Over the last year, the one thought that kept on revolving in my mind was that social media could be a game changer for SMEs. Whenever I found a chance to interact with SMEs, I have advised them with my learnings. Now that we are entering a new year which will see more social media embracement by SMEs, we thought of getting in touch with people who are carrying the social media baton in India. So we approached a few of them to know what are their thoughts on what they think SMEs should improve in 2012.
Pradeep Chopra, Co-Founder of Digital Vidiya and a man behind imparting social gyaan to loads of bigger brands and SME’s had an interesting observation. He thinks that the whole world is behind engagement, which is no where to be doubted. However, if there is lack of sizeable and like-minded audience then the content gets wasted. He said that,
“While companies were earlier running after No of Fans, many of them are now going in another extreme. They say ‘we only want engagement and not fans’. It’s important to realize that while number of fans is not sufficient, they are necessary. To be able to cause engagement, you should have a sizeable community else the effort of creating interesting content will go waste. “
An interesting point shared by Pradeep and we know that when it all started everyone was behind the total number of fans forgetting to reward the presence of fans. So I think both aspects should work in a parallel and continuous manner.
Prateek Shah Consultant and trainer shared the same thought that I had shared in our last article of 2011. Prateek wants developers or social media agencies to create less complicated apps. He says that,
“Creating complicated applications that only techies can understand won’t do any good to your campaign; using simple steps to attract people’s attention will. “
In 2011 I saw some great apps but at the same time I also had to break my head in understanding how a certain app works. As Pradeep says we need to understand that the apps are built for common man and not for techies. A big gyaan for SME’s as apps build lot of engagement on your network.
Aditya Rao, Product and Marketing Manager at YourNextLeap highlights that 2012 will witness mobile usage increase and a great area for SME’s to tap in. Aditya adds that,
” Specially amongst younger audience, we at YourNextLeap already get so many Facebook visitors from mobiles these days. This would only see an upward trend as more and more 3G subscribers come in and the price of handsets go down. And leaving aside data usage, both Twitter and Facebook have made it very easy to use their platforms via SMS. One can follow, reply to messages, etc. by simply sending SMS’s to a certain number. “
Today the biggest chunk of Indians accessing social networks is through mobiles. One of the things that SME’s should look for is building mobile apps instead of social media apps. A point that was also shared by Preetham Venkky in our post on social media trends for 2012.
Nimesh Shah, Head Maven and Co-Founder of Windchimes Communication highlighted a very simple but largely avoided area by SME’s. He said that we shy off when it comes to speaking about our own work. He adds,
“I have always enjoyed my interactions with entrepreneurs heading their businesses as the enthusiasm and passion and sheer innovation in ideas is contagious. Having said that if there is a consistent pattern that I have felt is that we are very media shy and confuse promotion of your work with being immodest. Nothing can be further from the truth.”
“Second concern that I find is in lack of discipline and focus when it comes to marketing their business. So while each one of them has really a good idea and hard work to back it up, the rigour is not present when it comes to promotion. It would be either because of lack of discipline or just the fact that they believe that their good work will shine through automatically.“
Both these actions lead to poor social media presence. Here is a media, which if you are disciplined and honest enough can lead you to visibility and later business generation. Going forward, I would like to see SME be more vocal about their business and themselves and also have to discipline to spend at least 4 hours a week on social media to build a connect with their stakeholders.
Nimesh has highlighted couple of great points that SME’s should consider deeply. Personally, I think that if you are passionate about your work then you must not shy away from talking about it. A fact that was also highlighted to me by Linda Bernardi while I was doing an interview with her at #NASSCOMPC. One needs to shout but one must also not overdo it!
Social media is an ideal platform that can reap you rich benefits if it is nurtured well and it has been summed up well by Nimesh in his closing thoughts.
So if you are an SME and wish to grow in social media then don’t think twice. Make your honest efforts, don’t imitate someone else and keep on doing it continuously. In social media, results are not quick but they are certainly long lasting for genuine efforts.
Tips or recommendations can never end but I’ve tried curating a small list here. Perhaps you may want to add some more to the list then feel free to add them in the comments section. We’ll look forward to them and in the same breath, let us all kick start our 2012 in a rocking way!