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My ears and eyes hurt when I hear about Social Media Marketing

There was a time when everyone was an SEO guru and now, everyone is a social media expert and just about every other agency offers social media marketing service!
I am getting tired – my eyes hurt when I read 50th blog post on same stuff written over and over andddd overrrr. 
After spending several years in this space, going through tens of thousands of blogs and running a company in this space, here are three key areas where marketers should focus on – 

1) Listen – Billions of conversations are happening on web – mine them and use it to make money!

a. Beginners – use Google Alerts or, Social Mention to set up search for keywords that you care for e.g. If you sell guitars, set it up for ‘Learn guitar’.

b. Advanced – you can monitor your competitor (& their employees) to find out what they are working on, monitor campaign to measure impact of TV/Radio advertisements, conduct in-depth product and market research. E.g. 

i. Find who is talking about a brand instantly and how they feel about your brand.
ii. Find out best selling ice cream flavor of Baskin Robbins across the globe within 30 minutes
iii. Find out about new feature releases by simply putting names of engineers of Facebook in your tracking (provided they talk!)
iv. Find out what Aam Aadmi Party is going to talk about in next news conference. 

For this, you will need robust tools like Radian6, BrandWatch or, SocialAppsHQ.

c. Gurus – If you represent Government or, running an election campaign, there is a lot more you can find out online about target demographics, mass movements, reactions to public policy etc by setting up Social Media Command & Control centers.

2) Engage – Respond and talk to people looking for something you have to sell.

a. Beginners - you can use Twitter or, Facebook directly to respond to your customers.

b. Advanced - use a Social CRM / Social media management type product (HooteSuite, SproutSocial or, SocialAppsHQ) to manage all your communications with customers on various sites. Companies like Dell use Sprinklr as they really large teams to manage it where these tools become very necessary.

3) Build a Presence – 

a. Beginners – Set up a Facebook Page, Twitter account and other social networks. Set up simple apps (on FB) to show details of your company, locations etc. Remember, it’s just another channel to drive awareness & traffic to your site.

b. Advanced – Create campaigns around different platforms by using contests, sweepstake etc to capture leads and amplify engagement.
Companies like Buddy Media, SocialAppsHQ, WildFire App, Involver offer these apps.

There are several verticals that are also coming up on top of social media e.g. 
1) Encouraging inter-company communication to save costs (Jive and Lithium), 
2) Leveraging social proof to optimize customer on-boarding and engagement experience on websites/offline stores (FB Connect) 
3) Using richer background data for recruitment and lead enrichment (BranchOut, SalesForce, Rapportive)

Companies in India have done a lot of work in beginner’s stage but I am hopeful that we will be driving a ton of innovation in near future. Product companies based out of India are already pushing the envelope, however, it’s time for agencies and brands to lead the charge and truly leverage social media.
Note: The views expressed here are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of afaqs! Campus



Rajat Garg

Rajat runs a tech startup, SocialAppsHQ, a Social Media Marketing platform with over 1 million users. He graduated from Stanford University, followed by stints at Amazon and another startup before he returned to India. Rajat holds a patent that drives Amazon’s several hundred million dollar business unit (he doesn’t earn any royalty!).