In yet another engaging session organized by the Marketing and General Management Forum, Mr. Naru Radhakrishnan enlightened the students with his insights on social media marketing. Mr. Radhakrishnan is an alumnus of TAPMI who has more than 24 years of experience across media and digital space.

He began the session by talking about the relevance of social media marketing. In this era of hyper connectivity, consumers have the ability to aggressively express and broadcast their opinion at the push of a button. Hence, social media marketing can no longer exist as a separate entity, rather it has become an integral part of the marketing activities. He then went on to talk about the reasons behind the increasing proliferation of social media in our daily lives. Human beings are inherently social animals. It is this psychological need that is driving us to use social media as a digitally enabled social setup. Moreover, it also acts as medium for fulfilling our need for fame, an attribute which was exhorted by the famous American artist Andy Warhol.

Mr. Radhakrishnan then talked about the four kinds of social media users. The “Creators” are the primary originators of all social media content. This is a sect of highly creative people. The “Curators” are the aggregators who collate the content created by creators and packages in an attractive way for the rest of the users to consume. The “Distributors” distribute this content to different segments. The “Consumers”, being the last group, are the set of passive end customers of social media.

Moving ahead, he explained how social media is reshaping the contours of marketing. Instead of the historical “Marketing to People” scenario, it has changed to a “Marketing for/with People” situation. In the past, marketers used to set the agenda. It has gradually changed into a situation where consumers are setting the agenda. Marketing is no longer about the products but about the stories that you weave around them. In this age of social media, a high quality product alone won’t help you to succeed in the market place. The product would need stories in correct context so that consumers would be able to connect with it. He then played the “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” short film which was created as part of the Dove’s marketing campaign. The video showcased how brands can be built on beautiful stories.

Another factor which determines the success of such social media campaigns is the surprise element and interest level associated with it. He took the example of the famous “Smell like a Man” campaign of Old Spice. Moving forward, he spoke of the importance of being prepared for social media overreactions to marketing campaigns. He went on to explain how Honeywell Cereals leveraged this overreaction to their advantage. The trick is to think more like a publisher than a marketer. Even in the era of social media, word of mouth publicity has its own relevance. What you as a marketer tell to a customer is way less credible than what customers tell each other. A brand is created out of these interactions between customers. Hence social media acts as a meeting ground between consumers and brands. This is why online presence is a must for companies looking to leverage the social media tools. A mere presence in itself won’t add value either. Instead of using social media to just impress people, it should be leveraged to impact them. He cited the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign as one of the most successful such initiative which helped in creating a real impact.

The event ended with a highly interactive Q&A session wherein students and faculty members interacted with the guest to make the learning experience even more enriching.