Businesses use Social Media to leverage their brand

2011 sees rise in Indian businesses and small time brands using social media to win new business.

It is quite evident that there is a marked
rise in use of social media by businesses worldwide as a tool to win new business. According to a study by Regus, about 83 per cent firms in India agree that without social media activity, marketing strategies cannot hope to be successful. While globally, 74% companies endorse the view. The rising awareness among business internationally has seen social networking evolve from a nice-to-have to a necessity. Businesses are also emphasizing the need for a balance of marketing media, confirming their belief that without a combination of traditional and digital techniques marketing campaigns will not work.

Particularly a large number of small businesses are promoting their brands on Facebook and are proving be great crowd-pullers. “If it wasn't for networking sites like Facebook, we would have never been able to reach out to our customers. Social networking makes getting more people involved easier. We update every time we have new work and also when we feel the page is lacking some excitement. We regularly interact with our fans and also get them involved in our work. It’s easy to mass share ideas and people being able to re-post our stuff on their friends’ walls and spreading the word is the best thing FB has come up with for us small businesses.” says Pia Rajendra of Purple Ink, an online venture that specializes in customizing apparel and accessories.

New and upcoming brands are using social networks, blogs, micro blogs and forums to win new business and attract customers. The survey’s findings suggest all the buzz about the business use of social media is more than hype.  In 2010 Regus found that 52% of Indian firms were successfully winning new customers through business social networking activity. A year later, the proportion has risen nine percentage points to 61%. The research also reveals that more brands are also using social media to connect and engage with existing customers than a year ago.

Another good example would be Alma Mater, a Bangalore-based start-up that dabbles in apparel and memorabilia for alumni and students. They’ve solely marketed their business through Facebook and have a loyal fan base with over 18,000 people liking their page. They’ve even been listed as one of the 25 most promising e-commerce company in India. Also these brands have an edge over big businesses because most of them are pretty active in the traditional marketing space and have dedicated in-house team, which monitors the page on a daily basis.

The Orange Bicycle, a retail store in Bangalore has products from over 70 vendors from across the country. Getting so many brands under one roof would have been a herculean task if it wasn’t for social networking sites. Though their page has only 1,712 likes, they still have a strong online presence. They continue to tie-up with new vendors due to their regular interaction with various brands and customers on their page. The key to having a successful online presence is all about interacting with your fans and updating the page as often as possible with interesting links and updates.

Madhusudan Thakur, Regional Vice-President, South Asia, Regus comments “Businesses are reconsidering their working practices and opting for more flexible, competitive strategies. From supply chain management, to leaner working practices, to cloud computing, to increased use of video communications and mobile working no area of business is being overlooked. More and more small businesses are leveraging this channel to increase the loyalty of existing customers, and as a successful acquisition tool.”

Some facts:
• Globally there has been a rise of 7% in the proportion of businesses successfully recruiting new customers through social networks such as Facebook
• 52% of businesses globally and 64% in India use websites such as Twitter and Weibo to engage, connect with and inform existing customers
• In India 67% of firms encourage their employees to join social networks such as Linkedin, Xing and Video, compared to 53% globally.
• Two fifths (39%) of companies globally and almost half in India (49%) devote up to 20% of their marketing budget to business social networking activity.

Tags: brands use facebook for business, networking sites

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