I’d mentioned in my last post on the subject, about a study which showed that 93% of online Americans wanted companies to have a social media presence, and believed these companies also should be interacting with consumers through social media, with one third of the younger set saying that companies should actively market to them on social media. 

Of course, we have a different scene here in India, from what I read in WATBlog’s report on the IAMAI Digital Marketing summit, with marketers hesitating to go beyond the performance based model . I personally believe both the performance based model as well as a more ‘social’ model have their uses. To put it simply, the former is tactical, and the latter is strategic. But, I agree that it is difficult to sell the latter.

Like I mentioned once, the measurability of the net as a medium is a double edged sword. I mean, which marketer can measure how many people saw a particular billboard, a particular ad (print or television) or heard a radio spot. The first is at best a judgment, and the rest, an approximation based on reach figures. There is zilch accountability in all cases, but the net has to be measured, even if the spend is 1% of the other media. Perhaps the fundamental love for quick, short term results that envelops the rest of marketing is prevalent here too. But yes, in the end, the intent/objective of the activity should decide the strategy in any medium.

The best part about social media is that it allows the marketer the flexibility to do both kinds of activities. On one hand, you could be having twitter conversations, interacting on Facebook groups/profiles, and building communities ( a good how to note here)  keeping the brand strategy in view, and on the other hand, you could be running interesting promos on say, YouTube. Here is another study by iPerceptions that shows customer online ad preferences. (via Wild Blue Skies) There are independent tools being developed that measure the efficacy of  video campaigns – Visible Measures is an example, so its about time more companies got viral. I saw a few good digital promos that I’d like to share. (all US based)

Chevrolet offered up to 10 free rides a day to college students on six campuses in a Chevy Aveo5 hatchback and filming the experience. They are then loaded on a special site, from where it can be shared on other platforms. Finalists are chosen from each college and then one grand winner will get a car. Read all about it here.  

For their product ‘Dragon’, HP did a promo called 31 days of the Dragon. As part of this, they contacted 31influential tech bloggers to give away 31 laptops in 31 days. Each blogger ran a contest according to his rules, but also publicised others running the contest. With 3,80,000 links and 25000 entries, I would count it a success. (via Marketing Pilgrim)

And these days the biggest marketer online is after all Obama. He’s got himself an iPhone app, which enables you to call your friends prioritized by their location in battleground states. That nothing works better than peer recommendation is a smart understanding. Read about it here.

Nokia has a new and interesting promo running at somebody else’s phone. I wonder if its a new phone or something else altogether. The Facebook profiles of the characters don’t offer me any clue. Anyway, we’ll know in about 4 days.

I read a post here, about an agency Modernista, that does not have a website. Big deal, you would say, most agencies here don’t have one, but the twist here is that its website is a ‘Wikipedia’ page that uses the resources of the web (Flickr, YouTube etc) to showcase its work. Its a great and radical thought, which definitely breaks the clutter.

Lastly, take a look at this article, which talks about branded iGoogle themes. And here’s a superb compilation of companies that have used social media, but while in social media, beware of the cliches in digital marketing, especially social media. After all, Gartner has projected that over 75 percent of Fortune 1000 companies with Web sites will have undertaken some kind of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations purposes. But, he added in an interview with CNET News, 50 percent of those campaigns will be classified as failures. (via a must read article) A similar small but useful note on Twitter usage can be found here

As Chris Brogan has rightly written, social media is like phones, its a new (possibly better) tool, but the most important part is how it is used to reach consumers in a better way.

The sad part is that there is still a tendency to choose easier ways of getting this job done, than getting a clear understanding of the medium and using it to the brand’s advantage. Here’s an article that talks about ways of ‘handling’ online reputation. The CEO of one such company that does this job for brands talked about cribbing sites like Mouthshut!! I wonder when these ‘practitioners’ would understand a few things – one, usually customers write negative things because they feel strongly; two, you cannot control the conversations on the web; and lastly, if companies made good products and provided good service, the same customers would write good things!! 

until next time, be the change you want to see?