Social media usage of brands gets more innovative & engaging

Social media usage of brands gets more innovative & engaging

Author | Abhinav Trivedi | Saturday, Mar 02,2013 2:47 AM

Social media usage of brands gets more innovative & engaging

With smartphones and imported set top boxes getting costlier in budget 2013, media access will get costlier. And since the ambit of service tax and duties will not be waived over DTH and other such services, it will also get costlier for media providers and marketers to use the platform.

Most brands will be switching to digital media like never before. Marketers must note what this platform of media can do and what major brands are doing in the digital world.

From nascent to evolved
Social media hardly existed 10 years ago. The digital presence was confined to a website ownership. The trend has changed though from emergence of niche platforms for people, brands and communities to interact on the web.

“If you look at the initial stage when brands started to use social media, it was an insane number game. As if who had more fans and followers than whom. But of late the trend has changed drastically and it’s about who has a better engagement platform. Numbers are not the sole factor to decide your social media viability,” said Rajiv Dingra, CEO and Founder, WATConsult.

The number game is actually insane as anybody can go on a brand page and like it or become a follower on Twitter. But that is just a number. Market analysts have pointed out that brand experience is the key and not numbers.

Contemporary trends
Of late, Parle launched a social media campaign for its flagship brand Parle G. The activity was carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the company released three teaser videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and alongside also ran a contest on Twitter with the hashtag #Ifiwereaparent. Another hashtag that kept the users engaged was #BeCurious, where Parle asked users to share curious questions often asked by kids. The #BeCurious hashtag was trending at No. 1 in India and all major cities. #BeCurious also trended worldwide on the top five most popular trending topics on Twitter. This also helped increase Facebook likes of the page.

“We were able to generate a buzz and were able to extrapolate and ridicule in our own special way the habit of parents shunning their children down when they do something innovative at the cost of their parent’s comfort,” said Mayank Shah, Product manager, Parle Products.

It is not unusual when you log onto Twitter and find the top few trends as marketing campaigns. Talking about the F&B sector, Domino’s came up with ‘Cheese crust ka rishta isse strong hain’ campaign on Twitter which generated an instant buzz. Although some users went and ridiculed the brands as well!  

“We were trying to promote our cheese crust base pizza. In order to generate buzz, we used Twitter. Twitter, though limited in reach, has got its own niche audience. Therefore, it is far more engaging and participative and gets us instant impulse recognition,” said Harnit Singh, VP – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza.

Pepsi recently came with a campaign called ‘Oh Yes Abhi’, hitting the impatient nerve of today’s youth. The video was posted on its Facebook and Twitter page along YouTube. The brand launched the campaign in the midst of demand-centric campaigns from the youth regarding women’s safety and corruption. The campaign was an instant hit with the TG.

Sector watch
From the auto sector, the Mahindra Group posted a commercial titled ‘Live free, live young’ featuring its portfolio. The video was re-tweeted many times and was also promoted on Facebook. The video was personally promoted by Mahindra Group MD, Anand Mahindra.

Samsung Mobile USA got 21 million hits on YouTube featuring ‘the next big thing’ commercial.  The ad was watched by many Indian users as well. Citing the buzz and popularity Samsung is gaining over Apple, a blog post comparing Samsung and Apple was a viral hit on the internet. Samsung also launched an online competition which received a huge response from the twiterrati.

Talking about blogs, way back in 2009 a blog with the title ‘25 reasons you should love Nike’ was a huge hit amongst the masses.

Another example here locally would be Standard Chartered India campaign ‘Jaisa naam waisa kaam’ advertisement. The ad got almost 2000 hits in one day, which is not possible on the platform of TV.

“The instant advantage of using social media is that instead of brands pushing their ad in between the content (like in conventional media), the user herself comes and watches the ad on the brand’s page. This offers far more credibility than the usual stuff,” said Danielle Tieddt, VP – Marketing, YouTube. The social channel has recently started a trend in which an advertisement is preceded before the video to be watched (with an option of skipping the ad).

The Tahir Square agitation in Egypt was initiated on Facebook and this trend has also established its mettle in India. India Against corruption won the IAMAI award for best online campaign. In his interaction, then Union Minster of Law, Salmaan Khurshid accepted that had the Government been more active on social media, they would have fared much better. IAC is still very active on social and commands a huge network of youngsters.

Companies such as Rentacab, Redbus, People Interactive, Ola Cabs, Atom Technologies and many more are running successfully on the internet. While internet forms a huge chunk of their revenue, social is an excellent channel for them to channelise their revenue streams.

Another sector which is utilising the platform extensively is e-commerce. Jabong and Myntra launched their Twitter campaigns; while Jabong trended with ‘desi pick up lines’, Myntra trended with ‘replace movies with sale’. Both brands were top trends on Twitter with their campaigns.

Another sector on the list would be film and entertainment. Gangs of Wasseypur, Kai Po Che, Special 26, etc. used social media successfully to generate hype, eventually developing curiosity among people. ‘The gangs of social media’ video, which recently went viral on YouTube, used the ‘Wasseypur’ theme to its advantage.

When it comes to capitalising opportunities, our political brands are not far behind. Narendra Modi is a classic example. “Narendra Modi has laid out a very clever social media campaign. But you have to credit his team. His Twitter id, FB id are viral and his posts are shared by his fans, without his direct involvement, which in a way makes him one of the most  viral Indian politicians on the internet,” said Nishant Khullar, an independent social media consultant.

Why social media?
In most of the cases, brands launch product offerings simultaneously on all the platforms to leverage maximum advantage. “Brands today are using social media not only to market content but also create one. It is becoming a huge source of crowd sourcing,” said Dingra of WATConsult.

Since on platforms such as Twitter, which offers one-on-one interaction, the feedback is more personal, the brand sentiment quotient is higher. This is also slightly true for platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. “If you look at YouTube comments, you would find a lot of mixed reactions which sometimes are too realistic for the brand’s health but in a way it is also very transparent,” said a senior social media consultant on the condition of anonymity.

While innovative digital branding plays an important role in driving consumers to action, market studies also indicate that the trust deficit with online marketing is still a grappling issue for marketers. Sectors like manufacturing, capital goods, heavy industries still are not very active on social.“Although it is difficult for people to get convinced but may be trials and relative showcasing factors can help win their acceptance to try social media, which is far more cheaper and measurable in term of RoI,” added Dingra.

Digital media though is the future, digital marketers must take care and practice bifurcation between the ‘noise’ and actual feedback. This is a major issue and the faster the issue is addressed, faster would be the brand shift from conventional to unconventional media.

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