Social Media and Business – Q and A


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I was approached by a journalist to answer some questions on a story
her publication is doing on Social Media – here are the questions and
my answers
Q.      As social media consultant where do you see the loopholes of a
company’s social media marketing?

a.       The biggest loophole is that managers think that social media
is like other media. It’s not. It is a place where users feel the need
to express and comment and create. If brands only focus on
“broadcasting” instead of giving people a platform to create and
connect they won’t enthuse the user.

Q      What is the social media strategy that a company needs to adopt?

a.       Focus on building a community of enthusiasts and evangelists
about their passions, lifestyle or causes. Don’t make Facebook and
Twitter as the fulcrum. Use them to find people who are your
evangelists and encourage them to engage with other users on your
platform

b.      Organizations will need to realize that they need to do two
things that they don’t have currently the skills for – to become
content and community stewards

Q.     How does one measure the social media activities and the result?

a.       There are three metrics that one can track

i. Engagement metrics on the platform

ii. Web metrics

iii. Business metrics – focused on how many people tried or bought the product.

Q. H ow do you think social media is helping the small businesses,
like those who are advertising and marketing their services only
through social media?

A. There are some kind of small businesses like Cafes, restaurants,
bookshops, art galleries which are ideal for social media as their
products and services can have dedicated fans – who engage with it on
social media outlets. Such businesses can incentivise fans to talk
about them on the social web and reward them for such evangelism.

However, for small businesses that are into B2B marketplaces, like
recruiting agencies (e.g. http://blog.optionsindia.com/ ) it is a
vehicle to build awareness and connect with customers – and also for
Search Engine Optimisation.

Q. do you think having a strong fan following and creating a number of
fan pages are giving these business a boost and scope to flourish?

A. In the US it has been researched that the value of a fan is much
higher than an ordinary customer – so yes if a business displays
engagement with its fans and helps its fans to connect with each other
– it stands to benefit from the goodwill

Q. what is your projection for small businesses who runs only through
social media, says.. 2-3 years down the line.

A. I see social media – specially location based services like
Foursquare and Gowalla – becoming critical to these businesses as it
shows who’s visiting them and are willing to talk about them – such
regulars (“mayors” on foursquare for example) will be key to drive
brand messages by empowering them to talk about the business.

In the future I see value being co-created in the space between the
fan and the businesses, with innovation and ideas for new services and
products being given by these fans.

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About Gautam

Gautam is a HR professional interested in how emerging technologies are impacting work, careers and organizations.

Posted on July 11, 2010, in social media. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thank you for posting these questions and answers. It will be helpful for business owners who want to understand how to better use social media tools. In regards to the value of a fan, a Hubspot webinar I listened to a while back said their statistics show that 500 fans seems to be the magic number to reach since that many fans seem to make an impact on the company’s return on investment. But once over 500 fans, there is no additional benefit. I’ve never heard that mentioned anywhere else, though. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again for taking the time to post the Q & A from your interview.
    -natalie

    • Hi Natalie

      I personally think that more fans translate into a community – that becomes self-sustaining – and of course it depends on what the nature of the business is also

      Do take a look at this post by Forrester analyst on the value of a fan

      Value of a Facebook Fan is Zero!

    • Gautam,
      I like the Augie Ray article about the value of a Facebook Fan. He points out some interesting things to consider about the nature of fans. Thank you for posting the link, and for your thoughts.
      -natalie

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