For any organization to be successful it is very important that they should know their audiences and customers very well. One easy way to check on them will be through social media. Since its inception social media has brought in a change the way people communicate with one another. From a business standpoint, it contributes to how companies interact with their potential customers. Currently there are over three billion internet users and over two billion users having their accounts on social media. This statistic underlines how much social media has invaded the lives of people. Many popular social media have even gone on to become marketing giants by offering data about their customer to various organizations. A report by Statistic states that almost 97% of the global organizations use social media for marketing purposes. With advanced analytics like in Facebook it will be very easy for any organization to understand the specific needs of a customer base and target them effectively.

 

With the help of social media it will be easy for an organization to connect with customers, collect their feedback and thereby improve the customer service and create brand awareness. Sharing content and keeping an eye on the competitors are made easy as most of the organization have now plunged into social media. The biggest benefit of social media for business is using it to increase website traffic, which will increase an organizations search ranking in search engine results. The main advantage of Social media promotion is cost effective over most of the other traditional channels and can be used to reach customers easily. Regardless of changes in technology, customers always believe in the name of an organization they trust, therefore it is very important for any organization to establish that trust. With the help of social media an organization can reach out to their customers on a personal level as it’s a platform that allows businesses to directly interact with consumers. This interaction contributes towards building a strong online reputation.

 

In 2009 only 23% of the organizations were reported to use social media. This has increased considerably over the years. In 2014, 75% have a company page on a social networking site,69% post status updates or articles of interest on social media sites, 57% build a network through a site such as LinkedIn,54% monitor feedback about the business,39% maintain a blog, 26% tweet about areas of expertise and 16% use Twitter as a service channel. Gone are the days when a phone book is used to do a research about an organization. Now-a-days, online reputation is where many companies have the most impact from customers. Social engagement, customer reviews and other aspects contribute to someone’s decision to make that initial purchase. Almost everyone now do an online research about a company before doing any research. According to Facebook one in every seven almost logs into Facebook once in a month and there are around 1.5 billion users who have a Facebook account. This highlights the sheer importance of social media marketing to engage a vast target audience. Social profiles can also play a role in exposure on sites such as Google. These profiles appear in search results of the customers in google. Currently, one in every ten online purchases around the world originates from social media channels. Many experts believe that this number is going to grow in the near future.

 

 

For an organization to a have a successful social media campaign it should have a clear strategy with clear goals and a clear understanding of what it would take to achieve those goals. Also, the organization must have a clear answer to the following questions like: what is their motive behind plunging into social media, are the expectations realistic?  Will they be able to interact effectively with their audience? Are they willing to treat their social media with utmost importance? Unless an organization has a clear answer to the above questions, they can rarely achieve success. If not used effectively, social media can take a toll on the organization. The best example of an organization which failed in when to taking to social media is, McDonalds. When they created a hashtag in twitter, the #McDStories, it produced a catastrophic result. The customers used the hashtag more to express their concerns rather than sending out positive response, similar incident happened with Ryanair Airliner. Clairol Company is a good example of a business with successful results using social media. They offered free samples to their Facebook followers to promote their recent product due to which their fan base grew  by 944%, resulting in 600,000 likes.

 

The following things must be considered by an organization for fine-tuning their social marketing initiatives. Almost all the successful organizations make their presence felt everywhere. Creating engaging content is more important than creating viral content. If the content you create does go viral, then that’s just frosting on the cake. An organization should aim at gradual progress rather than creating an overnight sensation. Create a more personal message regarding your content to attract more consumers. Tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweet Deck, and Sprout Social are excellent for distributing content to all social profiles. These tools help an organization to send a post to the most popular social hubs simultaneously instead of visiting each site separately. Most of these have free adaptations for beginners, but paying for the premium accounts could be a time-saving investment.

 

There are multiple social platforms today which can be used by an organization to communicate with its customers efficiently. Leading web content management tools like Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore or EPiServer provides capabilities for creation of digital experiences across websites and mobile applications. They enable brands to manage digital assets, mobile forms and documents, as well as user-generated content from social networks. Workflows spanning over cloud and the asset management functionalities connect creative content and data in a better way. Many useful out of the box features are readily available. It has many available services to speed up the development of integrating social communities in an organizations site. Most of these tools offer a social framework in some form that combines all social and collaborative applications. It can range from the simple rating of an article to even an entire forum topic. They enable an organization to use a single interface to tailor socialized and personalized content across social channels, including Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn. They also help in generating messages according to various platforms thereby optimizing the success rate. By enabling a single interface it maximizes the traffic and conversion rates and also includes campaign tracking functionalities to include channel specific indicators like tweets, comments, shares and likes.

 

Many such examples are available where business has benefited a lot from their social channeling developed on such web content management tools.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation owns, operates, or manages 53 casino resorts in seven countries, as well as several golf courses. They optimized their website for 70% conversion rate and 10% increase in loyalty program signups. Online fashion retailer La Redoute serves 11 million page views daily and 6.5 million unique visitors each month, with 12,000 categories for 30,000 products and 150,000 individual items.

 

These interactive social channeling helps in getting user’s attention and encourages him in visiting and getting engaged with the business, thus contributing to the overall marketing and promotional goals and implementing an effective social marketing platform. As correctly predicted by many Social and Marketing experts, it’s no longer an option to do social marketing or not, but the success lies in how well a business is able to execute its social marketing plans.

Sudhakar Kamalakar

Sudhakar Kamalakar

Practice Head, Enterprise Collaboration at Aspire Systems
Sudhakar Kamalakar