;

Social Media And The Entire Buzz...

With close to a 100 million users on Facebook & search giant Google trying to step-up into the Social Media world, is it time that businesses shift focus away from traditional tried-and-tested forms of internet marketing & get more 'Social’?

Let's Take A Peek Into The Past

The breakthrough technology of radio transmission took as many as 38 years to reach 50 million users. Next came television - another revolutionary technology, which took about 13 years to reach the same user base and then came the World Wide Web – Internet, which spread like fire and achieved the same user base in four years that its predecessors took decades to reach. The latest buzzword Social Networking breaks all records, with the Social Media giant Facebook having added 100 million-plus users in its first nine months and 500 million in five years, and continuing to grow at rapid speed.1 Companies around the world now actively use social networks like LinkedIn to find new recruits, while brands like Southwest Airlines, Starbucks and JDV Hotels communicate with thousands through Twitter and Facebook, and use these platforms to share updates, address customer concerns, and receive feedback. Celebrities the world over have a following on Twitter; indeed, some even have a following larger than the population of an entire country, and a negative experience of a product or service shared by these people could cause more than just a little damage. Content is now able to multiply and travel by leaps and bounds, and this has significant implications for customer-centric industries.

The Times We Are In Now

With a total of about 200 million blogs worldwide half of which see daily-basis activity, and with more than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) being shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr DAILY, Social Media is emerging as a powerful tool of word-of-mouth marketing. There is a sizeable – and growing – number of individuals who care about what others think of the products and services they consume. As much as 34% of bloggers post opinions just about products and brands. Do you like what they are saying about your brand?1

In the near future people will no longer have to search for services and products; the products will find them via their Internet surfing patterns.

Few people would disagree that Social Media has revolutionized the way people communicate, share and search for information. The big questions are: “Is Social Media here to stay?”, “Is Social Media a permanent shift?”, and “Will it or should it be the centre of your Internet marketing strategy?”

The Approach - "Yes, Everyone Seems To Be Getting 'Social' so I'm Doing It Too" - Doesn't Work!

Social Media through various platforms has definitely seen an impressive growth over the past year which has led to its zealous adaptation by brands across different industries trying to join this bandwagon. As a result, it is easy for brands to spend lot of money on ’Social Media campaigns’ and still get lost in the crowd. However, Social Media, at many levels, is chaotic at the moment with brands in a mad rush to get a piece of this pie.2

Several of our clients tell us that they have a Facebook page for their business, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a Flickr photo stream; and in that they have covered the entire gamut of Social Media marketing. To this we reply that having a presence on multiple channels without a strategic plan to be able to manage the content on them is, in fact, worse than having no Social Media presence at all. We have come across business Facebook pages and Twitter handles which haven’t seen any activity in months, with fan posts and room enquiries going unattended, and this is hurting, rather than helping, their Social reputation. There is a plethora of social networking platforms that businesses can use today, but what is a good fit for one may not be a good fit for the other.

The charts below depict how Fortune’s Global Top 100 companies embrace Social Media3

FORTUNE GLOBAL 100 COMPANIES - BY REGION

FORTUNE GLOBAL 100 COMPANIES AND
THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

Global Top 100’s Social Media Accounts by Region



Future of Social Media And Search Marketing

Marketers confirm that with Google, Bing and other engines now integrating real-time search into their search results, Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) are given all the more reason to start integrating Social Media into their offering.2 This also ties in perfectly with companies’ off-page SEO activities bringing out the huge potential from referral site traffic. For example, when you post a link or a package deal, your followers will notice it. If they read and like it, they’ll in turn refer more individuals. It is not uncommon to see Twitter handles and Facebook pages to start out with ten followers or likes and have several thousand within a short span of time. The conventional ways of internet marketing still stand very important. Now as the marketers plan the internet marketing strategy for clients, Social Media is added as a channel of distributing content, acquiring new links and interacting with the existing and the potential customer. The new marketplace has now become more creative, making it easier to reach out to potential customers. Below is an interesting demographic, which shows how the Social Media users turn to Social Media when making purchase decisions with a distinction across the various industries.3 Importantly, it all begins with a Search, and this still remains the base and essence of Internet marketing. As people start to realize the importance of search, it will be about how the new media blends with search rather than how search adapts to other new media.

Conclusion

Internet marketing has always been a rapidly evolving field and a challenging one to keep a pulse on everything that’s going around. Content in search marketing has always been of prime importance. With the emergence of Social Media, it has now taken on a new life, by opening new avenues for distribution in the form of blogs, micro blogs, videos, social networking platforms, and a lot more as it continues to evolve. Marketers have now moved on to Pull marketing from Push marketing (newspaper and TV advertisements, radio jingles), enabling people to interact with products and companies directly. And this is where the marketers see more and more synergy between the conventional ‘Search’ (internet) marketing and Social Media marketing.

A Case In Point


 Client
– A Luxury Resorts & Spa Brand

 Challenges:

  • The website had very poor and almost no presence on Search Engines, Social Network sites
  • As a result, very little traffic on the website
  • The client had negligible reservations and conversions from the website

 The Project:

  • To overhaul the web presence of the brand
  • Complete overhaul of the website to make it search engine and user friendly
  • To create and promote brand’s online presence via online promotions and Social Media channels.

 Results:

  • Website traffic - In 6 months, # visitors increased from 567 to 43,049. Pageviews increased from 1,806 to 1,45,184
  • Ranked #1 on Trip Advisor.com
  • Thousands of fans on Social Media profiles like Facebook, Twitter
  • Over 1,200 reservation enquires from organic traffic (SEO driven). Conversion rate of lookers into bookers averaged as high as 60% for all the brand properties.

HVS – Web Strategies offers a wide spectrum of Internet and Web services to hotel and resort owners, operators, developers and investors, who recognize the key role technology can play in improving operations and financial performance. Our line of services comprises Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design Restructuring, Online Branding and Internet Marketing & Social Media campaigns, Custom Web Development, and Multimedia and Graphic Design.


1 Socialnomics
2 Interview transcripts on Instant E Training
3 Socialmedia stats as on DigitalBuzz

8 Comments

  1. anna arunNov 8, 2010

    Great article, and following up with it, the next step for a small business owner would be to also find a company to create a website for me and then optimise it.How Do I select a company from the thousands out there and what is a reasonable price? I do not mind a fair price as long as they can deliver.Any suggestions on where I start?

    • Thanks for your comment Anna. Finding the right marketing partners can indeed be challenging task. At HVS Web Strategies we very much offer Online Marketing and Branding services starting from creating the website to marketing it online, in addition to custom web development and other graphic design services. If you like, I could provide you more details of the type of work we do over an email or a phone call and our quotes for different services. Often with our clients we work with their budgets in mind and tailor our services accordingly. Please feel free to reach me at dsappal@hvs.com.

  2. Good article.....in a world of too many articles! Well done, well put! Duncan

  3. Vijay MalkaniNov 8, 2010

    An article so logically explained in simple English was indeed a learning opportunity for hotel professionals. Great job done by Deepti and Sachin.

  4. Has proven to be a rocking read for hospitality professionals by the insight it gives on the ever growing technology...Its best when put to good use. Great work Deepti and Sachin. Cheers!

  5. netgoonsNov 14, 2010

    very nice and useful infographics? Infographics are the best way of attracting links and hence a great way to market your stuff. Kool ...btw could I use them too with a link back to this article?

  6. David LinusNov 23, 2010

    Super article Deepti - truly insightful and thank you for reiterating the position social media will take in the coming years and how businesses would need to adapt and change to this trend. A key changing time is near as we see the medium slowly but steadily arriving to a market where trust and authenticity is building around social media - it surely isn't a place anymore for just exploring the wonders of social media but is becoming the preachers platform for sure and businesses know it and those that have adopted it; that the right things and the right attitude demonstrated here will go a long way in the productivity mix :)

  7. David LinusNov 23, 2010

    Super article Deepti - truly insightful and thank you for reiterating the position social media will take in the coming years and how businesses would need to adapt and change to this trend. A key changing time is near as we see the medium slowly but steadily arriving to a market where trust and authenticity is building around social media - it surely isn't a place anymore for just exploring the wonders of social media but is becoming the preachers platform for sure and businesses know it and those that have adopted it; that the right things and the right attitude demonstrated here will go a long way in the productivity mix :)

  8. Dr. AartiMar 20, 2011

    It is great help to researchers. Keep it up.

Submit a Question or Comment