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What small businesses get right about social media?

17-December-2012
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What small businesses get right about social media?

Traditionally, small businesses have mostly grown by word of mouth as a separate budget was hardly assigned during the initial investment then. But with the emergence of social media, these small businesses have found a platform to experiment with marketing gimmicks in more cost effective manner.

From building websites to expanding the business using free marketing tools, small businesses are adapting social media to suit their specific goals. exchange4media takes look at how some small brands are using the social media platform to attract consumer attention with smart ideas and execution.

Launched in the 1999, AND came into being as the first Indian high street western wear brand for women. Today, the brand is one of India’s most preferred high street brands in the western wear category. Instead of going on a marketing blitzkrieg, the brand started using different communication mediums strategically. AND recently launched its Limited Edition Dress Festival, which garnered a good amount of spikes. The brand went beyond its regular social media engagement and went in for live-blogging with a well-known blogging website, which got a lot of traction.

Commenting on things that AND keeps in mind when using social media, Shreeya Haridas, Manager Marketing & Communication, AND, mentioned, “The most important thing that we need to keep in mind while designing a social media plan is the timeline. When we put our catalogue or a new collection launch on social media platforms, we need to make sure that the garments are available across all points of sale. The second imperative thing is that the plan has to go step by step. There has to be a systematic manner in which the information needs to go out for a better recall value. You cannot bombard the customers with a lot of information all of a sudden. Also, the brand has to be quick enough to respond with efficiency all the queries by the customers.”

“In today’s digital world, transparency is an inherent reality. We as a company embrace this and get involved in guiding that conversation. Moreover, when companies openly engage in social media, encouraging our audience to interact with us, it ensures a certain level of accountability,” added Haridas.

If you are nimble, you can have a healthy survival on social…
Smaller brands can be more nimble on social, the reason being that they are focused in leveraging the medium to the fullest.

Mad Over Donuts (MOD) is one such brand that went social right from its inception. MOD started off as a tiny donut brand in Singapore with big plans. The brand, which entered India three years ago, has been aggressive on social networking platforms for its marketing activities.

MOD has been announcing interesting events such as Orange Tee Day, where the first 50 customers get free donuts for a month; an Annual Donut Day where all donuts are at half price; Sneak Peek Offer, where the most active fans get to go into MOD kitchens and make their own donut; a Fan of the Week campaign and much more to attract the young audiences.

Speaking on MOD’s strategy, Prachi Chaturvedi, DGM - Marketing, Mad Over Donuts, shared, “We felt that it was more important to have our social media objectives set clearly before starting any activities. We needed to understand what we were looking for – was it customer feedback, communicating exclusive promotions, real time information exchange or a combination of everything. As an emerging brand, our focus was to build the most engaging and happiest community of Donut Lovers in India.”

“We are aware that a majority of our customer demographic is young, so we focus on activities which will drive the present day outgoing youth culture. Our brand identifies that consumer engagement, especially with the youth, can be achieved through more and more innovative promotional strategies,” added Chaturvedi.

So do brands like these need a social media agency?
Many small businesses believe that social is a platform that comes at the least cost and are of the opinion that the audience can be a brand’s honest promoters. One such emerging fun brand on social is Chumbak. Chumbak, is a Bangalore-based startup which specialises in funky India-inspired contemporary design products such as mugs, playing cards, tins, key chains, gift items and boxer shorts and is quiet popular on social. Launched with the aim of wooing the tourism market, Chumbak merchandise has found many takers among the young Indians who like India being represented in a contemporary way.

Commenting on this, Vivek Prabhakar, Founder, Chumbak, said,” Being a startup, honestly it was due to budget constraints in the beginning. However, very soon, we also figured out that ‘conversations’ were a part of our brand DNA. Also, it was the most efficient tool to get instant feedback. That really was the strategy in the early days. Once we knew what people liked, it became quite easy to scale.”

It may be noted that apart from having interesting conversations, small businesses have smarter business strategies behind being on social. In the true sense, these business are getting return on investment at various levels on social media. Thus proving right the common notion, ‘a lot more can happen on social beyond just fun’.

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