Sunday, April 29, 2012

Top 4 reasons to participate in Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat
Twitter Chat
In the last few months, I seem to have caught up with the Twitter Chat bug. For someone who's is making foray into the social media marketing world, it is an apt form of communication and learning.

What is a Twitter Chat anyway?? 

When you have spent some time on twitter, you do come across situation where information is exchanged between individuals. Suppose you group these individuals, throw a topic and let the thoughts flow, there goes Twitter Chat :). In an ideal situation, it goes like:

1. Setup a date/time
2. Suggest a topic
3. Setup #hashtag, in order to help people follow the conversation
4. Send out invites

But end of the day, the biggest question that arises, how does it help ME??  I have been lucky enough to have exchanged ideas & befriended some of the great individuals in the Social Media world using twitter chat. Here are my top 5 reasons, you should be part of Twitter Chat:

1. Engagement

One of the clear advantage of being a part of tweet chat is the increased engagement. When a topic falls into your sweet spot, you are bound to get sucked into the discussion. Various chats encourage you to post questions, which gets answered by the panel or other participants. One of the best forms of engagement in real time.

2. Build Intelligence

For instance, the recent chat we had at #Toolschat on Kred. I have not yet adopted Kred since the great fiasco of Klout and there were participants with similar concerns over the scoring. Participating in the chat on that day, helped us build intelligence about Kred and also similar enterprises - PeerIndex and likes. We were able to uncover the pulse of the various users of Kred and guess it helped Kred to gather feedback informally, which may help in future investments.

3. Focused Followers

If you are in the game, where you fret on the number of followers, my advice, this is not the place. But in case you want to follow or get followed by key individuals in your space - do attend the chats, regularly. Here's a place where you get to interact with like-minded individuals and engage with them beyond the chat sessions.

4. Promotion

The above example of Kred, exemplifies the power of Twitter and Twitter chats. It's your time to be in the limelight. As an enterprise, you might want to sponsor a Twitter chat or be a guest panel on a day & tell the participants how your product(s) can help them. It will be a chance to educate potential customers about your products and one of the best methods to serve information and source feedback.

Well, we have IBM  coming to #GetRealChat on 5/1. Be there on Twitter at 9 PM EST and follow the hashtag.

As part of my regular activities, I participate in the following chats:

Let's engage there.

You might also want to check out the Mashable's 15 Essential Twitter Chats for SMM
Has Twitter Chat helped you?? Share how?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Facebook bought Instagram

Facebook and Instagram
Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has come as a big surprise  and the thought that echoed everywhere was ‘Why did it buy Instagram??’, an application which would just cater to sharing photos, using multiple filters, through mobile. With multiple theories going around the blogosphere, the most notable was why would Zuckerburg spend $1 billion on this app just before the IPO.

Here are my thoughts on why Zuckerburg's Facebook picked up Instagram:

1. Kill Competition

It had been rumored that Twitter or Google had expressed interest in buying Instagram & were gathering resources for it. Facebook probably wanted to nip the competition in the bud and snapped it before any of them. The speed at Zuckerburg made the decision, having the negotiations done in a week, lends credibility to the story.

2. Valuation

Instagram, a baby of Kevin Systrom, was until now available on iOS devices & most recently Android to enhace photos, with its multiple filters saw its valuation increasing from about $100 million a year ago to $500 million recently. Similarly, its Android launch saw its user base increasing with almost 5 million downloads in 6 days. So it made sense for Facebook to pick up an commercially successful app just before its IPO & make itself a lucrative investment.

3. Engagement

Facebook had its own challenges in coming up with a mobile based app especially when most of its users like to share photos & messages. Having a mobile based app would have certainly helped them. Compared it to Instagram, it has been the most successful mobile based app to share photos where numerous users engaged over their photos. Facebook could leverage on the multiple filter abilities that Instragram provides & take user experience to a different level. A definite plus for them.

My opinion is that the buying of Instagram should accelerate the growth and engagement on Facebook, which can translate into more ads generating inorganic revenues for Facebook. Either way, it might be hard to justify the $1 billion investment, but it has indeed helped Facebook stump its competitor and by the time they wake up to develop their own capabilities, Facebook might have taken a huge market share.

Do you justify the $1 million payout irrespective of knowing that Facebook had deep pockets?? Share your thought using the comments section below.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

D is for Digital Marketing

Ever since Internet became the heart of communication channels, companies are finding ways to leverage it for marketing benefits & that essentially is all about 'Digital Marketing'. The marketing world has seen a paradigm shift in their campaigns while moving from traditional channels to the digital space. 
The advent of search engines saw the marketer lapping up SEO, ad banners, PPC strategies as part of digital marketing, which promised that your brand pages lands at the top. And now even these  are being tweaked so that they suit the more prolific social channels rather than focusing on the entire internet space. The intent is clearly to be heard and reach out to more customers.

This blog post is part of the A to Z Challenge and I would be glad to see your comments on "Digital Marketing"

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Content Strategy - Top 5 Clues

Courtesy: nokhoog_buchachon
The letter of the day is 'C' and for the guys in Social Media world, its stands for the dreaded 'Content Strategy'. As marketers & especially in the social media space, tt's the singlemost aspect in deciding the success of content going viral. A good content strategy should ensure that it is easy to be found & engaging.

For the content, that has essentially gone viral, on careful analysis, you might see a pattern. Ape it!!!

Hence, its essential to have a good content strategy at the heart of any campaigns so that you gather enough leads. Here are my top 5 clues to help you ace content strategy:

1. Define niche
Identify an area of expertise to talk about. Reader's come to your blog to learn something, but if cannot offer learning on the same subject over your posts, chances are, they are not coming back. Capture the trends in your domain & write about it, you'll always have the first-mover advantage.

2. Determine Audience
Based on the post you have written & the traffic that has been generate, analyze your audience. You should be able to know which part of the world reads more, shares more. Target this audience by ensuring that your post covers what they want.
3. Curate Relevant Content
It would be a difficult task to think about content day in & day out. So better curate content. Internet is flooded with noise, determine what you want. I use channels like Google Reader, to curate content for my blog.

4. Include Call-to-actions (CTA)
One of the most important aspect of any content strategy is to have a CTA. You need to be able to get the reader on what to do next after visiting your content. Asking them for opinion, to share or even getting them to download your ebook are good CTAs.

5. Social Sharing
The last one though has to be about sharing. Give your reader multiple opportunities to share your content. Pick up any one of the plug-in available over the web & have it on your page. Make it easy for the reader to share your content.

This are some of the tips that I have gathered by experience & am trying to master it.

My CTA for you is to share it, as I have put multiple social sharing links (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stumbleupon, You can also share your opinion using the comments section below.

Check out my profile!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Basics of Blogging - A to Z Challenge

Blog Image
Blog - Image Courtesy - Stuart Miles|
When the competition is about blog, I thought why not write about blog & see if we share a common understanding. For me, blogging was to share - the information that I gather over my normal day, my opinion about a particular story (like the employee issue at Goldman Sachs) or do some plain talking. Over the years that I have been blogging (not so consistently!!!), I have learnt the finer nuances & to succeed, these basics have to be mastered.

Sharing some of them:

Rule 1: Have an Aim

Now that the Blogging bug has bitten you, find a purpose for the blog. Determine if you want to write an an individual or represent your company because that will shape up your following. Also determine your niche.

Rule 2: Content Strategy (That's going to be the next post :-) ) 

In a nutshell, your content strategy should help you define the content that will be suited to the 'Aim'. You cannot be writing a food recipe on a technology blog. Defining a content strategy will also help you to source references that are of relevance, remember its a sea of information out there.

Rule 3: Editorial Calendar (My post on how to do it)

As a rule of thumb, to make yourself heard, the noise you create has to be persistent & consistent (look ma!! I rhymed it). Post regularly, but to do that effectively, make sure you have an editorial calendar in place. It helps you in planning of the post well in advance & also ensures focus

Rule 4: Promoting

Once you have posted it, let people know about it. Use the various social channels to share your post. Twitter can be leveraged by using tweet chat or personal interactions, similarly you can use Triberr (to ensure more coverage) or (to share at multiple social channels) . Make your post SEO friendly, it gets the search engines interested.

Rule 5: Engaging

Last but the most important aspect is engagement. Best engagements can happen over a blog post & your views has the ability to get more moolah too. Ensure you respond to comments, tweets & any sharing that happens for your post, it shows people that you care.

I do care about engaging too and the guys at Disqus have done an amazing job to have me setup their comment platform. Do drop in your comments below & lets tell them they have done an amazing job. Also, tell me if you like my blog and share yours for me to comment.

Follow me on Twitter (@malharbarai) or 'Like' the Facebook Page to stay updated.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A - All aboard the A to Z Blog Challenge

Today is the Day #1 of the A To Z challenge & am on board writing the first post.

As part of the challenge, we are supposed to write a post on each of the word as given in the schedule. Think its easy?? Get registered, as the A2Z Team is still accepting requests. Believe me, this is going to be a huge blog marathon & I feel great to be part of it.

My Top 5 reasons to pick up the challenge

1. Regular Post
2. Wider Audience
3. Great Traffic
4. Interaction with other Bloggers
5. Gain Influence

Looking forward to the semblance that it can bring up in my posting schedule & well not to forget some good traffic too (Who doesn't like that as a blogger)

Haven't heard of A to Z Challenge?? Visit their blog today and register if you can. Seems almost 1600+ bloggers are already registered.

And if you have already registered, do share your Blog Link using the 'comments' below.