Social media leaves traditional marketing and communication efforts outshouted, outscoped and outsold

Is Social Media just another new communication channel adding to the existing traditional marketing communication channels like radio, television, cable or web advertising? To answer the prevalent question, let’s consider their business models. The existing channels are fairly straightforward wherein marketers pay for their companies’ message space/air space and transmit of their desired advertising message wherein social media connects users and facilitates widespread distribution of content/message- transforming the traditional marketing forcing companies to alter their business strategies for communication.

I believe that social media leaves traditional marketing communication efforts outshouted, outscoped and outsold. Let’s see how.

  • Volume: Traditional marketing content is being dwarfed by the exponentially greater volume of online user-generated content. In the past, when it came to competing for the market’s attention, brands competing against one another. For e.g. Flipkart vs. Snapdeal. The sheer volume of user-generated content dilutes the paid content and renders traditional marketing outshouted.
  • Viewpoint: An increase in message volume naturally brings forth a variety of viewpoints. Through social media, client opinions commingle with the very different viewpoints of the marketers. It’s likely that a prospective buyer of online product can find ten different viewpoints on the various products available to him, making the singularly-focused content generated by the e-commerce company’s marketing increasingly outscoped.
  • Value: Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Delicious encourage clients to post their mind, experience with the brands they are consuming, be it e-commerce sites of flight booking sites etc. The inherent value is that this content is timely, targeted and real. Though the content isn’t always positive, it’s derived from a personal interaction with the brands. For example, a buy of e-commerce site like flipkart.com posted about the delivery services and the quality of the product delivered. Such relevant information are hard to be found in the company’s website. This rich, experience driven information available on social media platforms which many consumers are looking for, leaves traditional marketing challenged and outsold.

Also, let’s understand the difference with Coca-Cola’s traditional media usage vs. its social media usage.

Television Commercial vs. YouTube video:

Let’s consider 2 similar videos which has the same message (Coca-Cola bringing the world together one Coke at a time) to its consumers. The Television commercial video, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” wanted the world to drink Coke and learn to sing to make the world a better place.  One the other hand YouTube commercial “Coca-Cola Small World Machine” was an initiative by Coca-Cola to help connect India with Pakistan. Both the videos were meant to advertise the company and its product. However the striking difference between both the video was that, TV commercial was not interactive with professional singers singing the Coke song while the YouTube video was about real people who were able to experience the machine.

Company’s Website vs. Facebook page

 

 

The website is more of a corporate page with financial information and regional data but the facebook page has a more “fun” appearance. Also the page act as a community interacting with each other with comments and replies.

Corporate Career Page and LinkedIn

The content about company information might be more detailed on the company page, but the important information is available on both sites. Though the information is the same in both the sites, however the look is not. The LinkedIn page is more user friendly, especially when looking for career possibilities and also the viewer is able to see what connections they have with individuals in the company.

information currently available.

How should one calculate the ROI of social media campaign?

The real value of social media initiatives is in developing and strengthening a relationship between a brand and its consumers. Traditional ROI measurements and attempts to analyse direct impact on sales are futile and misplaced. Thus, one should calculate the ROI of social media campaign on the following parameters:

  1. Measuring engagement: is the simplest way to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign. This can be calculated by the number of likes and shares on the Facebook and by the number of follows or retweets on the Twitter. One can, in fact, keep a track of the followers or the fans in a spreadsheet to predict the trend or the success of the campaign.

To make the data more relevant, one can determine the number of new followers to gauge the success of campaign. Simple tools like Facebook insights or Twitter analytics can be used to understand the content most popular with the customers and to modify the campaign accordingly.

  1. Click-through rate and impressions: An ad might be very popular and be liked by thousands of followers, but might not be the impactful enough to get the traffic to your website to convert the sales. One of the best and frequently used tool is click through rate – is the ratio of how often people who see or like your ad, has actually clicked your website and followed it.

This is imperative to prove that your brand is visible on the social media platform.

  1. Impact on the social media: Indeed, your social media campaign is popular and creating enough impressions, but is it influential! Now, the question arises how you measure the influence. Klout, Social Authority and Brandwatch are popular tools that measure “influence” in your industry. It helps you to know how people interact with what you share on social media.
  2. Sentiment analysis: Sentiment is the general feeling and tone of conversations that surrounds your brand or the campaign. Tools like Hootsuite, Klout, Buffer and Social flow allow one to integrate all the social media platforms and track them on one dashboard. These tools allow one to track what people are saying about you, how they are saying about you, which people are talking about you and the general attitude of people towards the brand or the campaign.
  3. Integrating the social media data: All the above mentioned tools help the brands to calculate one or the other thing that is important to track a social media campaign; but, in silo, this information is incomplete. One need to integrate all the metrics calculated to have a holistic picture of the campaign, to understand the trends in the industry, to analyse future opportunities for the social media marketing and to apply these insights to improvise the current media plan.

Social Media campaign failures by Indian firms

Here are a few examples that highlight that Indian companies have a long way to go to become good at Social Media Marketing-

Starbucks India
Starbucks India quickly deleted one of the post made by their angry customer (on 7th February) and that triggered a viral rage on Facebook & Twitter. Both Starbucks and Starbucks India removed the post from the wall as it was getting more attention than their regular updates, triggering more criticism against the brand. Angry customer had by then tweeted a printscreen of the post made on the Starbuck India’s Facebook wall that also showed number of likes and comment received which got him more attention from the Twitter Community resulting in further damage of Starbucks.  Starbucks India didn’t response to the issue on Facebook and deleted the post made by this customer. It stayed silent on Twitter despite many people asked for a response to the issue. They remained thick skinned and continued to do its other Social Media Marketing content activities! The tweet made by this customer (@ArmaanKapur) had received 211 automated Retweets and more than 70 manual Retweets which included tweets from many influencers and RTs obtained via them thus making this incident reach thousands of individuals including journalists from the mainstream media and triggered awesome support from the twitter community.

The brand which has just established its presence in India had a great opportunity to show people that they don’t just claim to sell the best coffee in the world but also offers best customer service – even on Social Media.

LK Advani’s Political Campaign
In a bid to follow the popular Narendra Modi, Indian politician LK Advani, tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250 crores for his genuinely pathetic ad campaigns. He literally targeted all the Indian sites with his aggressive Adwords. Perhaps, while promoting himself insanely he forgot that ‘Advani is not a new product on the market’ which needs crazy branding!

Instead of connecting to the people online in a non-intrusive manner or mobilizing the bloggers to write about him, he preferred spamming the sites of the whole wide India.  His blog also didn’t seem to appeal to the audience much and he failed both in the elections, and on social media.

 Indian Super League
During the soccer World Cup, over 600 million tweets were sent out on Twitter and Indians were actively engaged in discussing the game. After seeing amazing Twitter buzz during the World Cup, ISL should have dominated the social space in India. The excitement is certainly there in the people to watch this sport, but the interaction levels on social media were too little. The engagement was too consumed by celebrity participation only. The league could have increase engagement by organizing regular quizzes/competitions on the official pages, create an international fan base and possibly a Fantasy Super League similar to Fantasy Premier League in EPL.

Volkswagen India
Volkswagen India for their promotions of Polo and Vento’s Test Drive took a full page ad spread enticed readers with the copy ‘Feel the shiver of excitement?’ First ‘the shiver of excitement’ and then the vibrator on the back, both messages coupled to form a classic case of brand miscommunication and there was that this led to a flurry of tweets making jokes at the ad.

Pepsi India
Akshar, a creative designer from India started his Sunday morning seeing one of his works being ripped off by one of the biggest brands – Pepsi. He posted the content on Facebook and Twitter as well and left the people to decide. And in no time, the Facebook post got more than 50 shares, more than 150 likes and 20 people joined in conversations on the content.

Some Examples of Failed Social Media Campaigns in India

How smart can your business be on social media? With the up-and-coming significance of content driven campaigns, innovation and incorporated strategies, many brands are exploring the potential that social media has to offer. Let us also add that various brands are now mounting their digital media budgets and making social media an integral part of their business. The industry is wisely stepping up to technology and skill to woo the consumer, albeit slowly.

During the advent of various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, marketers used to try various techniques with many hits and misses. However, with more and more people getting active in these platforms, there is very little room for error. If we haven’t figured a smart social media plan we can land up to great trouble .

Let’s discuss some of examples of failed social media campaigns in India.

Ad-vani’s Political Campaign :

Indian politician Lalchand Kishan Advani, tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250 crores for his genuinely pathetic ad campaigns. He literally targeted all the Indian sites with his aggressive Adwords. Perhaps, while promoting himself insanely he forgot that ‘Advani is not a new product on the market’ which needs crazy branding!

Instead of connecting to the people online in a non-intrusive manner or mobilizing the bloggers to write about him, he preferred spamming the sites of the whole wide India.  His blog also didn’t seem to appeal to the audience much and he failed both in the elections, and on social media.

One of the famous Indian blogger writes about Advani’s campaign as follows:

“We saw Advani becoming Ad -Vani with his aggressive adwords campaign targeting every indian site. At one point there were only his ads on every site we browsed.  The first and foremost reason it failed – We hate Ads.”

#AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo by Fortis Healthcare

 We should probably avoid a ‘1980s villainous dialogue’ in a hashtag when you’re celebrating breast feeding week. Well, water under the bridge. But you wouldn’t mess it up further like Fortis did. #AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo tag by Fortis invited one liners for a contest. As it spawned negative reactions, they came up with a lame apology that their account was hacked. Serious dearth of reputation management!

Vibrator by Volkswagen

When Volkswagen India’s print campaign which had a small vibrator box pasted to their print ad received widespread criticism, they made matters worse in Twitter. When people started tweeting in absolute mockery, portraying the ‘vibrator’ campaign to be a women’s favorite, the company lashed out in a tweet that “women would be dumb to call it a vibrator. Or maybe they do not understand real driving experience. #PunIntended #Volkswagen #Creative”. The company was forced to take down the offensive tweet and apologize

  ‘Like’ a tweet? – INOX

Character limitations in Twitter tend to create typos. But, does it create things that don’t belong to this micro-blogging platform? INOX, in one of its tweet promotions asked the followers to like a tweet. If your social media manager mixes up Facebook with Twitter, you should be looking for a new guy.

    Plagiarism! – Jabong via Flipkart, GoIbibo via Makemytrip

You wouldn’t want to plagiarize even if you have a serious lack of content writers. However, it was totally uncalled for when the e-com giant Jabong created a job listing in LinkedIn that said “wanted a Brand Head to drive awareness for the Flipkart brand”. GoIbibo had a bad day when Makemytrip uncovered a tweet that Goibibo copied from them.

Social Media campaign failures in India & lessons learnt

Failed Social media campaign in India

 What truly defines a failed social media campaign? What are the factors and elements that drive a social media campaign to its doom? What are the worst social media campaigns online? What can be learned from the mistakes they have made?

Ad-vani’s Political Campaign:

Indian politician Lalchand Kishan Advani, tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250 crores for his genuinely pathetic ad campaigns. He literally targeted all the Indian sites with his aggressive Adwords. Perhaps, while promoting himself insanely he forgot that ‘Advani is not a new product on the market’ which needs crazy branding!

Instead of connecting to the people online in a non-intrusive manner or mobilizing the bloggers to write about him, he preferred spamming the sites of the whole wide India.  His blog also didn’t seem to appeal to the audience much and he failed both in the elections, and on social media. One of the famous Indian blogger writes about Advani’s campaign as follows:

“We saw Advani becoming Ad -Vani with his aggressive adwords campaign targeting every indian site. At one point there were only his ads on every site we browsed.  The first and foremost reason it failed – We hate Ads.

 Kiva.org’s Hash Tag gone wrong:

Kiva.org’s Twitter campaign is another social media strategy that lacked a strong theme. Kiva.org wanted to increase their number of followers on Twitter and so they called out supporters to recommend their brand using the hash tag FollowFriday. Unfortunately, Kiva’s message was lost somewhere in the large amount of Twitter chatter surrounding this hash tag, and they received only a small number of (targeted) followers. They chose the wrong audience using the wrong social media strategy.

#RiceBucketChallenge – An Indian twist to #IceBucketChallenge

#RiceBucketChallenge is the Indian desi twist to #IceBucketChallenge on Social Media. Manju Latha Kalanidihi, a journalist from the city of Hyderabad came up with the idea for a Rice Bucket Challenge. Rather than washing down the water in a country with scarce water supply, her train of thought was to feed the hungry for the inception of this challenge. However the momentum could not catch up for long and lost the battle.

Flipkart’s Big Billion day 

The Big Billion Day sale that started at 8 A.M. was one of the biggest sale that the country has ever witnessed. However, the day wasn’t smooth operations for the company – from server crashes to shopping cart glitches the company has been blamed to be cheating customers in the name of heavy discounts. Flipkart may state these to be normal glitches, Twitter trends have clearly given the verdict in favour of Snapdeal which is dominating the trends with #CheckSnapdealToday followed by #AsliDealsONeBay. #BigBillionDay was trending in the morning but is nowhere to be found now. Besides Amazon has hijacked the hashtag to create a website called ‘BigBillionDay.com‘; no points for answering that it leads to the Amazon website!

Learning’s from the mistakes!

  • Revise your marketing messageonce, twice, three times and even more to make sure you will get the least amount of attacks or negative feedback from your audience.
  • When using Facebook for your social media campaign, try  not to restrict comments and feedback to your Facebook page as “Wall Posts” instead, create a discussion board for more effective and dynamic two-way communication.
  • Never stray from the coreor try to be something that you’re not. Being authentic, transparent and sticking to your overall image is very important.
  • Do not try to sell yourself too bluntly. If you feel you have a need to do so, do it through communication and involvement with communities and individuals on different suitable social media channels.
  • Be ethical;lying or purposely deceiving will not pay off as some might suspect!
  • Use Facebook techniquesthat are sure to pay off because not every Facebook feature or tool will fit into your image, vision or goals.
  • Learn when to stick to the “old school style”. The “more the merrier” concept does not always work. Remember: sometimes less is more!
  • If you mess up by mistake,always have a “damage control” plan. Luck is overrated and you need to be prepared in case anything goes wrong.

Failed Social Media Campaigns in India

India, the battleground of one of the last few decades’ most divisive national elections, and the first one where Social media is arguably playing a big part. Political parties have hired specialist agencies and established large volunteer teams for a wide range of roles: to support their agendas, malign opponents with both propaganda and lies, and to act as trolls and converts as the day turns.

While I try to be nonchalant about their shenanigans, it is near impossible to ignore their efforts from a marketer’s perspective. And so far, I think most politicians, whether in India or other regions of the world, fail miserably on social media. Here’s why:

  1. Can’t be firm on policy:Depending on the way the wind is blowing on a given day, a politician needs to change tack immediately. With multiple stakeholders, and a diverse set of audiences to satisfy, they end up making promises to everyone. With conventional media and one way dialogue, they could take a misstep on a given day and course correct in due time, or simply, say they were misquoted. With social media, the audience hears from the proverbial horse’s mouth, and they have to be firm- which simply isn’t the way politics is played.
  2. Spend half their time dissing competition: When in doubt, blame the other party- with such rules of engagement, politicians don’t have the wherewithal to sustain campaigns by the strength of their manifestos. They necessarily try to malign opponents, and try to convert fence sitters. On social media, name calling and other such activities are frowned upon by people engaging with you, even as your supporters rejoice in your pot shots. With conventional media, one could think of responses and reply with wit, derision or amity in due course. With social media’s instant pressure, they can’t mostly keep up.
  3. Too serious for their own good:Try to remember the last time you heard a politician bring their personality to the table, Obama’s House of Cards tweet notwithstanding. Politicians, often to add respectability to their ‘image’, become split personalities, reserving interesting aspects of their personalities for family and close associates. One of India’s Prime Ministerial candidates, Rahul Gandhi, has been constantly criticized for being dour and unforthcoming, despite being collegial with groups closer to him. This isn’t just about him- Politicians from every country strip their personality of candour and become a wee bit ‘stuffy’, which isn’t something that wins you admirers on social media, who later convert to votes, hopefully.
  4. Engage with social in the same way as traditional media: While comparing these two forms would take another blog post, suffice it to say Politicians don’t want to appear ill at ease. With social media, their response is to create the same support teams and structures. God help you if you are a politician and not naturally ‘media savvy’. Next to your publicist, your social media team will have the toughest task.
  5. Fearful of social media: Above, I cited examples from countries where social media is mainstream enough to congregate voters, and thus politicians. Let’s however, not forget a wide swathe of countries, from Turkey banning Twitter to Russia restricting social media usage at the Sochi Olympics. Totalitarian regimes realise the losing battle they fight if they participate on social media. This is perhaps the most important reasons for many politicians’ failure on social- they just can’t stand to scrutiny.

 

Ad-vani’s Political Campaign:

Indian politician Lalchand Kishan Advani, tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250 crores for his genuinely pathetic ad campaigns. He literally targeted all the Indian sites with his aggressive Adwords. Perhaps, while promoting himself insanely he forgot that ‘Advani is not a new product on the market’ which needs crazy branding!

Instead of connecting to the people online in a non-intrusive manner or mobilizing the bloggers to write about him, he preferred spamming the sites of the whole wide India.  His blog also didn’t seem to appeal to the audience much and he failed both in the elections, and on social media.

One of the famous Indian blogger writes about Advani’s campaign as follows:

“We saw Advani becoming Ad -Vani with his aggressive adwords campaign targeting every indian site. At one point there were only his ads on every site we browsed.  The first and foremost reason it failed – We hate Ads.”

 

Many businesses have their social media accounts nowadays. But not all business can generate leads through social media marketing campaigns. There are many reasons why social media campaigns fail. Here we have discussed about five important reasons of social media marketing campaign failure.

No Defined Goals : A social media marketing campaign must have a definite goal. It should have something to endeavor for-something which will give a return on investment to the company. However, increasing the number of likes on your Facebook page isn’t a tangible goal; likes are basically arbitrary. People may like a page and then take the page out of their newsfeed, paying no attention to all the sales messages. Rather, emphasize on goals such as connecting with industry analysts, product reviewers, journalists as well as other people who can help spread the name of your brand. People will automatically follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page along the way.

Not Considering Social Media as a Two-Way System: A lot of social media campaigns do not become successful because they take ‘social’ out of the campaign. Rather than engaging with the people and creating messages that get responses, companies push out content, which their target audience is not interested to look at. You should be social in your campaign. That is the main point. You post something, people comment on your post and then you comment in response to those comments-this is the process. But make sure your posts/messages are based on what your target audience is interested in or talking about. Great conversation takes place when you talk about something that’s relevant, happening and interesting.

Making Assumptions about Social Media Culture: Social media marketing strategies will work great if you understand the different cultures of different social media channels. Don’t think that you know the culture of all the social media sites. Spend some time listening at first. The Facebook users do not like to be talked to like they are Twitter users. You should connect with people based on emotional perceptions.

Product Pushing or/and Excessive Advertising: Do you know why people follow a corporate social media account? May be they are looking for online deals or want to be the first one to know about your services or products. However, these people never follow a social media account  to be inundated with the company ads. When it’s social media, you should go for the relationship first and not sale. No one would want to see posts, which always talks about ‘buy our products, shop from us.’ It is annoying. Advertising is fine, but excessive advertising is not good.

 

Measuring ROI in Social Media Marketing

If your CEO or CFO walked into your office tomorrow and asked if your investment in social media was paying for itself, would you be able to provide the answer?

In a nutshell, the Social Media ROI Cycle happens in three stages. The first stage is the Launch stage where organizations rush to get their social media campaigns up-and-running quickly. Typically, they create a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a Pinterest Board and a LinkedIn Company page very rapidly without thinking about their goals or their strategic approach.

The second stage of the Social Media ROI Cycle is the Management stage. In this stage, organizations re-visit their social media campaigns and realize they need to formalize their goals and their strategic approaches. (Ideally, they would have thought about goals and strategies before launching their campaigns. Unfortunately, most businesses rush to launch their social media campaigns first without thinking about goals and strategies.)

During the second stage, companies formalize the metrics around their social media campaigns. This includes tracking Facebook Likes, website visitors, Twitter followers and other quantitative metrics. As we’ll discuss in a minute, these metrics are almost meaningless if you don’t also track your social media ROI.

The final stage of the Social Media ROI Cycle is the Optimization Stage. Most companies don’t reach Stage 3 of the Social Media ROI Cycle because it involves tracking social media metrics while also doing A/B split testing to see which campaigns performed the best. The companies that do reach this stage ultimately test their way to success by dropping the campaigns that don’t work and keeping the campaigns that do work.

To Calculate the ROI, the company first needs to know the customer lifetime value. Customer Lifetime Value is the amount of revenue a typical customer will generate for a company during the customer’s engagement with your brand. Suppose you own a lawn care business. Your typical customer spends $80 per month and stays with your company for an average of 3 years.  Based on that information, you can use use the following equation to determine the CLV:

$80 per month      x      12 months      x      3 years      =      $2,880     =      CLV

This would mean that each new customer is worth $2,880 to your company. In other words, every time you acquire a new lawn care customer, you know that, on average, you’ll generate $2,880 in revenue from that customer over the course of 3 years.

If you know that every new lawn care customer will generate $2,880 in revenue the next logical question is, “How much should I spend in order to acquire that new customer?”

That number is called the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and a good rule of thumb is that your CAC should be about 10% of the CLV. In the example above, 10% of the CLV ($2,880) is $288. In other words, you can spend $288 in marketing to acquire a new lawn care customer because every new lawn care customer will generate $2,880 in revenue over the course of his or her engagement with your brand.

Now, imagine that your lawn care business has gone national. Your marketing budget is $2.8 million, which brings in 10,000 new customers every year. You know that your $2.8 million marketing budget brings in 10,000 new customers each year because your tracking your spending and comparing it to the number of new customers you acquire each year.

If your social media budget comprises 10% of your total marketing budget (i.e., if your social media budget is $280,000), then your social media campaign should be generating 10% of your total new customers. In other words, your total spend is $2.8 million which generates 10,000 new customers each year. 10% of that spend is devoted to social media, so your social media campaigns should generate 1,000 of the 10,000 new customers you acquire.

You’re probably already familiar with the hub-and-spoke system, which places your landing page at the hub (or center) of a wheel. Your Facebook page, Twitter campaign, Pinterest Board and YouTube channel are the spokes of the wheel which are all intended to drive prospects to your landing page.

Once those prospects get to the landing page, you convert a certain percentage of them to customers.

On average, you might convert 1 out of every 100 visits to the landing page into a customer. So, with a conversion rate of 1%, you’d need to drive 100,000 visits to the landing page in order to get 1,000 new customers.

In a nutshell, if you spend $280,000 developing and running an extensive social media campaign and that campaign drives 100,000 visits to your landing page, and you convert 1% of those visits to new customers, you’re in great shape because you generated 1,000 new customers at a cost of $288 per customer. Since $288 happened to be your allowable cost per sale, you’re golden.

The best way to determine how many customers you’re gaining through social media is to look at the website analytics. Every social media page your company has should direct potential customers to a landing page on your site. By looking at the analytics for that page, you can determine where your customers are coming from and how much they interact with your site once they get there.

Marketing Automation software such as Marketo, LeadLife and Act-On (affiliate links) gives a history for every visitor to your page, allowing you to track both where they came from and where else they have been looking. These software platforms can even generate reports specifically concerning your social media marketing and lead generation campaigns.

The hub-and-spoke system of analyzing your website can be useful not just for calculating social media ROI but also for determining what social media sites are working best for your company. If a particular network or effort is generating few or no leads to your website, you should probably consider making significant changes to your approach.

ROI for your company’s social media marketing efforts can be measured at any point in a social media campaign. However, success will be most notable once the company has reached the stage in the campaign where its efforts are being optimized for revenue growth, not just a social media presence or even increased website traffic.