#TheEdi­to­rial

The Smart Manager - - Editorial - poorn­ima sub­ra­ma­nian | se­nior editor

The word ‘hash­tag’ was in­cluded in the Ox­ford English Dic­tionary in June 2014. This per­haps in­di­cated how much so­cial me­dia had and would per­vade our daily lives. What ini­tially started as net­works or tools to con­nect with friends and like-minded peo­ple has to­day mor­phed into a pri­mary plat­form through which many con­sume news and views that are rel­e­vant to them. Ir­re­spec­tive of the gen­er­a­tion one be­longs to, one can­not af­ford to ig­nore these plat­forms. In fact, many stud­ies sug­gest these plat­forms are no longer the pre­serve of only the dig­i­tal na­tives—a num­ber of older adults are in­creas­ingly us­ing them.

Given the num­bers they at­tract and en­gage, these plat­forms of­fer a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for com­pa­nies to reach their tar­get au­di­ence. The avail­abil­ity of big data, so­phis­ti­cated seg­men­ta­tion tools, and al­go­rithms that can ac­cu­rately an­a­lyze an in­di­vid­ual’s in­ter­net foot­print and throw up the right so­lu­tions have made these net­works a mar­keter’s dream. No other medium has of­fered such pre­ci­sion ever be­fore. If you man­age to iden­tify the tar­get group and also cre­ate the right mes­sage, then the prob­a­bil­ity of hit­ting the bull’s eye is re­ally high. In fact, many crit­ics to­day ac­cuse these plat­forms of us­ing cus­tomer data for in­flu­enc­ing de­ci­sions—whom you vote for, where you work, and what you buy. Af­ter all, ev­ery click on an ad­ver­tiser’s web­site en­sures more money for the plat­form.

While that may be true, the con­sumers’ voice has never been heard so loud be­fore—bou­quets and brick­bats flood our time­lines and Twit­ter feeds. So much so, com­pa­nies to­day have ded­i­cated teams that man­age their so­cial me­dia pages and mon­i­tor trends that might po­ten­tially in­flu­ence their prod­uct or ser­vice. Ir­re­spec­tive of the pros and cons, a de­bate that con­tin­ues to en­thrall many is whether so­cial me­dia pres­ence and pop­u­lar­ity ac­tu­ally re­sult in ROI. That it cre­ates brand aware­ness is undis­puted but does it also ef­fec­tively trans­form into unit sales? In this is­sue, we try and ex­plore the var­i­ous facets of this new phe­nom­e­non that con­tin­ues to evolve.

Happy Read­ing. ■

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