The New Wall Street-Indian CIOs' Success with Social Media MarketingAdded 12th Nov 2010
- Social media marketing is not the new kid on the block; it’s a dragon on your porch, waiting for you to tame it.
- Despite social media emerging as tomorrow’s most important marketplace, few IT leaders have made it a priority.
Like there weren’t enough numbers for you to watch, here’s another one: How many Facebook fans does India’s most popular social media brand have?
Wait. What is India’s most popular social media brand?
Social media is a paradigm shift. Customer service has now extended from dialing 111 on a phone to engaging with us over online platforms.”—Manoj Nigam, VP-IT, Vodafone
If you don’t have an answer to these questions, you are not alone. Despite social media emerging as tomorrow’s most important marketplace, few IT leaders have made it a priority. Yet, according to a brand engagement study on social media, by Altimeter and Wet Paint, companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media surpass their peers significantly in terms of revenue. Companies with the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement saw revenues grow by 18 percent over the last 12 months, as opposed to those that were least engaged: Their revenues sank an average of 6 percent over the same period.
Fortunately, there are some CIOs who have embraced social media and are providing their businesses with deeper customer engagement and new revenue channels. Here’s what they have learnt along the way.
The Zoozoo Effect
The answer to the second question is Vodafone.
According to Brands Going Social, India’s first and only website that monitors and ranks the performance of Indian brands on Facebook and Twitter, Vodafone has the highest number of fans across any Indian enterprise on Facebook. Zoozoo, the official fan page of the company, has a staggering 921,065 fans (at press time. It grew by over 30,000 in the last 10 days of writing).
“Social media is not just about posting a feed. On the Web, people are commenting about my brand all over the place. Customer service has now extended from dialing 111 on a phone to engaging with us over online platforms,” says Manoj Nigam, VP-IT, Vodafone. “It is a paradigm shift. If you make a customer unhappy, he could influence five people in the real world. But on the Internet he could influence 10,000. That’s why the need to address this media is vital.”
Nigam is one among a small group who has found a way to integrate intelligence gathered from social media into his backend systems and help his business segment and target its audiences better. But he didn’t always play a pivotal role. Like many Indian businesses, when Vodafone started with social media, it engaged third-party digital marketers to fulfill its needs. But as data volumes exploded, IT was asked to step in and integrate Vodafone’s social media conversations into the company’s internal systems.
Today, Nigam’s work has improved Vodafone’s customer communication and experience. The carrier is able to handle complaints, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Nigam and his team are currently devising social media tools that can, for instance, capture and use psychographic data. They’re also in the process of creating knowledge-driven chat-bot, designed to simulate human conversation. For Nigam, these are just the initial steps in a long-term commitment to technology-enabled business solutions. “The focus of customer segmentation will shift from person to persona and online channels will play a big role in that.”
Nigam’s example illustrates how CIOs can drive their businesses into tomorrow’s Wall Street. (For more, read The Great Leadership Opportunity Page 32) But, first, they’re going to have to figure how to best leverage social media for
Connecting to the money. Creating a sales channel: It’s the ultimate promise of social media. But very few have succeeded at it. Dell is one of them. Dell’s consumer division has been an early adopter of social media and has seen phenomenal returns. In June 2009, Dell’s outlet on Twitter made twice the sales its own portal Dell.com did. And as of December 2009, Dell’s global Twitter revenues touched $6.5 million (about Rs 30 crore).
“Not only have we been able to connect with over 3.5 million customers using social media, we have also successfully monetized our presence on Twitter,” says Manish Mehta, VP, Global Online, Dell Online.
Closer home, Bookmyshow.com has also found an innovative way to leverage the strength of social media to increase sales with the creation of Ticket Buddy, a movie-ticket booking application on Facebook.
Bookmyshow is the only Indian ticketing company that offers customers the facility to book their tickets two weeks prior to the release of a movie. When Viraj Patel, VP-IT, Bigtree Entertainment, the company that owns Bookmyshow, took this facility to Facebook, he tweaked it to allow customers to invite their friends, using an application called Ticket Buddy. The application could have worked on the website, but it really took off on Facebook. Why? Because it allows people to invite friends, which is easy to do on a social media site, and because it ensures that each person can pay separately for their tickets—a facility not available on Bookmyshow.com. Going Dutch was never this easy.
“The power of social media is phenomenal. We’ve been offering a pre-booking facility for two years. But it’s only since Ticket Buddy that the facility’s popularity has soared,” says Patel.
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