12 Oct 2015 21:30 IST

Breaking down social media marketing

Explaining UGC and FoMo and how monetisation on the web works

Before diving into the subject of Social Media Marketing, let’s discuss some key terms from the field's lexicon.

What is UGC?

A traditional medium like print or radio thrives on content generated by itself. A whole host of journalists and editors create or aggregate content and publish it. Social media platforms, however, thrive on a concept called UGC, which stands for User Generated Content. So, literally there are millions of people across the globe who generate and publish content at the same time. There is always enough and more content for the audience to consume and circulate. There is never any dearth for content.

So, is every Facebook post or status update on one’s FB page part of UGC?

Yes, it is.

Another buzz word to adopt into your vocabulary is FoMo.

That is ‘Fear of Missing out’. Since you are constantly bombarded with information, there are always some pieces of information which are interesting and become viral.

This creates an anxiety in people that if they do not check out what their friends or their favourite stars are doing, they might miss out something big. You may have noticed people constantly picking and checking their phones for updates, even when the phone doesn’t ring.

Now, that you know what UGC and FoMo are, you can relate to the fact that all social media platforms have huge content value as well as constant attention from audience. They also capture your profile information and your usage patterns and interests from your posts and location.

This information is a gold mine for brands. Brands use these social media platforms to identify their target audience based on interests and feed them with appropriate brand communication.

So who are the biggest players in this arena?

The biggest players, as well as the most popular ones, are Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and Twitter.

Facebook offers advertising in several formats, such as sponsored posts and ad banners. Sponsored posts appear very similar to one of your friend’s posts, with a small caption on top, which says it is sponsored. So there is more likelihood of the user noticing or spending time on the post. The ad banners which appear on the right hand side of your page are clearly paid promotions. Facebook will charge you on the basis of CPM or CPC models.

The brands spend from their budgets to create a page and then reach out to their target audience by using paid promotions. So people will visit the brand page and if they ‘like’ it, they will start following the brand page.

Doesn’t this amount to buying ‘likes’?

To some extent, Yes. What Facebook does is genuinely offer a platform to reach out to your target audience and get them to follow you.

I have heard about some companies which generate ‘likes’ by using fake Facebook accounts. Very recently, there was a controversy on a few politicians buying ‘likes’ from some foreign countries like Turkey, to show increased number of ‘likes’ on their page.

Linkedin also offers paid advertising options, which are very similar. There are some brands which prefer Linkedin because of the professional nature of the platform. The brands choose the platform on the basis of the nature of their brand and the kind of message they want to convey.

Twitter also works more or less in a similar fashion, where the brand can choose to identify their target audience and promote their brand message to them.

Will you get to see the information about your target audience?

Not exactly. The brands will only get to choose the parameters which define their audience. Brands can choose to promote their message to men in 30-40 age group, in Chennai, who are interested in sports. Now the platform will display the brand message to people who fit into this profile. The brands get to see the identity of the person only if the user chooses to gives his consent to be contacted.

That leaves us with Youtube…

Youtube offers advertising in many formats. One is skipable and non-skipable formats of video ads. When you search for a video on Youtube and start watching it, you will notice a video ad running before your required content. You may have noticed in some cases, there is an option to ‘Skip ad’. Those are skipable ads. Some brands may choose to pay a premium and get the user to compulsorily watch the advt. Youtube also offers as small banners and messages at the bottom of the video that you are watching.

Media brands have huge amount of content to share with their users. So Youtube offers them an option to create their own channel and monetize their content, of course for a cost.

In fact, as an individual, you can also create your own channel if you have enough content to publish and monetise it.

To read more from the FundaMental section, click here .

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