Social Media 101: That Mistake Every Client Makes: Business Insider Column

Having seen every single client do this I can tell you without a shred of doubt that even you have seen multiple people on your NewsFeed do this. In fact, many of us have been guilty of this as well, so don’t feel too bad about it if you’ve done it yourself—Liking your post on social media.

Different people have given me different reasons for doing this, like these:

1. To increase the total number of Likes on one’s own post

Increasing it by 1 Like is not going to contribute to our life significantly. Instead it damages you because you Like will be displayed first to anyone that views the post. Example: If I liked my own post, it would read “Jacob Cherian and 3 others liked this post”. It looks bad. Don’t do it.

2. To increase the organic reach of the post

No! This does not help increase your organic reach. Instead, share your page’s post on our personal profile. This is a far more effective use of clicking a link.

3. Accidentally Liked it as the Page, when I was trying to Like it from my personal profile

Yes. This is definitely forgivable and is often just an accident. For example: If Ram has admin rights to Hot Restaurant’s page, then when he Likes a post from his phone it registers as Hot Restaurant Liking the post, NOT Ram. On the desktop however, you do have the option to choose your personal profile and then interact with the post.

4. And the worst reason of all—because I Like my own post. #facepalm

Well, of course you like your own post. That’s why you shared it in the first place.

Let me be clear though, it is completely acceptable for any individual to like any post on any business page. Ram Liking Hot Restaurant’s post is fine. Just Hot Restaurant should never Like Hot Restaurant’s post. In other words— do not ever let the business page like its OWN post.

(Jacob Cherian is the Chief Ideas Officer at http://www.SocialMediaForRestaurants.IN and http://www.WindowsToNGOs.com — digital media agencies that specialize in the hospitality and development sector specifically)

Originally published on 16th April, 2016 on Business Insider

Do not unfriend people who disagree with you: Business Insider Column

Before we set out, let me accept that there are some very necessary reasons for breaking online ties with someone. Some popular examples are someone repeatedly badgering you for a job despite being reasoned with, someone taking a personal jab at you, stalkers, cyber bullying, rape jokes, brute crassness and so on. This article, however, is going to be about why it is important to hold on to online connections with opposing ideologies.

Too often have we all seen people proudly making announcements that they have unfriended everyone promoting an opposing political ideology.

A little over a decade ago as social media, as we know it today, began linking us as it has, many of us assumed that a more-networked world would naturally be a smarter and more communicative. However, it really hasn’t and has probably made it even worse.

This is mostly because conversations in different schools of thoughts are happening in silos. In the light of the social media campaign around the next big Marvel superhero movie release, the Captain America fans are tweeting and communicating with #TeamCap and the Iron Man fans with #TeamIronman. They are not talking to each other.

Closer to home, and slightly more relevant, the AAPtards are the ones using the hashtag #Bhaktards and the Bhaktards are the ones propagating #AAPtards. One side spreads Anupam Kher’s speech and the other Barkha Dutt’s. Across the world we have #Trump vs #Bernie, #Labour vs #Conservative, #GreenFraud vs #GlobalWarming. You get the picture. Each set is only speaking amongst itself. The internet has effectively created multiple echo chambers that are only getting consistently larger and hence more dangerous.

To make things worse, it is that once someone posts something, for example, “Climate change is merely socialist propaganda. #greenfraud”, they will rarely admit to them having been wrong. Regardless of the quality of the arguments presented in the comments that follow, their human ego will not allow it. And even if they did society has a way of making them feel bad for admitting they were wrong. It’s an auto-immune disease.

It’s usually at the end of seemingly fruitless conversations that people wind up “unfriending” or “unfollowing” one another. Today I’m here writing this piece asking you to please NOT do that. Stick around. Force yourself to take that extra effort. In my mind every unfriending over a rival ideology is similar to a plastic bottle thrown on a beautiful trek in the mountains. It just needs a little extra effort to hold on to that bottle till you walk back into civilization and find a bin.

I am going to close this article with a video of possibly the best example for this problem. It compares how Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s methodology of dealing with protesters.

Don’t be like Trump. Don’t throw people with opposing ideas out of your life. Hear them out. Talk back, but don’t talk down. Just don’t add to the growing echo chambers.

(Jacob Cherian is the Chief Ideas Officer at http://www.SocialMediaForRestaurants.IN and http://www.WindowsToNGOs.com — digital media agencies that specialize in the hospitality and development sector specifically)

Originally published on 18th March, 2016 on Business Insider

The Fine Art of Lateral Hashtagging

Jacob Cherian

Going beyond the reach of standard hashtags, on Instagram, with some lateral thinking

The typical basic hashtags used by restaurants are #foodie #foodgasm #citynamefoodclub. Fashion brands use tags like #instafashion #shoes #skirt. An environmental NGOs use tags like #conservation #marine #pollution and so on. Nothing wrong here. These hashtags will bring you the people looking for these specific topics of interest.

To go beyond people looking specifically for your offerings, start thinking about other features that may be acceptable to a wider audience. To draw on a brick and mortar example in the real world that is popular the world over, and not yet in India— IKEA’s famous coffee shops in their massive stores. Their coffee shops themselves have become a destination for people in the big cities around the world. And while some of these customers come primarily to enjoy the services of this fantastic cafe, they also stumble across furniture that they may incorporate into their homes. It also keeps their store constantly busy and vibrant.

The same applies to your Instagram feed with Lateral Hashtagging. Lateral Hashtagging is literally the hashtags that are not directly connected to your core content, but goes one step outside the box.

Taking the examples online, a restaurant that has invested massively on decor, should seriously consider hashtags like #decor, #architecture and #interiors. Perhaps even tag the interior decorator’s firm. While people stumble across the Instagram feed for decor, they can quite possibly be enamored by the food and beverage content as well.

Taking an example events-wise, an art gallery may be of interest to artists, art-lovers, fashion enthusiasts, people looking for ‘what’s happening in town’. So don’t just stick to #painter, #art, #mfhussain, but go beyond that into tags like #fashion, #whatshot and #bangalore, as this event is also relevant to audiences beyond the pure art space.

An NGO that is focused on conservation should also consider using hashtags ranging from #turtles, #rhinos and #tigers to general tags like #andamanandnicobar, #kaziranga and #sundarbands, even if they are focused solely on just one of these aspects. After all, you will find plenty of overlap of interest in these topics, across species and geographies.

The caution here is to not overdo the lateral hashtagging. A safe thumbrule is to do this once in 5 posts. Or else you could possibly end up with too dilute a following, or worse, a following that marks your page as irrelevant in their head. And that is something that you never want to do.

(Jacob Cherian is the Chief Ideas Officer at www.SocialMediaForRestaurants.IN and www.WindowsToNGOs.com — digital media agencies that specialize in the hospitality and development sector specifically.)

Originally published on 4th March, 2016 on Business Insider

Social Media Tip: Boost Your Online Game To a New High Tech Level: BusinessInsider.IN

Jacob Cherian

Going live is now cheaper, easier and more accessible than ever before. The live tools on YouTube, Facebook, and now Periscope are slowly gaining momentum and if you pick up these tools right now you will be among the first few in the country to enter the space.

Yes, versions of these tools have been around for a while now, but almost no one in India has really picked up these tools and worked into their lives to a point that everyone knows where to find them. This is a great way to even get some solid word-of-mouth.
So just stop whatever you are doing right now and go set up one or more of the technologies that I introduce you to:

Periscope:

By far the easiest of the options to work with. No setup required other than downloading and installing the app on your phone. The downside though is that, being the youngest player among our contenders, it also currently has the lowest audience numbers. This app is available on both the App Store and the Play Store for free. Download it now. The app gives you a really cool world map from where you can see streams from all over the world. Some are really cool, and some are just really lame—streaming Youtube videos of computer monitors and fluttering curtains. Really weird!

YouTube Live:

Still in Beta, so you know that you will be ahead of the game if you get on this right now. YouTube is clearly the world’s largest video platform and you want to be here as soon as possible.
Set up the encoding software on your computer, which is a 10 minute process and includes a download. The tutorials on YouTube will walk you through every step. Authorize the downloaded app to broadcast on YouTube and you are good to go. We chose the Xplit broadcaster and it worked quite well.

Facebook Livestream:

The big blue works on Livestream, a simple and powerful streaming tool. Livestream plugs into your business pages very neatly and you will gain a new tab. We set up very quickly and were ready to go with little fuss. It available as an app as well as in your computer browser.

(Jacob Cherian is the Chief Ideas Officer at www.SocialMediaForRestaurants.IN and www.WindowsToNGOs.com — digital media agencies that specialize in the hospitality and development sector specifically.)

Originally appeared on Business Insider India, on 19th February, 2016