SOME OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA BLUNDERS IN INDIA

In one of my earlier posts, I have mentioned about some of the most successful social media campaigns of India done beautifully by some very good brands such as National Geographic, Oreo and Signature. There were many more brands which did a fairly decent job in terms of the campaigns. In this post, I am going to talk about some of the unsuccessful social media campaigns happened in the past years within India. I will also mention about some of the most illogical blunders done by very famous established brands at social media.

#agarmakadudhpiahaito BY FORTIS HEALTHCARE

When you’re celebrating a Breast Feeding Week, you don’t come up with hashtags spewed by villains in 80s. But Fortis did. Mamma Mia, an initiative by Fortis Healthcare, decided to celebrate that Breast Feeding Week by asking it users to tweet using #AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo. But you wouldn’t mess it up further like Fortis did. As it spawned negative reactions, they came up with a lame apology that their account was hacked. Serious dearth of reputation management! How can a mature brand like Fortis can do such a blunder at Social Media. Looked like one of the kids designed the social media campaign for them and then came up with the excuse that it was not him.

DISCOUNT CONTEST BY BURGER KING

Burger King made an epic miscalculation when they came up with a Facebook “Whopper sacrifice” campaign that asked their fans to grab a discount by ‘unfriending’ 10 friends. Burger king offered a free hamburger to anyone who severed the sacred bonds with 10 of the friends they had accumulated on Facebook. Facebook soon came forward and asked them to withdraw the campaign which was a serious damage to their business model. However, almost 234,000 friends were terminated by the fans by then and created criticisms elsewhere in social media.

VOLKSWAGEN VIBRATOR CAMPAIGN

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 favourite, 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 apologized and then later came the same old excuse: Our Twitter account got compromised. We are investigating the issue. It is difficult to understand how these mature brands can hire such immature people who just post anything on the company’s official social media account. Is there no screening happening for each of the social media communication?

‘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. How can your social media manager mix Facebook with Twitter. Similar thing was done by Ford Fiesta, when one fine day it posted on Twitter “A very good morning everyone. Hit like if you had a fun weekend!”. These are silly mistakes which lot of brands are doing these days, probably because either the social media managers are not serious enough, or the brand is not serious enough towards its social media communication.

ADVANI’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.”

How should one calculate the ROI of social media campaigns?

So, Social media is about Customer Engagement and not about the company’s performance goals such as ROI, Market share, Revenues – correct? Well, Yes and No. Although, it has been proven that Social media is most effective as a medium of customer engagement than as a medium of generating sales for the company, ROI is something that marketers cannot wish away. Even if they do, the CFOs will not let them. So is it really important to calculate the ROI of Social media campaigns and if yes, how do you calculate the ROI?

From a marketer’s point of view, the answer to the first part is analogous to answering whether it is important to calculate the ROI of keeping a restroom functional in the company!!! We know that it is useful and necessary and don’t need to or cannot be quantified absolutely accurately. Despite that, the marketers have to provide some quantified estimate of what return the social media campaign will bring to the company. ROI for Social media campaign is calculated is absolutely the same way it is calculated for any other project or investment. The difference though is that every social media campaign would have its own set of cost and value parameters. The question to answer then would be how to measure each of these parameters accurately and ascertain that our assumptions about quantifying them are correct. You need to calculate the overall costs including aspects such as salary of social media team, cost of shipping a product for customer trials as part of social media channel, depreciation costs if any in the overall process, cost incurred by any other department in facilitating the social media campaigns etc. Similarly, on the revenue front, you need to be able to prove that a particular sale is the result of the social media campaign. For example, a customer’s choice of buying your product may not be the result of the very first interaction he has with you on a social media platform. At the same time it could be heavily influenced by his circle of friends interacting with you on social media platforms. Another example could be about measuring repeat customers who first purchased your product due to your social media campaign. Such customers should still be part of your ROI calculations when they make subsequent purchases. So, the challenge is about tracking and measuring the sales that are resulting from your social media campaigns.

The ROI calculations for Social media campaigns are still grounded in concepts of finance and economics and therefore there is no special way to calculate the ROI in social media any differently from that of conventional investments. The increased revenues from Social media campaigns are a result of customer engagements. Firms must understand that Social media campaigns release the bottlenecks in the sales funnel leading to more revenues. The concept of “Source credibility” plays a big part in it where the customer is more likely to buy your products if they hear good things about it on social media platforms from their own friends, rather than hearing it from your salesperson’s or marketer’s mouth. They are less skeptical about your product when they are recommended by their own friends. Another point to understand is that to have a better ROI on social media, you need to focus on increasing the Revenue (numerator) than worrying about the investment (denominator). Social media campaigns provide a good ROI because a social media campaign triggers much more customer-interactions than conventional campaigns would do for example a television advertisement. To estimate, if the number of customer interaction for an ad on TV would be 5, it could easily be 50 on a social media platform. The customer-interactions lead to sales and this huge difference between customer interactions on conventional mediums and social media is what brings in a lot of revenues leading to better ROI of a Social media campaign.

How should one calculate the ROI of social media campaigns?

No longer can Social media marketers shy away from putting a dollar value to the customer engagement that happens on social media. It is high time they put a number to the returns on their social media campaigns. It is important to have a ROI calculation in place before they can advocate investments on social media.

However, ROI calculation is not as simple as it seems. Calculating returns or quantifying the ‘customer engagements’ and ‘higher brand awareness’ is not easy.Moreover, the numbers need to be pulled out from various sources – blogs, social media sites, browsers companies and even their own servers have to be analysed thoroughly to ensure companies have the required numbers first to get to the measurement part.

The Marketing Plan should cover all aspects of Social Media strategy; right from where the money is going to be invested to how we are going to calculate the returns. Companies should essentially look at the following steps towards this –

Define the campaign goals.

What does the company ultimately want the social media campaign to do for them? Is it making the customer purchase something online, register or signup for a newsletter, spend time on the website, share or follow or like, view content, etc.

Track the interactions

This involves using Google Analytics and a host of other services that can be done at offsite (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and/or onsite (at the client side or server side) depending on the need and budget.

A lot of metrics can be collected and analysed to know the success of the campaigns.

  1. Traffic – Number of visitors to the website
  2. Reach – Number of people the campaign reaches. The more the number of fans, followers or group members, the larger is the reach
  3. Leads – Number of potential customers or users that show interest or can be targeted depending on the action taken
  4. Customers – Number of leads that become actual customers
  5. Conversion Rate – Ratio of actual customers to the number of visitors or number of people reached by the campaign.

The conversion rate is the success rate that highlights the number of people that perform the actual action intended by the company (as defined in the first step – defining campaign goals)

Calculate Returns

This can be done by calculating the increase in sales or customers and assigning a monetary value to either of them. Calculating the sales brought in by each social media platform is relatively easy. Alternatively, if a customer’s life time value is known along with the number of new customers added, then the total value or returns of the social media campaign can be calculated.

Calculate Costs

Add up all the investments/costs such as people costs, agency costs, etc., per platform to come up with the total cost of the campaign

Calculate ROI

ROI = (Returns-Costs)*100/Costs

ROI for each social media platform can be calculated separately to know the efficiency of each platform. This can help the Campaign Manager or Marketing Manager to allocate further investments depending on the success rate of each social media platform

To conclude, calculating ROI on the social media marketing is an important step whose details need to be thought through during the planning stage.  It might be difficult to pin down the exact benefits of a social media strategy. However, it is often possible to measure certain aspects of social media ROI for specific campaigns. Additionally, companies should also take a more holistic look, that justifies the spend on the social media campaigns and helps in knowing the efficacy of each dollar invested.

What are some examples of failed social media campaigns in India?

India is still in the nascent stage when it comes to accessing the vast potential of social media marketing. Many companies and organizations have attempted to use Social Media as part of their Marketing strategy. The following are some examples of India social media campaigns that were unsuccessful or failed due to varied number of reasons
Breastfeeding Week Campaign by Fortis Healthcare invited one liners for a contest on social media that spiralled into negative reactions. It was too late before Fortis could regain control. However they had to stop the campaign on social media as the campaign came nowhere close to the intended outcome and marred the reputation of the company.
Volkswagen’s ‘Feel the Shiver of excitement’ campaign on Times of India generated lot of negative responses on social media and later became distasteful when Volkswagen referred to ‘women as dumb’ if they related the campaign to a vibrator. Volkswagen had to deal with considerable embarrassment and negative reactions due to unexpected consequences and their derogatory statement about women.
MTV India ended up wishing John Lennon ‘a joyous year ahead’ on his birth anniversary spurring lot of negative comments from fans. MTV apologized but blamed trolls for the failure of the campaign.
Burger King asked their fans to unfriend 10 friends on Facebook for one of their social media campaigns. Facebook saw this as a threat to their business model and ask them to withdraw their campaign. However, by the time the campaign was withdrawn fans unfriended many friends and this generated a lot of criticism on social media.
Flipkart’s Big billion day was supposed to a nationwide campaign on both traditional and social media platforms. Flipkart had to face lot of criticism as its sites adopted illegal pricing tactics and also the stocks dint last as expected. Furthermore domain name bigbillionday.com was used by Flipkart’s competition as a result of which Google search listed down Flipkart’s competition names instead of Flipkart. The whole campaign seriously damaged the trust and reputation of the brand and the founders had to write an apology to all its customers.
Social media is a powerful platform that if used in the wrong way can prove disastrous for the brand image of the product or company. Many campaigns fail because they treat social media as just another medium of communication. They forget that the companies are dependent on the people to make the campaigns work. The ‘social’ in social media is crucial and one that determines whether the campaign will be successful or not. Let us highlight some of the reasons why social media campaigns fail
– Company do not have a goal for their social media campaigns
– Too much selling and less of building relationships
– Misunderstanding how social media actually works
– Culture and sensitivity issues are overlooked
– Hiring a wrong agency that is not able to connect the brand with the customers can prove costly
– Ads and campaigns are not consistent with the brand image and values of the company
– No consistency between various marketing channels
– The campaigns are not creative and do not invoke interest
– Campaigns are targeted at wrong audience or social network

Failed Social Media Campaigns in India

According to some of the media reports I read, Indian organizations these days are using social media much more than the global average and their counterparts in emerging economies. Study of social media marketing among various social media-savvy organizations in India has thrown up some good insights.

With high adoption of social media platforms for advertisement in India, there are bound to be some campaigns that didn’t take off as expected or fell flat on face. Few of such campaigns that I can think of are –

  1. Blackberry India launched a 360 degree marketing campaign named “Action Starts Here” two years back. It also did an extensive campaign on social media and we try to find out how effectively it was done on various platforms.
    Blackberry, that was once widely referred as “Crackberry” due to the addictiveness of the device is dying a slow death. This comes at the time when the brand has been struggling after brands like iPhone and Android came into action and swamped the market shares. Since then Blackberry has been submerged either in technical issues or political controversies.
    Pundits have written it off but the brand is not yet ready to leave the forte. However, the brand seems not to be in any mood to bow down soon so it has launched an actionable 360 degree campaign first in Thailand and later followed it in India.
    The essence of the campaign was to find out what does Blackberry stand for and the answer was “Action” and the action starts right away from Blackberry. Hence, the campaign focused on “Action has a symbol” and the brand line was “Action starts here”.
    Along with other channels, the brand made sure that the campaign was not to be missed out on the social front too. The Facebook community of Blackberry India, witnessed the “Action Campaign” with an interesting contest followed by some engaging content. The brand designed a Facebook contest where it asked fans if there was something that they would like to change about their world, then what would it be. A mobile app was designed too to cover all bases. However even though the campaign was able to generate some buzz, it didn’t translate in engagement. The outcome, management was expecting was not achieved and heavy investment in both social and traditional media didn’t give returns.
  2. The second example that comes to my mind is the Flipkart Big billion day:
    The campaign used YouTube, Twitter and television to stream ads about much hyped big sale on Flipkart.com. Flipkart declared October 06th as a sale that has never happened in India with unbelievable discounts.
    However, when users tried to login early morning many of the discounted prices were not available or rather priced very high and then marked down by discount. These pricing tricks didn’t go well with customers.

Few of the learning from this case are –

–  A massive campaign like the one we witnessed above will attract people   from all sides. So make sure you one is able to ride on customer’s expectation. Such a campaign if not executed properly will benefit your rival businesses like it did to Snapdeal. Both ended up earning $100 million. So who is the real winner?

-Try not to fool your customers by inflating the prices of goods and then offering them at discounted rates. This is the world of social media.

Calculating ROI of a Social Media Campaign.

Measuring ROI of a Social Media Campaign.

 

All business be it small or big have brought into the idea of social media marketing. Social media has provided unique and creative ways to reach out to your current and potential customers.

However qualifying the returns on your investment in social media is still a difficult topic to address. The spending on social media is increasing continuously and businesses have to find out ways and means to calculate ROI in order to justify the increased spends on the same.

 

The first and the foremost step involves identifying and fixing social media marketing goals that are in line with your existing business and departmental goals. If you have set a specific number of “visits to the store” you’re trying to attain this quarter, set the number of “visits to the store” you want to specifically be driven by social media. One needs to audit existing social media performance to establish appropriate goals for improvement.

 

Some of key examples of social media metrics to track include:

 

  • Extended Reach of the brand
  • Total Site traffic
  • Leads generated
  • Sign-ups and conversions
  • Revenue generated

It’s important for social data to be relevant to stakeholders within your organization, not just social media practitioners. Tying social media to the big picture by linking it to organizational and departmental goals will help you achieve that.

 

Once we have established our social media goals, we need to identify and implement the tools and processes required to measure the ROI on the social media campaign. This may involve adding tracking codes to URLs, building custom landing pages, and more.

There are a variety of social media analytics tools which service to track the diverse metrics you are after. Here are some to consider:

Google Analytics: Track website traffic, on-site conversions, and sign-ups originating from social media campaigns.

Twitter Analytics: Helps u track and catch up the tweets happening on the network.

Hootsuite Analytics: Hootsuite offers a variety of analytics tools to help you track your reach, conversions and more.

Using the tool picked up above, it’s time to add in the social media accounts you’re going to track and the items you want to track for it. For example, you may want to track:

 

  • Newsletter audience growth
  • Twitter audience engagement
  • LinkedIn reach and activity
  • LinkedIn demographic details about your audience
  • Keyword search usage

There are many reasons and ways to measure the ROI for your social media campaigns. Not only does it highlight the value of your work, but it can also give you an opportunity to reassess your marketing efforts and adjust accordingly.

 

By constantly re-evaluating, you’ll only continue to improve the work you do, so that when you’re asked to justify your social media efforts, you can. 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.

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.”

Dettol End of Day Confidence Challenge:

Dettol’s “End of Day Confidence Challenge” is a Facebook contest where the brand is asking men if they are still confident by the end of the day. So if you think that you are fresh and confident after 5PM, then upload your end of day picture or video and you may stand a chance to win an Adidas gift voucher worth INR 5000. That sure sounds exciting!

Dettol India’ Facebook page, which has a community of 29,568 fans, is simultaneously running a Facebook ad that leads to the contest. Even if you have not witnessed the ad, just click on the Dettol EOD Confidence Challenge Facebook app and once the authentication is done, you would end up on the below screen.

The Facebook App:

The contest which is exclusive for its fans is a no brainer. Once you are on the page you would see two actionable buttons – 1) View Contest Entries and 2) Enter the E.O.D Challenge.

On click of the Enter the E.O.D. Challenge button, it takes you to the screen to upload your entry.  You are asked to upload your picture, video or a Youtube link with a message where you need to describe the secret of your confidence. Once you have done this, click on the submit button and the photo would be uploaded. The screen also provides your message to be posted on the wall. However, the app does post on my behalf without my approval on my personal timeline. A clear misuse of Facebook app guidelines by Dettol India.

Once you have saved your entry, you would find it visible in the “View Contest Entries” section. Now is the interesting part as you will have to gain maximum number of likes from your community on your confident photo to win the voucher. Besides this, the app also provides sharing option so that you can share the contest among your friends. The sharing feature is described as a must for Facebook apps to be successful by pundits.

The campaign is not impressive, the entire contest fails to impress and is a dud for the following reasons:

  1. The incentive provided by the brand in this contest has no resemblance to the brand. It would have been great had the brand provided Dettol merchandise to the winners. It would have made much more sense than Rs.5000/- Adidas voucher.
  2. The contest is based on ‘Likes’ which is so 2010 kind of idea. Besides this, it is difficult for the brand to prevent bogus voting.
  3. The app also clearly misuses theapp guidelines of Facebook like most of the Facebook contests do so.
  4. Finally the contest is all about end of day confidence but the message is completely missing from the contest. There have been a bunch of uploads by participants andis difficult to figure out how is confidence being related to it.

Discount contest by Burger King

Burger King made an epic miscalculation when they came up with a Facebook campaign that asked their fans to grab a discount by ‘unfriending’ 10 friends. Facebook soon came forward and asked them to withdraw the campaign which was a serious damage to their business model. However, almost 234,000 friends were terminated by the fans by then and created criticisms elsewhere in social media.

‘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.