Web fads – is this what success looks like?

Posted by futurON Ltd on Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Certainly seems like it! Brace yourselves, this is the new face of celebrity-dom (and their behinds)

Miley Cyrus's performance at the VMA's. Where's Hannah Montana gone?

A drunk Justin Beiber attacking paparazzi. Is this the new face of Celebrity-dom?











So, it really took us a lot of effort to find this picture of a drunk Justin Bieber lunging at the paparazzi. All we can say is, well done to his PR firm for keeping the myriad of others off the web. Or maybe it’s so offensive that it isn’t allowed in our region (remember that message that popped up when you tried to watch Miley Cyrus’ MTV VMA performance and you had to sign in to show age proof to watch a bad quality one anyway?) Yeah! That’s what we’re talking about.

So, what happened here? Why did Disney’s darling and Usher’s protégé go wild? Mashable called it a childhood-ruining performance by Miley Cyrus. And Justin Bieber’s public meltdown isn’t really setting any standards for growing up gracefully.

Cut to their managers and media team – sure these once-kids are popular and everybody is talking about them. But does it count for success when people of your own fraternity look at you with disgust?

The Smith Family react to Miley's VMA performance

Drake reacts to Miley's VMA performance









The answers to these questions are really subjective, hence looking into the thought process of either the stars or their media agencies will be futile. Instead, we’d like to focus on the social media angle to all this.

The social media factor

Apart from being runaway successes in the States, both Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have a huge fan following world over. A lot of this can be attributed to their social media presence. An article on Mashable called Miley Cyrus and Her Social Media Save is testimony to the fact that public images can be influenced and swung by controlled social media presence.

But what are the parameters of success on social media? Popularity, influence or both. This article called How Klout Is Twerking Your Mind About Influence answers some very pertinent questions.

Whatever the marketing strategy, the real question is, how long can this last? Is anyone thinking about a long-term benefit here? Or is this just that?

Here are some tips we could take from both Miley Cyrus’ and Justin Bieber’s marketing teams. Find out how Justin Bieber is Out Marketing Your Marketing Team and why we’re still talking about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance more than a month after it happened! Seriously, think about it.

Closer to home, there are no real raging successes due to social media but we do have the occasional Rakhi Sawant spring up, crying media every chance she got. And there was Poonam Pandey who came to the limelight only due to antics like promising to pose nude if India won the cricket world cup. But do these really count as social media marketing or are they just blatant publicity stunts? Now, that’s a topic for another blog altogether. :)

Let us know if you liked the article in the comments below. We look forward to your thoughts


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The social media frenzy around Miss America

Posted by futurON Ltd on Monday Sep 23, 2013

Sometimes people on social media have the tendency to go crazy – and we all witnessed that after Miss New York, Nina Davuluri won the Miss America pageant.

For all those who haven’t caught up with the momentous occasion yet, here it is:


Crowning of the new Miss America

Nina Davuluri was the subject of a tirade of racist remarks on Twitter after she was crowned, oh wait, as she was being crowned. The new Miss America showed immense gratitude as she gave her first speech. Take a look at what she had to say and a few things you didn’t know about her. She also spoke to Bloomberg TV after the pageant about how she survived the hate:


Nina Davuluri: How she survived the hate

Diversity is one of the more significant things she touched upon when she spoke. The world as an entity is embracing diversity, and the support and adulation she received was way more than the temporary backlash.

It was a proud moment for the world – an American of Indian descent won the coveted beauty title of the land. It only reflects how the world is becoming more inclusive, tolerant and all-encompassing. And kudos to the United States, the world’s biggest superpower is demonstrating it in every sense of the word.

Social media – the facilitator

We cannot overlook the role social media has to play in creating a connected world. Thanks to the wonderful world of the web, there is less opacity, more transparency and a great understanding among people, today.

So where there were people who made unjust remarks on Twitter, there were people standing up for the new Miss America in full support, and in larger numbers. And this highlights the point about justice in social media that Ms Davuluri speaks of – where positivity surpassed the overall negativity.  Accounts that create disparity on social platforms get initial traction but not the long term benefit in comparison with accounts that spread positivity. In fact, social platforms can delete these accounts for spamming or spreading hatred – as they did in this case. Being connected to people across the world should be the reason for more acceptance because one becomes more knowledgeable about other people and their cultures. For instance, the very fact that someone called her an Arab is telling of how ignorant the person is, and how connected with the world they actually are on social media. Some of the Tweeple apologized for their offensive tweets and some remained remorseless as can be seen here.

This debacle is a classic example of what NOT to do on social media. It is a place to collaborate and learn, not propagate hate and intolerance. Social media is a huge space to create and bring change – whether it was the Anna Hazare movement or the Nirbhaya rape case. Let’s use it to spread a positive change.

Here at futurON, we thought this video by YouTuber – iiSuperwomanii – sums up our thoughts on this matter. Enjoy!

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The Billion Dollar Tweet

Posted by Saahil on Tuesday May 7, 2013

It was 10:30 pm in Bangalore. I distinctly remember the rumble of the thunder and the silver spark amidst the orange sky.

I decided to hit the bed early, for the fear of thunder raising its decibels and the love of silver in the sky. The rain in the air was moistening the eyes and making it heavy and droopy. I decided to go on twitter one last time for the daily dose of news. Then at 10:38 pm I read a tweet from the Associated Press about bomb blasts at White House and that Barack Obama is injured. This particular tweet pumped unquantifiable adrenaline in my blood stream. I raced to the television only to see the towering sixes of Chris Gayle, repeatedly; a bombing outside the French embassy in Tripoli and an interview of a gay activist who was speaking in a heavy French accented English on his triumph in Paris. There was zilch news on the ‘purported’ blasts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Then I realized that the Associated twitter handle has been hacked by the pro-Assad Syrian ‘electronic’ army. Then amidst all the rain and thunder I started reading investigating more only to realize that the High Frequency Trading (HFT) algorithm had picked up the tweet and started a mass exodus from the various bourses. Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 1%. In just two minutes it fell from 14700 points to 14554, a drop of 146 points.

This ‘short-lived hoax on twitter briefly erased $200 billion of value from US stock markets. This hoax opened a Pandora box of vulnerabilities of financial markets apropos Twitter. We should also view it the other way, the vulnerabilities of computerized trading programs that buy and sell shares without human interventions apropos social media.

The two-minute selling spree left many traders stunned and dismayed, even though the market quickly recovered the losses afterward.

“It’s frustrating and scary that a tweet can erase hundreds of billions from the market in a short time, but that’s the world we live in,” said R.J. Grant, associate director of equity trading at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials, I have read, are looking into trading activity that took place in response to the AP tweet, according to a spokesman, who said the agency routinely looks into irregular market action. Regulators looking into the activity said it was too early to tell if the tweet was intended to disrupt the market. Jenny Shearer, an FBI spokeswoman in Washington, said the bureau is also investigating the incident.

This thunderous night was proving to be, at least for those two minutes, a-la the famous ‘flash crash’ of 6th May 2010 when the Dow plummeted 1000 points.

The Syrian Electronic Army, which describes itself as “a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths”, a group devoted to President Bashar-al-Assad, the anti anti-incumbency group. Was this hack an upshot of just a youthful escapade? Or was it part of a much bigger conspiracy by the Assad lenient groups to bring in cash to repay for the Kalashnikovs and Molotov Cocktails? Was Assad rejoicing in the Russian submarine? Should the SEC be more careful with the social media guidelines that it outlined a month back, should it add that…. that…. that je ne sais quoi.

Meanwhile the rain has stopped. The thunder is at a distant. Rumbling, waiting to strike again.


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What is Vine and why is everyone talking about it?


It wasn’t that long ago when video capture and editing was the purview of a select group. The camera equipment was expensive and bulky; it was in the league of designing a spacecraft! It also needed a lot of training and special editing software. Back in our parents’ day, they had to carry 20lb VHS recorders just to shoot a few minutes of film!

And we have it so easy! A video recorder that fits in our pocket and snippets of video in a super-digestible format. It is truly an evolution of social media apps. Voila!


In January 2013, Twitter released Vine video, its free video-sharing application that enables brands, businesses and consumers to shoot and upload six-second snippets to blogs, presentations, e-mails and social media sites. Vine is Twitter’s six-second video. The idea is to create quick, easy and interesting short films to share with friends and network on Facebook and Twitter. It is an app, currently only for iOS, that records six seconds of video and posts it on an endless loop to your Twitter account.


We have put together a bunch of reasons why Vine should be a part of your marketing mix?

We have already noticed how more marketers are using images and videos in their marketing mix; visual content is a marketer’s survival guide today. Capture quick video snippets and post them to YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

It’s testimony to the fact that media soothsayers have been crowing for years about how video is the future.

It is also a great App to drive Social Media ROI. One can drive more traffic by using tags, social buttons and share buttons.


1) It is a perfect app for brand-new user generated content

In my previous blog, we discussed how companies would make the most of User Generated Content. And Vine is the best way to create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way. Sometimes, clients have problems gathering up-to-date seasonal content for their websites, however user generated content is a great source of recent information and Vine is a perfect platform to leverage that.

Vinepeek is a website that enables one to drive more traffic to all social media platforms. It aggregates videos in real time showcasing an endless stream of six-second snippets of everyday lives.



2) It is a brand new and exciting way to reach out

Vine has managed to garner mass followings despite of it being a micro-video site. It is a great way to reach out to followers, and customers by broadcasting a 6 second video. One can also shoot a short loop; post a video with a minimum of 3 seconds. A brand or a company can share the best moments with the new hero of video sharing app. Its brevity is the (potential) source of its creativity. Small Tip– Pick a shot that’s mostly still but has just one or two elements that move.


3) It is the combination of the best!

Vine is a video sharing app, a combination of photo and video sharing with sounds. You can think of Vine as Instagram meets YouTube with a dash of Twitter!

Social networks, Facebook and Twitter are aware of this and have already started to get their hands on it.  We saw a couple months ago how Facebook is betting on improving the way content is consumed on its platform. Two of the latest improvements are the Social Graph and the Newsfeed update. The latest development in the social video area is Twitter’s Vine Social Video App.


4) Vine is great for Social SEO

Vine is a true representation of the times as far as how and where communication between brands and the individual is going. Social video apps are how people want to engage and communicate with each other. Twitter’s inclusion of video content will prove to be a pivotal asset in the process of strengthening brands’ relationships with their consumers, as they develop their social SEO and search marketing strategies.


5) Vine is simple to use

Vine is simple to use, the app’s stripped-down interface attempts to remove every point of friction. It offers users the opportunities to actively edit their creation. It is content that is easily made and easily consumed.

Vine videos are already starting to clog my Twitter feed and here’s a link one such interesting video. Let us know how you would use this cool video-sharing app both personally and professionally.

You can connect with us on Twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook. 
Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.



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V. Sundaram Sampath, the chief election officer is losing sleep over the use of social media by political parties. Karnataka is going to elections on 5th May 2013, as this ‘D-day’ approaches, fierce battles are being fought on social media, especially Twitter. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the newly formed Karnataka Janata Paksha have all taken to Twitter and have divided the Indian Twitterati into various camps. Each camp tries to spew venom on the other and confetti on themselves.

Taking a cue from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s successful social media campaign in Gujarat, the BJP wing of Karnataka is tweeting away. With a little over 6000 followers so far, the party is surely hoping that the actual number would be at least a 3-digit multiple of that.

Even the regional political parties, like the Janata Dal (S) have joined the bandwagon primarily in the attempt to breakaway from their rural image.

While words like ‘troll’, ‘fiend’ and ‘fanboi’ make a visit on social media, Election Commission is brainstorming on how to implement the 48-hour deadline in the virtual media.

The Election Commission has put in place a ban on any kind campaign 48 hours prior to the elections. But with a flood of Twitter and Facebook messages already on cyberspace, how effectively would the election watchdogs look beyond the façade of the Twitter handle and Facebook bio? Will they be able to discern the ‘associative silhouette’ by reading the tweets and posts? Will the election watchdog be able to curb the social media campaign wars?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime I would urge and appeal to all the ‘trolls’, ‘fiend’ and ‘fanbois’ to come out and vote bereft of your ‘official’ loyalties. Please come out of this ‘prison-of-a-box’ and vote.


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Video marketing strategy on social media

Posted by Saahil on Tuesday Apr 2, 2013

The fast evolving world of social media is one of the best tools you can use to market your videos. With the advent of sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; sharing of information is not only easy and convenient but also fun. If you are creating something of value, well – people will share it. In spite of this fact it is not enough to just create the content, send it into the universe, and hope somebody picks up on it.

If you want your content to reach the desired eyeballs in the shortest span of time possible, you need to understand your audience and their requirements. Your strategies should be based on the recced demography.


It is vital to understand and outline the target audience and more importantly the brand influencers. By using programs like FollowerWonk, Klout etc. you will be able to outline the brand influencers (followers with a higher social clout). These programs also provide information on social media users following brands similar to yours. Chances are, the common audiences of big brands in your industry will be interested in your company too.

Tweet to the clout

After identifying authority users and influencers in your industry that tend to retweet useful information. You must look at tagging them with the tweet containing your video link or in-twitter Vine. If you create truly interesting content, it’s likely to be retweeted by these power users – therefore getting your content in front of an audience previously inaccessible to you.

Listening to the clout

This can be your secret weapon.  It is paramount to have your ears open to the influencers. If you actually pay attention, you may hit upon something they’re specifically looking for – which is a potential gold mine for you. If you can create a video that solves a problem or answers a question the influencers are specifically looking for, it’s very likely that they will share it, again giving you access to their own, bigger audiences.

Build thy network

‘Networking’ or ‘making friends’ within the industry domain is important. This importance gets magnified if he or she has a wide social media network. These nodes would happily share your videos – so long you create something worth sharing, of course.

Geo-map your network

Share videos only during the time your networks would most likely be online.  There is no point in sharing the videos at odd hours, for they will vanish in the depths of the Internet.

Water the trend

Creating content that is trending or is in fad would help garner more followers. So if people are sharing your content there is no reason not to create more of it. Your followers are obviously finding value in your content. It is the best way to boost your brand reputation and followers.


If you only go on sharing videos on various social rostrums, your impact would be limited to the usefulness of your videos. However, if you respond to comments and questions people leave on your social media accounts, and you share content besides your own videos, you’ll be able to build a much more loyal following – which can only be good for business.

Magi has no formula, Quality does

You should always look at creating quality video. If you think you’ve hit on a magic video formula that people will automatically share, and so decide to start churning out more and more of it, don’t be surprised if the quality of your work suffers – and your followers stop following you. Creating good quality, useful videos should always be the top of your agenda.

These are some of the techniques that we, at futurON, have used successfully  for our  clients. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share your video marketing techniques.



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Do’s and Dont’s of social media

Posted by Archita on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013

As we increasingly get bulldozed on the information highway, the need to follow certain guidelines, certain parameters are required to understand both the direction and path.

This infographic contains all the essentials that one needs to survive whilst the chaos.

A ready reckoner for every social media enthusiasts.


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I was following the Italian general elections with interest, this time around. This interest was partly due to the vested interest (of my blogs) in the European economy and the fact that this election was being mulled by many as the return-election of Silvio Berlusconi and his centrist-right political group.

As the entire world waited for the results, trends began to emerge. The trends were clear and relieved many; Silvio was not touted as a winner in any of them. The results were in lines with the trends and opinion polls; the Common Good-Left coalition won the election making Pier Luigi Bersani as the next in line to the coveted office of the Prime Minister of Italy.

Did Bersani emerge as the gladiator? Many might answer in affirmation but a closer look at the election result  would paint a different picture.

On the night of 25th February, Rome witnessed the rise of a new gladiator. A new type of  gladiator. A gladiator so powerful and just that it compelled Rome to speak. Beppe Grillo and his five star movement party emerged as the second largest party, and third after factoring in the various coalitions. His votes have thrown the Italian election into a tizzy. He has emerged as the king-maker.

His success was not predicted by the Roman Clergy nor guided by the Pretorian prefects but by the vast support from the masses especially towards his anti-corruption movement. His prominence and his appeal reached the masses through, perhaps the most important arm of social media, blog. His Blog reached both Romans and Roma.

His uniqueness is what has clicked with the masses. His awkwardness became his strength. His comic sense (for he is professionally a comedian) and funny tirades at other candidates (Berlusconi- a psycho-dwarf) were the highlights of his election campaigns. His refusal to entertain mainstream media had earned him ire and fire from all corners of the media. His idiosyncrasies reached a completely new level of the stratosphere when he decided not to stand for election himself. Ordinarily this would probably mean that his support is overestimated by the polls. Yet normal rules do not apply! Grillo has, by an enormous margin, the largest social media following in Italy – in fact, in Europe.

He has over one million Facebook friends and a similar number of Twitter followers (Bersani has about a quarter of that). He uses this huge social media profile to make things happen offline. Grillo has constantly encouraged his supporters to discuss the issues he raises on his blog as they relate to local questions in their cities and towns. For example, as of 8th November 2012, there were officially 532 Grillo meet-up groups, containing 87,895 members spanning over 400 cities. This sort of local organization used to take years to build. His supporters show that they are motivated and mobilized – which means ready to get out and vote, and encourage their friends to vote as well. This can make a huge difference if apathy is high for other parties. In 2011 the Internet-based Pirate Party were expected to receive five per cent of the vote for the Berlin House of Representatives: they managed nine.

For an examiner this election will be something of an acid test; would the litmus paper turn red or purple is anyone’s guess. The rise of this gladiator has shunned all the doubts of the orthodoxy; Social media support and campaigns do translate to actual votes. Some old seminarians might term this as a shenanigan and would attempt to link Grillo’s largesse to Silvio’s libido or Monti’s failed attempt to revive the economy. His enormous social media following has weighed in its favour and any politician with a looming election should take a serious note of it.

Let us know whether you bless the marriage of Social Media and elections.



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User Generated Content –These three words were being bandied across in marketing and social media circles last year. What is UGC and why are marketers making a huge deal about it? How does it empower the new-age marketer? Is user generated content the new currency—gold— in social media and marketing? The importance of user-generated content in the world of marketing, branding, and advertising is its capacity to influence purchase decisions, brand affinity and brand loyalty.

Here are the answers. User generated content was a big trend last year, a trend that is not a one-off affair. This trend is worth tracking because it represents a radically new definition of what constitutes value to the consumer. Co-creating with one’s consumers is an important one to watch not because content and experiences will be co-created by the consumer but because tapping into the ‘collective experiences, skills and ingenuity of hundreds of millions of consumers’ around the world is a complete departure from the inward looking marketing model which is so common to many brands and corporations around the world. For decades, these consumers have been saving up their insights and rants about the stuff they consume, simply because they didn’t have adequate means to interact with companies, or with other consumers for that matter. User Generated Content helps customers with direct influence on what companies develop and produce for them.

If content is king then, UGC is the content maker! UGC is content that is generated by people who visit your site. It is pretty straightforward. Forum entries, reviews, blog posts, comments and social mentions are among the types of content that can be generated by users. Be it entertainment, communications or e-commerce, consumers are increasingly in charge of the creation, distribution and consumption of digital content.

afaqs! Campus spoke to 40 experts to find out their One Big prediction in the Digital Marketing space in 2013. Also, Paurush Sonkar, Deputy Chief Manager
L&T General Insurance predicted that Marketing will be powered by UGC this year.

Big news organisations like BBC and CNN have been using User Generated Content to plug the gaps that their own journalists can’t cover – by submitting photos, videos and updates on breaking news. Contribution of user generated content (UGC) by the wider public or ‘citizen journalism is a common phenomenon.

Its benefits are that the audiences witnessing incidents can post eyewitness accounts on the Internet as soon as they happen or send reports and photos to the media. It provides inspiration to any brand wanting to turn its customers into ‘reporters’, sending in findings, observations, and suggestions. And as this model is spreading like wildfire, expect more consumers to ‘get’ and enjoy the concept. Sauvé marketers have caught up with the trend looking to leverage the web as an effective marketing and communications channel. The continual rise of social media, Google’s ever-changing algorithm, quality and fresh content play a central role in empowering the new marketer who relies on user generated content which can help companies rapidly scale and promote original content in a way that benefits both the company and the readers.


The advantages of UGC are massive; it paves path for a solid organic ranking, better SEO, it is highly cost-effective and very quick and easy to set-up, it also encourages and enables online visitors to enhance marketing, increase your site’s retention, bookings, enquiries, repeat visits and browsing time. This allows visitors to upload their own testimonials, reviews and experiences to your website that breeds loyalty and significantly enhances the interactivity of your site for online visitors.

2011 – 2012 was about companies understanding what UGC is all about. Companies shared that user-generated content is part of the new marketing paradigm, but more than half of companies have yet to fully recognize this very fundamental transition in marketing. However, many marketers predict that 2013 will be different and companies will officially seek UGC. Building marketing campaigns around user-generated content will be an important new ingredient in the marketing mix.

We have put together a bunch of reasons why companies will officially pursue UGC for 2013 and beyond:

Reason One

Explosion of Social Networks

With the number of people on social networks continuing to explode (according to eMarketer, there will be 114.5 million user-generated content creators online by 2013), the opportunity for brands to leverage content created by consumers in marketing efforts will continue to grow. The impact and power social media has when it comes to content sharing is massive; this is an understatement. UCG campaigns are huge drivers of social engagement. We have millions of tweets about our brands, thousands of Facebook ‘Likes’, hundreds of thousands of check-ins on Foursquare. Pinterest and Instagram are adding even more to social-media data deluge – very visually.

Here’s an interesting info graphic to demonstrate the same.

Reason Two

People look to others for a sense of reassurance and validation from people like themselves or Using Social Validation as a Marketing Tool

This sense of connection has been a driving force in the success of crowdsourcing and the harnessing of user generated content (UGC) in driving consideration and product sales. Campaigns created with crowd sourced content are novel. This has created a new channel allowing audiences to change their role from mere onlookers to participants. This multi-channel dialogue can empower fans to be a part of the experience. Companies and media organisations will look to use UCG in their marketing mix. Apparently 95% of the people need social validation before making a decision. Given that social validation is so rampant, it only seems natural to talk about it in terms of business marketing. Certainly reviews and client/customer testimonials serve this purpose. However, social media is playing a larger role in social validation each day.

Reason Three

Content sharing has evolved in the recent years

As newer smartphones showcase better camera technology, consumers are responding by creating and sharing better content with friends and network. Instagram, Viddy, YouTube, and Pinterest represent just a handful of companies who have skyrocketed to success based on sharing user-generated content. Many Indian companies like Mouthshut.com, Freshlimesoda.com, Sulekha.com, Shaadi.com and Naukari.com are great examples of sharing user-generated content.

Reason Four

UGC is an opportunity for true brand development

Brands use user-generated content to get authentic experiences andopinions from their audience, be it good or bad. A negative comment could really be an opportunity for brands to see where there’s a problem and also a chance to interact with someone that took the time to engage you online.

Reason Five

Companies and brands will figure out more practices for utilizing and leveraging user-generated

1.Brands will respond and engage more vehemently with people.

2.They will understand customers and their audience and will know what tools to provide and use.

3.Brands will be realistic with regard to what to expect from their users.

4. Brands will be realistic and will expect to have the good with the bad.

5. Brands and companies will recognize and reward active content users.

Reason Six

Bespoke Lifestyle of the new consumer

Today’s consumer doesn’t settle for anything that is run-of-the-mill.

He/she seeks something different; something is custom-made, tailored to his/her needs, something that is concierge or made-to-order. This guarantees goods, services and experiences that are tailored to their needs.


Amazon does it the right way!

Amazon has partnered with Facebook to bring a new layer and add an offshoot into product recommendations.

Now Amazon users will be able to link their Facebook account to their Amazon account. At the outset, this will allow Amazon to show you recommendations based on your Facebook interests and activity.

Let us know how your brand uses UGC in its marketing mix? Is your company looking forward to this new marketing paradigm?

You can connect with us on Twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook.
Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.


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Social Media Resolutions for 2013!

Posted by Shreya Ashok on Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

Phew! The year sure went by fast. New Year is the perfect time to look back into the past and make plans for the future in an effort to make our lives better in the coming year. Although many of us make lofty plans and ‘New Year Resolutions’, it has convinced me that resolutions (made right) can make a huge difference in boosting happiness and productivity level, be it personal or in social media!

Before we jump into our resolutions, here is a quick look at 2012 and 2013!

How 2012 looked for Social Media?


How will 2013 hold for social media?

Whether we believe it or not…social media is here to stay. Social network usage, e-commerce, social television, social CRM as well as social gaming will be the BIG trends in 2013. The info-graphic above demonstrates a shift towards a greater and deeper understanding of social from everybody associated and engaged in digital marketing and social media. Some of these trends have already emerged in 2012 but they will become more prominent and pronounced in 2013.

Social media is fun and everyone is taking time/effort to learn…but we at futurON believe that 2013 is a time to get a little serious – so why not start with some resolutions for the New Year?

Here’s my list that I believe will make social media as effective as possible  – feel free to add more!


a) I will understand that social media is about relationships and not broadcasts

This is the first splendid truth! People on virtual social platforms are way smarter than assumed. It is important to have a personal connection or a relationship with the audience; this is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Many times huge corporates don’t engage in a discussion or seed a dialogue and in many cases, social media becomes a broadcasting tool with no interaction what so ever. This makes the organization look sales hungry and can put off a customer so very easily! It makes the effort no different from any other mass media broadcasting exercise like television, radio or the newspaper.

Furthermore it is also important to figure out how to create original content, manage content development and link social media plans with business strategies, which will lead to building relationships with the desired audience. Successful brands are building relationships with existing and new clients without making them feel like pawns in the mission to close a sale.  With more than 26.7 million ‘LIKES’ Red Bull’s Facebook Page ranks in the top 50 branded pages on the world’s largest social network. The brand’s most popular posts are extreme sports videos and photos – sometimes garnering thousands of re-shares onto the personal Facebook profiles of its fans. Many, but not all of these videos are of Red Bull’s own sponsored athletes. Red Bull relies heavily on its engagement metric to measure success!


b) I will use Google+


Why should I use Google+ is a question often asked by Social Media Gurus and practitioners. Well, Guy Kawasaki Wants You To Love Google+ As Much As He Does is an Interesting read for all of us who have stayed away from Google+.

Google+ usage is on the rise and as of February 2012 and it drew over 40MM unique visitors in December 2011 alone. Google+ is still nascent and it does require more attention than one would give other burgeoning social networks. Here are a bunch of reasons why:

Reason One

G+ may at first glance seem very similar to Facebook, but it’s not. G+ is the step towards Web 3.0 and semantics. It is intended as a hub for all of Google’s services. For Google it is important to interconnect Search, YouTube, and Newsgroups and make it all integrated with each other to greater extent than ever before and for better user experience.

Reason Two

Google+ posts can be referenced through unique links and shared publicly. There is no need to worry about whether or not someone has a Google+ account. Everyone can view your public content regardless of their Google+ account status.

Reason Three

The analytics are built right into the G+ Design and one doesn’t need foreign tools to measure data and information.

Reason Four

Many businesses have stayed away from Google+. And this means beat a lot of the competitors to the punch if they haven’t got their feet wet as yet! What are you waiting for? Make the leap now!


c) I will take the visual route

Facebook acquiring Instagram and Pinterest hitting the 10 million-visitor mark faster than any other site are a few strong examples of brands going visual, hence I’m embracing visual too!

Read this interesting article why Facebook bought Instagram by the Forbes magazine. Visuals are engaging, easy to consume and are high on emotional quotient. 2013 is the year when we will truly feel the rise of visual marketing. Visuals and video done right are highly effective in cutting through the noise and clutter.

Experts at futurON, like Khusbhu Doshi in her blog, Growing digital trends in 2012, have already explained the advantages of visual. Pictures top the list of things social media users enjoy seeing from their friends and this kind of content resonates with people everywhere and it increases engagement across social nets. Corporates and brands have to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well. They have to participate in different forms of visual social media, whether it is Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. Visual has become one of the top de-facto methods of cataloguing, sorting, filtering and understanding the vast amount of information we see every day. One in four consumers’ reports say that they are spending less time on other social media sites in favor of Pinterest. EdgeRank prefers visual content too. This means that photos get more visibility for your content on Facebook.

Photos have more interaction than statuses, likes, links or shares. Infact, photos often get from 5 to 20 times as much interaction as any other type of Facebook post. A popular mobile and laptop accessory brand has managed to garner a lot interest because they are taking the visual route. Most smart brands will leverage this to the optimum and to stay ahead of the curve.


d) I will monitor my social footprint

How can I define and measure success on Social Media? Do I understand the power of Social currency? Do marketers still grapple with what and how to measure?

We are still in the early days for social; we haven’t discovered a solution to solve the measurement conundrum. But ROI is an important consideration when evaluating social media’s effectiveness as a marketing tool. Also, The advance of social media has added layers of complexity to the engagement challenge. It has given us more areas of engagement to consider, from Likes, tweets, views, comments, shares, reviews to views. This makes it imperative to measure the success of every piece of content shared; be it likes, shares, pins, re-pins, re-tweets and more. It is also important to monitor and respond to what’s being said about one’s brand online. Facebook is the social media platform that CMOs say currently provides the highest ROI. However, 77 % of CMOs plan to increase their investment in YouTube, narrowly beating out Facebook (75 %) as the most popular social media platform of the future. Other popular social media platforms for future investment include Twitter (73 %) and LinkedIn (61 %).

Here are a few metrics that are moving the needle for big brands.

Metric One

Share of voice – This isn’t a straight-up ROI measurement metric, but it measures how a company is performing relative to its competitors and relative to all communication methods. It also means generating coverage and mindshare, and communicating brand attributes to the primary targets.

Metric Two

Reach – This ” measures the overall “noise level” in the market as well as how effective a specific brand is in reaching its target audience.

Metric Three

Conversations – Conversations put the social in social media. Creating dialogues is important in creating brand affinity and it is imperative to send that good morning message out.

Metric Four


iv) Advocates, evangelists, early adopters, loyal customers, brand champions, influencers, promoters and fans and super fans help one in getting one’s voice heard across the myriad social channels. They are highly passionate about your brand and they help in building conversation. They also help in reducing your support costs and helping in building brand confidence. One can also abstain from tom-tomming about one’s brand.

e) I will integrate Case studies and testimonials on all my social networks

It is largely the emotional connects that makes the consumer. Case studies and testimonials work tremendously because it’s all about people like us. When potential customers check out our business online, they want to see proof that we deliver what we promise. It is evidence that we have happy customers!

iAccy’s ‘Happy Fan Club ‘share pictures of their gifts, here’s a screen-shot.


f) I will plan my social media-marketing budget

Even in today’s challenging economic climate – when companies frequently look to their marketing budgets for cost-saving opportunities – it’s still important to persevere efforts, especially on social networks. One should keep a tab on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) time and again to ensure that it is contributing to the business and is not a dead investment. Reviewing the marketing plan and integrating into it the social media plan into is very important. It is also important  to figure out what channels one would be spending money on, map out budgetary considerations for contests and promotions.

When allocating marketing budget to social media, there are a few things that must be factored in

a) Personnel – One must be willing to set aside staff to monitor the company’s profile, respond to comments, and engage with potential customers and build a rapport with them. Social media specialists can make ads for business to disseminate through social media channels.

b) Quality Content — Quality content is the best way to keep your social media presence vital, and, if its good enough, you will get a lot more traffic through positive feedback and incoming links.

c) Analytics – Even if one has a dedicated to monitor social media and top-notch content, all the efforts will be for nothing if one cannot measure the effectiveness of this activity.

Experts say social media spending will be MORE than double in the next five years!

The August 2012 survey finds that social media currently makes up an average of 7.6% of respondents’ total marketing budgets, up from7.4% in February.

g) I will not be on multiple channels if I don’t have the right resources to manage them.

Owning multiple social media channels can be a good idea only if one has the right resources to manage them. Half-baked efforts can do more damage to the brand. Most brands desire to be on multiple social platforms without understanding how these platforms work. Corporates are stressed by the increased demands of customers who want a response wherever and whenever they ask for help, although intentions to provide social customer service are on the right track, many corporates are not structured to handle it in terms of resource allocation, integration, and efficiency. The strategy here is to focus on a couple of relevant channels that suit the brand and to deliver excellent quality, higher satisfaction and targeting the right people.

Fashion, ecommerce and media brands are flocking to Pinterest despite it being a relatively new social platform. The mass market is on Pinterest and it is super easy for fashion and e-commerce brands to jump on and experiment. These brands have images of their products, stores, or commodities being pinned every day. So there is a drag affect. Hence Pinterest can turn your brand red-hot!

h) I will understand the real-time business mindset

The social web has exploded in the last year and Social Media can help you understand what’s happening and respond quickly to any crisis and timing is everything in customer service satisfaction. Social media is about immediacy. Traditionally, customers expect a response within 24 hours, but social media is bringing immediacy to interactions that cannot be ignored.

More and more companies are finding their way to the social web to answer questions of clients and prospects. But many brands forget to offer speed and real value to customers. Speed and around the clock availability will be needed to stand out. If one jilts the members, expect them to leave you in their dust.

In closing, successful social-media management involves production requirements, tools, relevant content, analytics and other aspects of work. We have so much to look forward to in the coming year. I’m already curiously waiting what will 2013 bring for social media marketing and beyond!

Ah well, speaking of personal resolutions, mine are to laugh less hysterically, cut down on my caffeine intake and of course to find my Mr. Right!

Do let us know what your New Year resolutions are for 2013,both social media and personal. You can connect with us on twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook.

Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.

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