Sunday, 23 November 2014

The digital scope for the brands via Twitter

In this age, we barely know of people who may be absent from the social media sphere. Social networking and social conversations are the ‘in’ thing and obviously the future too. And why not, it’s a trend we’ve noticed since 2008. More people are willing to connect, build contacts, and grow their network. Not lagging behind are the brands who realize the power of social media & how they can gain the much-needed mileage out of it. They are ready to welcome the change in anyway that’s possible to promote their brand in the social space. 

One of the most vociferous social channels undoubtedly has to be Twitter. A live-stream of the Twitter feed will essentially be filled with opinions, news, political outbursts, pop culture, brand talk and much more. Almost every Twitter user on the planet has mentioned at least 5 brands in their tweets. It is important for a brand/ business to make their audience speak about the brand, build trust & obviously maintain the relationship with the customers for longer period of time. 

The first step is always crucial, but worth taking. With the help of social media, a brand actually can save a lot of time, manpower & on-field exercises, which requires huge amount of logistic support & investment. 

How Twitter can be a winner for brands? 

Considering the fact that nowadays Twitter is much popular, It’s very important that a brand (be it a startup or SME), it HAS-TO-HAVE a Twitter presence. It would be a negative approach if the brand starts to think “It’s too tough to reach out & express in just 140 chars or via any social network”. It has to be understood, it’s one of the easiest ways, once a few guidelines are in place; it can turn out to be the icing on the cake. 
  • Have the logo uploaded as the display photo. 
  • A good Twitter profile background, cover picture related to the brand is a must. 
  • A small catchy info as the bio will do wonders. 
  • Be simple in expressing & have a friendly approach while tweeting. 
Below, are some points to consider to get the most of your Twitter channel. 
  • Being online 24*7 may not be possible but at least 5-10 tweets a day to start with, can be a good jumpstart. Twitter is all about followers. If there are no followers, it will look as if the brand is broadcasting to itself. The brands should make a habit to follow 25-30 people per day. Else divide the time slots into 3 sessions that be morning, afternoon & evening. Spend 15-20 mins minimum per session exploring the hashtags & following other people, suppliers, well wishers, investors & send replies to the mentions.

  • Following: Unless it’s a well known brand, followers wont just flow in. Believe in a policy “Follow to get followed”. Build a conversation. A conversation will get your Twitter handle noticed within the circle of the followers of the people who the brand is interacting with. 

  • Other way to get the brand noticed is by conducting activities like contests or events. Come up with a good hashtag suitable for the Twitter activity. With the help of influencers, the brand can let them spread the word about the contest & call as many tweeps to follow the brand handle & RT the tweets. It is important to keep the followers entertained in order they won’t unfollow. So frequent interaction is must. Hence being active on the timeline leads to the visibility of the brand. 

  • Create a Twitter list & include the regular people in the list with whom frequent interactions happen & also create a list of people having a great amount of followers and try to converse with them. 

  • Being active doesn’t mean that a brand should start posting links. Avoid spamming the timeline. If there be only the brand tweets on other people’s timeline, they won’t accept it and there be a risk that the brand may lose followers. 

  • The most important aspect to consider that as Twitter being a social network, a brand won’t come across people who will always praise. At times people use social network to crib and complain about the brands on the issues they experience with the brand. Thus avoid getting into interactions that may lead to negative promotion & controversies. Take a small step, but do take the step. 
There’s never a good time to start and always a right time to start!

Originally written for DMTI.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Few blogging platforms for your perusal

Blogging! This is something for which the taste has to be developed & acquainted. Many people ask me why blog? Who will read what I post? For whom should I blog? The simple answer is, you blog for yourself. Once you start developing the taste/ passion for it, you obviously are going to share it with your friends. And in today's digital world, there are various options of blogging platforms to choose. Here I share some of the mainstream blogging platform options along with some minimalistic blogging options.

Mainstream blogging platforms
  • Blogger
    Blogger is a blogging platform from Google. Its easy to use & more importantly the navigation is user-friendly & one can setup their blog instantly. It supports drag-and-drop template editing, dynamic updating, geo-tagging for location-based blogging, and easy publication from editing tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Windows Live Writer. Since its from Google, the support of Adsense, Adwords & Analytics is easily available along with the integration of custom domain.

  • WordPress
    WordPress is a popular open source blogging platform. As a WordPress user, you have the option of setting up a WordPress blog on your own server (for free) but then the hosting charges are applicable depending upon from which service you take the hosting or creating a WordPress-hosted blog at It is backed with wide spread of themes, plug-ins, widgets to enhance the look & feel of the blog. Its not as easy to setup as Blogger but its not that tough either.

  • Tumblr
    Like Blogger, Tumblr is also a user-friendly platform. They indeed have changed the whole perspective of the whole concept of micro-blogging. Tumbler lets you share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's html effortlessly.

  • Squarespace
    Squarespace is one of the commercial blogging platform which offers not only blogging but a complete web presence for an individual/ company. Packed with design oriented themes which are elegant with sophisticated looks. Unlike others, their pricing module is based on the volume. It comes with a 14 day trial period (And yes no credit card required) but then the website/ blog is visible only to you.

Looking for minimalistic blogging options? Here are some of them to look at.

Ultimately its all about comfort level when it comes to choosing a blogging platform. Atleast now don't run away from blogging.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

3 Free ways to schedule tweets

We all know by now what Twitter is all about. Scheduling tweets is not an alien feature. Many brands & individuals do schedule tweets in order to mark their presence on the timeline. When it comes to scheduling tweets, there are many options available nowadays, but after testing many options, I pick the following 3 options which I find are user-friendly & very easy to use.

  1. Buffer
    Buffer is a fabulous service which helps you to schedule / buffer 10 tweets a day (free version) & unlimited tweets (for paid version which they call as Awesome Plan) as per the timezone. The tweets are kept in a buffer & are released as per the time set. Another quality of Buffer is apart from scheduling tweets, it also provides analytics which gives an idea on how many retweets, favorites, mentions & the potential reach the tweet has received. And if you have nothing to tweet, it also gives suggestions of various tweets as per the categories like Buffer Picks, Marketing, Inspiration, Business & Startups, Lifehacking & Design. The Awesome Plan also includes integration of RSS feeds & you be able to choose which stories to add in the Buffer queue. There are also Buffer add-on’s available for Firefox and Chrome, and Buffer mobile apps for Android and iOS.

  2. Tweetdeck
    Tweetdeck is one of the famous Twitter client but very less people are aware that it has the feature of scheduling tweets. It is available as desktop client for Windows/Mac, Chrome. Its iOS & Android mobile app are discontinued. Tweetdeck actually is a full fledged Twitter client in which the dashboard is customizable as per the columns you wish to add. It also supports multiple accounts, but doesn’t support any additional social networks other than Twitter.

  3. Hootsuite
    HootSuite is another famous client. It is more than a Twitter scheduler, and can be used as a centralized dashboard for all your social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Pages, LinkedIn, and more. It’s available as a web app or a mobile app for Android, iOS and Blackberry. One of the best feature of Hootsuite is Auto Scheduler. Many brands do use Hootsuite as it also comes up with report feature which apparently comes into paid version.
Which is your favorite service when it comes to scheduling tweets?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Are you aware of the Facebook's 20% rule & the grid tool?

Do you design graphics for your Facebook pages? Imagine, one fine day you decide to promote a specific post of your Facebook page & after submitting your post for review, you get a lovely message saying “Your ad / post has been disapproved?”. Thanks to the Facebook’s 20% rule! All your efforts in designing a spectacular post goes in vain.

Facebook’s 20% rule explained

The Facebook 20% Rule has slowly become one of the most common ad violations amongst submitted advertisements due to the inconsistency of the Facebook judgement algorithms. The rule works like this: whenever you submit an ad that features an image, Facebook runs that image through their 20% text grid. Facebook’s reasoning:

“Images may not include more than 20% text in the image to ensure people only see high-quality content. This includes logos and slogans in images. We recommend that you use the text field in the ad to get your message across.”

Then how to tackle this rule? Its simple but tricky, yet doable! Divide the whole graphic in 25 boxes (5x5). For the graphic to be approved, your text should be in total 5 boxes. What’s tricky? A grid box that has any bit of text in it counts as “full.” As such, one letter that spans two boxes will count as two of your five allotted boxes.

We know Facebook implied this rule but then they also came up with a tool call “Grid Tool”. 

Simply upload the image to see how much text you're using. After you upload an image, mark five boxes on the grid in order to determine whether your creative has 20% text.

What’s allowed & what is not?

Allowed in the 20% text policy:
  • Pictures of products that include text on the actual product
  • Photos of products in real situations or photos of products with a background 

Not allowed in the 20% text policy:
  • Images that are zoomed in on logos/images with text overlay
  • Images that are clearly edited to include text on the product as a loophole to policy 
Happy designing & happy promoting on Facebook!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

If you want to experience dining right under the stars, Skky Restrolounge is the place to be!

The idea of dining right under the stars sounds magical isn’t it? How about unwinding yourself after a busy weekday or enjoying an evening with fascinating food over the weekend that too on a rooftop & right under the stars? This can be experienced at “Skky" (Connect with them on Twitter / Facebook) which is Ramada Powai’s signature restrolounge & bar. Spaciously designed architecture & well-structured ambiance welcomed me as soon as I reached to the rooftop. Since it’s a restrolounge & bar, the lights & the music perfectly creates the mood. On one side, huge bar is set with wide spread of spirits & the far opposite, is their kitchen where in the view of the chefs preparing your order is visible. The seating arrangement is spacious and comfy.

By the time I was totally adjusted to the magical environment, there came the waiter along with the tablet. It was the menu! The categorized menu on the tablet was visually stunning with the details about every dish so I could get an idea of what will come on my table & yes it was user-friendly to operate. The manager, Vikram Gaikwad immediately came to the table and guided me through the menu. It was a good gesture that the manager asked me if I wanted to go by my choice from the menu or whether am keen to try out some Chef’s specialties. I chose the Chef’s specialties.

So the marathon began!

Mandarin Mojito – A refreshing variation of the classic with Captain Morgan, Chinese Mandarin, Triple Sec & lime.

Canh Rieu Ca – A Vietnamese sour fish soup with plum tomatoes, fresh dill & pan seared Bassa.

Tofu with spicy Garlic Tomato Chilly – Stir fried silken tofu with homemade fresh tomato chili sauce.

Wasabi Prawns with Tobiko – Served with wasabi mayo, seasonal fruits & flying fish Roe with curry leaf & sesame seeds.

Wok Fried Fragrant Chicken – Spiced Chicken tossed with Fragrant sauce, chilies, peppers, coriander, soya & garlic.

White Chocolate & Grand Marnier Cheesecake – Baked Philadelphia cheesecake with an elegant blend of grand mariner & calibut white chocolate truffle, sweet balsamic reduction. And must say it was delightful & heavenly! Have a sweet tooth, it’s a must try! 

Later I was fortunate to interact with their Chef De Cuisine, Simanchal Sabat who took me through the food which I had enjoyed relishing on. I must say the portions served are generous. The staff was well mannered & they indeed sounded well trained. If you have not yet visited Skky, you are missing out the action of the dining experience under the stars.

Burp-O-Meter: 4.5/5