‘Milk the moment but make it contextual to your brand’ was the opening line at an engaging session on the second day of India Social 2012. It threw light on the trend of every brand wanting to have a presence on social media, engage with its users online, and create leads for final sales. But how can brands measure what is working and what is not? Here are suggestions by few social experts...
The F/P ratio
When the metrics jargon doesn’t work, create your own standards, seemed to be the message from Arun Nair, Head, Digital Marketing, Club Mahindra who has devised his own metric called the ‘Followers Vs People Talking About’ ratio aka F/P ratio through which he measures the success of a brand on Facebook.
Today, there are many brands that have millions of fans on Facebook but only few of them actually talking about the brand. So what is the benchmark? Nair shares that the brands that have F/P ratio less than 0.03 should be worried and evaluate their social media strategy; those from 0.03 – 0.05 are just above average and have to scale up; 0.06-0.08 is decent but more can be done; 0.09 – 0.3 is good and if it is 0.3 – he would be interested in asking the agency of that brand! So if a brand has one lakh fans and if 30,000 of them are talking about the brand, it’s a very healthy interaction between the brand and its followers.
For Nair, the best way that brands can engage its fans is through creating shareable content that has humour, entertainment and rich visuals, and crowd sourcing for shared ownership. He also advices the brands not to overdo status updates as that becomes like spam for people and suggests that 14-29 updates in a week or 2-4 updates per day is a healthy engagement that has good visibility in the user’s timeline as well.
‘Like’ is an opportunity
‘A like is an opportunity and not just a number’, said Karthik Nagarajan, National Director, Social and Insights, GroupM. So once you have the numbers what do you do next? “Create conversations, see its impact and analyse which ones began further conversations,” advised Karthik adding, “Conversations about the brand are more relevant than the conversations generated by the brand. It is important to see how long did your message last. This would determine how much your communication is creating a dent on the mind of the consumer.”
To those who question the RoI, he remarked, “How can we devise a mechanism for a medium which is evolving, changing every week? Can you figure out RoI of taking your client out to Golf/Dinner? We, as a market, should be open to experimentation in this space. That is the only way it will grow.”
There is no silver bullet
There is no silver bullet to evaluate the returns on this medium and ‘likes’ and comments are the only parameters, opined Manu Prasad, Head, Social Media, Myntra. “The need of the hour is that the brands start aligning their social media strategy with their business strategies,” he said.
Suggesting examples of how brands can leverage the medium, Manu added “Brand will have to move beyond the standard engagement rules - they will have to innovate, for example, pre and post purchase sharing, exclusive deals, recommendations, reviews and much more.
Listening to consumers and their needs will pay in a long run. Brands will have to develop Social CRM, create social brand ambassadors, test products online and let users talk about them. The future will be bright when business objectives are aligned with social media goals.
“Rewarding your followers with incentives and rewards, getting your online communities meet as a local community and form fans advisory board, providing digital toys such as apps, gadgets, etc. are some of the ways brands can keep the engagement alive after the initial ‘likes’”, said Sandeep Maiti, CEO, Experience Commerce.
He elaborated on the lifecycle of engagement where the consumer is touched, engaged and then connected leading to an engaged community first, and then an active community comprising several brand advocates. He defined it as a process for Digital Effectiveness.
‘Be social’ to be on social
Vijay Sankaran, Head, Social Media, Nokia Siemens Network urged brand managers to be social first before hopping on to the social bandwagon. “Before I ask if my brand is being social, I have to ask if my own approach and mindset is social. Every brand is on social media today and no one is different from the other.
We need to ask “what am I doing differently?” He said brands need to break out of social silos and integrate digital initiatives across its marketing.