Entrepreneur

What, How and Why of Social Media Branding for Startups

This post has been orignally published on the PuneStartups website by me. Reposting it here for the benefit of readers of this blog
I attended the a social media conference that was held at Persistent Systems in Pune on 7th Sep. 2013. It was a very good event that gave an overview of social media in branding yourself and your business.

For the benefit of people who couldn’t make it to the event, I’m posting the notes I took during the event.
Note: This is not a comprehensive or complete coverage of the event and not in any particular order, just some points that I thought were worth jotting down, none the less I think these are worth sharing.

Why use social media as branding tools?

  1. Helps create awareness about your product/service.
  2. Facilitates one to one communication with your audience.

How to make content go viral?
No one has cracked this.
But the general guidelines are these,

  • Create great & useful (for your target audience) content. If it isn’t the useful, it won’t matter how great the content is because it won’t convert into sales, at best just good entertainment value.
  • Try to get other influencers share your content.
  • Important to get your audience insight
  • Encourage people sharing their stories
  • Be a moderator, encourage people to talk with each other.

Can I get sales out of social media?
Indirectly yes, by creating awareness and driving traffic to finally converting. Don’t do aggressive sales on social media, build a relationship with audience first as a thumb rule.

To be effective on social media, you will have to,

  • Start/get involved in conversations on topics that matter to you.
  • Express your own opinions on the matters, rather than just echoing opinions of other people.
  • Hijack trending topics that are relevant to you and contribute to the discussions.

Blogging:
To create a brand for yourself, is it necessary to write just about the professional things that we do at work.  
No, it’s not necessary to write about what you do professionally. Infact you should write about things you are passionate and excited about, it might be things you do professionally or as a hobby or one of your side projects etc. This will highlight things about you that people normally wouldn’t know about.

Didn’t bogging die with the advent of twitter?
No. If you want to express your feelings/opinions in more than 140 chars bogging is useful. Attention span has decreased with advent of twitter, so keep it short and keep scope for comments.

Measure of effectiveness on platforms such as twitter and fb:

See it from a qualitative angle rather than quantitative measure.  One RT from an influencer is more imp than several RTs from non-influencers.

Concern about privacy and identity theft.
For concern regarding privacy, there are basic privacy settings which you need to set right away on various social networking sites, but the best way is to put content online which is not personal and which you don’t mind making public anytime.

Regarding Identity theft, there is no other option than be very careful and in the lookout if there is something unusual going on in your account. Having said that you cannot stay away from having a social media presence because of the possibility of someone trying to steal your identity online.

Why use different social media sites?
Because different social media sites have different characteristics and USPs,
Facebook: Mostly for friends and family and people who you have been associated with.
Twitter: Follower/Following dependent on content rather than relationship. Good to find relevant content and start conversations with like minded people who care about topics you care about.
Linkedin: Professional social networking, good to connect with whom you have professional relations with or with whom there is a likely chance of having a professional relationship with in the future.

The important thing is to choose which ones suits your requirements and making the most out of it.
Which Social Media are a must to be on currently,
1. Twitter,
2. Quora,
3. Blogging,
4. Linkedin.

That’s it for now. What do you think, is there anything that you would want to add? Please do so in the comments, I will gladly add it in this post.

10 Freedoms of Entrepreneurship

I have always thought the PoCC (Pune Open coffee Club) meet that happens once a month generally on saturday in Pune is of great help to the first generation entrepreneur like me on various levels like, for starters:

  • it expands the knowledge of a person in different verticals of running a business by talks from experts in various functions of running a business like marketing, finance, technology etc….
  • you are in the company of fine like minded people who are ever ready to help, guide, consult & advise you in any problems you may be having

In this article I will highlight the main points of PoCC held this past friday where a session was held with Manish Gupta, entrepreneur coach & consultant from Chrysalis, who coaches and consults many entreprenuers in India and big brands across the world, this talk was specially helpful to first time entrepreneurs and people thinking of making the plunge,

The talk started with the ‘Bare Minimum’ qualities that an entrepreneur or wanna-be entrepreneur should have, qualities that were highlighted were:

  • Passion: Manish absolutely stressed that without Passion in his/her work there is no chance of any entrepreneur ever succeding & I totally agree with him, you have to be passionate about your work! passion comes when there is a burning desire to do the thing that you dearly love, so you should be doing what you love and you should have a burning desire in you to achieve your tasks
  • Ability to Take Risks/No Fear of Failure: It is a cliched statement to say entrepreneurs should have the ablility to take risks, but it is very difficult to do, risks we are talking about are not only of money and material things, one thing which came out in the discussion was that some people don’t make the jump because of the fear of failure, this is due largely to the perception that if the venture fails what will people think about you, people will also label you and look at you as a failure, so basically you are risking you prestige and self esteem and social image. If you are like these, enterpreneurship is not for you, instead if anything, you should be able to turn this fear of failure into an advantage and use it to motivate yourself no matter what your father, mother, wife, family, friends say! you should have the mental toughness not to give up after all everyone faces fear at some point of time, important thing is you should have the ability to turn it around.
  • Pride: Whatever you do you should have pride, you have pride in your team, your performance, pride in your self, whether you succeed or fail, so what! as long as you know you have tried your ultimate best, there is no need to feel guilty, you should be proud that you have done it.

Due to time constriants this discussion could not go further and Manish ended the evening by talking about ‘Ten Freedoms of Entrepreneurship’ for which conciously or unconciously people choose this path, but overtime forget it themsleves and burden themselves with unwanted issues,

Ten Freedoms Of Entrepreneurship:

  1. Ideals: Freedom to continually become the person who exemplifies your deepest values & highest ideals
  2. Free Time: Freedom of time, where you decide how to utilize your time to boost your effiency and productivity, freedom to plan, take, & enjoy increased amounts of meaningful & rejuvenating free time. Interestingly Manish mentions four types of Days: first is a Holiday, where you spend time with your family & friends or in social commitments, second is a Focus Day, When there is actually money generating activity,  third is a Buffer Day, which is used to prepare  for Focus Day & fourth day is a Free Day, which is a day for yourself, you can do whatever you like & relaxes you.
  3. Energy: Freedom from energy draining activities, relationships, situations & obligations
  4. Strategy: Freedom to think, plan, discuss & make progress in strategic exponential manner
  5. Relationship: Freedom to attract & develop the most creative, supportive, profitable relationships
  6. Money: Freedom to make increased amounts of money doing only activities that you excel & love
  7. Attention: Freedom to give your best attention, energies, resources & ability on your most important commitments
  8. Value: Freedom to create increased value for more & more individuals without the dangers of commodization
  9. Success: Freedom from guilt about increased ambition, success, wealth in your life. like I said earlier take pride in whatever you are and whatever you do
  10. Future: Freedom to imagine, to commit and actualize a continually bigger personal future.

If you are an entrepreneur or thinking of being one and live in Pune its a very good idea to join PoCC  http://punestartups.ning.com

mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/punestartups

Finally, I would request my readers to please give me feedback on my blog,  please don’t hesitate to drop comments and suggestions, your advice is very valuable to me.