Tag Archives: branding

How can you identify and leverage social media influencers for brand awareness?

Social-media-for-BrandingThe evolution of digital marketing has given rise to many new different concepts that are being increasingly used by individuals and brands to create awareness. One of them is the social media influencer. While this did not exist till about five years back, as of today, more and more brands are using influencers to build relationships with their customers.

So who are these social influencers?

Social influencers are social media users who, other than having a huge following, also have an established credibility with their audience. They have the power to influence others with their authenticity and trustworthiness. An influencer is neither a brand evangelist nor a brand advocate (although that can also be arranged for a fee). There are more like cheerleaders who extend the message in their immediate circle.

While many social influencers tend to have a large number of followers, at the end what really matters, is how many of them will mention, respond to or share an influencer’s posts. These influencers use different channels to reach their audience and they could be anything from blogs to the various social media networks.

How does one to identify social influencers?

Though the social influencer is a fairly new phenomenon, many bigwigs of the industry believe that this is nothing but the ancient “word of mouth” marketing that relies on technology to accelerate it. Leveraging the best influencers will not only help you reach their audience, but the audience’s network too.

Influencers with a huge number of active followers can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your product pages. There is a relationship component in influencer marketing as the audiences that you are looking to influence listen to the particular person because of the trust factor. Hence, when you are looking to identify a social influencer for your brand, you should keep the following “must-have” points in mind:

  • Relevancy to the audience: Look for influencers that produce niche content and are relevant to your brand contextually.
  • Authentic: Audiences trust influencers because they are authentic with their information. He or she must not be posting sponsored content as they will dilute the purpose.
  • Active and makes frequent posts: There is a direct correlation between the frequency of posts and the return of the customer. The more the influencer posts, the more your brand name will spread.
  • Huge reach: Don’t look at reaching a target audience; instead opt for someone who has a wide range of audiences that can be influenced.

Why is social influencing marketing important today?

A report by The Guardian states that 69% of the customers will use the Internet as their main source of information within the next five years. Also, a recent study by McKinsey found that online word of mouth advertising drives twice as many sales as paid advertising leading to a 37% higher retention rate.

If we are to go by these studies, it is pretty much clear that the best way to drive sales is to identify social influencers aligned to your brand and leverage their voices to communicate your brand’s message.

According to another study, 88% of buyers consider online reviews very important when making a purchase. The millennials, who represent an enormous segment of the purchasing population, rely on a brand’s story more than other buyers when making purchasing decisions. Also, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. It’s time that you started using social influencers more than you did!

How to engage influencers?

To get social influencers to help you, you have to again build a relationship with them and it has to be done subtly. Building relationships take time but once the connection is created, activating influencers becomes a lot more seamless and effective. After connecting with time, give them engagement. Interact with them on different platforms through the content they are sharing and also participate in the conversation they start. Apart from participating in their posts and conversations, you can also grab their attention through: media kits, contests, shareable content, hashtags, and with creative contents like infographics, videos etc. This can grow into a mutually beneficial relationship.

How do you leverage the services of influencers?

There are various ways that you can make the most of social influencers. Listed below are a few of them:

  • Create an experience: For the influencer to talk about your product it can’t just be a review, it has to be an experience that he or she can feel and enough to share it forward with their audiences.
  • Customize the campaign: Each campaign has to be customized to fit the social influencer that can be steered by the influencer in a way native to his or her audience.
  • Track the progress: You must track and monitor the progress so that if required you can tweak the campaign in between to suit the required results.

At Unspun we help customers identify the social influencers who meet their requirements and in the process help with influencer marketing.

Want to be next Narendra Modi? Here is the secret

pr-in-politicsthe-reason-behind-mr-narendra-modis-success-1-638Indian politics has evolved quite a bit since the time of its inception. In fact, the scene has become quite dynamic and complex right now. While earlier the politicians would address the masses on one platform, for example, at a rally, where audiences would turn out in large numbers to listen to the speeches of the politicians, now there are multiple platforms.

With the advent of the digital age, the number of channels that politicians use to reach out to people is phenomenal. It feels like, politicians are running a permanent political campaign on the Internet through various outlets like Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs and so on. More the channels of communication, more the room is for error. Due to conservative usage of communication earlier, our politicians then did not really require the help of Public Relations. Gandhiji never had a Twitter handle those days and neither did he have a PR, yet he was able to communicate well with the masses who understood his agenda clearly because there was just one channel of communication and it was uniform. But, now it is a smart move for the politicians to have a PR at the disposal because they have an image to protect and build upon.

Most politicians in western countries have their own in-house PR advisor whose responsibility lies in dealing with the press. They also help the politicians with image building, reputation management, crisis management and even easy and correct communication with people. Sometimes, when the problem is of a bigger dimension, they even hire an outside firm to deal with it. Rarely do we come across politicians from leading countries like the USA, UK and Germany making any political bloopers? But, our Indian politicians are yet to learn the trick!

Politicians till date end up making shocking statements for which they have to later apologize and compensate heavily. There have been many such examples in the past. There is one particular politician though who seems to have taken a cue from the West and has imbibed it in his own day-to-day functioning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to have a dedicated team that helps him. They keep him updated about the different going ons in the country and the world and even help him with different digital channels to keep in touch with his countrymen. If that is not enough, the team seems to even help him with his body language and attire. No wonder then the PM has ever made any statement out of line.

Public relations is a two-way process that in the first place helps make information available to public in an effective and efficient way, and secondly helps the politician get feedback from the public so that he or she can incorporate the same. Even though there are many digital channels today, it is very easy to get lost in the milieu. PR can bring visibility to a politician, especially in social media driven world like ours. A politician is has a busy schedule and as such it is not humanely possible to reach out to each and everyone, this is where a PR agency steps in and can come up with strategies and policies to communicate with the people in the best possible way.

PR can benefit politicians in the following ways:

  • Party identification
  • Image building
  • Image management
  • Communicating right messages on right platform
  • Avoiding scattered or half understood media messaging
  • Crisis management

Today among Indian politics there is a greater need to consider alternate mechanisms to reach out to the citizens and PR can play a vital role in dealing with the same. PR can go a long way in helping politicians not only during the elections to engage voters but also with their long term campaigns that seem to have become an ongoing process. It is very important for a particular leader to be identified with a party and PR can help that cause in a big way in the process also contributing to party engagement on a regular basis.

It is not only the public in general but also the internal marketing that matters for a politician. It is imperative that a politician is also well known within the party and holds a good rapport with his party members. PR works like an all encompassing blanket that covers all these areas and more.

Strategize and choose the right Digital Media Marketing Channels with these Handy tips

B9-digital-marketing-chartDigital media marketing isn’t as straight cut as traditional marketing hence, you need to identify the right channels that work for you and then put your money in it. What works for a competitor might not work for you so conduct a proper research of the available tools and channels for your brand and product before you create your strategy. It is very important for a brand to assert a strong online presence to make a mark. With the help of social media marketing, your brand will be able to reach a wide audience but how will you know which channels work the best for you? It will mostly depend on your business and the kind of people you’re targeting.

Familiarize yourself with some of the popular channels on digital marketing before creating your strategy:

  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing includes: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  • Content marketing
  • PR on digital media marketing

Once you get to know how each of these channels work, you can formulate your plan of action keeping the following points in mind:

  • Define your business or company goals: Take a close look at your company’s needs and then you can decide on how you want to use the social media to help achieve them. While there are many goals that might traverse between personal and actual business goals, the common ones are – brand awareness, customer retention, sales & lead generation and reduce cost. Concentrate on the more important and primary ones and go ahead then proceed.
  • Budget: Off late, brands have been allocating a greater part of their marketing budget to social media marketing. When deciding the budget, keep in mind the following things: fees for digital marketing crew, paid advertising, content creation services fee, fees for graphic artists, photographers and videographers…depending on the kind of posts you want. It makes sense to first have the strategy in place and then plan the budget.
  • Define your marketing objectives: Marketing objectives help you measure the success of your strategy within a specific period of time. The objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Ensure that your objectives are in line with the company’s overall vision and have a deadline.
  • Target audience: Before you choose to use the channels for social media marketing, you need to know where your audiences/customers are and where the competitors stand. Research the demographics of the main social media channels listed above to know where your customers are. After studying the demographics closely, choose the channels that best suit the target audience interests and online behaviour. Most social media channels will give you a broken down report of the users so go through it carefully and also keep an eye on industry reports and surveys.
  • Choose the right channels: As mentioned in the previous point, different social media channels can provide you with reports on demographics of the users. Depending on these, choose the channels where you find the customers you are targeting instead of wasting time on all the different channels. Many brands create accounts in multiple channels that don’t really help. For example, if the data tells you that your prospects spend 40% of their online time on Facebook and 20% on Twitter, you know which primary and secondary social networks you should focus on.
  • Create content strategy: It won’t be wrong to say that social media marketing is content driven. The best marketing strategy will not work if not supported by great content. The three main components for any successful social media content strategy are: type of content, time of posting and frequency of posting. The posts you make on different channels are form and context dependent. The tone and voice of the posts should be in sync with that of your brand.
  • Assign specific roles to people: To avoid confusion and waste of time, to increase productivity, avoid confusion and overlapping of duties assign specific jobs to the staff. Once the roles have been decided upon and assigned, it’s time to execute. You can plan the marketing activities on a weekly basis that is less confusing or on a daily basis, avoid monthly basis as it is too long a time and things might change in between.

Now that you have got your tips handy, go ahead and choose your channels and strategize your activities. We at Unspun have experts working closely with clients on a daily basis helping them formulate their plans.

Six Effective ways to use Social Media for Brand Strengthening

brands_and_social_media1Social media serves as a great platform to not only market one’s brand but also to strengthen the brand image and reach. It is one of the most widely used mediums today as the reach is humongous and advertisers and marketers swear by the results of social media. It can be used for building both personal as well as an organization’s brand. But not everything can bring you results; there are a few effective ways that the use of social media can be leveraged. They are stated as follows:

  • Choose the right channels to market your product: Social media is a huge space that needs to be explored bit by bit. But the best thing about it is that it is compartmentalized better thanks to the different channels that exist. So you can make your pick from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and so on. You can use either one channel or a combination of them but you need to first identify which will work for you the best. Facebook is perhaps the only channel that works for all kinds of brands because it is used by people from all walks of life. Pinterest though used mostly by women for fashion purpose also has pins related to infographics and the likes. LinkedIn on the other hand is a great channel for B2B branding.
  • Leveraging social media visually: Social media relies heavily on visual appeal. According to a study by a research firm, images on Facebook constitute 93% of the most engaging posts compared to status updates, links, and even video. So you can imagine how influencing visuals can be and hence you need to use it very carefully. Colours catch the eye very frequently so when you’re using social media for your brand’s marketing make sure that the colours are appealing. Choose two to four colours to use consistently throughout all of your social media posts and marketing. Use fonts that suit your brand’s personality and use images that convey the right message. It is also great to have a particular template for your social media posts as it will maintain uniformity and also help people identify easily with your brand.
  • Share content that people can identify with: Let’s just be clear about the fact that content on social media should be easily consumed by the audience and for that the content should be easy on the eye. Each of the posts should support your brand and though be easily understood, should also make a statement strong enough for people to identify with the brand. Use a lot of images and infographics as they register with the users easily. Brand building though on Twitter is tough, has a greater impact.
  • Take help of people who have a strong follower base: If you are a relatively new brand, it will take time for you to garner followers. So, for immediate results you can use the help of someone who has a lot of followers in the social media channels to market your product. But will they do it so easily for you? Not really! What do you do in that case? When posting content mention their names or references that will make them share your post or tag them in posts that you think will be relevant. Apart from that you can also email them. You have to pursue them consistently to share your content but will be worth the effort!
  • Create social media campaigns: Social media campaigns work very effectively when it comes to brand creation and strengthening especially when you offer incentives to the audiences. To engage an audience you need to think from their perspective and answer the question – “What’s in it for me?” and then create campaigns around it. Organize contests and so on where the audience stands to earn something in return after participating that is how most brands reach maximum audiences.
  • Promote content through social media channels: One of the most widely used strategies to build a strong brand in social media is the paid campaigns. Big brands are hiring agencies for the same and running contests and campaigns designed by these agencies to create a better brand.

These are a few steps that you can take to build a stringer brand on social media. You should make it a priority to share fresh and identifiable content on social media which will help you win followers and in the process increase your brand reach.

But it will not work unless you have an effective social media strategy in place and that is where Unspun can step in and help you. We specialize in all of the above areas and more.

5 Great Digital Marketing Ideas for B2B Companies

digital-b2bTraditionally, B2B companies have restricted themselves to marketing their products via trade shows, direct mail marketing, and a sales team that called on stakeholders of current, past and prospective clients. Though these techniques may still have some value, in order to swim in the sea changes of today’s digital world, brands must incorporate innovative ways to influence their audience.

Nowadays, almost everybody spends a considerable amount of time researching purchasing decisions online, including business owners/decision makers as well. While Twitter and LinkedIn are the most used social media networks in B2B space, they are not the only channels.

Here are some of the other channels that B2B companies can use to optimize brand exposure online:

Infographics – They are one of the coolest new tools for online marketing and are being lapped up by businesses across sectors. Infographics can be pretty handy for B2B businesses for digital marketing as they represent boring data in an appealing way.

They represent the data by tell a story which explains a complex process in a simple way. Data in the inforgraphics can be represented in the form of text and graphics.

One such infographic was created by Monetate, a provider of cloud-based technology for online marketers that employs a tag-based method for segmentation, testing, recommendations, and customer analysis for the Web and Email channels. It was a retailer’s guide to Big Data.

Blogs – Blogs are one of the most influential social media marketing tools in today’s date. While B2C companies are cashing in on it, why should B2B companies be left behind? In order to have truly effective content, you must leverage multiple mediums to tell your story and blogs are one of such mediums.

An effective story telling through blogs can help your customers learn about your brand. American Express has a site called Open Forum where with new content, including blog posts and videos are frequently posted.

Videos – Videos have emerged as one powerful medium that can convey ideas and it is a great tool for marketing. While typically it wasn’t considered for B2B companies to have flashy enough content to use for marketing, now it is more of a myth.

With a certain amount of creativity, anything can become interesting. For example, this particular company called Taulia that provides cloud-based invoice, payment and dynamic discounting management solutions came out with a parody video that became quite popular. The video showed what could happen if you don’t use their services. Also, Cisco’s Youtube channel has more than 33,000 followers and almost 5 million video views.

Webinars –  One of the most interesting ways that a B2B company can engage its audiences is through webinars. Just like conducting a physical seminar, you can opt for a webinar where you can have an expert from to speak to the target market.

But, for that you’ll need to do proper research and come up with the relevant topic that will interest the target customers. Maersk Line has been hosting webinars successfully for some time now which has a wide audience.

Contests – In a branding exercise, Adobe conducted a contest which was a like scavenger hunt where participants had to pick up puzzle pieces from underneath balloons located around the city and return them to Adobe HQ.

Locations tips about the same were shared on social networking websites where the contestants stood to win prizes. You could do the same on social networking websites to increase brand awareness.

Visit Unspun Consulting group and know how we can create custom digital marketing solutions for your B2B Business.

Let Your Videos do the Talking – 6 Tips to Jumpstart Your Video Marketing

videoThe total online video audience in India has grown 74 percent to 54 million viewers, with the average viewer watching 18 percent more videos and spending 28 percent more time viewing. There is huge potential for using videos as a marketing tool. Since the costs involved in producing a video have come down, small businesses and start-ups are tapping this resource like never before.

Now, there are apps to turn PowerPoint presentations, audio, photos and other graphics into impactful lead generation videos. You can even add interactive features such as live forms right into the video, and have a really cool landing page.

Break the barriers: Forget about the old-school video, which is made for television with a proper beginning, middle, and end. Online video can be really short, extremely interactive, incredibly creative and a million other things.

Make short videos: Don’t cram too much information or detail into one video. Break it up into a series of instructive mini-segments that take on one subject at a time.

Create templates you can re-use: If you have a template you can replicate, it lowers production costs and simplifies the production process.

Create videos with text and still images. Videos don’t always have to be mini motion pictures. You can create an effective video consisting of a simple series of PowerPoint type slides with text and photos with or without audio. These can be easily created online.

Include a compelling call-to-action: No longer do people just create a video and then display a web address or phone number in the last frame saying “Call us or visit our website”. Now you can you add interactive polls, live forms, surveys, and other lead generation techniques with ease.

Upload your video online: Upload your video to YouTube and watch the magic unfold. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube every month and over 6 billion hours of video are watched every 30 days. When you upload your video to YouTube, you will instantly get your online video content seen by the masses.

When you master video as a format, your conversions increase, you build automated relationships; you get automated traffic, and solidify your online brand presence. So go ahead and make that video!

Doing more with less – Social Media for Startups

Social_Media_For_Startups_2Start-ups need to learn to do a lot with less. Social media is a great tool for start-ups, which if used right can provide great results with very little investment. Here are 4 ways in which start-ups can leverage social media.

Customer Service: What Twitter and Facebook lets you do is have a real-time conversation with your customers. Make sure there is someone to monitor your social media channels and reply to customers and address their pain points. Phonebooth.com, which sells PBX services to small businesses has solved over 20 customer support issues using Twitter and has also created a “vibrant product feedback loop, with good user participation.” according to its Vice President of Marketing Todd Barr.

Interact, Interact, Interact: The primary aim of social media is community building. Startups can take this online community building to the next level by meeting its Twitterati in tweet ups or other events scheduled for personal interaction. These people could become your brand evangelists if handled right! Zugara is one company that uses social media to create community and build awareness through both its Twitter and Facebook account to build relationships organically.

Market your Products:  With Youtube, Slideshare and a host of other tools, it is possible for companies to market their products. They can put up product demos, infomercials and videos that talk about their products, share testimonials and bring in more customers. Think of it as a conversation in the real world. What would you tell a stranger you just met about your product or service? And stay engaged with them. Just like you can’t walk away in the middle of a conversation in real life, you need to respond to their queries on social media.

Internal Collaboration:  Start-ups are also using social media to stay connected to their employees and partners internally. Conversation and collaboration are a part of a start-up culture and a healthy way to spur innovation. This is facilitated by social media and web-based applications to create a virtual office environment for employees.

The viral reach of social media and its potential in spreading good news and bad like wildfire shows that any social media activity if handled right can take you places! So get going. Get social & build your social brand!