. 2012 has seen it all, hen it came to social media. Karthik Srinivasan draws a three-point wish list for brands and the mango men (and women) of our country in 2013
Life outside Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘fans’
Yes, ‘likes’ and ‘fans’ on Facebook gets the brand manager a promotion, but these are extremely fickle metrics that any brand with a decent budget could acquire. I wish 2013 is the year when brands start asking the value of these likes and fans. For example, some brands have began integrating their CRM systems with their Facebook fan base. The overlapping set of people are perhaps the real super-fans who straddle two worlds — offline and online — and seem to put a meaningful spin to all those Facebook numbers!
Lies, damned lies and Twitter trends
Agencies win business by mentioning that they can trend a hashtag on Twitter! As with anything on Twitter, after a few hours, very few people know what the hashtag stands for and it takes a meaningless life on its own, before dying a natural death. I wish brands look at Twitter trends as part of a larger, well thought-out campaign. There is hope, but some brands are including hashtags in print advertisements and following it up with tweets to encourage participation on Twitter as a meaningful extension. A trend worth trending in 2013.
Show me the money
To be fair, few businesses can derive the monetary value of social media efforts easily — e-commerce companies, for instance, can trace the online path of a customer, from an online promotion to an action on their website. This becomes especially difficult for offline brands, but is not impossible. For instance, transposing the age-old tactic of an offer via newspaper cut-out — monetary value of that effort is simply the number of people who redeemed the offer using that cut-out. Online, when an offline brand shares an offer only via Facebook, the number of people who redeem it would help the brand with a monetary value for the effort. How about people who got the code via email or text message by the first round of people who got it on Facebook? It doesn’t really matter, as long as Facebook is the only and sole source of the code — any incremental sharing is a result of the original promotion!
Think before you speak, nah, Tweet!
Twitter, or a Facebook update is not your dining room conversation. You may have intended it for a select few of your friends following you, but they are publicly visible and tagged to your name… in many cases, forever! So, think before you press ‘send’ on that abuse or that caustic comment! In fact, think twice.
End of ‘My cat rolled over!’
‘I’m having X for breakfast’ or ‘the paint is drying’ is so 2012. And 2011 and 2010 and 2009! With so many more people online, and hooked to social media, the online world is equally competitive, as much as the offline world, to make a mark. So, it is perhaps time to start thinking about how what you share online can help you in a meaningful way. Yes, what you share online says something about you. An article you shared about the psychology of children showcases your interest in a specific, niche topic. A smart pun on your breakfast, morphed with Rajinikanth, showcases your language skills, your funny bone and interest in popular trends. Think about it! Make your online updates work for you, shaping others’ perception of you.
Long-form, in the long-run
Beyond the rut of the 140 characters, there is a wide world out there, online. For instance, a blog is simply a book that you write a page a day. What you write not only shapes your readers, but also you. A blog post is simply the articulation of your opinion, on something… on anything. The point is to have an opinion, first, on things happening around you, to take a stand, articulate it in your head and finally, express it. Blogs, and other forms of networking like LinkedIn (for opinions on something professional, or about business) or Quora (on any topic) help you share opinions with large groups of people online. Start getting your points of view to define you, at least in 2013!
(The author is a blogger,music reviewer and public relations professional)