Marketing Through Social Media
Social media platforms such as:
- Snapchat and
are popular tools. Technology has enabled people to access social media and connect with others. Smart phones, tablets and gadgets come preloaded with access to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook so users can instantly set up profiles and access their social media "on the go".
Considering the popularity of social media it's not surprising that firms have embraced social media in their marketing campaigns. The success of a marketing campaign often includes a judgement of its popularity on social networking sites. For example an analysis of the success of Coca Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign included statistics showing how many more people visited Coca Cola's Facebook site during the campaign (an increase of 870% during the 2011 summer marketing campaign in Australia) and by how much its Facebook site grow.
The table below (source socialbaker.com) shows Facebook users based on geographical location.
|267 797 740
|249 960 720
|236 432 000
|144 406 140
|50 437 300
|14 624 020
By 2012 Facebook had accumulated nearly a billion users, from a business perspective this is the equivalent of reaching an audience greater than the size of north America and Europe.
Dell has successfully used social media to generate business, in 2009 its global sales associated with ‘tweets’ reached $6.5 million. These examples demonstrate the potential of social media, so it's not surprising that firms recruit people to increase their social media followers.
Benefits of Using Social Media For Firms
- Businesses can keep customers updated in real time, Twitter and Facebook offer this facility.
- If your business campaign is successful , it may go viral through users forwarding news about your campaign to their friends and family.
- Businesses can reach a wide audience as social networking sites can be accessed throughout the world.
- When people see that the firm is being followed by others in their social networking circles this may improve their opinion of the firm.
- Social networks are the place to be to at the moment. If you are actively using social networking sites it may create the impression that you are a "cutting edge" firm with the latest strategy and ideas.
- Social networking sites can be used to build relationships with customers; firms will offer followers exclusive deals, prizes and the ability to buy things before general release.
Social Networking Sites And The Promotional Mix
When a company is planning their marketing strategy it makes sense for the firm to integrate social media into the promotional mix. The promotional mix needs to include how the firm will introduce the marketing campaign to its social network followers. It could also include how social media will be used to create a "Buzz" about the marketing campaign. This may include links on social networking sites to promotional materials, exclusive offers and personalised messages.
The promotional mix should include how the "Buzz" will be maintained and for how long. For example part way through its "Share a Coke" campaign, Coke decided to offer people (in the UK) the opportunity to print out personalised Coke bottle labels at shopping centres such as Westfield.
Finally the promotional mix needs to include a contingency plan detailing how to overcome negative social media activity because (as is the case with positive social media) negative social media can spiral out of control very quickly.
As we know the business world is very competitive, if a business wants to survive it needs to reflect the activities of its target market. If your target market are social media users a strong social networking site presence is essential. Updates should follower a regular pattern so followers know when to expect new posts but check regularly for messages from followers so that they feel you are always available for them. Social networking activity needs to be closely managed and aim for growth at a pace that the firm can comfortably handle.