Social Media of SMBs

Most used marketing tool by SMBs, according to a report by Waspbarcode.
Most used marketing tool by SMBs, according to a report by Waspbarcode.

Small and Medium Scale Business (SMBs) in India represents almost close to 90-95% of Indian Enterprise

Small and midsize businesses emerging as sizeable market with IT investments growing at over 15 percent, reveals new study, which underscores need for IT vendors to localize products for smaller enterprises.

The study revealed that 500,000 SMBs in India currently have Web sites and 2 million have Internet access. Growing PC adoption is also another growth driver, with 4 million SMBs already using personal computers. This number is expected to grow 30 percent from 2011 to 2015, doubling the size of PC-enabled SMBs.

According to a MR company, India is still largely a hardware market. “The SMBs in India are very different from SMBs in the developed world where small enterprises have a higher understanding of IT.”

The unorganized segment represents enterprises with a lack of defined business processes which run for subsistence and by first-generation owners, while the sophisticated group is identified as those with business processes adapted from industry benchmarks and global best practices, which are keen to evolve as an enterprise and are taken over by the second generation owners (per a MR company)

All the above facts are encouraging yet challenging for the digital market strategist to bring the SMBs on same platform of social media acceptance. We are still talking about IT hardware adoptability among SMBs in India. So how they will tweet.

There need to be categorical shift from legacy mindset to the new era of social media channel. This should come from more localized approach to make SMBs in the hinterland of India to start talking about their business fashionably on social channels.

According to my assessment, it needs to be done or approached by keeping following in mind:

  1. The local social media marketing approach – content should be more appealing to local business environment. May be more regional specific to attract local suppliers, vendors.
  2. Unique support models are required to bring them to main stream digital marketing platform. Show them the value of being social and then transform their marketing strategy around it.
  3. Customized pricing based on different verticals , business needs , product segment
  4. Digital marketers should understand the SMB workflow, supply chain knowledge, result of which help both the party to optimize social media effort. This will help them give customize services to different SMBs /SMEs

All said …we cannot ignore the budget allocation in SMEs in India on marketing. Traditionally they are very low and on top we want them to invest on social media. We should watch out this space as the SMEs progress on being more e-skilled.

The large and best organized companies should take it as an added effort to encourage Small scale companies to invest on social media platform. This could be their ancillary partners as car OEMs.

Social Media of SMBs

4 + 4 Relevant Ways to Use Twitter for Competitive Intelligence and Market Research

Social Media under Web 2.0 has made engagement more meaningful. Apart from keeping consumer closer to loved ones, brand, quote, and unquote, Social platform has also empowered knowledge workers in the B2B scenario.

According to eBiz, Twitter is the 9th most visited website on the Internet. Teenagers to marketing dudes, Twitters’ penetration makes it an attractive option to conduct market research, understand competitive landscape, trends well within 140 character magic.

Relevance to Market Research (MR)

People communication/ P2P communication: it is an instant way to engage oneself and others on a relevant topic of discussion. Within seconds Market researcher can get feedback from multiple minds real time.

Follow relevant personalities/ influencers: Market research is about understanding the market trends. Trends are the experience researcher can gather from consumer as well as experienced marketing and sales people in various verticals. Twitter allows you to connect with the source of rich information, and one need to just pick what they are saying about the topic. Often market researcher need to read between the lines and should have the ability to pick the hidden trend and information to connect dots. This comes from micro-blogger easily / on daily basis.

Increase the MR scope:  According to Socialbankers, 66% of user-generated tweets mentioning brands are done via mobile devices. Hence on-the-go information providers leave rich information about customer experience, product experience, corporate moves every seconds. It widens the scope of listeners and make meaningful conclusions.

Consumer Insights: This is a big concern to service and product companies in technology, FMCG, manufacturing, etc. to stay as a constant listener to consumer feedbacks. Twitter makes it easy and relevant. The unprepared and raw communication stream is what once should gather, which is so rich and relevant to understand the consumer demands. This method is a direct access to enhance company’s responsiveness to consumer feedback. The best thing is it WOKS!

It is about understanding the #socilamedia language of consumer. Social media is a cluster of groups connected directly or indirectly with different thoughts and topics. Market researcher need to branch out to various groups and pick to make insightful conclusions.

Relevant to Competitive Intelligence (CI)

CI is most used or un-used term within knowledge management industries. Getting public information about your competitor is one thing and understand competitor move out of public information is an ART! It is not difficult to paint the perfect picture about your competition.

Follow industry speakers/ influencers: it is not necessary to connect with the competitor sales guy to get information. No one with do that. It might cost your jobs. But a CI champ can always meet the vendor, customer, users of the competitor products in B2C and B2B scenario. They throws relevant information and yes you should articulate the hypothesis to understand the upcoming smart move of competitor.

Ex-employees:  you got it! Connect with ex-executives and get the experience raw. They are writing 24/7 about the industry, the trends within the verticals – CI professions should grab it. Connect then via Groups, LinkedIn, blogs, etc

C-level executives open up in social media: call it strange or magic of social media people open up in social media. This is the best opportunity for CI s to connect and engage with them.

No free-lunches: Competitive intelligence teaches you the importance of barter system in knowledge management. So be prepared to give information if you need to complete your assignment. Simple! When you connect with industry through people – needless to say you should be full of updates. Otherwise Web 2.0 will reject you – engagement is when you give information you get two. Hence to enhance the twitter Knowledge Channel 2X market researcher / competitive intelligence professionals should learn the art of engagement. It is cost effective!

My experience reminds me how social media is cost effective tool to knowledge management.

It is fast – forget those phone call appointments and emails

It is relevant

It is real time

It is reproducible 

Thanks for reading

Author is 9 years’ experience into market research and competitive intelligence

4 + 4 Relevant Ways to Use Twitter for Competitive Intelligence and Market Research