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Critical investigation of the advantages to using a social media strategy for Three Mobile UK
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Critical investigation of the advantages to using a social media strategy for Three Mobile UK

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Critical investigation I made as part of my course in University of Bolton.

Critical investigation I made as part of my course in University of Bolton.

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Critical investigation of the advantages to using a social media strategy for Three Mobile UK Document Transcript

  • 1. Critical investigation of the advantages to use a Social Media Strategy for Three Mobile MKT3003 - Buying Behaviour Teacher : Chris Woollaston Date of submission : 26/04/2013 Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 2. Introduction : Social media has completely changed the nature of interactions between brands and consumers. Thus, this new type of interaction has a direct impact on the decision- making process when customers purchase a product. Social networks will help the consumer to take a decision. For brands, social networks are emerging as a new way to reach new customers and to understand their needs. This is why companies are now working their «Social Media Strategy» in order to define the degree of interaction they want to keep with consumers. We will study the case of Three Mobile. Three Mobile is a mobile operator launched in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2003. It has 8.8 millions of subscribers and it is the smallest operator in the country. Through this critical investigation, we will define the term social media in the first time. Then we will explain what are the interests for a company to use these social media and also the differents traps to avoid. Finally, we will talk about the tools available for the brand in order to adopt an efficient Social Media strategy. I) The definition of Social Media and the online communities people Kaplan and Haenlein define Social Media as «a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content». Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 3. Thus, through this means of social communication, individuals or groups of individuals who work together create web content, organize contents, index it, modify it or make comments, combined with personal creations. Social media use many techniques, such as RSS feeds, blogging (WordPress), photo sharing (Flickr or Instagram), video- sharing (YouTube, Vimeo), podcasts or social networks (Facebook, Twitter) for example... All these flows represent a very large population. Indeed, in fourth quarter 2012, there are 1,056 trillion of users on Facebook (source: Facebook) for example. Meanwhile, Twitter counts 200 million users and it is estimated that nearly 400 million tweets are sent daily (source: Twitter). Instagram, the photo sharing service, would account for 90 million active users each month with 40 million photos every day (source: Instagram), 8500 Likes and 1000 comments per second. Finally, on Youtube, there are 800 million users who spend 4 billion of hours each month watching videos on the website (source: Youtube). Thus, currently, social media gather more and more people over the world (Kaplan, 2012). But, formerly, young people and 18-35 were considered as the main ultra- connected population (Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein M., 2010). Today, we can see a new type of population : aging people are connected and we could mention the phenomenon of «Digital Mums». In this way, these social media don’t affect only young people. According to Michael Solomon (2012), the characteristics on the online communities are : Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013 - The conversation - The presence - A collective interest - A democracy - A behavioral - Participation - Crowd power - Network effect
  • 4. II) The advantage of using social media for business and the traps to avoid. Three Mobile can have many benefits of using social media (Mary J. Culnan, 2010) : • Social media heighten the recognition and the visibility of a company and the trust in it. By acquiring fans, friends and followers, the use of social networks significantly increase the scope and the visibility of a company. The brand can reach a large audience by using social media to send messages. If fans recommend a particular page, the company increases its community. It has to create and broadcast a rich and interesting content. In addition, social media are a place allowing to generate a different type of dialog with customers, partners and suppliers. Creating a dialog, an exchange and, therefore, mutual trust. • They allow exploration and acquisition of new customers. With the creation and diffusion of original and attractive contents, Three Mobile has a powerful prospecting tool. Social networks allow to take a different way of speaking compared to traditional marketing tools. In addition, there is a great effect of boost through/ with viral aspect of social media. Thanks to the inherent interaction with social networks and their databases, the companies can acquire contacts (e-mail addresses or contact details) for less. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 5. • Development of the number of visitors to websites and search engine optimization. With a rebound effect, companies which have created a Facebook page, for example, see an increasing traffic on their website. Again, the viral aspect is very important because the pages of social networking companies / brands are recommended by their fans or followers. Thus, new visitors are lead to visit the website of the brand. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also optimized. Indeed, Google considers this content on social media pages. Thus, SEO websites has an additional source. • A new area of product sales and services Commercials operations such as promotions or sales are boosted by social networking business operations. Indeed, fans and friends share more tips that they spot on the pages of companies and brands. In addition, these commercials operations are increasingly exclusively intended for social networks. Again, at lower cost. • Public Relations optimized Social media is a powerful tool for public relations. Indeed, traditional media such as newspapers or radio do not allow to generate a reciprocal dialogue with the public. The message is broadcast only in one direction: from the company to the consumer. With social media, it is not the same. Today, it is possible to follow what is being said about a particular company and to answer to questions, opinions and criticisms. This helps to build lasting and quality relationships with the public. Several studies suggest the positive impact of social media for a brand. According to the study of Compete Institute (2011), 56% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to buy the products of the brand. Regarding Facebook, only 47% of «fans» of the page in question would be willing to buy the product, that shows the stronger relationship between the brand and created users on Twitter. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 6. This is a great opportunity for the brand, because it can adapt its content based on the person with whom it converses on this support. Through social media, it has the opportunity to use a marketing ONE-TO-ONE, that is to say a marketing focused on the desires of the consumer (Brown, J. 2007). In addition, when a consumer has consolidated his choice through a social network, he buys the product in 40% of cases. Another study also showed that 56% of Facebook users who have become «fans» of a brand are more likely to recommend to a friend. It is also important to note that when a brand responds to a comment from a user, 80% of them then bought a product of this specific brand. Finally, 36% of users have more trust in a brand that has a presence on social networks. Thanks to new technologies, such as tablets or phones, consumers no longer really need to have their home computer. They can log to the network from anywhere and anytime. This constant access to social media is an excellent tool for business promotion (Wiley, J. & Sons, 2009). Indeed, it can inform the consumer and provides the ability to easily target the people you want to reach. The pitfalls of communication with social networks • Social media like Facebook are «private» places. Users go in this places to share with their friends and find attractives contents. Studies on this subject show that they are not interested in purely commercial content. The pure and simple «push marketing» has little impact in this place. It should not be a too commercial approach in what you post on social media content. The focus should be interesting content for users. • The company has to plan the strategy and content that it will bring on social media. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 7. • In the first time, it is necessary to know customers in how they use social media to reach the targeted population. That is to say Three Mobile should take into account the different people that are on different social media and why they use them. Thus, it allows to determine which social media to use based on the targeted population. • Similarly, it is important to communicate about the use of social media by the brand. It must regularly speaks on traditional channels (TV adverts, radio, newspapers ...) to inform the consumer of its presence on these social media. • The firm has to answer questions put by consumers on social media to keep full transparency. This will help to improve the online reputation because followers and fans appreciate the quick interactions. • Online technologies accelerate the impact of word-of-mouth communication (Chen, Y., 2008). There is a positive virality but it can also be negative. This is the case in a bad buzz for example, which can be rapidly increased by word-of-mouth. • Finally, it should reward people who follow the brand through discount coupons or gifts to win for example, in order to reward the loyalty of customers. III) The differents tools provided by social medias for the companies In the first time, social media are, for the company, an access to a considerable data base. Facebook, for example, with its billion users, millions of hours spent, shared videos, is the second visited site in the world. It is an institution. In addition, it hides a huge potential for personal data storage. Thus, companies have an access to a huge databank on the preferences and behavior of consumers. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 8. These databases, similar to the «Big Data» allows the company to have many informations of the target population (Minelli M., 2012). Big data is a collection of data sets that are so large and complex that it becomes difficult to use. We just begin to use these informations and they already have an infinite potential, particularly for the companies. Thus, the firm can reach its goal faster by adapting its strategy depending on the time, people and trends. For example, Facebook will soon introduce a new tool that could revolutionize the use of personal data: the Graph Search. This new search feature will provide to the brands and marketers, a great way to understand the consumer. The population targeted will be much more easily identifiable. With the Graph Search, it is now possible to cross places, interests and jobs and to create profiles types of users. Thus, it is possible to target books liked by people who also love «Star Wars». In addition, this is very easy to use this type of research through the integration of a natural language. For example, by typing: «People who like cycling and are from my hometown» the results will be displayed immediately, without the use of complex data analysis services. This new feature allows to the company : • To have a better knowledge of their community including their jobs, their employers, studies, their hometown or their marital situation for example. • To identify local fans. In this way, the company can create special offers with geolocalisation where there are more fans. • To identify prospects, that is to say people who might be interested in the products of the brand but are currently not «fans». • To access to the fans of a competitor facebook page in order to gather information for the purpose of competitive analysis. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 9. • Analysis of competitors' campaigns on Facebook, particularly in order to examine what is the type of competitors content which have been the most successful. Finally, social media offer measurement and monitoring tools (Sponder, M. 2011). Thus, companies can observe their community through monitoring platforms and their social media analytics. This allows effectively to analyze and to optimize the return on investment (ROI), a budget control and to manage crises when they occur, for example. Conclusion In conclusion, we can say that social media are now really important in the communication strategy of companies. They are the perfect answer to this need of discussion and exchange asked by consumers. Brands can now reach the consumer and establish a special contact with him, especially send him a message and respond normally to his questions. In this way, companies must pay attention to their social media strategy. In addition, today the non presence of a company on social networks may tarnish its reputation. All in all, this presence is made​ necessary by the huge number of users on these social media. Thus, Three Mobile has to particularly pay attention to its strategy, especially as it contributes, with his phone packages and selling smartphone, to the development of these social media. It must show example in this area and encourage its online community to use social media. To establish a good marketing strategy on these media, the firm must have a competent team, able to understand the issues of this communication and to select the good support according to its targeted population. In addition, it must be completely transparent on these social networks to inspire the trust, to be humble and to make the stuff of dreams his fans or followers without lying to them. Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 10. Finally, it is very important to answer to customers' questions with care on these media and to be accessible to everyone. Words : 2290. Bibliography : Mary J. Culnan, Patrick J. McHugh, Jesus I. Zubillaga (2010) «How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value» Kaplan, Andreas M. and Michael Haenlein (2012), "Social media: Back to the roots and back to the future", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, 14 (2), 101 - 04. Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein M. (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges and oppactunities of Social Media. Business Horizons. 53(1). Mathwick, C. (2002) Understanding the online consumer: A typology of online relational norms and behavior Weber, L. (2009) Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business (Livre numérique Google) Wiley, J. & Sons (2009) The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly Fill, C. (2009) Marketing Communications : interactivity, communities and content Solomon, M. (2012) Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, and Being, 10th Global Edition, London: Pearson Education Sponder, M. (2011) Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Intrepreting, and Using Metrics Minelli, M. (2012) Big Data, Big Analytics: Emerging Business Intelligence and Analytic Trends for Today's Businesses Chen, Y. (2008) Online Consumer Review: Word-of-Mouth as a New Element of Marketing Communication Mix Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013
  • 11. Brown, J. (2007) Word of mouth communication within online communities: Conceptualizing the online social network, Journal of Marketing Interactive Student number : 1209752 date of submission : 26/05/2013