The Big blue tin whales of the ocean streams of Calcutta Roads, are indispensible to the motif of Calcutta - THE CITY OF JOY! Yes! We are talking about Calcutta Buses, the dented choice of transport to thousands for whom life would be as incomplete as Batman without his Batmobile.
But, What does a blue beaten down piece of vehicle have to do with anything digital you might want to ask?
A lot... Actually. But, let's hold onto that for just a bit more.
Have you experienced this bold beauty ever? From snoring men with a briefcase seated on the window seats, the highly uncomfortable women lined across the ladies seat on the left, the mini Newshour debates ensuing in various parts of the bus, The shrivelled tobacco-toothed pickpocket who doubles as a helper to the conductor with familiar ease, the sorry and pitiful conductor who prods on passengers to buy tickets a million times like a father asks his son to man up and much more, the Calcutta Bus is a womb of scenic truths and the carrier of stories close to absolute truth!
They say the truth appears for the eyes that see and the heart that feels! Well, for the minds that sell, the seemingly random things in these buses certainly ring a few bells too.
Here's what I think Calcutta buses and Facebook Ads have a few things in common.
Focus on The Final destination, The Path Will Emerge!
Calcutta buses follow routes that are longer and more winding than the journey Apollo 11 must’ve taken to reach the moon. Each bus winds through the street-maze like the snake in the 90’s mobile game. It’s almost like the boat of life. Drop in or drop out, as you wish. However, their final destination is fixed.
While configuring Facebook ADs, we have to select a specific destination for an ad, followed by deciding the route - from the creative drawing board to choosing target audience, and reaching the ultimate destination - the customer attention (brand recall value). The AD once configured, reaches out to a small number of people on that route, and self assigns a few important figures like quality score, engagement score etc to qualify the route. Simply said, tougher the route, cost of the journey becomes dearer.
But, What we can do to make the journey memorable? Emphasize that the destination (the stakes) is clear to the passengers, and the vehicle (post) looks aesthitically pleasing.
Engagement Makes The Whole Journey Exciting
We all know Calcuttans are an opinionated lot. Much before Arnab Goswami made debating popular; it was the elixir of life for Bengalis, from the neighbourhood club to the dinner table. The most impressive impression of a bus journey in Calcutta is the way the tanned leather seats turn into pulpits for public debate. If you have been in Calcutta buses, you’ve definitely been dragged into a serious debate only to miss your stop by a whisker.
One of the most important success factor of a Facebook ad is Engagement! There is no point if your Facebook post is just a work of stunning art, but fails to engage the audience. The whole point is to get people talking on social media. The more people comment, like and share your post; you tap into their psyche without sounding forceful. A perfect way to improve brand recall value and equity!
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
The sorriest person on any bus in Calcutta is the conductor. While the driver goes on his journey with the quiet motivation to turn a deaf ear to the expletives hurled at him at with the precision of a 4/4 metronome, the conductor has to beg some of his passengers who hate buying the ticket till they have to get off. But the conductor comes around multiple times rubbing his thumb over the thicket of tickets carefully held together by a staple pin. The conductor has to prod till the passenger buys the ticket. At times some get away without the ticket but the bus keeps moving.
Simply posting an ad on Facebook and bringing it to people will not guarantee success. If you look carefully at your Facebook page, there is a tiny tab to the right of the screen which rates your Facebook response rate. The lower the response rate or responding time, the more chances of losing a lead. Remember that anyone posting a comment or message on your FB page is either a prospective lead, or a customer with an opinion. Like the conductor of the bus, it is important to constantly prod such leads into patrons of your brand, or help the existing customers with specific answers. So make sure you are always responding and prodding your FB audience to maintain a high level of Social Media response rate. It goes a long way in quality lead acquisition eventually, or turning a grieving customer to the happy one.
No Double standards!
For the Calcutta buses, nothing matters more than the acquisition of passengers. It will create its own bus stops, where stoppages don’t exist and pick them up anywhere they like. As passengers, this is an amazing trait (not so good experience for others though). But, soon you realise their care is veiled under the inability to follow it through. It will pick you up from wherever you want them to, but will never drop you off even an inch away from designated bus stops. Double standards!
There is a huge lesson to be learnt about managing social media channels for brands. While you expect to attract your audience to your business or service via the FB post, do not showcase any kind of a double standards once they board your social media bus. The biggest mistake Social Media Managers make is to deny their followers a chance to vent their frustrations on the page. Simply deleteing / banning users whenever they share their grievances cast the brand in poor light. Amazon does their CRM extremely well. they make sure that they respond to your negative comments on social media, and pay special attention to resolve the problem. As a brand custodian, we need to make that effort, and trust me that this spreads a very positive image. These guys care.
While everyone dreams of a Bentley or Lamborghini, the mass accepts that the bus is cool because it lets you save some bucks to supplement your dream. Everyone can afford the bus!
Probably you’ve already heard it! The most commonplace virtue of Facebook marketing is that it is extremely pocket-friendly for brands. Also the world is present on Social Media. Thankfully, its affordability means, any brand or business, regardless of their size or budget can formulate their own Facebook marketing and strategies to suit their own needs.
Think you can add to the list. Write to us and let us know what you think about it! For brands and businesses that are finding it hard to steer through the social media traffic, get in touch with us for a much needed joy ride through it all to help you reach your destination in style, at a price you will not believe!