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Using social media to engage and inform Creating added value for your customer and brand
 Ripunjay Singh
Ripunjay Singh
Marketing Head, VRLA Manufacturing Company
He is a Marketing & Sales professional, MBA in Marketing & IB from University of Pune, Ex... more>>
Recently, industry body FICCI and social networking site Face book have announced a partnership to provide Indian SMEs a platform to harness the power of the Internet and social media. With growing numbers of small and medium enterprises continuing to adopt social media marketing, there is no doubt that such a development is welcome. In todays competitive market, I believe every Marketer should be a part of the social media phenomenon.

It is a well-known fact that social networking websites can provide a great opportunity to link up with millions of Internet users, making communication possible in an easy, efficient and effective way, regardless of geographical locations. At present, there are millions of Internet users across the globe, and this leads to the understanding of the immense possibilities for businesses on online social networks.

The best thing about social media marketing is that it can turn communication into conversation. In other words, you move from indirect to direct communication to share and receive feedback, and directly communicate with your current and prospective customers. Social media websites are fun and people like to crowd in because they enjoy themselves there. That is where the opportunity lies for a small business to expand its marketing.

Today, Marketers are increasingly using social media tools for creating industrial sector related communities, organizing events, getting others help to promote brands and products, and doing customer research, but surprisingly there are still many laggards in the sector who are skeptical about social medias effectiveness in building business. Usually they complain that results are flat against expectation.

But I think there is much more to gain than lose from social media marketing, and its effectiveness largely depends on how we handle it. For many Marketers, marketing comes second to sales. This is a wrong approach, particularly when one is using online social media the real power of which lies not in generating sales but to collect important market insights, improve customer loyalty, and facilitates community building around a brand. So, social media should be treated like a vehicle and not a destination. It should be harnessed into a firms existing marketing infrastructure.

Another area where Marketers often go wrong when it comes to social media is that they fail to maintain consistency in daily operations. To succeed in social media marketing, it is not enough to take the first leap but also to put consistent effort. In addition, you must understand why you are using social media and make sure that you are using it correctly. There must be defined goals. Rest assured that social media will take your marketing to new heights. No matter what type of small business you own, using social media successfully comes down to adding value for your customers and being willing to listen to them and engage with them. Although the tools we ll use to connect with customers will change over time, I think these core principles will remain constant. That said, even today the platforms you should use and the type of content you would provide to add value depends a lot on what your company does, what your customers want and the networks that your customers are most active on.

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