258505-P5OP7D-564[1]Entrepreneurs and enterprises have taken to social media, no doubt. But not all are comfortable as they journey through the multiple social channels. This has often lead to partial results – be it the potential reach of markets and revenues or just the connectedness with friends and family.

Here are 10 key points that not only warn you about what is not to be done but also guide you through what must be done instead.

  1. Do not start without setting the social media objective. Define the S.M.A.R.T goal first.
  2. Do not get tempted by vanity metrics like increasing the number of Likes. Focus on metrics that impact the bottomline. Eg: Lead Generation, Conversions, Improved Customer Service etc.
  3. Do not choose metrics that do not impact the business objectives. Decide on those that align with your goals, help make better decisions and can be measured effectively.
  4. Do not be in a rush to add new social channels. First thoroughly assess the existing channels that you are on.
  5. Do not ignore the imposters. Weed out the false accounts by Googling your company name to see which social media profiles show up and which of them are genuinely yours.
  6. Do not create mismatched profiles across the social channels. Ensure that every profile meets your brand standards in terms of colors, logo, font etc.
  7. Do not overlook each of the social channels’ algorithm as many of them penalize if sales are pushed too hard. Follow the 80-20 rule while posting; 80 percent of the posts need to be informative, educational and entertaining while the remaining 20 percent can be used for promotional material.
  8. Do not focus on just the content type. A good content calendar must have the right mix of content types along with the posting schedule that determines when and how often to post.
  9. Do not limit yourself by linking posts to share your own content. It is a good idea to share content from other thought leaders in your industry as well.
  10. Do not get drawn by the convenience of cross-posting. Create unique messages and speak the language of each social channel to explore cross-promoting for better success.
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Posted by: Madhavi CN | March 29, 2018

Remembering Tara

Tara was my colleague while she worked in India. Just as many of those associated with her realize, my association with her graduated into a good friendship soon.

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Tara in Sanskrit means shining, so we in India, call every star in the sky as Tara. My friend Tara, was no less – she was always shining. We shared the same birth month, so we called each other as ‘my December girl’. Her stay in India was brief, but it was as impressive and interesting as her life in this world.

She gleefully draped herself in the colorful saree, slurped on the masala chai, rode the camel to the palaces in Jaipur, felt part of the eternal love story at TajMahal, trekked up hills energetically to visit legendary temples, grooved to Hyderabad biryani, panneer tikkas and on and on. She even got herself a tattoo of Ganesha – the elephant God – the One that she fell in love with.

She did a lot. Lived the life. In fact, she did more in India than what most Indians would still be hoping to do.

We shared our experiences – the pain of losing a parent to cancer, the joy of falling in love with life every day, the incorrigible trust placed on people we met and most importantly, the laughter over all the lessons life taught us.  And she always would talk about her dream of writing a book about her life in India.

Her salads were absolutely delicious and we felt on top of the world when we discovered the place that sold balsamic vinegar – the key ingredient for a good salad as she would say. She whipped up chocolate cakes with ready-made mixes for everyone at office. She introduced me to the Polish cabbage salad (I don’t remember its complex name but I remember how yummy it tasted when she made it). And then we also went through the rigors of the GM diet together. Somehow, the weighing machine always lied here. After a long analysis and laughter, we gave up the diet and… standing on weighing scales.

Occasionally, Tara used to take the art route and go on a shopping spree to buy some of the best pieces from the rural artisans. She used to choose the paintings and I used to establish the dialogue with the painters. After they were packed, she used to thrust a huge tip into the artist’s hands. This large-hearted lady surely gave the biggest surprise to those talented boys. They remember her as the ‘English Madam.’  It surprised me to see that the ‘English Madam’ used to go ga-ga over Hindi songs from the latest movies. We ecstatically crooned them; she –erratic on the words, and I – out of tune!

We used to have long discussions over the classics – prose and poetry. Anne of Green Gables was one of her favorites. She recounted that it was her mother’s sister who bought her the collection of books when she was about 12.  She jokingly added that her mother’s sister lived in Canada and so it made the purchase more about remembering her than the stories!!

We made the winning team in ‘What’s the Good Word’ contest at work. We both laughed like too wicked women as the crowd cheered us and the runners-up trailed far behind. Tara and I did a lot of fun-girl things together. There were no Renaissance Fairs here, yet she created the mood just by being herself. She leaves me with a pained heart. But she also left me with a load of giggles and fond memories. I will always cherish you Tara – my December girl, my whoo-hoo girl.

And I think, Tara – our rock star, will forever shine through each one of us that she touched, in her short but significantly sweet and simple life.

Posted by: Madhavi CN | March 24, 2018

Childhood: Friends that remained friends

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Friends that remained friends

After all the years that passed by,

From well-oiled double plaits with a colorful twist

To a bunch of greying hairs too small for the fist.

Or for that matter, from unruly locks or the army cut

To a hairline that paves the way for forehead to jut.

Friends that remained friends!

 

Making a living in a far off land,

Resigned. Or determined to be someday homeward bound.

Sticking forever to the home-ground,

Assured. Or regretting the lost opportunity at hand.

Connecting over skype or a smart phone

Facebook Likes that say never-all-alone.

Friends that remained friends!

 

Intellect intensified and/or money multiplied,

Ignorance incredible and/or an increased credit bill;

From kinder school, college, work and today,

Through many lessons learnt or forgotten away,

Changed paths or even an epiphany

There’s not a change in the friendship’s destiny.

Friends that remained friends!

 

A roaring rapport between the families

No doubt, expanded the affinities.

Even if doomed with more to whine

Or if forced to neglect feign,

The warmth that’s cherished in each heart

Never comes naught or do they part.

Friends that remained friends!

 

  • Dedicated to all my childhood friends, 28 Oct 2014
Posted by: Madhavi CN | March 22, 2018

Psst…A Secret into Victoria’s Secret

I always wanted to know if every woman loved Victoria’s Secret? I think every woman is unique and when it comes to lingerie, she is extremely picky. We may compromise regarding the man we date, the job we take or even the dress we wear. But in matters closest to the skin, there is no settling for the middle ground. We like what makes us feel the best – free, fun and fab. So each of us here have our favorites – Calvin Klein, DKNY, Hanes, Enamor, Lovable, Jockey and the list goes on.

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We got the myth about every woman’s love for VS busted there. Now let’s move to the next. Do not assume that all women enjoy their man gifting them lingerie! Some of us barely conceal our disappointment when we open the gift and find some chaddis popping out! And some of us hate it and in fact rate it as male aggression or female stereotyping. Oh no! It’s not a feminist thing, it’s just the way we are – unpredictable, mysterious, determined, forthright, fussy…. Basically, there are a significant number of women who prefer if men shower them with other gifts and leave them to pick what they want when it comes to lingerie.

Now for the final eye-opener: we are damn loyal, be it a man that we care or a piece of underwear. It’s such a painful process when the time comes to bid adieu to our undergarment. We fall so much in love with this piece of fabric which lies next to our skin, that it may cause a psychological impact, trauma in fact, as we part with it. And if by a twist of the cruel fate, we lose our favorite piece prematurely, we are ripped apart, distressed and totally devastated. I have to share my painful story here. They say, if we share our pain with people who can empathize, we would heal faster. I am sure no one can understand this better than you all.

I give my lingerie the TLC that every chaddi worth its stretch deserves. I don’t drop it in the washing machine along with all the other garments – the commoners, as we can call them. They are given the elite wash treatment, I mean light-wash treatment. I never dry them in the direct harsh sunlight. I personally fold them gently (to the point that I can almost see my Benares sarees sulking with jealousy) and keep them safely in a special draw. It was a regular bright morning that ominous day. I finished my chores, put the clothes (lingerie included) to dry, made coffee and got immersed in a book. I did not expect it to happen that day. If I had the slightest premonition, I would have taken care. As per Murphy’s Law, if something is bound to go wrong, it will. This was it, tsk-tsk!

I picked my clothes and soon realized my favorite chaddi missing! Instinctively, I looked down from my balcony on the 5th floor and there it was, sprawled on the ground, my pretty, comfy companion for life. I had to go and pick it up before it was too late. It was evening and I know that the folks in my apartment are over-enthusiastic as they return home, they are bound to drive over my lost treasure. I hurriedly took the elevator, pressed ‘G’ agitatedly and stood staring in deep thought and hope. As I rushed to the spot, I realized a group of evening walkers chit chatting nearby and then there were these teenage kids and then there was our security guy trying to workup the motor and it seemed that the whole world was right there! I was too embarrassed to pick the solitary piece and too torn-apart to leave it there. It was calling me. Before I knew it, a Skoda drove over it! Ouch! A little boy picked it up and shouted if it belonged to any of us. Some ignored, many giggled. And I forsook my chaddi as if it were no longer my buddy! I deserted it. I ditched it. The guilt is heavy in my heart.

Posted by: Madhavi CN | March 19, 2018

#QUITTINGisOK

If a book was picked, I had to finish it, end to end. That was until I realized the pointless reading of a book that was in no way good. If the book doesn’t deserve my time, I quit, and use that time to read something worthwhile. #QUITTINGisOK

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Patience is not a virtue when it comes to watching a bad movie. You already spent money on it, now you are spending the more precious time on it! There definitely must be some movies right on your mind that you watched as you vainly hoped thought that they would get better by some divine providence. #QUITTINGisOK when it comes to movies like that.

Dealing with certain people is more than a headache. It leaves a bad after taste that sometimes lingers all through your productive day. You cannot afford fixing such people unless of course you are getting paid handsomely for it. Just show some compassion to such souls but rest assured that #QUITTINGisOK for you.

Learning is not always fun. Some of the courses and certifications that you pursue do not make any sense to you. You might be dragging yourself through it with pain and regret. #QUITTINGisOK when you are yearning to learn something meaningful to your life and goals.

Careers are made when we are in a job that we look forward to. The job that is contributing to your livelihood now may not be something that you want to see yourself in, in another 5 years. But if it is something that is challenging you instead of sapping you with its monotony, then you should seriously reconsider the reasons for quitting. If not, #QUITTINGisOK.

“No, Thank you” is a life saver. You might have realized so many times that your efforts to please someone have caused more pain for you than pleasure for them. Yet, you steadfastly attempt at pleasing others by ignoring your priorities, limitations and likes/dislikes. It is time you uttered ‘NO’. #QUITTINGisOK when it comes to obliging the world.

Comfort kills. The stress-free oasis of calm that you enjoy in your comfort zone is quite addictive. You need ample will power, drive and positivity to step out. Taking risks is what helps you to grow. Vulnerability adds to adventure. And adventure will help you reach your higher potential. #QUITTINGisOK as comfort is a slow death.

It is not about quitting when the going gets tough but quitting to live a purposeful life rather than dragging yourself through bad choices. #QUITTINGisOK when it helps you explore and expand your horizons.

Posted by: Madhavi CN | September 9, 2017

#RallyForRivers. Water Matters!

As we wear the blues and give missed calls to join the #RallyForRivers, we are not showing our support to one man or one foundation but pledging to increase the awareness (and subsequently action) to revive the life lines of civilization.

Indus Valley to Industry Ally: Progressive Regression

From the times of Indus valley civilization that flourished on the basin of the Indus river, we have made substantial movement towards building industry ally civilizations across the globe. Deforestation, water scarcity, pollution, mining, extreme energy consumption, extinction of species, ozone depletion et al cannot be imagined to be the ‘minor’ outcomes of progressive living.

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The world is facing danger that none can deny.  Perhaps our generation will make it through, but what about the next or its next?

It is no longer the problem of developed nations, environment committees or global organizations. It is time that we stop sighing helplessly and step up to contribute proactively to the environment.

Small Steps towards A Big Change

Plant a tree, say no to plastic, car-pool, install that solar panel and rainwater harvesting system, place a water bowl for the birds….Yes, what each of us does matters. In short REFUSE-REDUCE-REUSE and inspire others to do the same. There are always those who question the methods and processes, present statistics to stall, laugh at your ‘exaggerated’ fear for the environment or worse still, raise an eyebrow at your choice of the organization that is fighting for the cause. Ours is not to debate and delay but to act in the right direction (Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die – Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

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Revenues Or Rivers?

Some are loyal to revenues rather than rivers. They would choose obvious or obscured ways to divert the mass awareness for they know that “Awareness is the greatest agent for change” (Echart Tolle)

My friends and I are with Sadhguru and Isha Foundation on the nationwide drive to save our rivers. We will wear blue, blog, tweet, post, instagram, campaign and march with all those who #RallyForRivers.

Each of us may have different ideologies, lifestyles, education, careers, opinions and affiliations, but we all consume water so we #RallyForRivers!

As cynics sneer, we optimists cheer awareness and action.

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#RallyForRivers

Posted by: Madhavi CN | June 9, 2016

My Heady Potpourri 

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Family Pic – Thank you Mario Miranda! 

Some families are good and boring. Some are bad and roaring. But when it comes to the craziness quotient (let’s call it CQ) each tries to outdo the other. I can get away by saying that all Indian families are at par when it comes to the CQ. On a closer look, I definitely feel my family is a sure winner in this segment. If you have some adventure in your soul, I will take you for a peep into my family and its perky people.

Like any family that typically shares the same gene pool, surname and the wifi, we too share the same but that is where it ends. It is not that we are mean or unkind to each other, it is just that everyone (and that includes even the tiny people) have strong opinions, ideas and ideals to scout for. We believe in voicing it out even if there is no one to hear; rather, there is not much that can be heard. It’s a boisterous blend of generations and a medley of relationships. There are nephews who are older than their aunts, staunch bachelors who are grandfathers and even a just-born who is an uncle by birth! It gets quite complicated when a kid needs to scream out that the sister-in-law’s brother’s son has snatched away his ice-cream. In such situations, a ‘that-fellllllooooow’ did-whatever, is considered acceptable. Yeah, we don’t sweat the small stuff.

Now that we got the essence of beating the complexity out of the relationships, it’s time we discuss the personalities. Ours is an alphabet family; we have some OCDs, ADDs, ADHDs, MPDs, PTSDs and so on. Oh, none of them are clinical cases…(as yet!) but I seriously think they are close to that. If you had met my MIL after the daily dose of her favorite soap, you would emphatically nod that she is the PTSD case. She would be in shell-shock and would be continuously mumbling about the ordeal the poor bejeweled, chiffon saree-clad driver’s daughter is undergoing, as a daughter-in-law of the ‘big house’. You may forget that she was only referring to the heroine of the daily soap and start empathizing with her. There were actually cases in the past to prove it. To prevent any possible harm, let’s agree on the colorful personalities my family nurtures and leave it at that.

When I talk about the daily soap, I think I should also tell you the way some of my family members watch the TV. There is one who does fing(a)erobics with the remote, some who hide the remote and some who sit on the remote to have complete control of it. It is not only about the remote but the TV shows too. My FIL watches the same news item in every possible news channel, my husband has a penchant to toggle between the sports and business news, and snore in between; my aunt (the actual relationship is quite complex but let me simplify it so) who breaks into an-out-of-tune-but-loud devotional chant every time the bhakti channel is on and then there is my sister who sits before the TV to get busy on Whatsapp! I bet, a family that eats together, prays together may not stay together if it were asked to watch the TV together!

Eats together? Mmm…that reminds me of food and our family’s take on it. We all eat what’s cooked by the people in the kitchen. When I say people, I mean the whole lot. At any time, our kitchen is the most occupied room in the house. Almost everyone in the family is there – giving suggestions, configuring the recipe, reworking the menu, tasting the ingredients or just figuring out where to join. There are too many cooks, just too many cooks! Don’t want to say more, but you get a freehand to figure out the obvious.

We neither give each other the Karan Johar’s hugs or the Balaji Telefilms’ snide remarks. We are bad for we prick and poke; we are good, for then we kiss to heal. And in between all that, we are totally crazy. We stay together for we do not know how else to be!

Posted by: Madhavi CN | May 6, 2016

Strolling in Phuentsholing

11With lot of time on hand and nothing much to do, my daughter’s eyes were glued to the TV, while I was in a chatty monologue about what to expect in the next two weeks and my husband was searching for the optimum wireless signal (the hotel assured us of the wi-fi but it did not tell us how weak it was!) Some magazines were read, enough channels surfed and catnaps taken. Monotony was slowly entering the monarchy. To beat that, the obvious majority decided to avoid the room-service and take a stroll out – first for some mineral water, next for lunch, then for the evening chai, later for some evening walk and finally for dinner ;).

The roads are clean and all buildings look similar to one another. They are like colorful stacked boxes of blues, greens, yellows and purples with plain glass windows that had no grills. Only the ground floors had windows with lattices. The general belief seemed to be that thieves in Bhutan do not climb through windows… or even better, there were no thefts! All the buildings had built-in pipes for rainwater harvesting. This is the first initiative to be implemented for our Indian cities.street-1

All the shops have standardized name boards in dark green with white letters. Only the font changed. And every shop, however small it is, has its own colorful dust bin. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the streets are so clean. DD and I had a game of trying to spot a shop without a dustbin as we walked around the streets aimlessly. There were some shops without customers and a couple of them without the shopkeepers (!) but all had the litterbin steadfast at their doors. This is the second initiative that must be implemented for our country.

There are plenty of alcohol shops and bars around. It was amusing to see women on both sides of the counter animatedly buying and selling a wide range of Bhutanese brands of rums, gins, whiskeys and wines. I felt free flowing spirits made a contribution to the nation’s high spirit (read Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness). Do I hear someone saying that this should be the third initiative?!? LOL

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Close to the hotel is a rickety movie theatre where we need to pay for watching the movie (duh) but hearing the movie is free for all in the 30-yard perimeter. No-cost acoustics!

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There is a quiet trickle of a stream flowing in the middle of the town with a giant bridge across it. We walked by that rivulet after lunch and it looked as if we had that entire area for ourselves. My DD was pretty scared to walk around without the permit. We had to continuously give assurances to all the possibilities that her little head conjured.

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We went to the temple – Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang, in the city centre. It had statues and paintings of their Guru Rinpoche and Buddha. People were relaxing in the lawns of the temple and it looked as much a park as it was a temple.

By the night the ornate gate was all decked up with lights and looked like the entrance to a wedding plaza. As such the town is in a festive mood over their King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck’s birthday celebrations the next day, May 2nd. It was beautiful.

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With our permit still pending, we are limited to a 3 Km radius of Phuentsholing, the supposedly second largest town in Bhutan and the entry point from Jaigaon.

Posted by: Madhavi CN | May 2, 2016

Borderline Bhutan

The colorful archway of Bhutan beckoned us over the loud noise of Jaigaon’s traffic. But our stomachs growled louder and reminded us the priority. Perhaps with the foresight of

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Bhutan Beckons

momo-full days ahead, we found ourselves ordering dosas in unison. Followed it up with a cup of Indian chai (yak chai was waiting in the hills for us) and some lemonade for my DD. We munched as we fondly looked at a country that was calling us endearingly. With just an unarmed soldier at its gigantic gate, the country looked rather friendly. The fence was defined by a 10 foot high railing which looked no different from what we have for some private buildings. After a leisurely breakfast, the three Hindustanis walked into Bhutan around 9 am through the side-gate entrance that was only for the pedestrians.  It was momentous, just as crossing any border can be!

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D-Fence

It was early but there were many Bhutanese and Indians entering into Bhutan after shopping in India. The day definitely started early here. All were toting something and if they had nothing to carry, they at least had a chubby baby tied to their back firmly in their traditional fabric. It looked like India was the place to buy toys, potatoes, pomegranates and even pyjamas! Most of them were in the traditional Bhutanese wear – women in colorful wrap-arounds and men in a long-sleeved-short-tunic with skinny legs covered in thick socks. Little boys and girls were dressed similar to their Indian counterparts.

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On the Bench – 1

Soon after entering Bhutan, some
of them would make a short stopover on the rock benches next to the giant gate. It is here, they exchanged pleasantries, compared notes, showcased their purchases, had a snack or just sat in silence.

I too sat on a bench there observing the new country and its people as my husband and daughter went to get the visitors’ permit for us. Looking at me and my luggage, some Guides and taxi-drivers were courteously asking me if I needed their help. There was no

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On the Bench – 2

flocking around, no pushing, no continuous enquiries – things definitely seemed different here. Cutting my reverie, my husband says ‘no Permits until Tuesday!’ Did I hear it right? This is Sunday and haven’t we read on the Internet that Bhutan’s Immigration Office is open on Sundays too?! And if Sunday was a holiday, what about Monday? The questions kept pouring until my DH shared his newly acquired knowledge about visitor’s permits. Bhutan issues permits on Sundays too for all nations except those Asian countries that enjoyed the free permit arrangement! And the Monday, i.e., the 2nd of May,

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Artistic

was the birth anniversary of their King and hence a national holiday. So we got 2 days of Bhutanese induction program to complete before we plunge into the country, is how we looked at it.

There were many hotels on either side of the border and we picked one on Bhutan’s side. We were literally a stone’s throw away from India.

Posted by: Madhavi CN | May 2, 2016

Chugging through India by Train

When we travel, we get to meet lot of interesting people; when we take the Indian trains, we have the microcosm of India awaiting to be explored and experienced. If you love Nature, you can soak on…

Source: Chugging through India by Train

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