SOCIAL MEDIA & COMPANIES

The 21st century is a century of communication. We live in a digital world and there are lots of conversations happening in the virtual world. People like to gossip, talk and discuss about any topic in the social media. Remember the time when you tweeted about your awesome vacation in Thailand or the post that you made in your FB page about the irritating service provided by your telecom service provider? Should companies care about these conversations? Should they listen what people are talking about their brands?

The answer is a big YES and these are the reasons why it is important to do so -

UNDERSTAND THE BRAND BUZZ
Tracking brands can give 2 ideas about brand buzz – brand prominence and brand sentiment. Brand prominence gives a general idea about the level of awareness about a brand. The more the brand prominence, the higher is the awareness of the brand. If the brand prominence of a company is low, the company should make sure that it runs campaigns to increase its awareness level. However, understanding the brand prominence alone is incomplete. Understanding brand sentiment is equally or even more important. By knowing the brand sentiment, companies can realize how the brand is perceived and talked about by people. A low brand prominence with lots of positive sentiment is much desirable than a high brand prominence with lots of negative sentiments. Companies need to act fast to determine the cause if it has lots of negative sentiments about its brand.

ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

There is a saying “A stitch in time saves nine” which literally means a timely effort can prevent larger problems. To begin with, let me emphasize on the power with which information gets spread in the social media. A post made in any social networking sites is seen and heard by millions within seconds which means that a brand could lose its reputation in a minute which it has built for over years. A tweet about a brand can be re-tweeted until it reached millions of people. By tracking and monitoring brands, it is possible to find out whether any conversations or articles are being written in the social media. By timely intervention and engaging with the unhappy customers, a catastrophic event can be prevented from happening. At the same time, there might be people talking and writing good things about brands. Companies can engage with them and encourage them to spread the good messagesand be a brand ambassador.

UNDERSTANDING DEMOGRAPHIC
One reason why demographic details are very popular with marketers is because they are associated with consumer wants and needs.

AGE DEMOGRAPHIC
Consumer wants change with age. Companies have specific target groups for their brands, for instance, Johnson & Johnson’s baby soap are products for children. So target customers are young parents in their mid-20’s to late 30’s. By monitoring which age groups of people are talking and conversing about its product, brands can make sure that whether their brand is reaching the right target audience or not. If not, it needs to dig deeper to see why it is so.

GENDER DEMOGRAPHIC
Men and women have different attitudes and behave differently. As such, different brands have different target gender audience. For instant, Femina is a magazine targeted towards women while Maxim is targeted towards men. By monitoring brands, companies can determine whether the right set of customers (i.e. male or female in this case) is talking about their brand. If not, companies should do an in-depth analysis to find out the reason behind it.

SETTING MARKETING STRATEGY
Brand monitoring is also useful for getting insights about customer’s perception and feeling towards a brand. People not only talk but they suggest too. By closely monitoring brand conversations, it is possible to know reasons which factor acts as a constraint to why a particular campaign is not received well by people or what are the attributes which resulted in lot of hype and buzz about a particular ad. Brands can accordingly set their marketing strategy.

GET COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE
It is not enough for companies to monitor their brand alone. It is equally important to know what their competitors are up to and what people are talking about them. They can get competitive intelligence by comparing how their brand fares against their competitors.

Author’s Note: Social Media Marketing is a hot topic in many MBA college GD’s and PI’s. The article can help you understand the power of social media and how companies can utilize this resource in the most effective way.

The author David Hangsing is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and also holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from NIT Silchar. An avid social media believer, he enjoys travelling. He is currently associated with Pune Institute of Business Management.