How can simple technology tools be used to create a disproportionate advantage in a regular business? When should an offline business start worrying about social media and software tools? How and when can these be adopted?
When the founder of an venture capital firm that closed its first fund raise at Rs. 25 crores invites you to discuss these, you'd have to be dumber than an dumble to decline. Add to that, the chance to network with entrepreneurs and businessmen from all walks of life and tips from the Social Media team of India Quotient, and you have a pretty delicious opportunity indeed.
Anand Lunia Founder & Partner at India Quotient. Previously, he was a partner at Seedfund, a leading firm in technology, internet, education and retail venture investments. He co-founded Brainvisa, India's leading e-learning company, where he created the business plan and strategy and led operations. After Brainvisa, he worked as Executive VP Operations of Hurix - a leading publishing KPO - and as Delivery Head at L10nbridge, the world's largest localisation company. He started his career with positions at Asian Paints and the ICICI Treasury.
He holds an MBA from IIM and a Bachelors of Engineering. He is a regular Guest Faculty, Biz-plan mentor and Jury member at IITs, IIMs, SP Jain, NITIE and TiE Forums. Anand loves to motivate entrepreneurs, help them in structuring their finances, handle legalese and be a sounding board on day to day operations. His recent angel investments include Inkfruit, a garments brand based on crowdsourcing, and a home delivery Indian food chain.
Started in June last year by Anand Lunia, India Quotient began with a motive of funding pre-revenue early stage companies. Having aggressive plans to follow soon, India Quotient announced the close of its first fund raise amounting to INR 25 crores.
Throughout the talk, Mr. Lunia stressed on one important point, always promote your brand and not your company. To convey the full brand message, the name needs to be supported by other key elements. These should include:
- A descriptor phrase, a supporting tag line/positioning statement
- Well-conceived logo design with complimentary color schemes
- An intuitive website design and navigation, matching collateral pieces (brochures, business cards, etc.) as well as integrated social media pages (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
Contrary to common practice, your website domain should have the brand name, and not the company name. Similarly, create a Brand page on LinkedIn and then link it to your personal page, describing your role and profile.
Even your display name and photo on mobile instant messaging platforms like Whatsapp should be reflect your brand name and logo instead of your corporate identity.
Every interaction is an opportunity to recall your brand.
Anand Lumia explained this concept with the example of LurnQ, which is promoted and known by its brand name and not by the name of its founding company, Technium Labs.
Everything, including your business card, Facebook page, Twitter handle, website, blog etc. should be integrated with a similar theme and interface. One should learn to 'templatize' with similar colors, fonts, themes etc.
Today, Social Media platforms are bigger than Email. In fact, many people create email addresses simply to register for a Facebook or Twitter account. In a country like India, millions of people spend most of their online time on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Digg, Stumble Upon, Tumblr etc.
Social networking websites contain the largest amount of connections and command the most attention from their userbase. Adding a node for yourself in this sea of database entries is a fantastic way to not only meet interesting new people, but have yourself openly viewed by many others.
Do not outsource your social media pages, at least not initially. The CEO and other high officals of a company need to directly interact with the customers to not only catch their attention but also to understand their demands and feedback.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. are some of the best ways to drive traffic to your brand website or blog. Consumer brands in today's age can not survive the additional push given by these sources.
Your Twitter handle should have your company logo and name for additional branding.Focus targeted Facebook ads are another advantage of the social network. Facebook Ads are targeted according to Facebook Profile information: Age, location, education, relationship status, interests like favorite movies, music and much more are available to advertisers that can access to aggregate data and reach the right audience for their ads.
Depending on their goals and the product that they are advertising, advertisers can set a targeting filter to select which group of people will see their ad. This makes it possible to focus on or target the people most likely to be interested in the product, amongst the millions of worldwide Facebook users.
With the shift to digital, the world of content has expanded. From tweets and status updates to e-books and transmedia experiences, there are a number of ways for brands to tell their story. But now the implicit magic in creating content is gone. Consumers have seen behind the curtain.
The uninitiated customer is no more inclined to mention a brand than talk to the shy person tucked quietly in the corner at a cocktail party. If we want our customers to engage us, or our products and services, we have to contribute to the conversation.
Today’s web is an endless 24/7 cycle fed by content and social actions. In this cycle, brands are realizing that content is currency …
~ Bryan Rhoads, global content strategy, Intel
Every smart crisis communications professional knows that “no comment” creates a vacuum where everyone — except the person or organization in crisis — will be able to shape the conversation.
According to the new Facebook algorithm, if people do not interact with your posts, Facebook automatically reduced reach from newsfeeds. Hence engagement is important.
The content has to be consistent, with a similar style used over time. However, the style needs to be versatile enough to vary according to the platform which you are using at the moment. While Facebook
& Twitter require a more informal and even funny conversational skill., LinkedIn works with a more formal tone.
Blend humor with business objective
The tonality of content also varies with the type of audience. For a BtoC business, it is better to let the audience take lead and follow their tone. But in a BtoB business, it is better to stick to a more formal approach.
If you have a blog, update it. Otherwise remove the blog”Make sure you keep your blog live. Someone who happens to stumble upon a dead blog might simply assume that the company has closed down.
Anand Lunia is a stark example of a man who practices what he preaches. He encourages everyone to do exactly what he has been doing over the past few years.
Establish yourself as a thought leader.Let the people know that you are the expert on the matter and that you understand more a about the business than any tom, dick and harry with a website. Write year end
reviews, summarize your industry, make presentations and send them out.
Speak at forums. Create the content with a power-point presentation before hand, send it to forums and ask to speak for them.
Are you still using your gmail ID?Mr. Lunia threw the question at the guests as soon as he started speaking. He condemned the use of common email IDs for business purposes and stressed on the importance of using domain names for a more professional outlook as well as branding activity.
What most people do not know is that Gmail provides 10 free email IDs for any registered domain name.
Once you have the proper email IDs for yourself and for your employees, make sure that you use your company's logo and mission statement as part of the email signature.
Logos are highly important as they become the visual definition of your brand's identity.
The email signature can also contain a brief but informative disclaimer. This disclaimer, if written well, is quite useful in making your conversations more professional and serious.For Consumers:
An Email newsletter is one of the most successful and yet one of the cheapest modes of advertisement and branding, in the world. They are easy to compile through readymade software. However, makee sure that you do not get in the consumer's face by sending daily emails and spamming their inboxes.
Mass Mails are a great way to reach out to a very large number of consumers. The consumer email addresses can be acquired from purchased databases or through use of services like SendGate and MailChimp.The ROI of mass mails and newsletters is much higher than that of SEM.
The number of mobile users in India is one of the highest in the world. Thus it becomes obvious that one needs to use this platform for the promotion or your brand name.
Make sure that you sign every official SMS with you company name. In fact, one can go one step further and purchase SMS handles which are available at very cheap rates.
Do not spam the customers, but make sure that you send messages to them regularly. This hold even more true for BtoB businesses. The SMS messages don't even need to have anything to do with your business.
Why should you consider SMS branding?They are a number of reasons why you should consider SMS branding:
- Promotes authenticity - your messages look genuine.
- Helps you look professional
- Marketing and brand promotion