Matter of Opinion

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Archive for the category “Social Media”

Feminism or Click-bait?

I follow Facebook trends all the time. Not because I like it, well it is kind of my job. When you start working in the field of social media you sign an unsaid pact that requires you to follow social media trends. I have been noticing something from past few weeks or rather a month or so. There is a certain pattern in the kind of content that is doing rounds on Facebook these days? Have you noticed? For someone who has been into social media for a while do not take long to realize what kind of content has been working lately. If you have not noticed, you will when I tell you this. Women. Feminism. Anything to do with Females.

What are content makers doing these days? There seems to be a formula here. Pick a girl. Pick a situation. In the situation the girl was either very brave, or was molested, or was very sad or was sharing some experience from her life. Voila! The story is viral. I think I should get paid for giving this away but never mind.

Same thing has been happening from a past few days. I open Facebook and there are dozens of such articles. While I write this blog, I am going to pick examples LIVE!

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You get the point right? Do you think these stories do better than articles about the Policemen who died saving some people, or the Army who always live in terror of dying on the border? Maybe if the Army is connected to women or a woman soldier they will get more attention.

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See what I mean? Moreover, dead people will not do any good for your feel good content that your manager has asked you to make. We want more eyeballs and clicks and likes than genuine consideration. For that we need women doing something or the other. She could be the accused or the victim.

Nana Patekar has declared that he will pay poor farmer’s loans and that they should call him instead of committing suicide.

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I would urge you to look at the likes on this post and posts mentioned earlier in this blog. There is news that Rupee will be first emerging market currency to bounce back from the slowdown. We have serious health concerns amongst the youth in India but no one wants to talk about that.

Sexual harassment has always been a problem in India. Ironically and sadly, media is more obsessed with this issue than the police and authorities dealing with crime. Media should be more sympathetic and responsible about what they put in public. Talking about a sexual harassment incident about a person (woman, man or child) in public can hurt their sentiments as much as the act itself. It is a different story if they want to take the help of media to ask for justice. Here, no justice is happening. Every kind of media, even social media is obsessed with such stories and the details. Do not get me wrong. I feel bad for women who have to face some of the most heinous crimes by strangers and known people. #Hashtaging will never give justice. It might humiliate the victim further. It is just another Click-bait.

So where are we headed with Social activism? Online petitions, Hashtags, Facebook pages, you name it. Our generation just want to make a difference and that too quick. We want to contribute no matter whose problem it is. But is all of this helping? I know a few infrastructure related problems that were solved by signing online petition but we are talking about human life. How many rapists have been severely punished till date? Compared to kind of candle rallies and social media campaigns, the result has been nothing. All this is great but should we not face the reality already? Our assertiveness is considered as joke by people who actually have the power of making all the difference.

Have you watched the movie ‘Nayak’? Do you remember what Amrish Puri as a politician says about a mob of people that creates a riot in the city? He says, ‘Let people fight, let the buses burn. They will make noise, fight and will calm down on their own’. Don’t you think this is exactly what happens to all our online effort that we put? The defeat of this medium is that no one takes it seriously. There was a time when no one knew what social media was. So they did not take it seriously. Now they know what the crowd talks about and how we react to each and everything. Now, they take us granted.

The tragedy of Social Media today is that we easily forget people who have died. We easily forget people who have actually made a difference in the society. A like, a share is all we have to give to these people. What we remember is how a woman was ill-treated, how a girl was not allowed to go to school, how a woman was looked down upon because of her clothes. Evidence of the fact that people are interested in these topics is that, such articles keep circulating and appearing on your Newsfeed, repeatedly.

For once, give more importance to real news. How many articles do you see on ‘filing your taxes’ on social media? The last date is 31st August. Do you know what forms are for what purpose? I had no clue whatsoever. No one seems to be writing or reading content based on that. People in this business of helping file returns have to take help of ‘Ads’ to reach out to people and educate them. Don’t fall prey to such feminist, racist, eye-ball grabbing content. Their intention is just that. There is a content manager / social media manager asking them to make such content. It doesn’t mean it is more important than news of someone’s achievement or death or important instructions.

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Twitter 101: Discover, learn and use Twitter (Part 1)

What is Twitter?

Simply put, it is a micro-blogging network which is real time and is limited to 140 characters per post. You can share videos and pictures as well. Most people might have heard about the site but few people understand its benefits. Twitter is used by different people for different purposes. There are endless examples. Let us know more about Twitter.

Watch this video to get a better idea of what Twitter is all about

 

Evolution of Twitter

Twitter has been around since 2006 and since then it has changed a lot. With new interfaces rolled out time and again, Twitter experience has enhanced over a period of time. It has gone from “What are you doing?” to “What’s going on?”. Twitter has become a source of information on endless topics and real time that! People have been sharing relevant information, keeping people updated about traffic or weather conditions, connected and helped crowd sourcing, and engaging in interesting conversations. Many people now go to Twitter to find out what is happening around the world or in their field of interest. It is more than just a social network.

 

Consider this while Signing Up

Your Twitter profile is public. You should consider how you want  to be perceived by others. This is how the world will see you. Hence, give it a thought before you sign up.

Twitter Handle: Since, the profile is public do not give out your full name, preferably. Your Twitter handle says a lot about it. Make sure it is quirky, simple to understand and unique. It is your first impression when you engage in conversations with someone.

Profile Picture: It should represent what you want people to perceive about you. If you are on Twitter for professional purpose then the picture should be more professional than casual. A picture with you vacationing somewhere will be inappropriate. Similarly, if you want to send out a message that you are on Twitter for fun then upload an interesting picture of yours from places where you go for fun. If you are here to promote an NGO show put a picture where you are seen helping someone. If you want to protect your identity then do not upload your own picture. Upload abstract pictures. However, remember that people tend to connect with real people on Twitter than with random pictures.

Bio: This a quick introduction to who you are what your interests are. You cannot write very descriptive introduction because of lack of space. Hence, you have to be smart in using the space and yet able to attract new followers. You need to build an image for yourself. Some people only add a one-liner that is humorous, some add their professional and education achievements, some write their hobbies. You can add your website details if you are on Twitter for business. Do not give out your personal information like phone number and address. You can give the same in case you are a business.

Following: You can start following people the moment you sign up. Other people can see who you are following as well. You can be selective in who you are following depending upon your interest. Your timeline is your responsibility. Content from people you follow shapes your timeline. If your timeline is getting boring probably you need to follow some interesting Twitter handles. People also follow movie celebrity, music celebrity, sports celebrity to keep themselves updated about their lives. Your following list reflects on the kind of person you are.

List: A list is simply that. If you have identified 10 people who are experts in education or sports or movies or outings, you can create a list of those people and keep. You can refer to them when you have news or information specific to that industry whom you want to tweet to.

 

Think before you tweet:

Tweets that are racists, sexist and offensive in nature to any gender, caste or religion can create a bad impression about you. We do tend to find some inappropriate jokes funny but it can seriously hurt someone’s feelings or ego and can harm your reputation in turn. Twitter is about connecting, sharing information that can be of help or things that can make people aware or bring happiness. Hence, resist to tweet or retweet anything inappropriate even though it is encouraged by a few of your followers

Follow me @tinyvibhaa

Everyday tools- Social Media

As a social media professional I use a few tools on a daily basis. If I am to list all of the tools that social media executives use it will be longer but I will just name a few important ones.

Here is a list of tools that should be open on your browser all the time.

http://www.lettercount.com/

Letter Count: This tool is useful for your Twitter as you can count the characters before tweeting. So when Twitter says you have to be more clever this tool comes to rescue.

http://www.socialmention.com/

Social Mention: So you do not have a fancy tool to track mentions of your brand on social media? Behold Social Mention. It is called the ‘Google’ of social media. Run this twice a day to collect most of the mentions related to your brand. Also make a decent report using the sentiment report and top users identified by this tool.

http://tweetreach.com

Tweet Reach: A tool that helps you understand how many impression you have got for your tweet. This tool is Twitter specific and gives you a report on impressions on last 50 tweets.

http://hootsuite.com/

Hootsuite: Personally I do not recommend using Hootsuite for regular Facebook posting as Facebook algorithms do not help scheduling tool to rank on News Feed. Your post might just go unnoticed. But at times when you are on leave or if you want to schedule tweets at odd times like midnight or on weekends this tool works wonders. Schedule the date and time when you want your tweet to go live and leave the rest to Hootsuite.

https://bitly.com/

Bit.ly: This is a link shortening tool and helps you a great deal when you have to shorten a link to insert in a tweet or post. Bit.ly also gives you a report on the clicks that the shortened URL receives. They have had a makeover recently but most of the features still remain.

There are a lot of tools that enthusiasts and innovators have come up with to make tracking mentions, posting and replying easy. But above are the essentials and should be ready on your browser every day.

3 step process- Online Reputation Management

The internet is a good way to understand what people think about your brand and product & services. People are very honest on these platforms. But there is one downside to it. People tend to talk more negative than positive about the brands. The challenge is to give them a solution online, for the query or problems they are facing and convert them into real value offline.

Since it is easy to write and publish content online, web has become a personal diary for all. To add to the benefit there are a number of platforms that allow you to write whatever you wish. However, for brands it has become a task to make sure people do not write anything negative about them due to certain incidents and even if they do, brands constantly strive to attend those issues online or offline. One thing we need to keep in mind is that you cannot keep everyone happy. But if you can track most of the mentions you can solve many a crisis.

In order to make reputation management easy online there are 3 steps we need to follow:

Step 1: Monitoring

As we mentioned earlier there are many platforms where people express good and bad views about a brand or their experience with them. Those platforms, in India can be broadly classified into blogs, discussion forums and opinion forums. Apart from these there are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ where friends who are connected with each other online share their views.

We come to the first step that is monitoring. If you wish to know what is being said about you through online conversations you will need to monitor them first.  And to do this task you need have a very alert warning system.

There are various tools that help you do so effectively. There are a few free tools and few come for a price.

Once you have set up a monitoring system for your brand you should also track what you competitors are doing or what people are talking about them also. Moreover, tracking general news and developments also help you grow as a brand and understand industry position and standards. While tracking positive and negative mentions also track slangs that people use online For eg: fail, sucks, not happening etc.

This is the first step. Unfortunately this is not enough. You need to take steps to make sure the damage done is not too much and solve it before it goes out of hand.

Step 2: Analysing

As we mentioned earlier, the work does not get over at monitoring. It is crucial to understand and then analyse the social reviews for your brands. This task consists of going through the feedback, complaints, comments and appreciations expressed online,

A conversation may be positive or negative. Both needs equal amount of attention. It is similar keeping the old customer happy and getting new ones via old customers.

What is most important is that you let your audience know what that you consider all their feedbacks. Also keep them informed about the status of query that you needed to solve. Make them feel they are part of the decision making process. Let them know you are listening.

A failed communication can not only break your rapport with one customer but also negatively influence that customer’s peers and circle. A one to one communication can make or break your image in public.

There is common notion among brand managers that if we delete the comment everything will be back to normal. There are 2 things to be remembered about ORM. There are some platforms where all you can do is answer and not delete. Secondly, when the query is not solved the person can also do a word to mouth negative publicity of yours and you will keep wondering what went wrong. It is thus, wise to attend them tactically. Do not fear of negative remarks. Harsh criticism only helps you to grow. You just need to know how to handle it.

Step 3: Influencing

This is the most crucial step in online reputation management. Consider a case where you have received a negative review about your brand or service. Will you let it go or take matters in hand and defend your company?

The speed of internet is not going hand in hand with Public relations principles and working pattern. Mostly by the time you realize there is a crisis, the damage is already done. So you have to be quick and efficient in answering the queries to put a check on it. Since business organizations are able to connect with people and they are back by social monitoring system, they can tackle such crisis effectively.

Participation is the key

First thing first. Always remember Consumer is the King. If they have opinions regarding your service or product you have to make the necessary changes to make things better for them. You should establish a good communication with them even if they are speaking ill about you. This shows you are open to suggestions and are willing to do all you can to add value.

Experts have said that the best tactic to counter attack a negative comment is to answer it with positive mention. You can influence and change the mode of conversation by being a part of it. It gives you a chance to change or improve the perception of your brand.

It is not necessary that you can be a part of a conversation only when there is crisis. You should involve yourself in industry discussions and become a regular contributor on forums and discussion boards. If the conversation is about your brand then lead it. If it is a general query then give solutions. You can be open and honest about the limitation of that solution with your brand. Do not promote other brands but still give a suitable solution. The benefit of this exercise would reflect when you have a negative comment to tackle. The page rankings would help you drastically to control the situation in hand.

The bottom line is, even if you do not do this exercise on a regular basis you should be able to handle the crisis situation when it occurs.

Choosing right technology

Mostly, it is sufficient to answer someone positively on a negative remark to make an impact. But you should also try to make your presence wider that it is currently. Internet is vast and to reach right people at the right time you will have to segment them properly.

Selecting the right platforms for the right audience thus becomes important.  Many businesses favour social media technologies like Facebook, Twitter and some other popular ones. Still, there are complaints that the brands are not able to reach people. Just because Facebook and Twitter are the most preferred websites doesn’t mean all your audience is present there.

Engage the customer on the right social network to build online reputation.

The above three steps should be performed in harmony. Each step is as important as other and linked to each other. Following them will surely help you create a positive reputation online.

Images courtesy: Google Images

Facebook bought Instagram. But why?

We can see the case in this way. Facebook is not in business for more users; they already have enough to keep their profitability level high. Instagram on the other hand was thriving and boasting about the huge user base. They claim to reach a 100 billion user base soon. Nevertheless, Instagram is making a lot less revenue than FB is.

There are three reasons I see, why Facebook ventured into buying Instagram.

1)     Competition: Photo sharing and editing them while doing so is the latest trend. Text content is becoming more and more extinct and picture content is gaining attention. No doubt Instagram will make this photo sharing experience better for Facebook, hence the move.

2)     Instant upload: This year, experts forecast heavy growth in use of SNS via mobile phones. When you are moving you get to capture pictures and upload them instantly. This activity is more appealing to people than clicking pictures of the vacation they have been to and upload a week later from their homes.

3)     More people: Yes, they do not need more users to catch attention but who doesn’t want to be more popular and spread their wings? It seems Facebook wishes to capture a user base that might have not been very active on Facebook. With Instagram clubbing into Facebook, they got to come to the host more often.

Strategically, Facebook is clear what it wants from this acquisition. What we need to wait and watch is that whether Instagram meets the fate of other inactive Facebook applications or rises even more with time and this tie up.

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Image: Google images

How to delete your Facebook account permanently?

Hello Folks!

Being into social media this doesn’t suit me, like they say in Hindi ‘Yeh Mujhe Shobha Nahi Deta’ but I think there should be a note made somewhere that you can delete your Facebook account permanently.

Assume you have become addicted to Facebook and want to get rid of it, or you doubt that your account has been hacked constantly to extract your personal information. Maybe some friend or your colleague is spying on you. Maybe you feel you are losing the real life touch because of FB or maybe you are simply bored of this virtual world.  There is a way of getting rid of your Facebook account PERMANENTLY.

Cut the crap and tell me how to delete it. 

Ok then. Here it is. Follow the process.

Account Settings>> Security Settings>> Last option on the page is Deactivate your account.

Just go here and say Delete My Account. When you do so Facebook will ask you for your password and you will have to enter the security code.

Put in your password and the Captcha and hit Okay.

That is it! The account will just be deactivated for 14 days. If you want to retrieve the account back then just log in to your account within 14 days of deactivating and it will reactivate again. They shall give you an option to cancel your request to delete your account permanently.

Do not log in for 14 days and your account will be permanently deleted. Now get down to read the book which you wished to read since long or catch up with your friends and neighbours. Follow your passion or hobby. Have a great time and enjoy yourself!

Social Networking Sites Ain’t the Next Big Thing

Social networking sites are not ‘The Next Big Thing’. In fact, they are ‘The Big Thing’ of this decade. This year has seen many events that makes us realise the power of social media. It was astonishing to see the first authentic pictures of Japan floods that people posted on these sites. Needy could seek help and the lost were found due to the news spread over all the social networking sites. I was a little disappointed by the rumours people were spreading regarding the rain that might just cause due to nuclear leak in the Japan nuclear plants. Well, you never know.

What if they were true? People would have already been aware of it and they would have taken precautions. Being a social media professional, I understand the importance of it for business and marketing. Never did I know that it will become an integral part of people’s lives. The unrest in the Gulf countries against the rule was another grand event in the social media history. The original testimonials were covered through live tweets. The pictures, posts, tweets and blogs gave us a clear picture of what exactly was happening miles away.

If I am to highlight the latest event of Osama being killed (which I still do not believe in), the first word was spread through twitter. A techie from Abbottabad tweeted stating that there were helicopters hovering there. Little did he know then, that the operation was to terminate Osama and by that time Abbottabad event was already a trending hot topic. The techie became a celebrity overnight. Talk about the kind of support Anna Hazaare got from the youngsters of this country. No one had to really convince them to support Anna against corruption. The entire so called active population became more active than ever. I am not sure this same population cast their votes every time.

Look at the impact of Social Networking. You just tickle that part that was troubling them but never knew a solution for the same. And there you are. 45% of the strength supporting you from different parts of the country. Most importantly they have a direction. They know what they are doing. What would you call it? A coincidence? I do not really think so. This is the power of social networking sites. Little do we know the power of social media. The latest events are shaping up the future of the same. The purpose is to spread the word and reach out to the masses. It can be a tragic event like Japan floods or a happy news like Kate and William getting married. It was a huge weekend for social networking site.

A prince got married and a bad guy got killed. Controversial matter do spread like wild fire and these sites are becoming a strong medium to reach out to the people. Whether are they a mere catalyst or a carrier of stories is the question in debate. Does it merely carry a message forward or does it have the power to influence? Time will tell as the world politics and events turn pages. What do we have to do till then? Either wait and watch or create a history and become a celebrity over night. The choice is yours.

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