5 Social Media Trends Your Business Cannot Miss

Business How To’s

06 December 2016

5 Social Media Trends Your Business Cannot Miss

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Every business involves a lot of effort and thought. With the emergence of technology and the myriads of progress it has gone through over years, it is difficult to understand how different businesses compete with each other to get to the top. In today’s day, not only the established businesses, but also the start-ups look forward to expanding their business and gaining popularity over offevery possible platform. Clearly, we all know what a tool like social media could do in this technologically driven generation. Today, social media is not only limited to connecting with friends and family in different parts of the world, but to popularise different types of brands through excellent imagery and content on every possible digital platform. However, with a plethora of companies all looking headfirst to being the best, competition has accelerated to a different level. Due to all these reasons, it becomes extremely important for any business, big or small, to not miss out on these 5 social media trends:

Brand Publishing:

Brand Publishing is the new form of content marketing. Such type of publishing builds your brand as it is more realistic and keeps the audience engaged for a longer period of time. Brand publishing requires a little more attention, unlike content marketing. A lot of marketers are under the false pretext that content marketing simply exists just to sell a product. For this very reason, turning content marketing into content publishing is a must. In order to acquire brand publishing success, it is necessary to keep a few points in mind. They are:

  • Choosing a topic that your core audience is extremely passionate about.
  • Committing to a single topic that draws the attention of your audience.
  • Owning the topic and mastering it so well, as to show the audience that your brand is the adept.

Video Marketing:

 In the very beginning, who would’ve thought that brands would make its way to the top in the video market? However, it has been doing exceptionally well by catering to various types of target audiences. For a very long time, YouTube was used as a sole platform for video marketing. Nevertheless, it has branched out to a lot of other media platforms like Instagram, Google+, Vine, and Facebook etc. Tiny GIF’s and pop-ups attract a lot of attention and are not only restricted to YouTube today. The “call to action” tool, which was released by Facebook, has also proved to be very essential as it invites consumers to visit a particular website, make purchases or view branded or related videos in a steady and natural way.

Instagram Advertising:

The future of paid ads didn’t look all that great, in the previous years. A lot of marketers put their money on paid social media ads, but they don’t always get what they expect. Not every media platform gives a decent engagement rate to every brand. Facebook has a system where it limits its reach as per its Organic Reach System. In short, for every 1 million fans on Facebook for a specific brand, each post had around 700 likes which is very less. However, there is no reason to lose hope as the future of one of the fastest growing social media platform i.e. Instagram, seems to be really pronounced. A study showed that Instagram posts generated 58 times more engagement per follower, as compared to Facebook and 120 times more engagement than Twitter.

Upsurge of Image Based Content:

 Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, aren’t only for flaunting your edgy side or food recipes and interiors. Today, these platforms can be used for showcasing your brands through attractive imagery and content which has the ability to captivate your audience in just one go. Every business, big or small, can use these platforms to make their brand a felt and known presence to all the viewers worldwide. Such visual stories help people identify with the organization. Image based content helps your audience to know a little more about your company.

 Diversity of Social Platforms:

 Making your brand’s presence felt across all media platforms is a must. This is the only way to enable your brand to interact with audiences from different walks of life. Businesses are now starting to understand the importance of Social media and are trying hard to make their company and brand a robust presence online.

Keeping in mind all these points, it is obvious that these are 5 trends that your business just cannot afford to miss.

Following the trend is essential to stay ahead of the competition. Are you are a trend setter? If yes, then choosing a right workspace will be your proactive move. Search for a shared office space in MG Road, Bengaluru or business centre in Qutab, New Delhi.

Business incubators: giving startups a new lease at life

Business How To’s

23 April 2019

Business incubators: giving startups a new lease at life

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

We’ve all heard of the term incubator. It’s mostly in the context of a science lab where a controlled environment helps create the ideal conditions for the growth of microorganisms (the good ones). Or you might have heard about it around hospitals and babies – an apparatus where premature or ill babies are looked after until they are well enough to face the world.

The premise of a business incubator is not much different, and it draws from both these scenarios. For an entrepreneur a new business is like a baby, needing round-the-clock attention and care. And it also needs the right environment that can help it grow and flourish.

So, is that all there is to it? Let’s find out a little bit more.

Meaning: what’s in a word?

The corporate world describes a business incubator as a facility that is established to nurture fledgling businesses during their young or early years. It offers all the support services and builds the right environment needed by the yet young and fragile business to grow before it can take on the world as a serious entity.

Do not mistake a business incubator as a business assistance program or service. An incubator’s role is that and so much more. But before we get into it, let’s step back a bit and see how the concept came into origin.

History: how did the term originate?

The formal inception of business incubation started in the USA way back in 1959. Massey-Fergusson, the largest industrial center in Batavia, shut down in 1956 and left behind an 850,000 square foot complex of multi-storied buildings which was purchased by the Mancuso family. Instead of splitting it into many units and renting it out to several businesses, as many would have done, Joseph L. Mancuso decided to offer shared office services, but took it a few steps beyond by including assistance with raising capital and also offering business advice. And that’s how Batavia Industrial Centre became the world’s first business incubator. Over the years it has helped thousands of businesses find their feet in the corporate landscape.

The idea took off in the 1980s and soon spread to the UK and Europe, emerging on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean as innovation centres, pépinières d’entreprises, science parks, etc.

Business Incubator: Not business assistance

We’ve already mentioned above that a business incubator is not like a typical business assistance program. For starters, a business incubator does not cater to the needs of any and every company. Entrepreneurs looking to be part of a business incubation program have to apply for admission. The criteria for acceptance vary from program to program, and company to company. However, in general, only those startups which have feasible business ideas and a workable business plan are admitted.

Yes, most business incubators offer office space and shared administrative services to clients. But the core of a true business incubation program is the services it provides to startups. Many incubation programs serve affiliate or virtual clients which do not occupy the incubator facility. These could be home-based businesses or companies in their early days that work out of their own premises but can benefit from incubator services. Virtual clients could be those that are too remote from an incubation facility but can receive counselling and other assistance electronically.

Startup companies often turn to an incubation service to overcome the hurdles of lack of resources, experience and networks. Some of the most common incubator services include:

  • Help with business basics and marketing
  • Networking activities including access to strategic partners and investors
  • Market Research
  • Accounting/financial management
  • Assistance with bank loans, loan funds and guarantee programs
  • Help with presentation skills and business etiquette
  • Links to higher education resources
  • Comprehensive business training programs and mentoring
  • Technology assistance
  • Help with regulatory compliance
  • Intellectual property management

Present Day Scenario

Today there are about 7,000 incubators worldwide, with a large chunk of them spread across the US and Europe. While government entities, such as cities or counties, take up 21%, around 33% of these are sponsored by economic development organizations,. And then there are academic institutions, including two- and four-year colleges, universities and technical colleges, which account for another 20%.

Business incubation isn’t limited to just developed nations; incubation environments are being created in developing countries and organizations such as UNIDO and the World Bank are offering financial assistance. Several countries also run incubation programs that are funded by their regional or national governments as part of their overall economic development strategy.

Conclusion

Business incubation isn’t a program that is limited to assisting individual businesses. It is a means of meeting a range of economic and socioeconomic policy needs of a nation, including but not limited to job creation, fostering an entrepreneurial climate, building or accelerating growth of local industries, diversifying local economies, business creation and retention, identifying potential business opportunities and community revitalization.

How long a company spends in an incubation program depends on a number of factors, including the type of business and the entrepreneur’s business expertise. Businesses with long research and development cycles take much longer than say, a manufacturing or service companies which can produce and bring a product or service to market quickly. On average, incubator clients spend close to 33 months in the program. Several incubation programs rely on development benchmarks, like company revenues or staffing levels, instead of time.

Instagram Trends of 2019: stay ahead of the game

Business How To’s

14 March 2019

Instagram Trends of 2019: stay ahead of the game

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

March 13th was a black day for many of us who spend nearly all our waking hours on Instagram and Facebook. A technical glitch created a major outage and a sort of existential crisis for millions (yes, you read that right) of users. Just how large a following Instagram has was amply evident during this digital apocalypse.

If your brand has still not tapped into the possibilities of Instagram, it’s not too late yet. Move over Facebook and other social media platforms; Instagram is well on its way to becoming the ultimate marketing tool for brands looking to build a strong digital presence. Month on month, this photo and video sharing platform is leapfrogging its way into boardrooms and marketing meetings.

And quite rightly so. It offers a slew of exceptional advantages that make all the difference between a brand being #1 or #2. Throughout last year, the app made upgrades and modifications to its interface, and completely spoiled us with all the fun stuff.

Wonder what everyone’s favourite app has in store this year. We did a little snooping and this is what we believe users and brands can look forward to.

Going further with Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is set to be one of the biggest Instagram trends of 2019. If you thought this is some futuristic stuff, you’d be surprised to know that you have already interacted with it through Instagram Stories. Those cute face filters, such as the puppy dog ears and nose? Those are actually AR filters. Who knew, right? Simply put, AR is superimposing virtual effects (computer generated images and videos) onto the real world through the camera.

There are over 400 million people using Instagram Stories daily! And that, dear brands, is a fantastic opportunity for you to jump on to the face filter bandwagon. Create your own custom AR filters for your customers to use using Facebook’s Spark AR Studio.

And how does this benefit you? In order for your customers to use the filters, they need to follow you on Instagram or at least visit your brand profile. Once they do that, it’s all up to you to keep them engaged. AR filters have all the makings of going viral. Question is how soon you are going to cash in.

Everybody likes a good story

Instagram might have started out as a place to post pretty pictures of food and cats, but it is a serious business tool today. With the numerous features it offers, it’s a space to engage with customers and to build a community of fans.

If you’ve been following Instagram’s progress, you’ll see how Stories has slowly and steadily grown in popularity over the last few years. Many users are now actively posting on Stories rather than their classic feed, which has become more secondary. To put it in digital parlance, the main feed is more like their home page – strategic, planned, etc. – where people can stop by to see what’s happening. However, Stories is more natural and shows their quirky, ‘human’ side.

Instagram’s been quick to catch up on this trend and most of its recent updates have been around Stories: polls, questions, emoji reactions, stickers, countdown, music, focus mode … the list goes on. This means brands will now find easier and better ways to communicate with their audience, taking customer engagement to a whole new level. You can use Story stickers to give some measure of involvement to customers during product decisions. Track their feedback, and tweak and change your offering until it satisfies the majority.

Shopping @Instagram

Today, nearly 62% of smartphone users are making purchases via their mobile devices on the go. If you are an ecommerce brand, Instagram is your gateway to more sales. With nifty features like shopping and product tagging, monetising your presence on Instagram has never been easier.

Whether it’s loyal followers who want to purchase your products or potential ones who discover you on Instagram, this platform is now a bona fide sales channel that you can no longer afford to ignore.

Its built-in shopping reminder – the tiny shopping bag icon that appears in the lower-left corner of your posts – is a quiet trigger of shopping opportunities.

Using Instagram product tagging allows you to capture more mobile users who are always on the go, and shopping while they do it. And as more customers realise just how easy and fun it is, the tribe of Instagram shoppers is only going to grow.

All that they need to do is click on your shoppable posts via the ‘Shop’ button that is conveniently located directly below your highlights/bio. Serious shoppers can browse through all your shoppable posts, making it really easy for you to appeal to their inner shopaholic.

Nearly 46% of people say they avoid purchasing from a brand if it means a disconnected mobile experience. Instagram product tagging takes care of that seamlessly. It sends your customers directly to your product pages – sitting snug within the Instagram app itself.

Get real with influencers

The influencer marketing industry is expected to touch $5-10 billion by 2020. And this has been largely due to Instagram. And even though most brands are gung-ho about influencer marketing, the regular folks are starting to see through the thin veneer of perfect Instagram posts, overly edited photographs and sponsored content.

Influencers are getting real now. They have come to realise that in order to retain their followers and also their brand deals, they will need to get more personal and authentic this year. You will see more influencers being open about their sponsored content, even explaining to their followers how much of their income comes from sponsored posts.

This will mean more genuine experiences for customers and far more deeper, meaningful and authentic relationships.

The trend sort of kicked off in 2018 itself, which saw the rise of a new kind of Instagram influencer focused on authenticity. The example of body positive Jenna Kutcher is perfect. She went from 166k to 700k+ followers in just a year, that too without paying for a single follower.

Watch out for IGTV

When IGTV was launched in June 2018, it was a bit of a damp squib. Which was quite surprising, as the vertical video format is easier to work with while creating content, and for users as well to watch on their phone. However, the good guys always win in the end. It was closer to the end of the year when some of the bigger brands and influencers started dabbling in IGTV. 2019, we believe, will see vertical video come into its own. More brands and public figures will publish long-form content and more users will start to check IGTV. Be ready for the shift, and start working on creating vertical videos soon.

Conclusion

Instagram has always been a visual medium. ‘Show, don’t tell’, has been the mantra all along. And now with its many new features and upgrades, Instagram will help you turn your feed into a fun and easy selling machine too.

Fyre Festival: How a marketing paradise turned out to be the world’s biggest festive disaster

Business How To’s

28 February 2019

Fyre Festival: How a marketing paradise turned out to be the world’s biggest festive disaster

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

To give you a quick recap, the Fyre Festival is one of the biggest failed events the world has seen till date. Conceptualised and established by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc. (and also of the infamous Magnises startup that gave millennials a chance to live beyond their means; why that seemed like such a great idea no one knows) and rapper Ja Rule.

The festival, scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma, promised a ‘transformative weekend’ and was promoted incessantly by influencers and socialites like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Naturally, the promotion got the attention of countless customers who, in their FOMO-driven rush, went ahead and booked tickets that were cheapest at $500 and going up to $1500. VIP packages at $12000 were astonishingly selling like hot cakes too.

So what went wrong really?

In a word, everything.

Fyre Festival goers were expecting a mind-blowing experience when they packed their bags for the weekend to Great Exuma, Bahamas. However, the reality they got was completely different. And the issues started even before they’d left American soil.

Festival goers thought they were signing up for a customised, VIP-configured flight. Instead, they were met with a crowded airport and chaotic, delayed departures.

And the nightmare got worse (as if it could) once they reached the Bahamas.

The party-goers were looking forward to spending two days in luxurious villas and eco-friendly domes. Instead, they were greeted with half-built huts to sleep in.

They were eager to be wined and dined by world-famous gourmet chefs. Instead they had to subsist on cold cheese sandwiches and salads with no dressing, served in makeshift food tents.

The promised line-up never turned up with many artists having cancelled their gig long before the festival, but none of this was conveyed to the customers until they got to the venue.

The crowds were expecting to party with friends for two weekends on pristine white beaches. What they instead did was struggle to just get a flight back home, which ended up becoming another disaster. Guests were stranded at the airport with no food or water, purportedly locked in a room.

Not exactly what the weekend deal was all about, was it?

Why did the Fyre Festival fail?

For starters, the founders really had no experience in organising an event of the scale that they had promised. What made it worse was that they didn’t live up to their commitments long before the festival had even begun.

The event was to have been organized at Norman’s Cay, an island previously owned by Pablo Escobar, a kingpin of the Medellin Cartel, but on the condition of anonymity. This clause was violated in the launch promo itself and the owners pulled out of the agreement. While McFarland was scrambling for alternate locations, the promos continued to mislead fans into believing they were to spend a glorious weekend at this exotic location.

A $4 million loan meant to be utilized for the event was lavished on arranging luxurious offices in Manhattan. And when McFarland approached organisers to help him with an event he had no clue about, he was taken aback to realize how deep his pockets would have to be. The leave-no-survivors internet abounds with rumours that McFarland is said to have Googled ‘how to rent a stage’ when he got desperate.

Comcast Ventures had planned to invest $25 million into the festival, but backed out a few days before, leaving McFarland scrounging for temporary financing, which he needed to payback within 16 days. He managed that by asking customers to transfer funds towards a smartwatch like RFID-equipped digital Fyre Band that would give them unlimited access to the festival. Advisors to the festival warned against this, citing poor Wi-Fi connection at the site, but McFarland in his trademark overpromise-and-underdeliver went ahead with the plans.

The Fyre Festival continued to fail to deliver on every count. There were no medical facilities, accommodation was below par with soaked mattresses, unfinished tents, lack of running water and poor quality food, no cellphone or internet service, and heavy handed security.

Points to ponder

Does the colossal disaster that was the Fyre Festival have any lessons for the rest of the world?

The question that plagues many investors is how McFarland successfully raised millions to fund his program that had massive loopholes in its initial investment deck itself.

How did some of the smartest investors become victims of this fraud? Do influencers play such an influential role that they can sell even the most badly-planned ideas to serious angel investors? Is being part of the ‘next big thing’ so exciting that people don’t bother to run the numbers and refrain from due diligence? Could a massive ‘vision’ have been sold purely on models in bikinis, social media celebrities and beautiful Instagram photos alone?

In hindsight, yes, there were signs, but it was all a smoke-and-mirrors trick that helped McFarland build a massive pile of cash out of nothing. Today he faces 8 lawsuits, with one of them seeking damages of $100 million. Last October McFarland pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

And Ja Rule? He was quick to post on Twitter that “it was NOT A SCAM” and “this is NOT MY FAULT”.

While dissecting the fiasco, many news organisations have drawn parallels between the festival and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The Fyre Festival will be studied for years as an example of how not to invest in a deal with a beautiful yet superficial vision.