You get paid to Face Book all day? – Chawm Ganguly

chawm gangulyTravails of the trade – irritants Social media marketers have to bear with 24 X7

Being a social media consultant isn’t easy. Some say, it’s like teenage dating – everybody wants to do it, but hardly anyone knows how to go about it. On the contrary, it’s more like appreciating arts: there are the Philistine, who know nothing and the experts who match them in haughty ignorance smug in their mistaken notion of knowing everything. Imagine the task at hand – to explain, enlighten, convert and then help them loosen the purse strings…

Here are some bloomers that I encounter on a regular, even monotonous, basis. Me thinks, by sharing, we can at the least laugh at our predicament.

Q1. You get paid to Face Book all day?

No I don’t. facebook is only one of the various platforms we use, on a daily basis to help build your brand and highlight its salience to people who are interested in knowing about related matter. This we do by a series of ways that include search engine optimization on the one hand and the creation of killer content on the other. How I know how to do what I do? The answer is simple – I do it backed by close to three decades of experience spanning corporate communications, branding, journalism and public relations.

Q2. How much will you charge to get me a million followers if Twitter?

Only half a million reasons as to why a million people should follow you on tweeter. Can’t think of even a hundred? Well, I guess you’ve got your answer. Just because you are throwing the morsels towards me does not make you young, handsome or witty. We are in the business of making you attractive enough for others to follow, which has to come from their desire. We just can’t slap them on the back and command them to follow you. It is painstaking and backbreaking work for us – what about settling for a buck a follower? Show me the money and ill teach you how to make your tweets go viral.

Q3. But I have a website? What else is needed?

Your website is just a place of worship in the middle of the desert. Unless the faithful come, that too in numbers, to sing the praise of the Lord, it will not even sustain itself, leave alone making you the Pope. Our job is to identify, convince, convert and then lead the faithful to prayer and that is why you need us. Or else, be prepared Lord over your empty Ring.

Q4. Why does my facebook page have only 7 likes?

Because even your friends do not think it is likeable. Because, the people out there do not owe their existence to “liking” your facebook page. Because, the kid you hired to do the page was not a fraction as good as the professionals are. Because, neither is your son married to the most beautiful woman in the world, nor are you Amitabh Bachchan. Because, Social Media, my friend is not child’s play.

Q5. Allowing employees to access social media in office hours? That’s sacrilege!

Read my lips when I say this one. It’s about real people – including your customers, employees and stakeholders – talking about you and your brands and sharing how they relate to them, real time experiences. As your employees are parts of your extended families, they are your best brand ambassadors. They are the ones who can and normally take up the cudgels for you. If you want to do away with such a loyal group, you will be doing it at your own peril.

Q6. My niece does that all the time.

Yes, so does a million other kids. Like a million people watching TV, or reading the newspaper. But can they tell you what will attract the eyeballs? Can they tell you whether you can increase the sales of your  Blast Furnaces by splurging the airwaves during a cricket match? Leave alone, telling you how to increase sales, or what media to use?  And you think your niece knows where your customers are and how to communicate with them?

Q7. But we advertise all the time – what’s the need for social media?

In traditional advertising, you are buying space to tell the world how good you are. It’s a vainglorious boast that very few people take credibly. In the social media, you are creating conversations around your brand, where real people – your customers, users, shareholders – are talking about their experiences about you and your brand. One good word, naturally, coming from a third party (who is uninterested to boot) is worth n number of advertisements as far as credibility goes.

Q8. Oh yes, Social media. We have a facebook link in our home page.

Great. It’s like the manufacturer’s label with the washing instructions inside your collar. Only you can see it. And you thought that’s your branding exercise? Do you even know as to how many people have visited your facebook page by using that link from your website, or vice versa?

09. Google search? You key in our web url … and there we are at the top. We even paid for that.

It’s not about that. It’s about your name featuring high in the searches when key words about what you do or the services you offer are searched.

10. I know how to do it. I play farmville all the time!

I’m sure you do. I am also sure that the two ladies from Kazakhstan, the teenager from Salem and the school teacher from Bangladesh with whom you exchanged gifts will help your brand attain its social media objectives. May the force be with you!