Social Media basics: Social Media Handbook Part 1Every brand aspires to be on social media but most don‟t know where to start from. So let‟s start with looking at some socialmedia basics.Why are you expected to be around?Firstly, be sure of the reason for your existence on social media. A number of brands want to set up their presence justbecause everyone else is on social media platforms. It could either be the brand custodians, bosses, peers from otherteams, competing brands, etc., that can trigger the need for a brand‟s existence on social media. However, Facebook pagesand Twitter accounts are not „websites‟ that „exist‟ exist solely for your brand.‘Humanize’ your brandNo I am not promoting the Galaxy S3 here :), existence on social media platforms for any brand requires „humanizing‟ thebrand. The brand is going to start talking to people on these platforms, hence one needs to define the brand characteristics.How is old or young your brand gonna behave? Will it have a lighter or a heavier tone? What kind of conversations will thebrand get involved in? Define the complete personality of an individual that the content writer can relate to, while writingcontent for the page.Plan your approachSo setting up a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a blog is the easier part, what needs special focus is your consistentlong term content strategy. If the brand has decided to venture on social media platforms, they will have to talk aboutsomething. Find the right balance between being relevant to the audience and being relevant to the brand products orservices. Brands cannot be talking only about their products or services neither they should be ignoring them completely.Choose the right platformsIt is not necessary to be present on all social media platforms. Choosing the right platforms even amongst the popular oneslike Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc does help. The approach could also be defined as being more aggressive on certainplatforms that the other. It all depends on what your brand‟s target group is. If the brand wants to focus on an evolvedaudience, Twitter is the place to be. Facebook definitely is where the masses are, and gives more opportunities to exploreengagement opportunities via tabs, flexible media spends options, etc. Generally, most brands start with Facebook andTwitter.Setting up a platformA number of new platforms have come up in the last two years. Here is a list of major platforms that are currently used bybrands.Facebook – To start with, getting the creatives right is most important. Design properties of Facebook, the Cover photo(851px by 315 px), the thumbnail (160px by 160px), the app icons (111px by 75px) and tab designs, if any. Use themilestones (843px by 403px) effectively to showcase previous achievements and major events of the brand. Ideally, set up awelcome tab too if you are just starting the page.Twitter – The Twitter background is the most prominent of the design property available. Ideal dimensions of the designshould be 382px on both sides to avoid the design getting overlapped by the timeline. Set up a profile pic, ideally, the brandlogo. The designs need to have a seamless look throughout all the platforms and should match the brand‟s identity.Blog setup – Blogs can be most effective form of informative communication, if they are effectively used by the brands.Blogs can be a medium of expressing things about the industry and the brand which cannot not be done on the companywebsites.YouTube – YouTube is an important supplement to the brand‟s Facebook page, especially if the brand has exclusive videocontent. TV commercials get a place to centrally reside online on the YouTube channel. Other media partnerships likeprogram sponsorships by the brand also are good fodder for a healthy YouTube channel.Do share your experience while starting up on social platforms, in the comments section below.Leveraging Creative Properties on Social Platforms: Social MediaHandbook Part 2Effective creatives and content are the most important drivers on social platforms. Both can help you create a distinctpresence for your brand amongst the clutter.Cover photoThe cover photo on Facebook in my opinion is the most effective display banner amongst all the various creative propertieson these platforms. The most important thing about the cover photo is that it has to „highly sharable‟ (although a page cannotencourage people to upload the cover photo to their personal timelines). One should be careful about not promoting anengagement or offers/promotions through the cover photo as it is against the Facebook guidelines. The expected dimensionof a cover photo is 851px by 315px. Here are some referenceswhich can inspire your brand pages cover photo.
ThumbnailThe thumbnail which traditionally held an important creative spot in the form of the display picture now has a much smallerrole to play, though still highly relevant. You can set up a 180 by 180 px picture as the thumbnail. The important part is that itgoes out with your posts, hence most brands put up their logo as the thumbnail.TabsWhile starting up on Facebook, it is important to pre-plan what Tabs will show up on Facebook. On the new Timeline, theusers are able to see four Tabs on a brand page. One of these four Tabs is photos and cannot be moved. The otherimportant Tab is the fan count Tab, which is moveable, yet is an important one to showcase on the Top four visible Tabs.The other two Tabs can be used for Facebook applications, engagements (using non applications), customer care, brochuredisplay, etc. A number of preset Tabs like The Top Tab applications also serve the page‟s engagements purpose. Tabimage also occupies an important creative space on the Timeline.Pre like and Post like TabsOne major disappointment for brands post the launch of the Facebook timeline has been the page cannot keep a Tab as thelanding Tab, which could have had a pre like Tab and hence get more likes for the page . All Facebook ads should be
directed to a Pre like page, on a Tab to optimize the likes from the ads. Pre like and post like ads should be mandatory for allapplications. Red Bull‟s pre like page put up some time ago is my personal favourite.PostsFacebook Egderank algorithm, resized picture size on the News feed, better looking album updates and the Instagramtakeover are indications that images will make a lot of impact on Facebook. A brand page should provision for at least one„template-ized‟ image based post or an album update a day.Creative properties on other platforms -Twitter display pic and Twitter background are two creative properties on Twitter. YouTube background is the only majorcreative opportunity on YouTube, unless the brand goes for premium YouTube channel, which comes in three differentpackages. The most interesting creative property amongst „other‟ social platforms is the Google plus photo strip. Unlike theFacebook cover photo, you can use flash on Google plus photo strip for brand pages.
Tools to Help Measure Social Media InfluenceSocial media is a new and vibrant space which many people are often skeptical about. And this is natural becauseeven people in the industry have a lot of questions. Some of these Frequently Asked Questions include:Is it actually working? How do we know?What kind of people should we be reaching out to?What is the basis of social influence? Do we have any social influence?Are there tools to figure this stuff out?Yes, there are tools and none of them are perfect. But you still have several options to help you calculate your socialinfluence and help you understand what‟s effective and what isn‟t. Some of them even recommend and advice you on howto improve your strategy.KloutLove it or hate it but you cannot ignore it. Klout is one of better known tools in the market. Its mission, it says, is to identifythose who have influence in the web space, calculate how much influence they weild and the topics over which theirinfluence is extended. To accomplish this, Klout tracks activity on different social networks including Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.To get a snapshot of your own or anyone‟s Klout influence, just sync your accounts or enter in a username. Once done,Klout will display a graphical representation of the influence and cull out key data points, including:Klout Score: Measures your overall online influencer.Network Influence: The level of influence of your audience.Amplification Probability: The probability that your web content will be acted upon.
An area where Klout stands out is in its ability to compare not only scores of the Influencer but to unearth the profiles of theInfluencers and give a picture of their activity. For example, Anita Campbell is a Curator and we‟re able to see how and evenwhy that activity is different from the rest.Klout is one of the better tools in the market to chart influence and how it ranks against their peers and to determine thetopics over which this influence is extended.TwylahTwylah stands out as it adds context to your tweets and thereby creates a completely new experience around them. Alongwith telling you what you and others influence, it also shows you why you are influential. It does this by placing your „trendingtopics‟ (topics you tweet most about) into topical buckets that are clickable.One can click each bucket and see tweets from the said person about that particular bucket. For example, Dan Schwabel isinfluential about brands:
You‟re able to see which tweets built this influence. Twylah, after a while, sends alerts to let you know the topics that yourfollowers are reading most. This comes in real handy as you can target your content as you know what your circle is readingand wants to read. Other than being a great tool that displays your influence on various topics, Twylah is also a great way topromote your tweets.Twenty FeetTwentyFeet gives a graphical overview of the performance of your influence across social media platforms. It allows you totrack one Twitter and one Facebook account for free. You need to pay for additional accounts.TwentyFeet monitors your account and tracks certain key indicators such as Following Analysis, Reputation, Influence, Lists,and Conversations. You can change the time period and look the data quarterly, monthly or weekly. This service lets youtrack only your influence and nothing else. It sends alerts if there have been a significant movement in influence, be itpositive or negative.
Peer IndexPeer Index is not as flamboyant as the other tools but it does a great job in helping you realize the topics you and othershave influence over. An interesting feature is that selecting a topic bucket throws up a list of people who are influential aboutthat same topic, their PeerIndex score, Twitter handle and other data. This makes it a great tool if you are looking for likeminded people to reach out to and engage with.Another great feature of PeerIndex is that it gives you a list of the top place from where you or others source content from.This is really great in helping you decide and select communities that are worth the time. It delivers good data for peoplelooking to get an overview of peoples influence and the topics over which they extend this influence.SproutSocialSproutSocial is a comprehensive social media monitoring tool. This single dashboard is mainly aimed for people to managemultiple accounts. However it doubles up and does a decent job as a ranking tool. You track Mentions, New followers,Engagement Levels and Message Volume via a weekly scorecard along with data the links that generate the most numberof clicks. If you want a tool only to measure and track influence then Sprout social is not recommended mainly because that‟s not itsprimary use.
Should Two Brands Capitalize on The Same Hashtag?So, yesterday an interesting incident happened onTwitter. Around 4 in the evening, Castrol Biking started hashtag#YouAreABikerIf and asked people to submit their entries and win Castrol Power merchandise.Undoubtedly, this got all the bikers on Twitter excited and they happily tweeted away. I am pretty sure even those who didn‟thave any idea about the prize, merrily tweeted using the hashtag. And within no time, the hashtag started trending. Whatfollowed afterwards was exciting. Comedy Store India decided to capitalize on this hashtag and asked Tweeters to tweetusing the #YouAreABikerIf hashtag with the best entries winning an #FF from them.So we have two brands – Castrol Biking and Comedy Store India. One hashtag – #YouAreABikerIf. And two prizes!!This was noted by Shruti Nair, co-founder Social Seety, who was not impressed with this practice of leveraging the hashtagof another brand and started the discussion on her Facebook profile.But then, if you have spent considerable time on Twitter, you will know that brands capitalizing on a trending hashtag is notsomething new. Almost every brand out there (big or small) wants to leverage a popular hashtag to get its word out.So, I reached out to Shruti regarding this entire episode and this is what she had to say:Social Media is a tricky business and with brands having to show results every single day in terms of Likes, Results or aretweet and a follower, there are various methods that various brands are applying to their strategy. Now the hashtagnuisance started with brands capitalizing on an other brands hashtag but it didn‟t stay till there. Off late I have beenobserving different brands taking up others contests and properties and merely changing the gratification and making it theirown. And this is something that I find really unhealthy for two brands existing in the same medium. In my opinion, a brandshould maintain it‟s sanity on the social space and not jump in on an another brands property.P.S – These views are my personal and not those of our company collectively. Thanks.Now, an interesting piece of information that came out of this entire episode was that both the brands, Castrol Biking andComedy Store India, are managed by the same agency – FoxyMoron.The agency wanted both it‟s clients to capitalize on the same hashtag. Killing 2 birds with one stone? Let‟s hear what HarshilKaria, co-founder FoxyMoron, has to say:It isn‟t a bad idea for brands to participate in open #s and certainly not if the brand has a personality that‟s open, social andnon brand centric. In the space of Twitter, unless a # is „branded‟, none really owns it. Hence, depending of course on thepersonality of the brand and the way it operates, it isn‟t a bad idea for it to engage in a conversation that people it caresabout are engaging in.About The Comedy Store:The Comedy Store is a Twitter account that works like a human being. Its personable. Friendly. Its also associated withcomedy and hence lends itself to almost any #. It often participates in #s on most days. #YouareaBikerif is not an exception.(screenshots attached). Neither is the way its asking followers to tweet and receive something intangible.If you study it this is the way it operates and has been operating. Capitalize on conversations and drive them in a desireddirection is the strategy. The # also lends itself well to a comedy platform. Show content at the Comedy Store has oftentouched upon the subject of bikers so it isn‟t really a stretch to talk about it either.
Following are the screenshots of Comedy Store India participating in other trending hashtags (submitted by Harshil):In fact, the #YouAreABikerIf hashtag also saw tweets coming from Royal Enfield and Comedy Central India – some of thebiggest contributors to the hashtag.
And this is what Harshil had to say on Castrol Biking :Castrol biking initiated this # because it brings together biking enthusiasts to talk about biking. This # was started and a fewselect conversations were rewarded with limited edition Castrol Power 1 books specially created by xBHP – a bikingcommunity. At the start of the #, a lot of biking enthusiasts came on board. Brands like Royal Enfield participated and spokeabout what being a biker means to them. This collective participation by passionate bikers is what ultimately led to thecreation of a trending topic of conversation.To get a neutral perspective on this entire episode, I reached out to industry verteran Mr. Sanjay Mehta, co-founderSocialWavelength, who was also a part of the initial discussion.How wise is it for a brand to capitalize on a hashtag started by another when it isn‟t even relevant to it? Such as in this casewhere the hashtag #YouAreABikerIf is relevant to Castrol but not to Comedy Store.Historically, hashtags are not and were not about a brand. They were just something that someone started and it took off,and the twitter world participated. We all do this, every now and then. So unless a hashtag has a brand name in it, it reallydoes not „belong‟ to anyone. And if a brand twitter handle wants to jump in with something, I see nothing wrong in it. Asregards relevance, it is not about the one hashtag, but what is the overall positioning that the brand has taken on socialmedia. A bank brand focusing on giving serious content cannot jump into a casual hashtag, and it will seem out of place. Buta fun brand like Comedy Store or Channel V or something, has the liberty to participate across variety of conversations andhashtags, if it chooses to.It turns out both the brands are handled by the same agency. Do you think this practice will be detrimental to the our SocialMedia Industry if more agencies replicate this practice of cross promoting their clients using one hashtag?Whether two brands are handled by the same agency or not, the brand owners themselves are sensitive to NOT be “used”out of place. So usually random associations would not happen. Whether managed by same agency or not. However, therecan be planned joint participation. Like we often see even in the traditional marketing space. Like buy a soap and getagarbatti free, etc. Or like a Coke and Pizza combo for that matter. So if joint promotion actually makes sense then, whynot.. and if it does not, then it won‟t be done, because brand owners will not let their brands be used randomly..So, there you have it from the experts in the Indian Social Media landscape.What do you think of this practice of brands leveraging a generic hashtag that is trending? More importantly, I would like toknow your opinion about one agency using one hashtag to promote two of its clients. Do you think it‟s good for the industry?