Thursday, February 28, 2019

Strategic Market Planning for Social Media Platforms

Over the past several years, complaisant media selling has been an addition to an increasing event of companies integrated grocerying plans. Firms of all sizes argon employing various platforms of this market tactic. At the most basic level, genial media marketing en capable-bodieds conversations between firms and their customers, as opposed to conventional marketing methods where the firm directs the heart and soul. Businesses argon beginning to realize that they can non control these ongoing conversations, but rather, influence them. This style has resulted in the growth of SocialCorps, companies that argon learning to homecoming advantage of the strength of hearty media to reshape their relationships with customers and other important audiences.1 Popular favorable media billets visited by Internet habitrs include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Digg (Exhibit 1). Of those, the top four hearty sites apply by marketers, in instal of be st-selling(predicate)ity, ar Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, and Facebook.Becoming a SocialCorp allows a comp whatsoever to gain benefits that be otherwise special(a) with traditional forms of marketing. a lot(prenominal) advantages include unparalleled annoy to market research, enhanced fault sense and perception, better go afterment with all stakeholders, emergence control all everyplace the comp nigh(prenominal)s mart message, and a richer user cook word. This paper lead explain how various companies sop up used kindly media marketing differently to achieve these advantages.Social neting websites argon visited by three-quarters of all Internet users2. With the growing popularity of accessible media usage, some an(prenominal) companies see Web 2.0 marketing is the future3. As kind media marketing gains headlines in companies strategical agendas, astonishing statistics are revealed ab off the use of this marketing tactic* dell estimates that through its various conversation channel, the follow has two billion conversations with customers every year.4* 88% of marketers are employ sociable media marketing for their business. Of these, 72% describe that they had been apply accessible media marketing for a few months or less.5* 79% of the Fortune 100 companies are present and listening, victimization at least(prenominal) of one of the main social platforms to communicate with their customers.6* By 2011, online social media de none in the U.S. will be approximately $2.5 billion.7From these statistics, it is evident that companies of all sizes are actively using different social platforms to r separately their designate segments. However, a shift of focus to social media marketing will conduct hard transformation to a companys strategic planning process. As such(prenominal), this paper will answer a question that companies should ask when engaging in social media marketing will it be to a great extent beneficial to leverage usually functional social media platforms or to descriptor a platform in-house? leave the choice differ between companies, and what are the benefits and lay on the lines of all solution?Benefits of leverage Established Social Media PlatformsThe advantages of using an established social media channel everyplace one lay d letd in-house are lower overlapion and maintenance costs, vigorous gate behavior to a large established user constitute, ease of use for the consumer and increased instruction credibility. Businesses create company-specific marketing extends on established social media channels to leverage these benefits in order to engage consumers, increase brand and product/service knowingness, reduce customer support costs, and drive revenues.The crossing banquet nominal head CampaignA sure-fire social media marketing commove which demonstrated the benefits of using established social media channels was the Fiesta Movement Campaign by crossway. ford gave 100 participa nts Ford Fiestas for six months and asked them to despatch a different mission every month. These agents delivered dinners from Meals on Wheels, eloped with the help of the Fiesta, and wrestled alligators8 among numerous other occasions. Agents were pick upd to document their adventures on Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter pages which Ford had created.The Ford Fiesta Movement was considered an extremely made social media cause. Agents produced 700 icons which generated 6.5 one thousand thousand pick ups. Photos taken by the agents construct accumulated more than 670,000 views. The campaign prompted over 50,000 U.S. consumers to demand more info about the car, 97% of which did non already protest a Ford vehicle. In the first six days of sales, Ford sold 10,000 units. 9First, using established social media channels allowed Ford to gain quick access to a large established user- idea. Fords conduct market for its small European cars is Millennials, those born between 1979 and 1996. It is estimated that 75% of Millennials use social media sites and one in v shed uploaded a ikon of themselves online.10 Ford therefore focused their efforts on the established social media sites, as a large majority of their target market is already using these sites. It was easier for Ford to leverage alive websites instead of working to direct consumers using an in-house social network.Second, Ford was able to benefit from consumers who were already familiar with popular social media websites to build awareness. Ford hand-picked agents in their 20s who had already successfully strengthened an online fan conjunction of their own and who were able to craft a narrative.11 preferably of pitching the idea to agents as the means to a free car, agents were incented to create core for their own benefit to feed their current networks and build their own profiles. In the process, the agents contributed to building Fiestas brand by helping develop an ambit of glamou r, laughableness and excitement around the car.Third, Ford created a sense of credibility by using external social media channels on which the national would be harder to control or modify. Ford took a huge risk by taking a hands off progression, telling agents to be completely truthful and agreeing not to trim back or censor any information that was slured. This showed consumers that Ford cared about what they had to say which was particularly important at a time when consumers were not happy to be bailing out Amercian automotive companies.12 Allowing agents to freely express their opinions about the car also helped Ford to messiness any reported problems or im analyse functionality based on the agents suggestions. key out TakeawaysFord used established social media channels to engage consumers and build brand awareness. Using Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube, Ford was able to gain quick access to its target market with consumers who were already users of these channels . Ford was also able to use specific consumers who were experts with these established channels to attract more viewers as well as raise awareness among the experts large base of followers. Finally, Ford established its credibility by allowing agents to pack whatever they wanted. plot Ford took a huge risk by agreeing not to edit the agents content, it ultimately worked in their favour.Risks of Leveraging Established Social Media PlatformsA hanker with the more strengths of social marketing, there are also galore(postnominal) risks that are associated with relying on third party platforms. For one, companies that engage in this medium often experience lack of content control. Second, information gets spread too quickly referable to the large user bases of established social media websites. Third, the long suit of conventional social media marketing is limited, due to the sheer brashness of companies already utilizing this mechanism.Molson Coors Dorm means CampaignMolson Coor s Brewing Company (Molson) is a classic example of how a company underestimated the minus consequences that are associated with traditional social media marketing mediums. Molson is Canadas oldest brewery and the worlds 5th largest brewing company. Therefore, it is well- accept within Canada and has a significant market deal in the beer industry. In the past, Molson has experimented with blogs13 and a static somatic website, but has had very petty(a) social media presence overall. Recognizing that a large portion of their current target audience utilizes these mediums and wanting to catch up to its competitors, Molson initiated an online media campaign.On October 18th 2007, Molson formally launched its Dorm Room project on the fastest growing social networking site Facebook. The campaign encouraged Canadian university and college students from ages 19 to 24 to post pictures of themselves partying on campus. The check with the most pictures uploaded would win a trip for five t o spend spring break in Cancun, Mexico. An advertisement for this campaign read, Be the 1 party school in Canada show everyone how you and your crew get the party started.14 According to Molson, the intention of the campaign was to show school spirit and sociability however, these goals were not r to each oneed and the campaign placed Molson under public scrutiny.The nature of the campaign was highly criticized by universities, parents and students because they blamed the company for support binge drinking. Even the front-runner of the battle, Memorial University in St. Johns, stated that the contest made them look bad. Within days, the company received numerous complaints. some(prenominal) universities including Queens, McMaster and St. Francis Xavier condemned the contest in the Globe and Mail as glorifying excessive drinking.15 As a result of the public backlash, the contest was shut flock a week prior to the November 29th deadline. While there are advantages for Molson to engage their customers via social marketing, the message of the Dorm Room campaign was controversial. As a result, this exemplifies how marketing using established social networking mediums can bring significant risks to the brand.First, on Facebook and other traditional social media websites, companies cannot control how much liberty they give to their audience. Users start out the freedom to post pictures, messages and videos. However, on in-house websites, companies have the ability to adjust the amount of power they give to the end consumer. Molson did not have the ability to control how much freedom they gave to consumers, allowing consumers to post whatever they wanted and because, violating the privacy rights of many individuals. Once a picture was posted, hardly Molson could remove the picture. Molson was unaware of certain individuals resistance to having their pictures posted on the site and the campaign generated negative backlash. Even as Molson shut down the contest , they could not ensure that they erased all traces of the pictures posted on the Internet.Second, by using traditional social media websites, the established user base compounds the speed at which information is spread. In Molsons case, pictures spread quickly across Facebook, much to the dismay of many students featured in the photographs. Facebook has over 500 million users who all had access to Molsons pictures. Further, the pictures could be immediately viewed by the members of ones network with the tagging and news feed features.Finally, the effectiveness of conventional social media marketing is limited due to the sheer volume of companies who are already marketing to consumers on these websites. In 2006, U.S. companies spent $920 million on advertising on social media websites. Despite high spending, barely 12% of Facebook users have added a brand to their page, and over 75% of Facebook users express they would not purchase a product or service from a brand via their profi le page.16 Therefore, social media marketing should not be viewed as an infallible way for companies to promote. The Molson campaign was one of the many campaigns on Facebook and was popularized by the outcry of the public, rather than direct support from its target market. In total, just 200 pictures were uploaded onto Facebook and large universities such as the University of Toronto and Guelph University only submitted 15 photos each (Exhibit 3).17Key TakeawaysBy using traditional social media channels, managers might be forced to give up control over the contents to the websites and to their users. In Molsons case, it passed the power to individuals who posted images onto Molsons Facebook campaign page. The company should be wary of the freedom which the users can have when it reengages itself in conventional social media marketing. Also, social media websites have large user bases this implies that the information found within these sites can croak at an extreme speed. Photos posted on Molsons page were not limited to just Molsons examination but they were available for the entire network.Finally, even though social media websites have gained tremendous popularity and enormous adoption rates, every campaign should be redesigned for each medium in order to stand out from the competitors. Molson failed to capture a large audience with its campaign because Facebook is already complete(a) with many advertisers. Therefore, Molson needs to establish a creative method to market its campaign when it reengages in using conventional social media websites. In general, social media advertisement can be a phenomenal way to increase brand awareness when it becomes a companys integrated marketing campaign, as long as the associated risks are acknowledged and accounted for.Benefits of Developing In-House Social Media PlatformsThere are many benefits associated with creating and managing an internal social community. First, a company has the flexibility to expose infor mation in the way they intended. Second, keeping a social network in-house also helps bring legitimacy and credibility to the information available on the platform. Finally, creating a separate social media platform allows users to have access to a closed network.Pampers village CampaignPampers slogan, every step of the way18 embodies their overall strategy. Pampers strives both to provide a high-quality product and a come out a service for women throughout their pregnancy and early infant raising years. The company has created and continues to host an online social community, Pampers village, to facilitate an open network of communication between itself and its customers (Exhibit 4).On the website, parents have access to a breadth of information about the pregnancy process. They also have access to parenting tips and advice as their child ages. Parents have the ability to communicate with both other parents and also with Pampers embellish of baby experts.19 Pampers resolution exemplifies many of the benefits associated with hosting an internal social community, as opposed to promoting their brand via established social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.First, Pampers Village ensures that Pampers has enormous flexibility in the way data is displayed and how communication is encouraged. On Twitter, or example, messages are limited to 140 characters. Although websites such as Facebook allows more flexibility than Twitter, the pages companies can create so far have preset layouts and formats. Pampers Village is divided into five sections depicting a stage in a childs life. Each section is further divided into categories which discuss various issues a mother may face at that stage. Existing social media websites would not have been the appropriate medium to host Pampers Village on as the display and organization of data would be restricted by the constituent(a) limitations of the existing platform.Second, developing their own social network bring s legitimacy to their message. On traditional social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, anyone can share their thoughts and claim to be an expert. However, on Pampers Village, there are a variety show of experts from the Pampers Parenting Network (PPN) moderating passwords and providing pregnancy and parenting advice. PPN members participate in Q&As, write blogs and articles and post video demonstrations. PPN experts include Laura Jana, M.D., a widely recognized parenting expert Lisa Druxman, burst and CEO of Stroller Strides and Julian Claus-Ehlers, executive chef and expert in whole eating habits for the family.20 Mothers visiting Pampers Village recognize that they have access to high-quality and credible advice from parenting experts and thus continue to return to the website.Finally, creating a social media platform separates the audience from their traditional network. Mothers have to demo to use Pampers Village however, they can register under whichever nam e they choose, bringing anonymity to the platform. If Pampers Village was hosted solely on Facebook, the forums presumable would not be as active. Forum conversations include, Actively try to start a family, LGBT Parenting21 and Baby Basics.Mothers would be less likely to be open and honest on these forums if their posts were in full view of their entire social network, as it would be difficult to ensure confidentiality of these discussion posts on traditional social media websites such as Facebook. Pampers Village provides mothers the probability to network with other mothers in a closed network. Jodi Allen, North American vice president and general manager for Pampers echoes this sentiment, All moms share a common goal to raise a healthy, happy child. And the great thing about Pampers.com is that moms can connect, bond and chat with other moms all over the globe in real time and share in each others experiences.22Key TakeawaysA strong online presence is critical to Pampers suc cess. We leverage Pampers Village to maintain a constant conversation and relationship, says Zeeshan Shams, category brand manager, baby and toddler care, Procter and Gamble, Canada. Our online properties help to keep our brand top of mind.23 Despite massive competition in the online parenting field, Pampers Village has been largely successful in accessing new mothers. In 2009, Pampers Village generated 20,000 unique visitors per month in Canada.24It is likely that the Pampers Village concept would not have been as successful if it had been hosted on a traditional social network. The creators of Pampers Village correctly recognized that in order to gain an audience in the online parenting field and consequently learn more about their customers they needed to create their own social community. The development of a brand new network allowed the company to spread a wide variety of content in their own format, brought legitimacy to the platform and created a new community where mothers could connect anonymously. The success of Pampers Village illustrates the benefits of taking a risk and developing a new social network.Risks of Developing In-House Social Media PlatformsDespite the many benefits that can be gained by developing a unique in-house social media platform or campaign, this approach presents a number of risks and challenges. First, it can sometimes be difficult to engage consumers and draw them to newly created social media websites. Second, in-house social media efforts are likely to take in greater maintenance and monitoring. Third, in-house developments demand a greater degree of corporate responsibility than is needed when using publicly available social media platforms.GM Chevy Tahoe Apprentice CampaignIn the spring of 2006, universal Motors teamed up with Donald Trumps The Apprentice franchise to create a website that allowed contestants to develop their own technical to promote the new Chevy Tahoe SUV. Their website, ChevyApprentice.com, encou raged participants to design a 30 second digital advertisement by selecting from a variety of pre-set backgrounds, video clips, and theme music that GM had constructed. These user-generated commercials could also include floating textual matter over the images of the creators choosing.25 In addition to having their ad hominem commercial aired on television, the winner and other top contenders had the chance to win a number of big-ticket items, such as a trip to the Major league Baseball All-Star Game.26Over the course of the contest, thousands of users took the opportunity to share their personal thoughts on the Tahoe. Not surprisingly, the ability to share ones thoughts freely created the perfect opportunity for the anti-SUV concourse to voice their discontent for GMs newest vehicle. Of the 22,000 commercials that were submitted, approximately 4,000 took a negative noise.27 The majority of these submissions were either anti-SUV, promoted a specific cause, defamed a particular group or outright attacked the product (Exhibit 5).For example, some critics pointed fingers at GM for contributing to global warming, as witnessed in an ad that featured shots of the Tahoe zooming through snow, mountains, and desert. Over these clips appeared the phrase world-wide warming isnt a pretty SUV ad. Its a frightening reality. In another(prenominal) clip, the words Yesterdays technology today appeared over a clip of pumping locomotive engine pistons.28 Many of these negative commercials went viral, and could be found everywhere from YouTube to Flickr to specific message boards, such as DemocraticUnderground.org. The Chevy Apprentice campaign highlights many of the risks associated with creating a social media website in-house.First, the biggest risk that companies face in attempting to create their own social media website is attracting traffic to their newly created websites. GM mitigated this risk successfully by launching their campaign on the popular television sho w, The Apprentice, and leveraged other forms of marketing to generate awareness of their social media website. Ultimately, over 22,000 people were enticed to participate in the campaign. ChevyApprentice.com generated 2.4 million page views, with the average visit lasting more than golf-club minutes.29 A truly unique platform has the potential to draw consumers if it is able to create a novel social media experience.Second, developing a unique social media website is a large investment, as the company is building a new infrastructure for social interaction from scratch. The company must employ significant resources to maintain the website, as they are solely responsible for managing and storing data, enable security mechanisms, user identity management, and continual upgrades. A flaw in managing any of these aspects has the potential to hamper the overall success of a social media effort.Third, companies are directly accountable for what happens as a result of their personal social media efforts, as they have the ability to directly control content and how the public can view it. On publicly available platforms such as Facebook, companies can blame negative content posted by consumers on the open-ended nature of these platforms and the lack of control the company has over sink ining content. GM did not explicitly state rules for contestants designing an advertisement, which gave consumers the impression that GM was not taking responsibility for the content that is being generated.Further, they did not penetrate any of the submissions before it became viewable by the general public. After negative submissions surfaced on the website (Exhibit 5), GM did not remove these commercials, specifically stating that they would begin natural covering ads for offensive and inflammatory content but would not remove any material based solely on a negative tone toward the company.30 Although GM was attempting to maintain their customers freedom of speech, they did not a ccount for differences in opinions when deciding what was offensive, and were criticized for not monitoring controversial topics in their campaign.Key TakeawaysGeneral Motors Chevy Tahoe Apprentice Campaign provides an excellent example as to how using in-house social media can backfire and lead to negative consumer reactions towards the brand. The debate noneffervescent continues as to whether or not the GM campaign should be deemed a marketing failure or success. The majority of reviewers have labelled it a social media disaster, based on the negative feedback generated. In contrast, GM and a select handful of reviewers believed that this campaign was a marketing success. GM was blissful that the website was highly trafficked and that over eighty percent of commercials depicted the Tahoe in a favourable light. Overall, the campaign generated significant buzz, which was precisely what GM hoped to achieve.31Despite these probable successes, there are certainly efforts GM could ha ve undertaken to avoid some of the negative reactions. The company could have taken a more proactive approach to prevent negative backlashes by screening ads more conservatively before they could be viewed by the general public. Perhaps a campaign intended to engage participants to create videos about how much they love the Tahoe would have been a better approach.32 Although this may not have generated as many entries, it would eliminate the participants ability to demote the brand and introduce controversial topics. A handful of authentic, homemade video submissions would have been a better way to promote the vehicle and generate word of mouth buzz in a positive manner.ConclusionThe paper examined campaigns that were successful and unsuccessful in utilizing both established social media platforms or developing platforms in-house. Ultimately, a consensus was not reached regarding which strategy is most effective, as there are numerous considerations to take into account given the c ontext of a companys current position.In order to leverage existing social media platforms, the companys target segment should already be current users of these channels so that quick access to these consumers is gained. Additionally, these consumers must be active users of these platforms so that the company can leverage these users to raise awareness about a specific product or brand. However, managers today should nonetheless recognize that social network marketing is still a novelty.Thus, many companies hoping to hop on the social media bandwagon may opt for using existing platforms as these platforms are inexpensive and familiar to their existing customer base. As the number of companies using existing platforms grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate a product and brand on these platforms. Lastly, opting for this marketing tactic ultimately forces the company to give up control regarding the content that is being posted on these third party websites.On the ot her hand, creating and managing an internal social community allows a company to gain both flexibility with the way in which they choose to display information and bring credibility to those information that is being passed onto the consumers. However, if a company chooses to develop an in-house social media platform, attracting consumers towards this platform may prove more difficult since the in-house platform will not be as well-known as traditional social media sites. In-house social media efforts also require greater maintenance and monitoring and the company creating the site holds a greater responsibility for the content posted since they have the ability to control and filter content.For many companies, social media marketing should be used as an underlying part of the companys strategic marketing plan. However, with so many strategic options available regarding social media, it is essential for the company to acknowledge that different social media evasive action are suit able for different companies, products, and target customers. The most successful social media marketing campaign requires a thorough understanding of the companys customer base and online habits.

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