Innovating with Twitter as a Powerful Marketing Tool

BC Web Wise Social Media

Karishma Jani – Social Media Strategist at BC Web Wise

Alter, a local Brooklyn-based clothes showroom has made use of its Twitter handle to gain a massive fan-base of stylists and potential customers. With tactical promoted posts, it has been able to achieve a sizeable 250 percent increase in its follower base, which has eventually triggered higher in-store visits and better sales. ‘Clean Air in London‘ – a London-based not-for-profit organization has leveraged  Twitter to achieve a 100 percent rise in its followers, and three-fold increase as far as its click rates are concerned. Having come a massive way ahead of its modest beginning as a small-group SMS-service in 2006, Twitter is being consistently used as a powerful marketing tool by digital marketers today. What is significant is that recent efforts on part of this social media giant, are focussed at specifically catering to the needs of small and medium sized businesses (or SMBs).

Based on a 2014 survey conducted by Twitter’s Research Partnering-Firm DB5, out of 10 SMB owners have agreed that Twitter is easy to use, while 2 out of 3 have also affirmed to the fact that its usage has become increasingly convenient for online marketing, over the years. When asked about how they thought Twitter can be the most effective for reaching business goals, the following were the major opinions that they shared ( View source) :

  • Above 70 percent of SMB owners felt that Twitter is a very helpful tool for instant resolution of customer queries and issues.
  • Over 80 percent felt that it is ideal for channelizing sizeable amounts of information to large groups.
  • 73 percent of the SMB owners agreed to the fact that the best way to connect with industry experts and influencers is via Twitter.
  • About 63 percent expresses that regular tweets eliminate the need to constantly update one’s website.

Networking with key influencers and industry-relevant niche communities are commonplace strategies today. So is keeping a tab on hashtags, growing trends and ensuring regular tweets and posts. Your success as a social media marketing team today relies on how cleverly you monitor and study the latest features and updates offered by Twitter, and use them to your advantage. Here’s some food for thought for all digital marketers who wish to innovate with Twitter as a powerful marketing tool, and harness its potential to the fullest:-

Enhance The Visual Appeal

The latest major redesign rolled out by Twitter in April 2014 has made the platform more image-focused than ever before. This includes redesigned web views, inline image previews and better visibility of profile and header images. These new settings can be used to liven up your company profile with customized colours, logos and images. Enhanced visual appeal is amongst the key influencers for a larger and relevant fan-base.

Explore Visual Content In Direct Messages

Considering the increasing number of Smartphone users that rely on the Twitter mobile app, the  app has enabled image-sending in direct messages, thereby invoking better response rates from recipients. Another add-on in the Twitter mobile app, is that it now enables users to view promoted accounts with an option of ‘follow’. For all marketers and advertisers who want to target Smartphone users, this is a great opportunity to widen your reach.

Track and Optimize Conversions

With regard to promoted Tweets, it is now possible to view the exact conversions and engagement metrics, owing to the Online Conversion Tracking Feature introduced for advertisers. So you can map what worked and what did not, and optimize your future engagements.

Innovate With The Lead Generation Card

The Lead Generation Card Feature introduced by Twitter in August 2013, is yet to be tapped by many digital marketers. This card enables you to reach out to potential customers (who have expressed an interest in you) off-twitter. It also lets you track Twitter users who searched for particular products or services on your website and thereon forward relevant promoted tweets on their timeline, pertaining to their search query.

Do you have a success story o Twitter to share, then mail me on karishma.jani@bcwebwise.com

 

Organic Reach on Facebook Gets Tougher

SheetalBhalerao_bcwebwiseThe decline in the organic reach of the brand content has been talked about for a while now. It started in early 2012 when the organic reach of brand content was restricted by Facebook to 16%. In 2013, Facebook further confirmed that with the increased competition for each story, the brand pages will see a distribution and thus an eventual decline in organic reach.

According to an analysis by the Social@Ogilvy report, Facebook’s organic reach will hit ZERO!

An analysis was conducted with 106 country-level brand pages that it has access to and concluded that the average reach of organic brand posts had tumbled from 12.1% in October 2013 to 6.2% in February. And for the pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach had hit a low of 2 percent in February 2014 from 4.04% in Oct 2013. So, that is almost a 50% decline in the organic reach since October 2013.

FacebookOrganicdecline

This significantly implies that brands need to accept the truth that Facebook is no more a free platform and need to start accepting Facebook ads as a part of their overall strategy.

In addition, the brands that have paid in the past to acquire fans will now have to spend more on reaching out on this competitive social media platform. It is time for brands to take action measures on their dwindling organic reach on Facebook.

There are a couple of factors that restrict the reach of the brand content. A on news feed informs that 1,500 stories are eligible to appear every time a daily user logs into the network. Facebook algorithm prioritizes an average of 300 stories basis the various interactions that a user has with his news feed.

Thus, the user will most likely not see almost 80% of the content and it includes brand posts along with content posted by friends and acquaintances.

Key reasons why organic reach is declining on Facebook: people have more friends, people are following more brands, Facebook is pushing more news links to provide more appealing content to users and lastly people, are seeing more ads in their news feed paid by brands since 2012.

While Facebook Zero, the term coined by Social@Ogilvy is still debatable, the study certainly alarms that brands should no more rely on this one single platform to build a community unless they are ready to invest constantly in reaching out to their fans through promoted posts and paid ads. With the shrinking organic reach on Facebook, brands will need to be on their toes to improve their content strategy and tactfully plan paid activities to support it on a regular basis. Brands with a diversified set of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest will therefore benefit in the long run.

A quick exercise for all of you!

You will be surprised to know that you have rarely or never seen a post on your news feed shared by some of the pages you have liked in the past. This is based on my experience and I urge you to try it to understand the reach of a brand’s content on Facebook platform.

I have liked 206 Facebook pages in total under categories like high end fashion brands, news websites, consumer product brands, popular fashion blog websites, food blogs and a few famous personalities.

On very active pages like Chanel, Stella McCartney, Victoria’s Secret Pink, Toni & Guy and many others, posts have been shared in the past 12 hours but didn’t appear on my news feed. In fact, I don’t recollect seeing any posts from these brands in my news feed since the past few months. Also, the posts of some of the brands which I follow and which we at BC Web Wise handle such as Sunsilk Hair Experts, Hypercity and HUL that have a large fan base do not appear on my news feed.

On the other hand, feeds from Facebook pages of news website such as Mashable and Flavorwire or fashion blog sites like Refinery29 appear regularly in the news feed.

This is just an observation but it indicates that brands with a large fan base are struggling to reach their fans’ newsfeed. Moreover, the brand will be able to engage with only those fans who have visited their page. And in the case of pages like Mashable and Flavorwire, simply because they fall under the news category and thereby as a result of Facebook algorithm the posts appear in the news feed. Or it may also be as a result of the past engagement with such type of posts.

Try this exercise at your end. Do leave your comments with your experience on the pages you follow!

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION – Can Social Media Drive Sales?

Sukriti Dutta

Sukriti Dutta

Brand Manager: “My brand is active on social media, the engagement levels are decent on Facebook and our fans seem quite active! Now tell me, CAN SOCIAL MEDIA DRIVE SALES?

Social media can definitely have an impact on sales. However having a presence on social media, seeding 2 posts/tweets a day, may not necessarily cut it if driving sales is the absolute end objective.

Engagement levels, interactions, positive word-of-mouth through influencers are all important for a brand’s online reputation and could also be key objectives. Though at the crux of any promotional spend – lies the Conversion Rate, that is monitored to measure effectiveness. After all, like they say ‘Likes’ won’t add up to the final ROI percentage in the end!

Consumer behaviour is dynamic and purchasing behaviour has started transforming and moving away from traditional buying practices, evident from the sudden increase in numbers of E-Commerce websites.  There is argument that consumers are on social media platforms to network and may not always be interested in brands trying to sell to them. The popularity of Facebook and Twitter contests with prizes of discounts being offered on e-commerce portals and consumers actively participating to win these contests provides empirical evidence of acceptance of brand solicitations in a social networking set up.

According to Comscore and IAMAI Data 2013 India has approximately 25 million online buyers. About 95% of eCommerce users come from social media portals. The second largest source for eCommerce users is search. Other popular sources are entertainment sites, news sites etc.

Some examples of how social media helped brands achieve a measurable impact on their sales:

Dr. Fixit: This is a waterproofing range of products by the Construction Chemicals Division at Pidilite. They launched a campaign to capture leads for RainCoat and NewCoat – a range of waterproofing products for new constructions and repair – a Facebook campaign was run that led to a landing page, where users added their details. They were contacted and an on-ground team was sent to their homes for conducting a repair/sampling service. Over a period of 4 weeks, 500+ leads were captured via Facebook and Twitter. First of it’s kind initiative in the construction chemicals industry.

Kaya Skin Clinic: On their Facebook page, promoted an offer on treatments available at the clinic. Facebook Ads and promoted posts where used to reach out to the audience. The results of this offer and it’s promotion was phenomenal where in footfalls to the clinic to claim the offer increased two fold and it generated revenue of INR 8 Lacs in 6 days!

Allen Solly End of Season Sale: The objective for this campaign was to translate engagement with fans into footfalls and sales at physical stores. A Scratch Card FB application was developed where users could virtually scratch a gift card and avail a discount coupon in their e-mail inbox. To avail the discount they had to visit the store. Results: 4% of the total sales during End of season Sale came from Facebook. There was a 43% conversion rate associated with the activity and 6,000+ consumers were added to the database.

Eristoff Invasion Music Festival: Objective was to increase awareness for the festival and the brand and eventually drive ticket sales. Using their Facebook page, 11,000 tickets were sold. 35% of all ticket buyers were invited to the event by a Facebook friend for the event. 30X ROI on spend on Facebook Ads from sale of tickets. For the Invasion Festival, Facebook drove more ticket buyers than television, radio and outdoor advertising.

Sony proved the power of Twitter with a Twitter campaign, that invited people to purchase their products. They offered over 1,500 Twitter users the chance to build a customised Sony Vaio laptop, as well as offering them a 10% discount. And it worked, as they reported an increase in Sony Vaio sales from Twitter in that period of $1.5 million.

Social media drives sales for a lot of start up businesses too. There are tons of pages on Facebook where people are selling everything from custom made jewellery, apparels, accessories to home decor to cupcakes! These start-ups cater to an audience that is actively socializing. They reach their audience where they are most active. Young crowds love shopping with their friends, comparing purchases and giving reviews. Off late, the number of Facebook Ads have multiplied for promoting several of these online portals.

So, What do you have to do to ensure Social Media can drive sales for your brand?

  1. Active online presence – Make sure you have an active online presence. A consumer has most likely done a lot of research about your brand before walking into one of your stores. Be proactively present in online discussions about your brand, so that no one else is present out there swaying customer opinions.
  2. Engage with your audience – by providing them relevant content and then sell to them, by offering them first priority discounts, new season first looks, extra incentives for being your fans/followers on social media. Tangible and intangible benefits, both work really well!
  3. Customized strategies – Derive customized strategies for different levels of engagement. It is worth spending the time to analyse your audience to find the influencers, the socially active audience, the key customers and devise strategies suited for each category
  4. Build your reputation – Use your satisfied customers to build a positive note about their experience of purchasing you product. Eg: An insurance company allowing prospective customers to connect with existing customers online to seek more information.
  5. Retain your customers: Listen to your customers, before you speak to them. Take advantage of the opportunity social media offers you, unlike other media where you can have a one-to-one conversation with a customer. Keep them happy even after they have made a purchase with you. Whether it is updated information on the product category, or simply asking them if the product is performing well. Keep them engaged! Take their opinions about new launches and hear what they have to say. You might just end up with an insight your marketing team missed out on!
  6. Go All Out! Don’t hesitate to bank on a digital idea and take it to an activation/on-ground level. If the idea can be amplified by starting a portion of it on digital and eventually culminating on an on-ground event. Just go ahead and do it! You’ll be surprised at what can be achieved with the right mix of media.

Social media offers infinite opportunities to engage and interact with a consumer before making a sale. Product fit, communication strategy and timing are key factors in ensuring a successful campaign.

Social media can do most of it. Yes, measuring exact numbers is difficult sometimes but if you see an overall jump in sales, it won’t take you long to attribute it to your social media presence!