Thursday, June 28, 2012

Social Education- News, Views and a Launch

At TheSocialPeople we have been observing and rooting for digitalization of classrooms and the increased use of social media in the education sector for quite some time. Our curiosity led us to a few interesting findings.

For instance, upon surveying more than 100 individuals from different age groups we were able to gain perspective on the current state in the education sector and the impact of social media in the future in this field.
And while one may presume that most people are high users of social media channels, the results showed that nearly 40% of them did not use social media for more than an hour. However about 65% people stated that education needed socialization.

Of course the study revealed much more than just this. And we shall keep you posted about it all. But we’d also love to hear what you have to say.
·         How useful will the advent of social media in schools prove to be?
·         At what level should it be introduced in classrooms?

We’re eager to hear your views and equally excited to share with you details of a pet project we’ve been working on in the background. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Twitter is not a social network

It is the telegraph of the internet.

A social network is characterized by a high degree of reciprocity. Take Facebook for example. Most people you know personally are on your friend list. If someone known to you sends you an invite, in all likelihood you accept it. Not many people who are unknown to you would send you an invite anyway.

However, Twitter is characterized by a high degree of non-reciprocity. Here’s an example- Kim Kardashian the reality show star has more than 10 million followers on Twitter. But she chooses to follow only 140 odd people. Consider Lady Gaga. The most followed person on Twitter follows about 140,000 thousand while she herself has about 14 million fans following her.

An analysis on others on Twitter shows a similar trend.

As a matter of fact, according to a research, aired on a Freakonomics podcast 60% of the tweets on twitter come from roughly 20,000 followers, though Twitter has more than 200 million odd accounts.

So what is Twitter if not a social network? Well I am not sure about others but in my opinion Twitter is simply a medium of communication and is actually the internet version of the telegraph.

This analogy revealed itself to me while reading ‘The Hound of Baskervilles’ by Sherlock Holmes. Anyone who has read this marvelous book knows all about how important bits of information were being transmitted over the telegraph.
Not very different from Twitter with its limitation of 140 characters to share information. The news can be a private message or broadcast to all followers.
Quite often, breaking news finds its way onto Twitter before the television or the paper. News networks pick up on information from trending tweets.  Setting up tools like the Tweet Deck, supplies me with quick information. And that’s how I end up reading about Steve Job’s death first via Twitter and follow the Arab Spring movement on it.

I think eventually Twitter has turned out to be more of a news agency than a social network and the model that will suit it best is the one Reuters set up at the turn of the century.

Your thoughts?

 By Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He is passionate about public health, blogging, writing, public speaking and lawn tennis. He can be followed on his twitter handle @drvikram. Visit his blog at Docter Soccer.

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Your Social Media Strategist Ought to Know

Yes, promoting your business on social media has become imperative. However, without understanding the skill involved in social media communication, you could push away consumers faster than you think.

Here are a few basics you ought to keep in mind:

1.       Many companies today choose to exist across all social media platforms, but often are active on only a few.  What is important to note here is that the platform may not be conducive for your business and hence you are effectively losing out on consumers that are more viable and with a presence on networks related to your work.

2.       Let’s say you’re active on every social network, it still has its pitfalls. When it comes to social media strategy one needs to be clear about the target audience and the best catchment source online. This means that if you’re all over the place and not getting your due, it’s time to step back and rethink your strategy. You need to do your homework. You need to be smart. Instead of marketing your brand across every available medium, it’s wise to choose the ones that fit you best and promote aggressively on that particular platform.

3.       Most companies often engage the audience with content entirely unrelated to their brand. Let’s understand one thing- someone hit the LIKE button for a reason. Sharing the pic of a cat playing the piano won’t help retain your fans or take your brand further.

4.       Learn to listen. Brands that spend more time talking about themselves than lending an ear to an aggrieved consumer will earn that negative reputation in no time.

5.       Watch how much content you share. Too much of anything isn’t good and when it comes to branding, too much promotion may dilute the impact. Knowing how and how much to speak needs to be an important part of your social media strategy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Social Media loves Small & Medium Business

As a Founder CEO of a B2B specialist firm on Social Media Strategy and Analytics it did not take me a lot of time to realize that it was not only the investors in facebook’s IPO who were thwarted with the Social Network but also a lot of small and medium businesses who claim to have burnt their hands by spending too much time and money on Facebook for negligible returns.

Now every time I’ve met a small business owner and had this scenario I ask them 3 basic questions:
  1. Who was running your Social Media campaign and how skilled they were with Social Network sites?
  2. What was the strategy they had adopted to achieve their business objective? Or did they actually put any strategy in place first of all?
  3. What was their metrics on ROI?
On detailed investigation it was a learning that most of these businesses’ campaign did not even qualify for social media campaign criteria.

What do most of the businesses get wrong in Social Media Marketing?

It’s a sad state that most of the businesses today are more sales oriented rather than to be Marketing centric. Even the marketers today talk the language of reaping immediate yield, rather than to wait for the time to harvest. Instead of building an ecosystem and a network of customers, prospect customers, employees and stake holders on social media they want immediate lead generation and results.
While Attract, Engage, Convert are the 3 milestones of Social Media Campaigning (let’s call it Interactive Campaigning); Patience is the key to its success!

So what is recommended to the entrepreneurs who want to go social?

It’s simple, go back to the basics and start building the blocks – Who your target audience is? What are they looking for? Does your business have a service/solution they require? If your answers are a definite yes to such questions then start thinking of ways to engage them. I’d like to strongly emphasize here that one does not require insanely large numbers. It’s not about quantity but quality. Remember that Content is the King, but Context is the Emperor.

Also the success of a small business very much depends on creating a personal connection with each customer. Do not mix it with a Facebook paid Ad campaign; you might just end up blowing your marketing budget on a “Friends of Friends” advertising where a message seems to come from a friend but is actually an Ad. People hate this – think about it.

What other tips for Small & Medium Businesses who want to maximize their impact on Social Media?

  1. I always like to refer Social Media Marketing as Interactive Marketing. Unlike traditional marketing social media has a two way conversation.
  2. Having a million followers / fans does not mean your business would increase exponentially. What really matters is to have that one great follower/fan that can make your brand go viral with a strong “friends of friends” engagement as a brand ambassador.
  3. Don’t advertise – Offer information instead. Build a social credibility.
  4. Remember the old saying – “Rome was not built in a day”; same stands for your Social Media Ecosystem. If you just keep at it, in the long run you’ll find it will pay off in huge returns and cost savings.
Viral Thaker, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople
A seasoned HR & Marketing professional, Viral was one of the early adopters of social media. With over a decade of industry experience under his belt, his skills span corporate strategy, delivery management, customer relationship management, business development and operations management. Viral is a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast and enjoys adventure sports. Follow Viral on Twitter @vrlthaker

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Talking about Social Media in Everyday Life....

Social media has come integral to everyday life in more ways than one.

Need to buy a car? Seek opinions online. Want to eat out? Check ratings first. Need to select a dress? Upload pic on Facebook. Select a university? Post questions on the university forum. Redecorating the apartment? Find designers social networks. The list is endless. All that one needs now is a grocer on Facebook . Oh wait, that already exists!

It was a happy surprise to find several grocery shops online. While many still are struggling with followers, it is by itself amazing to find your absolute daily needs delivered to your doorstep at the click of a mouse. Be it rice or ketchup, moisturizer or toilet cleaners, you can actually choose the brand you prefer and have it sent to your home with the option of cash or card payment upon delivery.

What’s more, most of them have a presence on social networks too which makes it very easy to choose the best depending of course on the following each one garners and the opinions on the wall. Take for instance Delhi based that has more than 16,000 likes of Facebook and is the winner of the PRSI National Award 2011 in the social media category. Then there’s, a relatively new entrant in this field with a presence on Facebook where customers can leave messages for items they would love to see included on the site. Mumbai based also offers discounts.

Not only this, there are also several apps available for download that make grocery purchases quick and easy.  Apps like Grocery IQ and Grocery Gadget.  So if Mum hasn’t quite taken to the internet and technology yet, this might be the biggest bait.

Have you ever tried out such a service? Was it helpful? Let us know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Social is the New Normal

I was speaking to some B- School students over the weekend, discussing social media. To my surprise one of the students told me that recruiters were now checking Facebook statuses to make more informed decisions on candidates.

The discussion set my mind racing and I wanted to mentally check if I had put up any funny pictures of parties in India or the US that I would have to justify to a prospective recruiter or even to my leaders at my current firm.

I could understand if they used LinkedIn but using Facebook to check on candidates’ personal values is a grey area for me.

On one hand we have privacy issues and I don’t want a recruiter going through my timeline or through my friends list. On the other hand I wonder if all recruiters took the pain of building up a human side to the candidate and look beyond the resume.

So social maybe the new normal for recruitment and this time your personal updates are probably as important as your professional ones.

But do let me know your views on the same. Do you feel comfortable having a recruiter go through your Facebook profile? Or would you like to keep that under wraps?

 By Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He is passionate about public health, blogging, writing, public speaking and lawn tennis. He can be followed on his twitter handle @drvikram. Visit his blog at Docter Soccer.

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

Weekend Watch: Goodbye Picplz

Picplz, an Instagram-like app, will be done away with from July. While Instagram catered mainly to users of the iPhone, Picplz was available to both Android and iPhone users. However, come July, picplz will no longer be available for photo sharing. 

Despite launching around the same time as Instagram, providing a Creative Commons license and filters to play around with your pics, it appears that Picplz has not been able to match up to the popularity of Instagram.
A not so great news for Android users. 

Here's what will be missed-

Friday, June 8, 2012

Facebook Launches The App Center

Come Thursday and Facebook will launch The App Center for all its susers. Based on your likes, interests or the kind of apps your friends are interested in, The App Center will suggest applications you might enjoy. 

So if the only app you've been exposed to on Facebook is Farmville or Scrabble, you can discover fun and new applications that aren't thrust upon you by friends who don't stop sending annoying requests. 

Set to feature nearly 600 apps which include several games, you are sure to find one that suits your interests. And Facebook will make the process easier by recommending them to you. And though it will be introduced in US first, the rest of the world will be able to access The App Center in a few weeks' time. So you can now widen your exposure to apps beyond Angry Birds, Pinterest and Instagram. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting to Know Our Fan of the Week

The more we meet our fans, the more we stand amazed. Each of them hail from different backgrounds and have their own individual take on social media. It's a great mix and thank you for staying connected. 

This week, let's say hello to Kasturi Banerjee Mukhopadhyay- a loyal follower with the highest points on our Facebook page. 

A singer, meditation instructor and a homemaker, Kasturi knows her away around social media and is quite vocal about her thoughts. Something we truly appreciate. 

So is she active on social media? Well, she likes to blog and enjoys being on Facebook and Twitter. Usually online in the afternoons, Kasturi loves the fact that all the latest news, interesting anecdotes, etc. find space on social networks first. In her words, "Mobile networks fail you when you need it the most, but you'll always know what's happening in other parts of the country and the world on Facebook." She also sights the example of the recent earthquake tremors that were felt in Chennai. While cellphones were jammed and the cable was out, she could send and receive messages through social networking sites. 

So does she have any fun idea that ought to be incorporated on Facebook or Twitter? "Perhaps background music of one's own choice. It would be a nice addition," she opines. 

And what does she have to say about TheSocialPeople? "The posts are really interesting and on diverse topics. It's easy to understand and informative as well. I wish the team all the best. Keep it up!"

Thanks Kasturi! Stay connected!