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Human Resource Directors are searching for best professionals in this field;
Chief Marketing Officers are juggling among the different tactics to show the best result.
In short everyone is trying to figure out what the right “strategy” is, anyway!
No we are not talking about any new technological development, or a new corporate roadblock – the topic referred to here is
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
You might wonder that social media is nothing new. Probably most of you are already using this medium to reap business benefits.
But the question is – Have you been successful in doing so?
Even today, blogs on social media cautions continue to draw significant readership. Why –
Because the world has changed seismically. Corporate social media has gotten far more sophisticated, and far more CONFUSED.
Is any corporate social strategy private anymore?
How does branding over social media really work?
Should CEOs tweet?
What should an organization stand for on social media?
What should its “voice” be?
Who will own that voice, and should employees be empowered to post on their own, or should they need to be vetted?
How should those efforts coordinate with more traditional corporate communications and marketing efforts?
How should an organization respond to detractors, as well as to friends?
Who should control the function, and to whom should it report?
What will get the organization liked, and what will get it hated, and why?
How should organizations communicate to the public, when the public now communicates back?
How should haters be listened to, responded to, blunted, deferred to?
While the rewards of social media are many, there is something that has held back many small and large companies.
Deloitte’s National Study – Many businesses perceive social media as the biggest threat and “technology disrupter” to their business models. They have become hesitant to embrace it, fearing corporate reputational risk.
What has led to this thinking?
In the quest to do something, few companies have made drastic mistakes that have turned off the audiences. Let’s see a few examples –
Forgetting that the brand is on a social network is one of the worst corporate social media blunders. Organizations have not understood the norms as to how a company speaks to others, how much and how often it speaks, and what is socially acceptable to speak about.
Some companies have marketed their brands everywhere. They have failed to realize that every social medium may/may not be appropriate for the brand.
Constant self-promotion has driven many customers away from several corporate social profiles. Companies have failed to realize that interacting with customers over social media is like interacting with them in real life. It appears selfish and arrogant to always say nothing but about yourself.
Marketing explicitly in social media is only appropriate for celebrities. You can say celebrities hold an exception when it comes to social media marketing rules. This is why when you have a Kanye West tweeting his 4 million followers to buy his album, there is no problem.
However, when a renowned company has done the same, its one and a half Million followers, have soon unfollowed it.
Companies have not worked upon to make their profiles interesting and innovative.
Result – Not a single talk about new innovations coming up, not a single mention of a secret sale that’s going on. Soon people have DISLIKED as they do not want to be Facebook or Twitter followers of advertising machine type profiles.
Worrying too much about number of followers has been on most companies’ radar. But then has this tactic been good?
While companies have increased the follower numbers through several short-cut methods, they have failed to realize that instead of having loyal customers, their social profiles is filled with groups of lurkers (people who look at a page and follow it, but never click on it again).
Often companies have remained silent against the haters present in the online community. Some have even gone up to the extent of deleting the negative comments.
Organizations have not understood that sparkling dialogue with audience is a great way to increase ROI. And those haters who get involved in a heavily positive experience with the brand are more likely to interact with that brand and consume its product lifetime.
Companies have let their social media pages to decay i.e. leaving it unattended, unchanged or uncurated for too long. Consequently, customers (who have tried to reach to the brand through these pages) have felt neglected and frustrated.
In most instances, companies have been unaware about the applause/criticism they have received on their own orphan pages.
Customers always prefer working with real people in the digital age. And because customers have not seen — the people behind the logo, they have been unable to associate with certain brands.
As a result - instead of loyal, trusting fan bases, companies have had group of “fair weather” consumers.
So does that mean social media has turned out to be a dreaded zone for enterprise?
No! Small but significant number of enterprises have experienced new horizons of Social Media success
Here’s a snippet of 6 KEY FINDINGS published in the TCS 2013 Global Trend Study
38% companies have rated ROI on social media as positive
70% companies run or plan to run an Online Consumer Community through the social media
89% of the leaders value consumer opinion voiced on any social platform
Marketing (69%) followed by sales (58%) and customer service (49%) monitor social dialogue
53% companies will spend < $2.5 million next year on Social Media
Media, Retail, High Tech, Telco & Travel are a few industries to gain optimum success from social media promotion.
What has the top stalwarts said about the importance of corporate social media ?
‘’Three years from now, people are going to be sharing 8 to 10 times as much stuff. We’d better be there, because if we’re not, some other service will be.’’
- Mark Zuckerberg
“Social media is helping us unite and expand. We have never been so closer to our consumers.”
- Mark Parker, Nike Pres/CEO
Google+ Will Become a Major Factor
It has the second highest number of monthly users - 343 million.
LinkedIn Will Gain Importance for B2B Business Growth
238+ million users (approx),the launch of its Influencers program, will make it one of the largest sources of content creation and curation.
MySpace – will come back into action
section of experts have hinted at a second successful stint of MySpace.
Image/Video-based content will see more success
Image-based social media sites such as Pinterest, Slideshare, Path and Tumblr are estimated to grow in the coming months.
Micro video - bite-sized videos to replace the traditional video content
Online addicts are more likely to create and share real-time video from their smartphones on Instagram and Twitter’s Vine
With big names capitalizing social media to the fullest. How can the strugglers join the league ?
Social media Etiquette
Give more emphasis to others than yourself. Share important information esp. those that hold public interest.
Social Media Monitoring
Monitor and track trends that have garnered maximum viewership. Aggregate data to get into the crux of the matter.
Using Social Media
First interact with your community on off-beat topics before starting industry discussions.
Social Media Analysis
Combine cold numbers with human insights. Choose metrics related to your highest organizational goals. Form a theory based on your past performance.
The culture of “social networks” has changed the expectations of the people. Now, customers don’t want to be “acquired” and “managed.” They want to be delighted and empowered.
Businesses have recognized this; which is why now every enterprise is putting effort to build authentic and relevant connections more than ever.
Earlier marketing was all about yelling at customers about how GREAT products and services were.
Today, customers fast-forward through commercials, ignore glossy marketing materials, and avoid “Slick Willy” sales reps. Word-of-mouth-recommendation influences their buying decision.
They interact and decide what they want to buy among themselves. They talk to companies on whatever social channel they choose — and in return expect an immediate feedback.
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