Categories
Thought and Reason

Five tips for effective social media strategy

I spent much of Christmas tweeting and re-tweeting posts on micro-blogging platform Twitter in the hopes of winning a Sony Tablet or iPhone (none of which came my way, in any case!) But yes, the use of social media was extraordinary!! What was more interesting was the fact that retailers did not ‘PUSH’ their products by ‘Selling’. To the contrary, they ‘PULLED’ a huge audience by ‘NOT selling’ but ‘engaging‘ the vibrant online buyer community!! Apparently, research has also proved that products recommended by friends/acquaintances on social networks fare better than those that aren’t!

Social Media platforms

There is no denying it. Social media is here to stay. So all you lovely entrepreneurs and independent retailers, please do consider these points in your strategy:

Don’t just sell!

1) Back to basics – Integrate your social media channels to speak in one voice. It should brandish your USP (unique selling proposition) that can be as simple as ‘hand-made jewellery’ or as exotic as ‘Himalayan rocks’!

 

2) ‘Engage’ and ‘brainstorm’– As a customer myself, I would be annoyed if a retailer used social media to ONLY Sell. Simple community engagement initiatives like seeking feedback/opinion using Polls and posting pictures of not just celebrities but even the common man endorsing their brand make you endearing!

‘Brainstorm’ with your audience – they are a storehouse of ideas! For example, hold a Twitter contest to solicit brand TAGLINES, thereby ‘engaging’ customers with more than a mundane sales pitch.

3) ‘Extra’s  – Can you use social media to offer that ‘little something extra’? For eg., a Facebook offer of 20% discount or ‘Cash on Delivery‘ could be a deal breaker.

4) Financial and non-financial targets – Let’s face it. You are not running a charity. Ensure to set targets, eg, 500 new Twitter followers.

5) Don’t stop –Most retailers/small scale entrepreneurs do not have the bandwidth to persist with social media initiatives. But do keep the buzz going. Cross-posting a Blog post a week could do the trick.

Social Media strategy is not to ‘sell’ but to ‘Engage’. Speak the voice of the customer, and they will look after you!

Categories
MommySpeak Short story

The final redemption

At 28, he was beyond redemption. Drugs, alchohol, nicotine, women, theft… he had done them all! The de-addiction centres offered no more hope.

Her last hope was this pilgrimage by foot. They had covered most of the journey. This was the final leg. The famous dilapidated temple was just across the railway track.

She crossed the tracks and waited for him. He dragged his feet along, slow enough to show how resentful he was of her attempts at ‘rehabilitation’.
‘Try to walk faster..‘, she coaxed.
‘You’re pathetic!!‘ he spat angrily.

She looked crestfallen.

He plugged in his iPod to drown her unspoken words. He had heard enough. He knew what he wanted. To float away on clouds of Ecstasy. And she, was the biggest obstacle! He hated the sight of her. Sad, angry, begging. In turns. All day long!!! Well, atleast, she didn’t cry bucketloads any longer. That was a relief!

Then, she saw it coming. He didn’t. Eyes half-closed, he was swaying to the music in his ears.

It was nearing. She opened her mouth to speak. But her mouth went dry. She put out a hand, to caution him.

‘Buzz off and leave me alone!!!!’ he murmured.

Alarmed, she looked into his eyes.

Baby eyes that once had opened in wonder. Eyes that had once danced with joy, accompanied by the lilting sound of happy gurgles.

Eyes that had once quite blindly trusted in her.

Eyes that had slowly started questioning her authority.

Eyes that had then turned angry in rebellion.

Too soon, it had become too late! The same eyes had turned vacant, and cold. And when she had tried to reign them in, they had seemed almost murderous.

And then, he finally noticed! His eyes widened in fear. She knew that look. He was almost begging, for her to try to rescue him. One more time.

She needed to think. A millisecond went by. And by then, it was all over!

The grass around the track was splattered in red. A bright shade of red, that she knew was the same as her own.

She clutched at her breast. As if to hold the heart that was slowly and irreversibly crumbling into a zillion pieces.

And in that deafening silence, she let out a loud scream. In relief. Then, she screamed again. And again. In horror. At what had just happened. She pounded the grass with her bare fists. Furious, at the way a beautiful life had been wasted.

Spent, she dragged her tired feet towards the temple. The shrine was closed. She slowly climbed the steps. When she reached the top, she almost staggered backwards in exhaustion. She quickly sat down, and lay her forehead on the cool stone pillars. She imagined the beautiful face of the deity inside the shrine. It shone of kindness. 

‘Thank you!‘ she whispered. And then broke into tears. She banged her forehead on the pillar until it bled. Then, she hugged herself tightly. And tried to remember his face. She saw in it, the beautiful eyes that had hated and distrusted, but still needed her.

‘Amma….’ – she would never hear that word again.

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Folks, this post is dedicated to all those parents who struggle helplessly with children who fall into drugs and other vices.

To parents who deserve better.

To parents who have loved and lost.

Specially, to those parents, who look back longingly, on a Life that could have been spent so differently, and so much better.

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Categories
Humour Incidents Thought and Reason

My first mobile

It was meant to be just another Sunday. My boss (the very first boss of my insipid career), however, had other plans. He announced that he was going away for the weekend, and that I needed to cover for him. He was a gorgeously wonderful guy, and I could never ever refuse him, even if it was at the cost of scrapping a well-planned shopping expedition that very weekend.

So I took a handover and was all set to handle any sort of client-emergency. Just before he left for the airport, he suddenly turned around, walked right back to me, smiled ever so gently and said ‘This is for you..’ and thrust it into my hands before I could even react.

So there I was, holding my very first mobile phone. A heavy, faded Nokia that had been circulated among virtually EVERY project manager in my team.

Yippee! My very own phone! So somebody actually thought I was important enough to need a mobile phone?! Wooawww..that really felt awesome!

I remember going out with two of my closest friends (Mr.G and Ms.L) that night, and celebrating the event over Tangy Dahi-papdi-chaat and milkshakes (WITH a nice blob of ice-cream)! Every five minutes, G or L would disappear round the corner and call me on my mobile. You know.. just for me to be able to show the world that I too, had arrived!

Over the last ten years, I have owned and used many many mobiles.

  • Starting with a really dirty, chapped Nokia (that was the possession of another project manager who used to constantly mine his nose for gold! YUCK!).
  • I subsequently treated myself to an ultra-slim Sony Ericcson (colour phone, you see :-)).
  • In some time, I was formally given a new shiny blue Sony for ‘official use’. I have to admit this was my most memorable phone, as I used it 24 hours a day, during my courtship with hubby 😉
  • Then I got a sturdy Nokia (gift from hubby)…
  • Followed by another Sony (With Bluetooth, camera and recording!!)
  • And finally a coveted Blackberry Pearl (with about everything!!!!)

Last Saturday, I went scouting for my next mobile phone (none of the others worked now), and found exactly what I was looking for at the very popular Univercel outlet in the shopper’s paradise that is called T.Nagar (Pondy Bazaar, to be precise).

So, my latest addition is an LG. Really sleek. Pitch black. Colour display. And nothing else. Yes, you read right.

No camera, No FM radio, No video, NO NOTHING!!! Not even 10 ring tones, can you beat that? I have to choose from a very jing-chak “Pappu Can’t Dance Sala” or an annoyingly loud “Dance pe tu chance”. Kiddo loves the tunes, but I wouldn’t dream of being heard in public with that ring tone.

The fact that it actually works (for the Rs.1400 that I paid), is a blessing in itself. I can make and receive calls, and even get a whole lot of Marketing Spam SMS-es. And I think Sonny boy can even drop it a couple of times (ahem, that’s an understatement) and it might still just work!

So, I believe Life has come a full circle.

Or mebbe I’m just growing old.