Saturday, April 27, 2013

MySpace Syndrome: Shelf life of a Social Network



Drive Traffic From Social Media to your Website


MySpace was the kingpin in the world of social media not too long ago. People were herding them like crazy. It transformed the way people discovered original music and provided a stage for bands to promote their material to their audience. MySpace was lucrative for quite some time, but as each day passed you sensed they were advertising too strongly and the site full of disorderly ads. A couple of years pass by and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter comes into the fray and MySpace starts to loose users at an alarming rate. And now you hardly even talk about it. Facebook and Twitter seems to have learned from the mistakes from of the fallen giants, but do you have a guarantee on their shelf life? There is always a possibility the time and effort you spent on developing these profiles would go to waste.

During the recent past I've being hearing many arguments within the digital community in regards to the celebrity status social networks have reached. Will Facebook be the destroyer of the so called corporate Website? What does the future hold for social networking? Is there a possibility for 1 billion people to just vanish off from Facebook making it another MySpace?

As I have mentioned in my previous posts social media is a great way to generate buzz, awareness, and engagement for your brand. But it seems that many brands are getting carried away with the social media movement and are spending the lion portion of their online time developing their social presence and giving less priority to their website.

Around the world the amount of time spent on social media is increasing at a rapid speed especially among Mobile users. According to a report published by of Buddy Media: the state social media marketing in Asia-pacific (Jun 2012), the breakdown for social media presence for Asian companies are as follows.
•             89% are on Facebook whist 66% does have a Twitter account and 13% exist on Google+.

And based on site-reported data (SEP-2012), there are around 811 Million+ social media users in Asia. Notably 552M users from QZONE, 337M on TENCENT WEIBO, SINA WEIBO 324M and Facebook coming in forth with 229M. And analyst predicts Facebook and Twitter to continue their massive growth rates into world markets as well.

However what if one fine day you wake up and try to log-in to your company social profile and it no longer exist? Or you find your account to be deleted by someone? It’s hard to keep track of the constant changes pertaining to the terms and conditions in social networks, without your knowledge you could be suspended for violating them and your profile being scrapped.  
Going through some of the recent case studies in the social media circles you always come across the guerrilla tactics corporates had used to get their competitors left with nothing. An organized group can report your profile/company page for spam and you could your profile could be flagged.

Considering the above mentioned possibilities it’s always good to invest time on developing your website which you have ownership of. Social media accomplishment should be measured by calculating the amount of traffic it drives back to your website. Social Media should not be the main Web channel you use to communicate with your target audience. It should be used to support your website, not to replace it. Developing your social networks to reach customers is always useful but never viable in the long run when your website is being ignored all along the way.

Is social media just a passing fad? Can we find really significant ways to leverage it? I’d love to hear some more in the comments section below!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Increase Visibility to the Right Kind of Audience

Reach your target audience through Social Media


Three (3) recent research studies demonstrate that active Internet users spend anywhere from 16% to 25% of their online time on social networks. Hence, steering a social media campaign could be extremely effective for building buzz, awareness, and engagement as well as spawning more fans & followers for a brand. As easy as it may sound an effective campaign that archives the corporate set objectives is generally few and far between. Since lately many corporate entities have understood the potential of social media and started to run Facebook campaigns on a Machine Gun Approach. Brands are more and more investing in tacky videos & developing lavish apps to engage audiences.

I have eagle-eyed some multinational companies running Facebook competitions with prizes galore expecting engagement from the end consumers. What they have failed to identify is the success of a promo has a direct link with the market they operate in. When I went through the weekly winner’s list majority of the promo (Conducted by FMCG companies) winners were minors. Who had no spending power nor had a say on the type of dish wash or washing power they used in their house hold. The company spent a substantial amount of money on creating an app with a decent concept to make the promo go viral but did they know who their buyers are? Or were they working through the mass to reach the Right target Audience?

So let’s break it down further,           
                                                          
The current world is an information surplus. So many sources of information and influence competing for our attention, we frequently try to seal ourselves off noisy. And tend to rely on each other to screen information and deliver us with the communications that we truly want.

"The Law of the Few", or, as Malcolm Gladwell states: there are 3 types of people who affect the rapid spread of messages through a network. These three types of fans are connectors, mavens, and salesmen.

1. Connectors: They are fans with many friends and connections who spend time maintaining these acquaintances.

2. Mavens: are the info collectors of the social network. They assess the messages that derive through the network and they permit their assessments on to others, along with the messages. They are sometime called the Mega Fan Bodyguards.

3. Salesmen: They are persuaders who are skilled of broadcasting messages through the force of their charisma. They have a certain skill to sell which helps them passage messages which may be of significance to them.

The above 3 types of fans can be called translators: they take ideas and information from a highly specialized world and translate them into a language the rest of us can understand. The above mentioned 3 types serve different causes for a brand by aid visibility to the proper audience.

And when a Social media game/promotion is announced on a fan page 2 types of fans partake in it.

Type A: Fans who participate in the contest because of the prize at stake and their comments and opinions are not authentic. They wouldn't even “like” your page if you weren't going to offer a prize or freebie in the first place.

Type B: The end prize might not be appealing to them and they might not have the spending clout. But they spend an enormous amount of time engaging with the promo going all creative with their posts and tweets to showcase their love to the brand. 

The above 2 types of fans partake in promos for totally different reasons, but they support you in creating the buzz you need to send vibes to the masses.Hence, I got into doing some research and stumbled upon a model by @SoravJain which I though was most fitting for brands to surge visibility to right kind of audience through promotions (Contest).

Contest Announced —> Mass Participates to Win the Freebies —> Making the Topic a Trending on social media channels —> That Increases Visibility —> People with the spending power Notices it —> that helps Brand Increase Visibility to Right Kind Of Audience

In laymen’s terms: Through the mass, reach the handful! Remember! Many people today aren't just clicking just because you sound interesting they are clicking since they've seen it appearing numerous times and since others are chatting about it.



 Additional Reading




Monday, April 15, 2013

Underground Market Will Sell Fake Facebook Likes

Sell or Purchase Fake Facebook Likes



After an individual fashions a Facebook page for a brand, starting out can be a bit rough and tough. You would have it much easier if you were a known giant in the industry and not a startup or a Mom and Pop Store around the corner. So in the initial stage you ask your friends and family to take a second to like your page. And that wouldn't get you past 70 likes. So your next step is to get a personalized vanity URL for your Fan Page. Now you think how am I going to boost up my fan count with the least amount of trouble & time?

And that’s the moment companies resort to purchasing likes. Having a considerable amount of likes could portray your brand/company to be dependable & trusted. The end picture could be seen as the more likes I get, the more page visits I get, the more PTA I have, the more possibility I have in gaining profits & fans. Cause according to a recent study 42% of small business owners said their top priority for using Facebook was customer acquisition, and to do that you need to first portray a certain image to the first time consumers. If they come to your Fan page in search of info and see that your page is deserted than a grave yard they wouldn't waste there hard earned money on your product or service.

Buy Fake Facebook Likes


Due to the never ending demand a large underground market is operating to cater for these requests. Just do a Google search and you’ll get a clear picture of it. To the naked eye it looks easy and worry free to purchase likes. But the down side is none of these users have a qualitative advantage, these fake profiles were created for clicking the like button on a page and increasing your fan count.

Some instances companies outsource their social media marketing to black hat social media marketing firms who promise miracle results. This happens mainly due to the company’s lack of knowledge in the field of SM marketing. This trend is highly visible in Sri Lanka as well were companies fall victim to these agencies. These black hat agencies purchases likes from the underground market and within a period of 3-5 days accumulate a considerable surge of Likes to the client’s page. What the client doesn't know is these followers are not relevant to their brand and this is not there target audience. They are not aware of the methods used by this agency to obtain followers/likes. The methodology for obtaining followers is usually not shared with companies and since the like counts has gone over the roof the establishments forget to question them on their method of instant success. Bangladesh has become the hub for this kind of scams due to having the highest CPC &CPM rates in the world. There are many individuals around the globe who act as Facebook like farmers who Post fake reviews, fake articles, and fake bids who work-from-home and make this as their career. Just go into website like freelancer and type “Facebook Fake Likes” and get a feel for the demand and supply for this kind of projects. Some say that Spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites and this kind of business operations will be contributing the lion’s portion to it. Hence it’s important to pick an agency that is reputable and has a proven track record of providing its customers with genuine social media strategies, instead of artificial likes that will get you nowhere.

So you ask might ask is it correct purchase likes? Should people do it? Is it okay to buy likes to increase visibility? You may say that companies do this kind of thing day in day out. How can a small scale company pay big money for a reputed agency to get them some quality social media exposure? Well To give it to you in laments terms, end of the day you’re only getting people to “Like” your page by purchasing likes, it does not build brand relationships, you are not giving your visitors a persuasive reason return to the page nor does just a click on the “Like” button build brand loyalty. Buying likes is cheating – There is no other way to say it, and who really likes a cheater anyways?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Festive Times for Facebook CPC & CPM in Sri Lanka

Facebook CPC and CPM in Sri Lanka

As some of you might first ask what is this CPC & CPM? CPC is cost-per-click. You’re paying for every click that Facebook directs to you. And CPM is cost-per-mille. You’re bidding $X.XX for every 1000 impressions. Getting back to the topic; as many of you know it’s once again the festive season in sunny Sri Lanka. And during this period the CPC & CPM rates on Facebook tend to sky rocket as usual.The same trend was visible during the 2012 Christmas season. Social network advertising profits was predicted to reach $10 billion internationally by 2013, a number easily financed to by countries like Russia, Japan & Australia. If given a choice advertisers will choose CPC over CPM, because it gives them more control over the expenses.If you break it down CPC is mainly used to requisite a user action and CPM is used for visibility at the moment. Many Advertisers are terrified to take the plunge of going into CPM; because they have an uncertainty of their creative not getting user clicks.

According to Social Bakers the suggested CPC rate for Sri Lanka is about $0.09.There was a time where $0.03 was more than sufficient to run an effective Facebook campaign. What i noticed was since the beginning of the month the numbers of Actions by users who click on the Facebook ads have drastically reduced and the daily ad budgets have not being fully utilized. By tracing previous year’s trends i am under the impression it’s because advertisers in Sri Lanka are adopting more and more social media advertising and they are dumping money to get their message through to the final consumer.
Talking to some industry folk, the sentiments were Sri Lankan brands are spending more cash for clicks on their Facebook advertisements during festive seasons.All this heavy spending will create a ripple effect to the market on the long run.When the average CPC & CPM rates stay high for long periods Facebook’s will always bloat the price of a click to ridiculous proportions. As they have already done in the past. If you are one of the 552 million plus users who visits Facebook on a daily basis, you could have a feel that the number of advertisers are growing and its getting cluttered by the day. Facebook advertising rivalry between brands is reaching a point where advertisers need to spend more on clicks and impressions to showcase their banner ads for more visibility. A Higher CPC or CPM bid is more likely to be entertained by Facebook in front of its target demographic than a poorer bid, cause end of the day it’s all about the Benjamin’s.

Going through some of the statistics on Social Bakers & Statista.com, countries like Russia and Japan was paying a lofty amount(Rs.160) per click during November 2012. Sri Lanka currently has an Internet penetration of around 12% ,as the prediction goes when it reaches about 45% in the year 2015 it will be very tough to find cheap clicks. Cause advertisers have already spoiled the market (E.g. Bangladesh). So, we as digital marketers are going to find a challenge of a lifetime because cheap clicks are going to be no more.

MY PREDICTION

By the Year 2015 CPC will be unaffordable for most brands due to advertisers pampering the market. CPM will be the main way to survive in the digital advertising landscape. The creatively fittest will have more exposure to the end consumer. More and more creative ideas will need to be generated to stay on top and to get the CTR going towards your brand. The Madmen will always have to have the next big idea right around the curb where loads of research and development hours will need to be spent on finding the perfect ad mix. All in all, creativity and adjusting strategies will be needed continuously stay profitable.