The Greatest Things Happen When People Meet Other People

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I’ve had some incredible things happen in life and I’m sure you have too. If you look into the circumstances of these great things happen you will notice a trend. “They happened when you put yourself out there and met other people”.  You will also notice the more you put yourself out there, the more people you meet, the more paths that get crossed, the more these great things happen.

The greatest things happen when people meet or cross paths with other people. People discover something new, learn, make friends, fall in love, come across opportunities, find their careers, become more prosperous, have children and a whole lot more. And it all happens while connecting with people.

If I didn’t put my resume out there all those years ago and go out to meet companies looking for a job, I wouldn’t have landed my first job and gained the experiences I did. If I didn’t actively meet people, I wouldn’t have closed my first client for Buzzfactory back when we started and wouldn’t have a company. We could go on but I’m convinced you have to put your self out there and meet / connect with people for good things to happen in life or professionally and only wished I knew this earlier because the number of people you connect with has a direct bearing on how many opportunities come your way. Isn’t this what being social is all about?

Social people are more likely to come across more opportunities than those that avoid contact with other people. Those who more people know about and talk about are more likely to land more opportunities than those that fly under the radar. Sit in a room, close the door and live there…not much going to happen for you. Get out, connect, meet people, discuss, talk, publish, share and all of a sudden there are developments happening and more good things coming your way.

When people ask us what’s the value of doing all this blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, communities and all this ‘social stuff’ you guys do?. The answer lies in the fact all that “The greatest things can happen when people meet, cross paths or connect with other people“. That’s precisely what we work hard towards doing for our clients…meeting, crossing paths or connecting with more people so great things can happen for them.

 

What Does Your Organizations Online Brand Footprint Look Like?

social media

With over 2.4 billion internet users across the world this year it’s hard to imagine why any organization wouldn’t look online to develop (or work towards developing) a significant online presence. When we say significant, we mean – beyond just a standard html website with some company information. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it was all about “having a website” to say “we’re here…we’re on the internet” but the web evolved from the purely information retrieval / email / chat space into the social web which is far more interactive and is still evolving into perhaps “the most significant shift in communications medium” that organizations and brands have ever had to adapt to. It’s no longer a quest to create some website – it’s a quest to make a significant mark on the social web…have a footprint big enough to be noticed!

Our Online Brand Footprint - Buzzfactory
A snapshot of our own footprint on the web…

Ask yourself:

What does my organizations brand footprint look like online?

Actually…don’t ask yourself, Google it! After all that’s precisely what millions of users online do each hour for millions of brands, companies, organizations and people. What comes up when they search your brand – is your online brand footprint. Once you’ve Googled it, look a little deeper and ask some more questions…

How big is my online brand footprint?

Is it wide and far reaching or is it just a handful of search results that could be easy to overlook? A significant online brand footprint is one where a number of results show for the brand across social networks (like Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn), across blogs, news sites, conversations on communities and mentions from other websites. It comes up in conversations on Twitter, shows in articles, press releases, YouTube videos and several other web based locations and has a wide reach. When an organization has been working towards developing a “significant” web footprint, it shows!

How does my online brand footprint come across to users?

When people click on various search results or come across mentions of your brand on different social sites or locations online, how do they perceive your brand? Do they receive a uniform sense of what your organization is about or do they get mixed messages when they come across related content on different sites?

Is it dynamic & consistently growing?

Hundreds of thousands of new websites go up each week and millions of new conversations flow across the web each day so for a brand to stay relevant and visible, it must keep growing it’s online brand footprint! It’s not about a single campaign, push or effort. It’s about being talked about more frequently as well as publishing and actively ensuring the ecosystem of content and conversations around your brand keep growing.

How significant is your organization’s online brand footprint? Ask yourself…and then work towards making it a little more significant each day!

Our Month Long Buzzfactory Office Social Fitness Challenge

Buzzfactory office fitness challenge

Last week at work we had a combined realization while on a work break sipping coffee.  We spend a lot of time sitting.

motivade fitness appIn fact we spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting while being plugged into our laptops during work hours. The only time we ever move is usually when we break for lunch in the afternoon, a 15 minute coffee break in the late evening and then we leave the office which is a lot later in the day. We do this day in and day out, week after week and while we love what we do, we know we’re conscious and a little guilty that we’re not anywhere as fit as we should be. Like millions of working professionals with desk jobs (and even worse…technology related jobs) we’re turning into vegetables knowingly and not doing much about it. Knowing we’re unfit and glued to a laptop screen for most of the day may acknowledge our problem but the conversation actually motivated us to start doing something about it.

So for the entire month of June, the Buzzfactory team has pledged to become “a little more active” than we currently are and take up an office fitness challenge. In a bid challenge eachother, we’ve decided to log all fitness activity we do using Motivade – a social fitness motivation platform which will track all the activity and assign points to every activity creating individual scores for each of us. In a month’s time, we’ll line up all our Motivade points and the person who has the lowest score will be assigned to coffee / tea making duties for the rest of the team…for 2 whole weeks! So every someone in the office runs up the stairs, walks to work, cycles, plays badminton, goes swimming, runs or engages in any activity,  they log in their activity on the Motivade.com web platform or the Motivade android app installed on their phones. According to the calories burned, they are awarded points which we’ll keep tracking regularly during the course of each week. What better way for a social media agency to challenge themselves to staying fit than using a social fitness motivational tool right?

For updates on how things are going on the fitness challenge and find out how everyone is ranking on the leaderboard, follow us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFactory.in or follow the comments thread below!

What We Learned About Instant Social Media Success

traffic-spikeIt’s amazing how many “instant” success services you can buy online when it comes to social media success or online marketing. After spending hours each day for several years painstakingly executing on different activities, creating content and managing online campaigns “the slow way”, it’s always fascinating to me when I come across offers online that read:

“10,000 Twitter followers delivered to your account in 24 hours” – $10

“20,000 Facebook fans to your page in 5 days” – $15

“15,000 visitors to your website instantly!”

“Get 30 high PR links to your website”

& more…

The Instant Social Media Success Experiment

instant social media successSo we decided to run a little test to see

1) Can people actually deliver this? &

2) How well does it work?

We actually went ahead and purchased these likes, fans, views and links for some test accounts, paid for the “orders”, sat back and waited for things to start happening. Soon enough, our first question would be answered. Can people actually deliver this? – The answer is YES!

Instant Twitter Followers

The Twitter followers started coming in the hundreds every minute. With every refresh of the the page, the followers would shoot up and within an hour or so, there were tens of thousands of Twitter followers. I’ve been on Twitter several years and this has never happened to my account. It was astounding!

But then…

We checked a few profiles and noticed they all look real. Real bios, interests, a hand full of people they are following but not a single tweet. Once we checked another 100 or so followers, it was very evident these were all all fake profiles. Designed to look real to those who check a follower or two but they are fake accounts through which no one was really tweeting. That also meant we would never get retweeted, no one would like or share anything from our account if we did tweet through it and the real value of having all those fake followers? – Not much! In fact, things did get more interesting. Over the next week the followers in that account dropped by a few thousand. Then a few thousand more followers disappeared and finally in a few weeks, they were all gone. This was Twitter removing “fake accounts” and “inactive accounts”. It was just $5 but it’s clear you get what you pay for with instant Twitter followers at least.

Instant Facebook Fans

Facebook fans are not the easiest to earn so when we heard you can buy tens of thousands of them for a few bucks, we were thrilled to try it and see if this was true. Even with Facebook ads, a like comes at a price which isn’t a steal and here someone claims you can get thousands for a virtually nothing. was it possible? Yes! The likes kept coming in as we watched the test page’s like count start ticking and before we knew it, we had a page with about 10,000 Facebook likes.

But then…

We checked some of the profiles. At first glance they seemed like real people, with real profile pictures, complete bios, an active wall and even had pictures of their family and pets on their timeline. However, the more you see, the more you start noticing similarities between people that just can not be co-incidence! It was starting to look like we had a page full of …fake profiles or people that didn’t care about being a fan on the page. We then started posting updates and it was no surprise any more….there were no reactions. No likes, no comments, no shares…nothing. It was pointless.

Instant Website Traffic

This could have been a real jewel if it would actually work since getting organic traffic to any website is one of the biggest challenges around. 15,000 visitors for a few dollars would be incredible. True to their word, they did deliver 15,000 visitors to the website and a 1000 more just for good measure. It was quite exciting to look at our Google Analytics statistics with a huge spike on the page.

But then…

Looking further at the analytics it got a bit hazy because the average time spent on the site by each visitor was very tiny and exactly the same. Co-incidence? I don’t think so. Also the visitors didn’t show up as search traffic, they were not referral visitors coming to our page from some other site…they showed as direct visitors. 15,000 of them all in one day. These didn’t behave like real people, because they were not real people. The result of this was the bounce rate went up, time spent on site dropped drastically. It was a disaster!

Conclusion & Learnings

The links had a similar story and were simply comments placed on some random sites that have no relation to the site being linked to and would have no value in improving search. In fact, they could even harm the page rank and damage one’s chances of doing well in searches. We learned that “technically” most of these service providers to deliver what they say they will deliver. They can actually get you instant likes, fans, hits, links, YouTube views, app downloads and anything else you can possibly want that can be translated into social media success. However we also learned they don’t work. These shortcuts and instantly delivered results to your social media channels offer no real value, no real engagement and really… no real success in achieving any objectives except a spike in numbers. It was alright for an experiment just to see how this is done but was a complete waste of time and money even if was a small amount of both. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is and this is exactly what we took away from this little test. We learned content, conversation, regular publishing and real engagement with a focus on execution is still the best route to social media success. Even if it is the slower route!

 

What Makes A Smarter Company

smarter company

Let me cut through the chase – It’s working and interacting with exceptional people! Simply put, that’s what makes us smarter and more experienced as an agency. We’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to come across not one, but several talented, knowledgeable and exceptional people among our clients over the years and more importantly learned / taken valuable lessons from them along the way. You could say it’s part of of our team culture to spot what our clients are exceptionally good at and then try and take pointers from them. 

Towards the end of last week, some of us made a trip down to Mumbai for a meeting. In the process of throwing ideas around, exploring opportunities and discussing all the various things we did talk about in the boardroom and over lunch, we realized we just walked away with more than just some business opportunities and action items from the meetings. We we’re going back with some valuable learning and insights in branding, value perception, exclusivity marketing and a whole lot more courtesy “the others” at the table who brought with them a wealth of experience in their respective areas.

It made us conscious,  that this was not a one off experience. We are fortunate enough to work with some really great clients everyday each of whom have some exceptional abilities or noteworthy knowledge of certain things we truly respect and learn from as a result of our interactions. We make it a point to talk about things we pick up from them. Some of them have awe-inspiring entrepreneurial abilities, some of them have an amazing sense of design, user experience and product development, some have deep domain knowledge others are skillful in positioning their brand. Working with them, we get to observe these talented professionals in action, get inputs and insights from them, work as an extension of their organizations and in the process – improve our own abilities.

They say surrounding yourself with the best will up your game and sharpen your own skills. Recognizing the “best” within those you work with daily (like customers in our case) and imbibing what they have to offer is something we’ve been doing whether intentionally or subconsciously…..and we’re a smarter company for it!

Spend On Buying Ad Spaces Or Invest In Building Your Own Digital Assets

online publicationMarketing is the lifeblood for growth. If you need to grow, you need to reach out to more prospective customers and the quickest way to do this is advertising.

Identify your target audience

Identify where you can find these people

Get in front of them by purchasing their attention in the form of an advertisement

On offline media you search for spaces for print ads, magazines, television, hoardings wherever the right audiences gather and online it’s much the same with display advertisements, search marketing, banner space purchases and more. You find the right space that reaches the right audiences and you pay for it. The next month, you find the right space, that reaches the right audiences and you pay for it…again!

Marketing spend is a perpetual ongoing kind of spend that continues as long as you need to reach communities that others have built. 

The key words here being – that others have built. 

Since you don’t own the community and the media / property (whether it’s a magazine, website, billboard) where these audiences gather, you have to keep paying as long as you want to reach out to them. One of the biggest game changers, social media, blogging, web content and online publishing have brought about is giving nearly anybody the opportunity to “build their own communities or digital media properties on the web so that they can own those communities”. With the right expertise, investment in time, resources and determination to deliver great content, you can actually publish and develop your own digital assets, build audiences based on your target areas and eventually keep those audiences rather than have to pay each time you need to reach out to them.

A baking products brand could spend $2500 per month a month renting a 300×300 banner space on a cooking and baking blog that receives 50,000 visitors and approximately 150,000 pageviews each month. The banner could result in some amount of awareness, about 200 clicks and a small percentage of sales that can be attributed to the banner. The next month they would have to shell out another $2500 and the month after to sustain the same results. Alternatively, they could invest in developing a cooking & baking blog of their own. For the first several months, they may have very little traffic and it would take time to even reach the first 1000 visitors. However with time and a consistent daily effort, they could develop a blog which also has 50,000 unique visitors a month and 150,000 pageviews. Another six months later they could have 100,000 visitors and keep increasing their reach. The initial investment may be higher but as time goes, the costs don’t increase but the benefits do since you own that community, all the space around it and it works as a marketing asset to your business. You reap the rewards long after!

With time a lot of businesses have woken up to the fact that building your own online media assets, communities, publications and web properties is a viable option to constantly relying on third party sites to reach your audiences. We’ve actively helped build some of these for our own clients and seen the long term advantages of owning your digital assets as opposed to shelling out marketing budgets month after month renting space on other’s online properties. While media buying and advertising remain the quickest way to seeing results, if you have some time and the will to invest in developing your own web assets, we’d say go for it! There’s no better time to start…than now!

 

Why Companies Will Line Up To Recruit The Social Media Analyst

social media analystHaving been using social media in a professional capacity to market brands and companies for over 6 years now, I’ve come around to realizing that the “social media analyst” or “social media marketing analyst” will evolve to becoming one of the most sought after roles by companies and brands across the world. As an agency that takes on the management of others social web presence, the social media analyst is the single most important role we have and the expertise every analyst builds on the job is what we firmly believe will set us apart as a business. People have often asked “why don’t I simply hire a college student or freelancer to manage my social media activity?”.

The answer is – there is a small but significant difference between a social media user & a social media analyst – as a professional analyst you don’t just use social media to interact, you professionally approach every single update, post, conversation, promotion, interaction, campaign etc with:

– A clear understanding of the clients primary objectives or end goals

– A positioning or “voice” that represents how the client or brand wishes to be perceived

– An understanding of who the target audiences are that you are looking to engage & attract

– An insight into strategy and questioning the motives and what to expect with every action

– An inclination to measure every action and track the resulting effect of everything they do

Outwardly, a user posting some content or an update via a social site versus an analyst posting may not appear too different. However, the analyst is able to understand the motives behind that update in the context of the business objective even if that update is a “simple good morning” on the Facebook page.

The social media analyst, knows what are the best times to reach people online, which days, which hours and how to maximize the reach of every outgoing post. They know how to look at statistics and analytics from various data generation tools and derive meaningful insights. They can figure out what works, what doesn’t work how people are reacting to different communications, identify issues, come up with solutions and make things work by approaching things in a logical way backed with experience and knowledge of how the web and web users operate.

As the social web continues to disrupt traditional means of communication and media, the demand for professionals that quite literally understand the ins and outs of how things work online will only increase. The skill sets required to be successful as a business on the web are skills not every internet user necessarily has simply because they are online. They come from cultivating a deeper understanding of user behavior online, understanding technology, the role of content, usage of tools and experience. There are websites that do wonders for their businesses and there are websites that do nothing. There are marketing campaigns that are done wrong and drive away people earning distrust and there are some done so well, people love those companies. For every business that has ventured onto the digital arena and decided to make a mark on the web, there are specific people that drive their initiatives backed with knowledge, experience and an analytical ability adapted to the workings of the social web. For every business that plans to venture into this space a little further (there will be a lot of these in the years to come), they will either need or get in line to recruit these social web savvy professionals to help lead their pursuits.

We don’t doubt the social media analysts of this world are going to be among some of the most highly sought after professionals in the days, weeks and months to come!

The Internet Has Millions Of People – Well So Does Bombay!

Millions Of People

Just about a month ago we asked someone “well why did you decide to setup new website and Facebook page for your business” and I just couldn’t get my head around the answer. The reply was “Because there are now millions of people on the internet and if I post something to my website or Facebook, millions of people can see it!” …NOT!!! Now to most who have a grip on how the web works that may seem like the silliest reply you’ve ever heard but I’ve come to notice this notion that the internet has millions of people so they can all see anything you post – is a common misunderstanding. Many assume since there are so many people on the web, it’s the perfect place to post something about their businesses on the website, on a blog or on Facebook and ….millions of people will get to see that.

True the internet does have millions and millions of people but so does Bombay, LA, Mexico City or any other metropolis. That doesn’t imply if you open an office on the 15th floor of a building in one of these cities, all the millions of people in that city knows about your office, what you do or anything else about it. It just means you have an office in a massive city that almost no one knows about. In order to get people to know about what you do there you need to reach out, talk to people, tell them about it, network, attend events, advertise, get some PR, get published locally, contact people and actively make sure you reach out to some new people everyday.

Having a website or setting up a Facebook page for a brand or business works much the same way. If you have a website you can assume the whole world will know about it or read it but in reality…no one does unless you reach out everyday and actively ensure a few more people know about it each day. You need to tell your friends about it, family or share it with your immediate network, join groups, get coverage, actively have conversations with others so a few more people know about it everyday and eventually it will add up to a lot of people knowing about it.

There are an estimated 150,000 new websites that go up each day. There are millions of updates and conversations that take place on the social web each day. What are the odds of people visiting or noticing what you put up?

Well…that depends on how much effort you are willing to put into reaching out and making sure people out there do take notice and make what you are doing count. Until that happens, the numbers…..are just numbers.

Happy Birthday Buzzfactory! Cheers to a 4 Year Startup Journey

4th April 2009, exactly 1458 days ago (4 years) I came home from my last day at work and rather than spend the night watching TV, pondering over what to next or what you’d expect one to do after quitting their job, I did this…

Then..

Buzzfactory Social Media & Content Marketing

I spent the night setting up a website. It was a first step in building a startup that I was determined to make work from that very evening and would work towards come what may. The process of structuring the website was more than simply having a home page. It was a process of putting together all I had learned about developing an online presence, engaging with people online and leveraging social media to create a buzz. It was a process of compiling it into a solution or “productized” services that other businesses and brands could use to increase their own outreach. It involved putting my visions for a company that could address the need to have dedicated efforts & talented professionals work on web outreach and presence development, a need I was sure would only become more pressing over the years as social media and digital marketing disrupt traditional mediums and marketing practices.

Armed with a single client a technology company based in California, USA and an html website created overnight, a new startup journey had begun.

Now…

Buzzfactory Social Media Agency Website

Between 4th April 2009 and 4th April 2013, it feels like we’ve been through no less than 3 distinct phases with countless experiences, ups, downs, highs, lows, achievements, disappointments and yet every minute has been priceless and incredible to say the least. With every one of the experiences, we’ve learned and evolved as a company.

In 4 years, we’ve been through 3 distinct website and offering structure changes.

Worked from 3 different spaces.

Worked with clients across over 3 continents.

Grown cautiously, focused on getting things right and even scaled down and re-built when that seemed to the right thing to do keeping the long term vision in mind.

Looking ahead…

Buzzfactory Social Media & Content Marketing

And now we are 4 and it coincides with yet another chapter in the journey. This April marks a new year for Buzzfactory. We start the year with a team that is talented and driven to move ahead. A new workspace and HQ for Buzzfactory with a cool vibe just waiting to see some great things happen each week. A new partnership with an innovative & highly experienced advisory team. A business presence and office in CA, USA and a new trajectory to take things to a new level.

The road behind has been filled with moments I wouldn’t trade for anything. The road ahead looks interesting and bright.

Happy Birthday Buzzfactory! Cheers to many more incredible years ahead!