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Social
media has created such a buzz that around 1 billion active Facebook users in
2014 produce about 350,000 likes in a minute all centred around various brands
or products. Also, 560 million active Twitter users send 600,000 tweets in an
hour, their conversation mostly focussed around their companies and co-workers.
Instagram and Flicks users upload 9.8 million photos featuring their likes and
dislikes towards different brands. Every day social media produce excess of 242
million unique content, every bit of content is used for data analytics
revealing valuable market and industry insights (Bauckhage et al., 2014 and
Duggan, 2013).

According
to a recent report, the clear majority of consultation services (87%) are
utilising LinkedIn for their marketing and networking activities. For
promotional and brand building activities 68% of the consulting firms use
Facebook and 54% of them use Twitter. Potential customers and influencers can
be directly reached out effectively to the firms’ websites, seminars, content
and marketing channels through social media. The top IT company, Wipro is
having its full-fledged ‘Innovation Centres’ on social media platforms, along
with Infosys which is on top for addressing customers concerns through twitter.

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LinkedIn
can be used for sharing of publications, white papers generating immediate
interest and valuable feedback to positions the organization in a thought
leadership mode. These social media also generate interest in the industry
events using a pre-defined specific social media strategy by posting photos and
videos. Potential engagement and successful outreach to customers and
influencers is possible through online publications and thought leadership
articles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The impact is not limited to this
but also results in deeper and evolved relationships with them, increasing
readership and attending and following events. All this can be well attributed
to the successful creation of social media profiles of consultants. According
to an operations consulting firm, these social media strategies contribute $3.5
million revenue over the period of 12 months. LinkedIn is found out to be the
most effective social media strategic initiative by 49% of the consulting firms
being surveyed (Bloom group Report, 2014). 

Social media consultancy
is yet another promising and emerging field of the consultancy profession. It
chalks out a strategic social media plan for increased digital marketing
engagements of the organization to promote their brand awareness online. Social
media will add a new side of consultancy. All the prominent consultancy firms
viz. Deloitte, PwC, Ernst and Young are of the same view that social media
consultancy has profitably yielded a steady and fast growth in their
consultancy services. Deloitte’s revenue increased from 36 % to 50.2 % from
2003 to 2012 (Wolters Kluwer, 2013, p.4), PwC’s revenue increased from 10 % to
28% as a result of social media consultancy services over the same time period
(Wolters Kluwer, 2013, p.4). A significant increase in revenue was reported by
Ernst & Young consulting firm of about 30 percent from a minimal number of
3 percent (Wolters Kluwer, 2013, p.5). As is clearly evident from the
statistics that consulting firms are seeing social media consultancy as an
encouraging field (Abdullah, 2013).

Telecom
industry is the most advanced one in terms of their expenditure in social media
marketing. They have their dedicated social media marketing team (83%) ahead of
FMCG (53%) and retail (58%) sectors. Telecom industry witness visible growth in
their social media expenditure, increasing from 15% in 2011 to 36% in 2013.
They are more optimistic towards their quantification of the social media
impact. The social media campaigns are profitably effective bearing fruitful
and intended results for about 91% of telecom companies and 60% of them asserts
that social media expenditure is directly related to their profitability.
Consumers’ receptivity and acceptance to digital marketing engagements is
second most confident for telecoms (79%) following the FMCG sector (89%). The
biggest challenge as perceived by telecoms is the conversion ratio (56%) of
consumers due to the digital marketing engagements followed by up-selling and
cross selling (37%) (Social media report, 2013).

The
telecom industry has successfully entrenched its competence in mobilising
social media marketing efforts in building effective customer base at a minimal
cost. Branded telecom companies observe 649 tweets on an average, with 432
tweets focussed towards social care. These mentions and conversations are aimed
to amplify competitive intelligence, consumer and market insights, better
product development and enhanced planning and measurement of campaign.

The
customers and influencers control about 80% of the conversations. Rest 20% of
the conversations are the responses and replies to the customers’/influencers’
concerns. The companies get a very good opportunity to directly connect and
drive the conversation further in their favour.

On
an average, telecom companies post 2.44 times in a day and tweet 156.98 times.
This was revealed by an analysis of telecoms’ social media marketing
engagements. Social media offers dynamic content creation of various marketing
campaigns which in turn have impressive impact on the customer brand
interaction. Visual content such as photos (48%), videos (24%) and statuses
drawing highest volume of comments have more durable impact on costumers’
mindset towards the telecom brands.

The
term social care has found immense applications in today’s telecommunications
market, benefitting customer by delivering prime customer service at the
minimum cost (Social Insights).

 

Company
A dealing with cosmetic and baby products is of the opinion that the content in
social media is user-generated and the frequency of updation of the content is
more on social media compared to traditional media. Company B , a food products
company is of the opinion that social media in their organization provides more
opportunities for Customer engagement and opportunities for creating
conversation than traditional media. Company C, a company dealing in cosmetics,
has the perception that social media in their organization has more opportunity
of building connection between the brand and customer compared to traditional
media. Social media in their organization also provides an opportunity for
two-way communication compared to traditional media. Company D, a packaged food
company, is of the opinion that Social media is more effective than traditional
media in creating strong brand associations and advocacy compared to
traditional media. Company E, a food processing company, has the perception
that Social media is more effective than traditional media in targeting
specific segments of customers and creating competition among competing brands.
Company F, dealing with Tobacco, Hotels, Paperboards & Specialty Papers,
Packaging, agri-business, packaged foods & confectionary is of the opinion
that social media is more effective than traditional media in creating multiple
exposures and strong attention and recall. Company G, a coffee growing company,
is of the opinion that social media is more viral compared to traditional media
and social media marketing communications in their organization gives the
opportunity of obtaining greater customer feedback compared to traditional
media (Banerjee, 2015).

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