Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO, and co-founder of Unmetric
Lakshmanan (Lux) Narayan is CEO and co-founder of Unmetric, a company that is a social media intelligence platform focusing on brands, analyzing data for marketers. The company is a pioneer in the social media competitive intelligence space, and is quickly carving and owning a niche in providing unique analytics across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. The company has operations in the US and India, and Lux divides his time between these geographies and new markets that the company is looking into entering.
With social marketing, a brand can run six campaigns in one month. Marketers today have to focus on converting fans and followers into customers.
Q- Tell us something about your journey from advertising to becoming a social media professional?
I am a graduate of IIT-Madras and IIM-Calcutta, the greater part of almost two decades of my work experience have been at the helm of startups. The remaining years encompassed various roles in advertising, media and entertainment. During the dot-com boom, I set up Lintas Middle East’s interactive division, which we called Linteractive. Thereafter, when I was at Vembu Technologies, a data backup software company, I was handling digital marketing among other things.
At the time, we were one of the largest advertisers in India on Adwords. Managing that kind of budget helped me really focus on the company’s digital marketing work. During this time, social media was really taking off, but I was stumped as to how I could market such a niche B2B company on a social network like Facebook. I started by looking at the content other B2B brands were posting, and recording what was working for them. In doing this the seeds for what became Unmetric were sown.
Q- Why do companies need a social media strategy and how has this changed the way business is happening?
Few years ago, brands would run one ad or marketing campaign every six months — and it would likely take just as long to create the content. With social marketing, a brand can run six campaigns in one month. Marketers today have to focus on converting fans and followers into customers. But it doesn’t stop at sales promotion.
Brands today use social media to provide customer service, respond to crises, introduce products, and recruit talent (i.e. business objectives). All marketers worry about two things: customers and competitors. The advantage to understanding customers is clear. On the competitor side, all brand collateral —whether print, online, or TV — makes its way into social. The net effect of how brands use social creates a line of sight to their larger marketing and business efforts, which if understood, can be a big advantage.
Q- How important is providing customer support on social media for companies?
If a company has a good customer support network on social media it is helping them in a big way. Since these days most people are using social media to express themselves, brands can get to know what they feel about their products and services. Not responding to consumer grievances online can be a big setback to your business. Many consumer brands and fast food chains have gained in the market because of excellent customer support.
One example is McDonalds — their social media marketing strategy to let their audience know about their all-day breakfast involved responding to all tweets from customers who expressed a wish for it. This reassures customers that the brand cares about their concerns and heeds to their requests. With social media, marketers can get real-time feedback on how audiences react, positively or negatively, to content based on comments, replies, shares, and even “vanity” metrics such as likes or retweets.
Q- What is Unmetric’s USP?
Our aim is to analyse past social data and figure out what the company’s competitors are doing, and make a strategy to compete with them. A few of our offerings that set us apart are Track mobile app, which allows marketers to stay on top of their competitors anywhere, anytime. ‘Discover’ caters to content creators, which addresses a major hurdle that marketers face well before they even start creating content for social networks: the need to consistently come up with new and compelling content ideas.
The product draws from a constantly growing database of historical and real-time content published by more than 55,000 brands on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The product features three main components, all designed to help content creators and strategists discover and share engaging, relevant content ideas.
The other product ‘Analyze’ enables companies to view the estimated Facebook post reach and impressions of more than 55,000 brands. While reach and impression data could be viewed as a throwback to traditional mass media advertising, it’s often the first metric social media analysts bring up because it’s easy for everyone to understand the number of people who saw your content. ‘Predict’ is our new offering which estimates how much user engagement a brand’s social post will generate — and ways to it to get more.
Q- What are the challenges you face?
There is so much data out there it is quite difficult to choose the right information. Unmetric’s role is to pick the needle from the haystack. Besides, the one area in which I feel we have done remarkably well is campaign tracking whereby we recognise the multi-platform social media campaign as being the evolution of the classic multi-media mass media campaign, and try and capture this multi-platform dimension of competitive activity. The other very unique thing about us is the way we offer content intelligence — in a way that allows brands to hone their own content strategies and publishing calendars.
Q- What are the checkpoints for a company leveraging digital marketing?
Digital marketing produces a lot of data. The company should establish its objectives or goals before implementing specific marketing tactics. They should track the right metrics.