Sunday, July 21, 2013

Social Media Marketing – Ford Fiesta: A Social Remix, Revival of 2009 Fiesta Movement

Ford Motor Company had redesigned the Fiesta car in 2009 with a target of reaching the young customers and first time car buyers and company launched the Fiesta Movement, the campaign that sparked chatter on social media, and user-generated content became the basis for the company’s TV and print ads. Ford gave 100 digitally-connected people a Fiesta for six months with one mission create a themed video every month, documenting their time with the car on social media. Ford then put the content up in real-time, unedited and unfiltered, essentially turning over the brand to its consumers. The Fiesta Movement that started in April 2009 "was entirely driven by social media" without any traditional media set against it, and, Scott Monty, Head Social Media, Ford Motors  said by April 2010 the conversion rate from reservations to orders was 10 times higher than this process for any other vehicle. Ford began accepting reservations for Fiestas on Dec. 1, 2009. The Fiesta Movement does show sales figures resulting from just social media efforts. Aside from the 7 million video impressions on YouTube, 750,000 photo impressions and more than 40 million Twitter impressions, Scott Monty says more than 130,000 consumers registered at to receive more information about the vehicle when it came on the market. About 82 % of those registered hadn't owned a Ford before. And for the ultimate metric, conversions, Monty says 10 times more reservations become orders than did so for any other Ford vehicle.

In February 2013, Ford announced a new social media campaign named Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix that was a revival of 2009 Fiesta Movement. Like the 2009 original, which was Ford’s first social media marketing endeavor, the new Social Remix campaign will revolve around 100 people with large social audiences online, whom Ford is calling “agents.” Each will be lent a 2014 Ford Fiesta for six months in exchange for a commitment to produce one video about the car each month, and every video will have to conform to a new “mission” or theme generated by Ford, but the automaker will not edit any video at all. These six themes are travel, adventure, style and design, entertainment, technology, gaming, social activism (focused on local causes) and healthy lifestyle. All the videos will be showcased at the campaign’s Fiesta Movement website, and partnerships with prominent TV, entertainment and sports events — including American Idol, the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and the Summer X Games — will generate “the elements that help amplify” what all of the participants produce. the videos will form the basis for all 2014 Fiesta advertisements, including TV spots and print and online ads. The 100 participants in the new campaign will include some celebrities and alumni of the 2009 program as well as people recruited by Ford for the first time. Ford is aggressively using the social media platforms for promoting its brands and engaging with customers and this has proved to be a huge success for the company since 2009 and Ford customers too have actively engaged with the company on different social media platforms. This is very important as most of the companies across the globe have social media presence but they fail to engage customers and social network users increase their participation and ultimately drive revenues for the company which only Ford Motors is doing successfully. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Social Media Strategy @ Ford Motor Company – One Social Vision

Ford social media strategy is integrated into the company’s overall business strategy not just with marketing strategy. Ford had adopted the social media strategy that included employees, dealers and customers which helped the company to exactly understand the key drivers and critical success factors that are driving the company success. Ford social media also provides a unique view of the customers and other social media users’ feedback, opinions, wants, needs and this engagement also led to generation of crucial information that help Ford Motor Company to improve product development, advertising or product marketing. Ford has created its Social Hub, website called Ford Social which provides a platform for costumers and fans to consume information interact with other users and provide feedback and suggestions to Ford. Of all the ideas users submitted, Scott Monty, Head of Social Media, Ford Motors Co said that 40% were either already in vehicles or were currently being worked on. Ford spends 20-25% of their total marketing budget on the digital platforms that roughly estimates to close to US$150 million per year which is higher than any other player in the automobile industry globally.

Ford has integrated social media into its marketing mix through a hub-and-spoke model, which means employees throughout the company can play a significant role in customer engagement process by knowing the message the company wants to give to customers and communicating with consumers in their own voices based on their specialization. Ford Social Media Strategy can be summed up as consistent presence in free social networking sites, paid digital efforts and other emerging forms of public communication. Consumers can engage with Ford in everything from Facebook pages to ads, from Twitter profiles to promoted tweets and trends, and from banner ads to rich media. Ford has more than 1.9 million likes on Facebook, more than 244,600 followers on Twitter, more than 171,000 subscribers and 4.4 million views on YouTube. Ford's Yammer enterprise social network internally for engaging employees has grown to have about 17,000 registered users (about 10% of them active participants). Ford is using Yammer to prove the business value of internal social networking with employees but no long-term commitment to Yammer has been made as the technology of choice.

According to Scott Monty, Ford has begun implementing the “One Social vision,” which was approved by top management of the company at the end of 2012 which is sponsored internally by the Ford’s chief marketing officer, chief communications officer, chief information officer, and chief technology officer. Scott Monty said, “The vision has been approved but we’re going back to some of the executive committees to get a commitment to structure and funding and putting a plan together.” As it stands now, he explained, there are “four pillars” to the One Social vision: Listen and engage; measure and monitor; learning and training; and growth and scale. “The notion is, turn Ford into a social business,” bridging its external social networks presence and internal social structure so that there’s a free flow of information from one to the other. “Whatever department you’re a part of, any of these four pillars should be relevant to you,” he said.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Social Media Marketing Budgets & Marketing Strategy by Indian Companies 2013

According to Ernst & Young's 'Social Media Marketing - India Trends Study, 2013', a 40-question survey of 48 people responsible for the online or digital marketing strategy of some of India's largest companies, including Bharti Airtel, Ford India, Bajaj, Cafe Coffee Day, Honda Cars India, Pepsi India, MTV India, P&G India, Microsoft India, etc. Most of the companies in the survey highlighted that the annual social media budget is a small in lakhs of rupees mostly around Rs 11-25 lakh which is a smaller proportion of the total marketing spends by most of the companies that have marketing budgets in hundreds of crores of rupees. 

The E&Y study highlights that 95.7% of the surveyed social media-savvy organizations in India use the medium to build communities and promote usage of their brands while 76.1% use social media as a platform to highlight brand news. Around 16% of organizations use social media for both the above reasons and most of the Indian organizations utilize it for customer service, lead generation, and research indicate the increasing levels of  social maturity of Indian social media users and businesses successfully engaging with their customers and audience effectively. Facebook is the most important platform for marketers in India for engaging customers followed by Twitter, YouTube and blogging had been used by most Indian companies for the past few years and employ bloggers or online influencers who have authority and strong following for this. Even the usage of emerging platforms such as Pinterest, Google Plus, and Foursquare are also on the rise by Indian corporates. 83% of the social media-savvy organizations surveyed said that they have used social media ads, with majority of the ads being used to promote a contest/promotion or for brand awareness. 88.6% said they find social media ads to be beneficial in achieving those objectives. 76.7% of social media-savvy organizations said they have their marketing department handling social media with the rest being handled by a cross functional team/across functions or by the PR/communications team. Other than marketing, 34.6% said they use social media for thought leadership and 26.9% said they use social media for CSR. 73.8% of surveyed social media-savvy organizations have chosen standalone digital agencies as compared to PR, ad agencies, or freelancers. 

% of Market Budget Spent on Social Media          

Social Media Budget Size per Year 

Social Network Users Statistics India 2013 till 2017 – Maturing growth next five years

According to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” the number of social network users in India is expected to cross 100 million users and reach more than 127 million users by end of 2013. The total numbers of social media users will more than double and reach close to 283 million users by 2017. But the interesting fact is that the number of users has already started to see slower growth from 2013 and the decline in the YoY growth is expected to continue which also highlights the maturing numbers for the social networks in India which is also a global trend. There has been a strong social media adoption in India since past few years as the business organizations, government organizations and even political parties are actively utilizing the various social media platforms and social network sites to reach the people. 75% of Indians who are active internet users use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest etc. and interaction with friends, relatives, colleagues and community, live chat, status updates, image- as well as video-sharing are some of the major activities by Indians that spend close to 30 minutes every day online on the different social networks.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of social media users in Urban India reached 66 million by June 2013 and by mid-2014 expected to cross 80 million users. Some 97 per cent of them are on Facebook. And they are spread beyond the big metros. One-third of social media users live in towns with a population of less than 5 million; 25 per cent of the total users live in towns with less than 2 million inhabitants. Social media usage is also fast catching up with mobile internet users. According to the report, 77 percent of the users use mobile for social media. Email, social media, search, app store and chat / IM are used every day by those accessing internet through mobile. Facebook has 78 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India for the quarter ending March 31, 2013, registering a 50% increase from the Q1 2012. LinkedIn has 20 million users, Twitter has 33 million users, Pinterest has 5.5 million users in India at the end of March 2013. Indians are very active on different social networks and are also actively increasing the amount of time they spend on the various social networking sites.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Social Media Analyst jobs on the rise in India 2013, shortage of good resources

A social media analyst is responsible for developing and maintaining a company’s presence on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, etc and also has to manage the blogs of the company. According to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013. The number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion. With such a huge audience Businesses across the globe cannot ignore them and they need to focus on the social networking sites users to promote their products and services. Social Media Marketing has hence become an essential strategy for the large, medium and small businesses across the globe. Most of the businesses are giving the responsibility of managing their social media presence to the corporate communications teams, internal marketing communication teams and some businesses who think there social media presence is crucial for their business success recruit Social Media Marketing managers and give them complete responsibility to manage the social media presence. Some companies are also outsourcing their Social media activities to third party suppliers who can be a pure play business process outsourcing vendor or any media or creative agency. Indian BPO Vendors are aggressively offering Social media services to their clients and they are recruiting social media marketing analysts in big numbers.

Most of the companies prefer graduates with bachelor's degree in public relations, marketing or business communications and also recruit candidates with prior job experience of couple of years and a proven track record. Other essential qualifications for the job include good English language skillsin terms of reading and particularly writing as a lot of content writing in the form of writing blogs, posting ads on FB, etc. Also require good knowledge of MS Excel, Power Point, and Word and good understanding of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools and having a good knowledge of HTML/CSS, blogspot, Word Press, and website administrations will prove handy. Freshers can expect a salary in the range of Rs.20k-25 k and if you are really good at it then within a year or so you can expect remuneration in the range of Rs.100,000. Besides that an analyst has to be well versed with the latest trends in social media and must know how to connect with the targeted groups through new as well as popular social media platforms. An analyst must remain updated with the latest social media tools and as social media emerged as a key component in marketing and communications, social media analysts can hope for a senior or expert role in that profession or eventually the roles within digital marketing and can move on to other positions such as an account manager or social media manager who takes on broader strategic duties. 
Along with posting, managing and garnering new followers and like for the company pages on the various social networking sites and platforms the social media marketing analyst have to spend time on planning and strategizing future campaigns, brainstorm content, meet with other departments to ensure that their strategies are aligned, tracking campaigns and reporting according to Farhana Sidek, digital client executive at Edelman Singapore. So simply recruiting young people who are active on social media sites simply don’t work they need to understand the concepts of search engine optimization, content management without which they will not be able to deliver the desired results for the company. In the day, the analyst would follow the requests of the client and plan for upcoming posts and campaigns for the client. Besides responding to queries on social media platforms, she noted that breaking down information was an important part of the job. "While we track basic stats like followers, click-throughs, fans, comments and traffic, we also monitor conversations happening around the brand both on and off our social media platforms and carefully structure responses that are in line with the company's strategy," she added. Indian Business process outsourcing firms like Genpact, WNS, Aegis, Infosys BPO, etc. are aggressively exploiting the lucrative opportunity in social media outsourcing services wherein they manage social media for corporations whose customers are taking to the online medium to share feedback.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Worldwide Social network Users 2013- Growth declining constantly every year till 2017

According to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013. The number of social network users worldwide will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion in 2013, an 18% increase year on year (YoY) and by 2017, and the number of users globally will total 2.55 billion. Growth rates (YoY) are coming down with the growth declining by 5% in 2014 compared to 2013 and by 2% every year till 2017 which signifies maturity in the number of users in developed markets like US, UK, etc. where the population is smaller and population growth rate is also slower compared to emerging countries like India, China, Brazil, etc. Even in the other regions like Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East Africa that are presently growth drivers for social network user growth will also see fall in growth starting this year.

The number of social network users is directly linked to the telecommunication and internet penetration levels particularly in emerging countries. It also depends on literacy levels, population growth rates and relevant government spending in upgrading telecom and internet infrastructure like broadband. Key players in this segment are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have been there for years and dominate the market in terms of number of users. Many new social networking sites have emerged in the recent years but failed to build up the numbers as big as Facebook but they are also picking up slowly. The amount of services and number of applications on the various social network sites have also increased drastically and most of the business organizations across the globe be it large, medium and small in size have significantly improved their social media presence and are spending billions of dollars on the social platforms for selling and promoting their products and services.

eMarketer has increased our 2013 forecast for total social network users worldwide by 100 million since our August 2012 forecast. This upward adjustment is based on new data that indicates higher-than-expected totals for internet users in India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and the Middle East and Africa; new data showing higher estimates for UK social network users than previously forecast; and a new breakout of social network users in the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Accessing of the social networks is done majorly by personal computers like desktops, laptops and mobile devices like tablets and mobile phones not only smart phones but also the mid-range and low range phones. Mobile manufacturers like Samsung, Nokia, LG, etc. have also selling mobile phones at low price and mid-price levels that are preloaded with social network applications like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Businesses and Governments across the globe are also encouraging people to log into social networking sites as they are providing the necessary information related to products and services, performance and reviews, customer feedbacks and are also providing the customers to use the social network sites to complain about the poor quality of product services and actively express their dissatisfaction. Politicians are also using the social network platforms to interact with voters and citizens. There has been a significant change in the way the social networking sites are used by users as they are not only sharing their personal information about their personal life with friends, relatives and colleagues, they are also actively using to interact with business organization of whom they may or may not be customers but they are voicing their opinion sometimes critically about the businesses and governments. The recent Arab Spring where in people in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, etc. had voiced their opinions against their respective regimes and which led to the down fall of the dictatorial regimes and blossoming of democracy. Some governments are even looking to curtail the social networking sites usage by their citizens but are failing to do so effectively. Overall the number of social network users worldwide will keep growing at a slower pace in the next five years.

There is a discussion going on in regards to the slowing down of the social network users particularly the active users, users who login every day into the social networking sites and spend considerable amount of time on these sites. This is due to the social media fatigue where in some users are simply tired of using the social networking sites extensively, got bored of it and complain that the social networking sites are not improving their services and are not offering unique applications like games and content that keep the users engage and retain them. Social media fatigue is also a growing concern for the social networking sites and they need to develop strategies to overcome them. Even the changes in the government regulations and legislations in related to data privacy, confidentiality, protection, online behavior and also related to criminal and other antisocial activities on the various social networking sites. Many laws are being passed and amended particularly in emerging countries is also a big concern. Overall the social networking sites have a unique challenge in the coming five years where in they have to make sure users remain active on their sites and new users also join the sites and retain the existing users without which they will perish as the social network sites success is directly related to number of users.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Social Media Customer Service @ Honda Motors Customer Service on Twitter @HondaCustSvc

Social Media is not only for marketing, customer engagement and corporate communication but also is very effective in customer service. Social Media platform like Facebook and Twitter are being widely used by companies to provide customer services. Customer service or after sales service is an essential component of overall customer satisfaction and it often plays a key role in retaining the customers and increase customer loyalty. Automobile companies have embraced the social media aggressively in the past few years and have been effectively using the various social networking sites for brand promotion, customer engagement, product launches, product innovation and last but not the least customer service. Twitter provides the customers a platform wherein they can directly reach the company for solving their complaints and problems. They can express their satisfaction and dissatisfaction of the product and service immediately and companies can respond to the issues fast and avoid further dissatisfaction. For Automobile companies it is even more important as there is severe competition within the industry and dissatisfied customer may even influence other customers including the prospective customers through negative word of mouth. Automobile industry had been going through its fair set of problems mostly related to vehicle recalls due to safety concerns for the drivers by faulty parts and components, product quality and performance issues, dealership issues and non-response of dealers, etc.

Honda Motor America is using twitter for customer service effectively for the past few years and is helping the customers to solve their problems and issues. @HondaCustSVc is an exclusive account for Honda Motors customers to complain about the company products and services. This account is maintained by three exclusive personnel of the company whose photographs are visible on the Twitter account page and they are available Monday to Friday 07.30 hrs to 16.00 hrs PST for resolving the customer complaints. The twitter page also provides the details of the toll free phone number, contact postal address, fax number and customer website address of Honda. There are close to 9,000 followers and close to 7,000 tweets on this specific page and the customer service team are very prompt in responding to the customer complaints. The response time is very fast and they are either resolving the issues or guiding the customers to the relevant place for resolving the issues. Some of the types of complaints on this site are they are dissatisfied with products and services, lack of proper response from dealers, vehicle recalls, schedules and letters and also queries relating to the financing of the vehicles. Some of the tweets highlight severe dissatisfaction of the product and services of Honda Motors and the customer service team is efficiently handling the tweets and avoiding serious repercussions. Twitter interactions of Honda customers are a proof that the customer service through twitter is one of the most efficient ways in which the customers can directly contact company customer service using their mobile devices instantly without any problems and tweet directly with guarantee that they will get the response as soon as possible. A dedicated customer service team is responding to the customer tweets in matter of minutes and guiding customers so that they can resolve their issues immediately. This is good case study for customer service through twitter.