Want to get a google inbox invite?

akhilsethi blog randomnomics Inbox by Google GmailWorking in the digital industry has its own advantages. You can keep yourself updated with the latest developments while having conversations online on various social media channels or even offline with the industry people. Few days back, I got the invite to access Google’s inbox  from one my friends Sachin Uppal. However after getting the access, to my surprise, the ‘invite to others’ button was not visible. I thought, may the same would get enabled in a day or two. Even after waiting for 3-4 days, the button didn’t get enable. Hence I researched on the internet regarding the same and found on one of the Google’s product forums which explained that it usually takes a week to get that option in one’s inbox. This made me calm and after a week or so, I have now got the option to invite others.

akhilsethi randomnomics blog google gmail inbox 3 invites available

Coming straight to the point, from the 3 invites, I have only 1 left and would be happy to give it to someone who do the following:

1. Subscribe to my blog by entering your email-id on the top-left hand side box
2. Follow me and Rt the following tweet

3. At the bottom, where we can show our care by sharing this post with others, increase your chances of gaining the invite by sharing this blog-post on all social media platforms

So, go-ahead and follow these simple steps and increase your chances to be lucky 🙂 Don’t forget to give the links of your posts where you’ve shared this post on all platforms in the comments sections below, otherwise would be difficult for me to find your shared posts 🙂

Image courtesies: http://pureinfotech.com/ and http://static.neow.in/

P.S: As I’ve only 1 invite left, my decision of giving the invite to someone among all would be final, binding and even non-contestable! 🙂

Future of marketing on Facebook: Pay to Play

akhilsethi randomnomics facebook marketing pay to play blog

I started my professional career in social media marketing way back in April 2010 and since then each day, I love to see how brands use social media in an effective way to achieve their marketing goals. Facebook being the biggest social media platform in terms of active users finds its place automatically in every brand’s social media marketing mix. One can’t ignore the possibilities it provides to interact & engage with your target audience. From posting brand’s updates, building the right fan-base using proper targeting techniques during Facebook advertising to even using applications to engage audience with the brand, it has everything. However I will not digress from the topic and would talk more on the organic performance of the Facebook posts.

It all started with the analysis done by Social@Ogilvy in Feb ’14 of more than 100 brand pages. What they found out was that for all Facebook pages, the organic reach hovered at 6%, a decline of 49% from peak levels in Oct ’13. For large pages with more than 500,000 fans, organic reach has further declined to 2% only. Even the report stated that many Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future. This report created a huge ruckus amongst the digital marketers across world who worked hard to build their brands on Facebook and hence started blaming Facebook of becoming more greedy. However, on June 5, 2014 blog-post, Facebook’s VP of Ads Product Marketing, Brian Boland, wrote an extensive FAQ to answer questions about the reduction in organic reach to pacify all digital marketers. The main reasons that he shared was the increase in content generation in terms of text, photos & videos as well Facebook’s news-feed algorithm which decides what to show on your timeline.

Even according to the recent Adobe’s Q3 digital advertising report, from the past year Facebook organic impressions are down by 50% and paid impressions are up by 5%. See the graph below for more details:

akhilsethi randomnomics blog facebook organic and paid impressions yoy 2014Because of this, brands have started posting more posts as compared to earlier.

akhilsethi randomnomics blog _ increase in quantity of facebook posts

So, as a social media marketer, here is what I recommend brands to do:

1. Emphasize on producing quality content: Despite reduction in organic reach, I still believe brands should give utmost importance on building quality content. A content which:

a) is accompanied by rich images

b) has direct Call to Action (CTA) which state specifically what do you want your users to do after reading the post

c) is worth sharing or spreading

2. Allocate specific consistent monthly budgets for acquiring new fans as well as for promoting posts: Brands need to understand the fact that Facebook of 2010 isn’t the Facebook of 2014. The number of active users as well as the brand pages have grown exponentially. Hence, to keep your brand visible, it’s imperative to allocate specific monthly budgets for Facebook advertising.

3. Ensure social media community managers to be more responsive & on top of their game: I’ve seen many brand pages where most of the users’ comments/queries are usually unanswered or answered after 2-3 days and that too with a standard response. Believe me, this not only affects the brand’s image in a negative way but also annoys the users to a large extent. Hence brands need to ensure whether their social media platforms are being handled by external agencies or by their in-house teams, the so-called social media customers managers have to be on top of their game. Not only this, they even have the responsibility to:

a) analyze and suggest what is the best time to post feeds on the page

b) give suggestions to content team on regular basis for creating posts which can increase the engagement

c) share fortnightly or monthly reports on how they are accomplishing brand’s objectives set initially

4. Lastly, have monthly wall-based contests: According to a recent report by Ethinos marketing, there are more than 112 million Facebook users in India and 72 million (around 64%) are from the age-group of 13-25 years which shows majority of the Facebook users are very young. From my experience also, this age-group loves contest and gratifications. Hence, my advice to brands is that keep coming with small contests once in every month or two months to keep users engaged.

If none of these suggestions looks relevant to you, I’m afraid to say that Facebook shouldn’t be a part of your overall social media marketing mix. Do let me know if you have some more suggestions / ways which can help brands to get more out of their Facebook marketing. Let’s discuss them in the comments sections below.

Top image courtesy: shootforth.com

Why is reading so important?

Before I start, let me tell you – I’m not into reading books. During my MBA days or even after that, I tried so many times that I read, read and read until it becomes a habit. They say, if you are into reading books, you have good command over English, written as well as verbal which just helps you to make other people understand your thoughts and ideas in a better way. But having said that, till now, I have read only 5 books namely The Alchemist, Five Point SomeoneIt happened in IndiaThe Da Vinci Code and Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. The last one is much on the lines of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Yes, I know these are some of the great books, but I wasn’t able to continue my reading (of books) after that. 🙂

Instead, I make up for this, by reading various articles, blogs, news online which keeps me updated of anything and everything professional as well as non-professional. YES, It’s absolutely imperative to READ to expand knowledge as well as your thought process. Just as other jobs/tasks, reading should also be on your job list everyday. It’s not about reading everything everyday, just reading a fair amount to ensure you are, in corporate lingo, ahead of the curve. By reading, you not only inspire yourself, but others too. And, if you’re a CEO/Head of an organization, think about your employees who are much more informed than their counterparts in other organizations. It will result in a great task-force, isn’t it?

So, coming straight to the point, here’s a list of websites (mostly related to marketing) I usually follow to keep myself updated regularly. Yes, some of the websites’ link were shared earlier with me when I started my professional career and later-on I added more 🙂

International Advertising News:

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/

www.adage.com

www.campaignasia.com/

http://www.brandrepublic.com/go/global/

http://www.adweek.com/advertising-branding

http://www.inma.org/

http://www.iab.net/

Ad Strategy:

http://bbh-labs.com

http://adverlab.blogspot.com/

Digital Marketing/Advertising:

www.imediaconnection.com

www.clickz.com

www.emarketer.com

www.mediapost.com

www.adage.com/digital

http://allthingsd.com/

http://www.rohitbhargava.com/

http://joannapenabickley.typepad.com/

http://www.twistimage.com/blog

http://blogs.forrester.com/interactive_marketing

http://wallblog.co.uk/

http://pauldunay.com/

www.digitalbuzzblog.com

www.fastcompany.com

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.jonloomer.com/

http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/

Social Media Marketing:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marketingAPAC

http://www.insidefacebook.com/

www.mashable.com

www.socialmediatoday.com

http://www.briansolis.com/

www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Others:

www.harvardbusiness.org

www.sethgodin.com

Creative:

http://creativity-online.com/

http://www.inspiredm.com/

http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/

http://www.informationarchitects.jp/en/

http://www.fastcodesign.com/

Technology:

www.techcrunch.com

http://www.webmonkey.com/

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/

http://drippler.com/ [Download the app too]

Marketing / Business Fun:

http://businessguysonbusinesstrips.com/

http://dilbert.com/blog/

http://tomfishburne.com/

http://jimsmarketingblog.com/

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

Indian

E4m

Afaqs

Watblog

Medianama

Social Samosa

Adgully

Alootechie

Campaign India

Lighthouse Insights

Digital Vidya

P.S: If you follow me on twitter, you will get to know how much I read. Anyways, do let me know if you find the list useful. And yes, feel free to add more of them in the comments section, I would love to go through them and further add them on this post with a courtesy!

Xiaomi Selling Strategy in India: Good or Bad?

India is currently one of the fastest growing handset markets in the world. According to a recent report by wearesocial on Social, Digital and Mobile landscape in India, it was found that in a population of more 1.25 billion, only 349 million are the unique mobile phone users which account to only 28% of mobile penetration. This itself suggest the BIG opportunity that the country will provide in near future to all the handset manufacturers across the world to sell their products and make a lot of money. There was a time when almost every household had a Nokia phone but owing to its persistence for focusing only on feature phones without double-sim functionality as well as non-android based smart-phones, its market share fell which provided an opportunity to other players like Samsung to enter & grow in the smartphone category rapidly. This also gave an opportunity to some of the Indian handset manufacturers like Micromax, Karbonn & Lava to enter into this growing industry and provide android-based smartphones at relatively low-prices. And now, according to a recent report from counterpoint market research firm, while Samsung still leads Micromax in the smartphone category, however Micromax has beaten Samsung to become the overall biggest mobile handset vendor in India!

Last month was full of buzz about the entry of Xiaomi (pronounced as Shiao-Me), famously called as ‘Apple of China’ in India. The company partnered exclusively with Flipkart.com to sell its products online. Till now, Xiaomi Mi 3 went on sale thrice i.e. on 22nd July, 29th July and 5th August and the next one is due to happen on 12th August. To buy, a user has to pre-register himself/herself before every sale irrespective of the fact whether he/she has registered before. However, pre-registration won’t guarantee you a unit but will only mean that you’re eligible to buy the phone.

During the first sale, Flipkart couldn’t even handle the traffic and the site crashed temporarily. Within 40 minutes, Flipkart claimed the Mi 3 was out of stock. The second batch for 29th July sale apparently got over in five seconds. And, the third batch couldn’t even stand that & got over in just two seconds. This thing brought too much of negative feedback from the potential buyers online (including their Facebook page). Highlighting some of it here:

akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments

 

 

 

 

 

akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do you think? Is Xiaomi creating an artificial shortage and hence a demand which is totally un-called for which could even be a part of its marketing strategy OR the company seriously didn’t expect the demand?

In my opinion, it’s more to do with its marketing strategy rather than matching up the demand with the supply. With the kind of price-point (INR 13,999) and the great features which the product boast of, I’m sure the company would definitely had the idea of the demand that would get created.

Adding on to that, providing the product only to a few customers will sustain the aspirational feel of the brand / product. These customers will mostly be the so-called early adopters of the technology and they will be the ones who will write about the product’s features & specifications everywhere online (Facebook, Twitter, Tech websites, Blogs, etc.). This will not only help the company to create the so-called user-generated content (UGC) but will also result in spreading the same without much budgets.

So, do you think Xiaomi is doing the right thing to enter into a country like India with low inventory and that too through only online-selling model? Shouldn’t it would’ve entered with physical stores where potential customers can go, see the product and then purchase it which is what Samsung did few years back.

I know I’ve touched your tech. thinking chord here. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below and let’s have a healthy discussion on the same here.

 

How to Setup and Use Twitter Cards in Your Tweets for Free!

Working in a digital industry has its own challenges. Sometimes it’s very difficult for one to keep himself/herself updated about the latest changes happening in the digital field. Be it Facebook layout changes, twitter advertising/analytics changes, new ad formats on websites or how you buy inventory from ad-exchanges, anything to everything!

Coming to the point, while working in office few days back, I saw a twitter website card as a normal tweet on one of tweeps’ account I follow which was without any promotion. This made me really curious and what I figured our next will also make you surprisingly pleasantly curious if in case you’re a fellow digital marketer. 🙂

Yes, you can now use all the available twitter cards in your tweets and that too for FREE. 

From all the cards that twitter provides for advertising, only few of them are available in India yet. Last year, I wrote a post where I mentioned that twitter tied-up with Komli media to start its advertising business in India. I checked with them and they confirmed that apart from the usual promoted tweet, account & trend…website card, lead-generation card & app-download cards are also available in India.

Following is the simple step-by-step process to create a twitter card in your normal tweet:

1) Go to your profile, click on ‘settings & help’ drop-down and then further click on twitter ads. Yes, I’m aware that twitter-ads functionality isn’t available on all twitter accounts as yet, don’t ask me why!!

akhilsethi twitter blogpost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Then click on creatives drop-down to further click on cards: akhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) After that, let’s create a website card first. Check the below screenshot for more details. I already created one earlier hence it’s shown here:twitter akhilsethi blogpost randomnomics website card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Next click on website button which will open a window like below to create a twitter website card. The same give you an option to add an image (320×800 px) which would be clickable later, a landing page URL, a catchy-headline (max. 70 characters), a call to action button and lastly the card name. So, after filling-up all the details, just click on the ‘create card’ and you’re done creating the card heretwitter website card creation akhilsethi randomnomics blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Once you click on the create card, the below window will appear which will give you an option to use this card in a tweet, edit the card again, clone the card or visit the landing page URLakhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics creating a twitter website card 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Now click on compose tweet with this card and a pop-up like below will appear which will now give you an option to compose the complete tweet. Add text before the card link and press tweet to post it

akhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics creating a twitter website card randomnomics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) The tweet will now appear on the handle and will be something like this. This was my first tweet having website card for this blog

akhilsethi twitter blogpost randomnomics 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar way, you can also create tweets which has lead-generation card or app-download card in it.

Not only this, these days twitter also gives you free analytics in the form of impressions, engagements and engagement rate.

Now you’ve successfully created a twitter advertising card to be used in your tweets for FREE. Do let me know the results after using the same. Have you been able to increase the traffic on your website, get more leads or even managed to get the app-downloads? Would love to hear your thoughts on the same. Till then, happy tweeting! 🙂

An 8-Step Approach To A Better Twitter Marketing Strategy

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[Image Courtesy: www.designrelated.com]

Is your brand on twitter? Do you think there’s a need for a brand to be on twitter OR it could anyways be on Facebook and that’s it? Will twitter be the right marketing tool going forward?  If these are the questions that keep coming to your mind and leave you in doubts, then you’re at the right place at the right time.

According to a recent study, India recorded the highest social networking growth of 37.4 per cent this year. If you still don’t know, brands (including your competitors) have already started using twitter as a new way to promote and connect with their target audience. So, here’s the big question: How do you succeed with Twitter or what is the right way to go-about on Twitter?

Following are some useful tips that will help you create a potential twitter marketing strategy for your brand and further help you accomplish your marketing goals.

  1. Firstly, define clear-cut objectives for twitter: Before engaging with your audience, ask yourself what do you want to achieve from this medium? Where does it fit into your marketing goals? What purpose does it solve? Is it my objective to gain 25,000 fans at the end of 6 months or, will it just act as a customer service tool? Will it be used for monitoring mentions of my brand, products & services or, it would just act as a secondary marketing platform to connect with my target audience? The answers to these questions will give a better direction to your twitter strategy and keep it focused on your core objectives.
  2. Define your twitter audience as much as you can: In India, audience on twitter is completely different from what it is on Facebook. The former has a much more evolved audience than Facebook hence, until & unless your brand completely targets people between 15-24 years, you should definitely have twitter as a tool in your social media marketing strategy.
  3. Keep it as an interactive / conversative medium: Twitter is all about conversations. It is not a one-way communication tool. Therefore, to maximize your reach and to make more people aware of your presence on twitter, interact with them as often as you can. To build conversations, make your content valuable to your audiences by sharing useful links and information based on their interests. This will not only help you connect with them, but will also engage them in insightful conversations.
  4. Follow people who have large number of followers and are relevant to your category: Don’t forget to use twitter tools to reach out to people who could act as influencers. Going forward, they could certainly help in spreading your message to their followers. This way, you are giving your brand a chance to get visible to their followers and hence encourage them to follow you.
  5. Keep coming up with small engaging contests: Indian audiences, as a whole, like contests and gratifications attached to them. Instead of having one exhaustive contest in a quarter or six months, try to have small contests from time to time. This practice would certainly help keep your audiences engaged and would also help your brand acquire more followers over a period of time.
  6. Be as transparent as you can: Admit upfront if you have committed a mistake. Never try to hide it. This will indeed cause a short-term embarrassment but, will eventually lead to build more trust among your twitter audience.
  7. Use it as a support system: Never ever hesitate to help your (potential) customers in case of any issues or queries. Remember, social media is always about two-way communication. Using Twitter to listen to customer queries/complaints is a great way to build trust for the brand. Many e-commerce companies like Myntra, MakeMyTrip, etc. are already doing the same and therefore a brand that is serious about social media shouldn’t ignore it as a tool to cater to customer queries.
  8. Include website links: Ultimately, everything boils down to the amount of business your company is doing. Therefore, it is very important to build and direct relevant traffic to your website. Although twitter should not be the only platform to build website traffic, rather it should be one of those platforms that could help in getting relevant traffic.

Follow these tips and you will witness a visible increase in your Twitter engagement rates and ultimately increase the yield of your social media marketing campaign. But, always remember, measuring success on Twitter has everything to do with goals, so make sure you’ve spent at least a little time figuring out what do you ultimately want to achieve.

Don’t forget to let us know in the comments below on how you or your company is using Twitter for your business. And, it would be great if you could also share some of the twitter campaigns you’ve liked.

#ThankYou.

How should brands use twitter for marketing?

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Image courtesy: http://www.digitalorganics.com.au

Few days back I was having a discussion with one of my friends in the digital industry over a topic which kind of intrigue brand managers or the so-called digital marketing managers even today. She was asking me on how to use Twitter effectively to promote brand’s products and services & thereby making it one of the key social media platforms for marketing apart from Facebook (FB). The conversation started from the basic difference between the platforms to the kind of audience and the character limit of the feeds. In this post, I would be addressing some of the important things brand managers should keep in mind while giving brief to their agencies or even while thinking about new campaigns.

First of all, it’s very important to understand the difference between Twitter and FB. Few years back, I wrote a post which covered the difference between these platforms, however that was more from a perspective of C2C (consumer-to-consumer) rather B2C (business-to-consumer). If we look from a B2C perspective, FB brand pages are completely different from Twitter brand pages. Twitter brand pages (similar to Twitter user accounts) don’t provide functionalities like integrating 3rd party apps on brand pages unlike FB which helps brands to run engaging contests. Moreover users cannot simultaneously interact with each other on brand’s tweets; they can do to an extent by tagging others however character limit restricts the same. And, in terms of social media users in India, I feel Twitter audience is much more evolved than FB one. Majority of the users on FB are between the age-group of 18-24 years are more inclined towards the contests, gratifications, etc. rather than the content published by the brands. For this age-group (18-24 years), Twitter looks like a more difficult platform to understand and use and hence you will find more people between the age-group of 24-30 years. Therefore Twitter becomes all the more important platform to advertise products as this age-group has more purchasing power than the earlier mentioned one though they act as influencers.

However without any further delay, here’s how I feel brands should go about on Twitter:

  1. Keep it as an interactive/conversative medium: Advertising on Twitter in India hasn’t taken off completely as compared to US/UK. Brands are still figuring out how to build their user-base. Twitter has recently tied-up with Komli media to rev up its advertising business in India however that is a costly affair if brand has low budgets for social media. Hence I feel that brands should interact with users as often as possible otherwise they will not be able to maximize their reach and make people aware about their products & services. Brands should also find a way to identify similar interest topics (using hashtags) and hence should try to strike conversations with tweeps in a healthy manner. This way they will be able to reach follower’s followers and increase their chances to build that user-base.
  2. Keep coming-up with small contests: Indian Junta as a whole likes contests and hence gratifications. I have seen many contests by brands where the main requirements are to follow and then retweet which kind of works somehow. I will not delve into the quality of contests organized by brands however this is surely another way to build user-base.
  3. Follow tweeps who have large following and are relevant to your category/industry: There are many tools which can help you to find the right audience to connect with. In so-called marketing jargon, they are called as ‘Influencers’. Find the right tool, follow them and interact as often as possible. This way you are giving yourself a chance to be visible on their followers’ timelines and hence to make them follow you.
  4. Use it as a support system: Using Twitter to listen to customer queries/complaints is a great way to build trust for the brand. Many e-commerce companies like Myntra, MakeMyTrip are already doing the same and therefore a brand that is serious about social media shouldn’t ignore it as a tool to cater to customer queries.

 

These are some of the ways through which brands should go on Twitter for advertising their products/services. Do let me know what according to you the best way is.

P.S: The views mentioned above are totally personal and comes from an experience of helping some of the biggest brands in the country to engage with their target audience on social media. These may differ from yours!