Milla Kortesoja Assignment 2 1 (4)HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied SciencesMAR8LC067-2 15.9.2011Social Media in MarketingWhat is social media? When it comes to modern marketing, social media is the new black. Consultants and strategists spend their days trying to figure out how to make profitable use of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. These may be the most well known social net- works but not the only ones: blogs, online game and social worlds and music sharing sites are also popular. According to Van Belleghem (2011, 10-11), when discussing the future of social media, the big social net- works will get even bigger and small ones will be facing problems. This is due to continuing interest towards big social networks, such as Face- book or Twitter, and small networks shrinking. Van Belleghem (2011, 30) also states that 98 % of Europeans are aware of social media and 73 % of Europeans are member of at least 1 social network. This being said, it can be stated that social networks and social media have a huge potential as a marketing tool as they are an easy way to reach millions of people and to attract attention. Kabani (2010, 1) argues the reason why most people are struggling with social media marketing is because they are doing things the wrong way around: the traditional marketing rules do not apply to social media since social media is not marketer’s platform but instead belongs to the customers. Traditional marketing was a one-way street, in terms of company setting out a marketing message and customers not interacting. Now, in the era of social marketing, the customer may and do actually talk back and respond to marketing messages in social media. The social media marketing as a marketing tool differences from the traditional marketing a great deal and in case attempting to successfully use social media marketing one should understand its nature as an active platform for customers to produce content.The elements social media includes Social networks are all about socializing and connections. Sharing in- formation with others by writing a blog, suggesting links, pressing “Like” in Facebook or by becoming a Fan – these are all great ways to market a product or a company, to build a more positive brand image and to build long-lasting customer relationships. A Fan is someone who profits the company by clicking Like on product or company’s profile or by creating brand related content in Facebook: this all adds up as more visibility for the company. Van Belleghem (2011, 15-16) states that peo- ple become a fan not because of the advertising but because they like the brand and that 36 % of people post content about a brand on social networks. Company profiles, groups and Like in Facebook as well as following up in Twitter are all great elements to use while attempting to increase brand awareness.
Milla Kortesoja Assignment 2 2 (4)HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied SciencesMAR8LC067-2 15.9.2011 Other elements in social media include location based social networks, social media gaming, events, social news, wikis, media and entertainment platforms, virtual worlds, live casting, music and video sharing – you name it. The list goes on and the social networks develop all the time bringing new innovative options and ways for people to communicate, share and connect.Advantages and disadvantages in using social media in marketing Merisavo et al. (2006, 34) discuss the advantages of digital marketing stating that digital channels make it possible for companies to listen to their customers better and to developing products and services. This is because the customers get the change to bring up their ideas and to comment on rising issues. This may not just improve the way the com- pany operates and helps in the development process but also deepens the customer relationship. The advantages, from company’s point of view, are the low costs of social media marketing, reaching a wider target group, the possibility to change and create marketing fast based on what works and what does not, the interactivity between the customer and the company, more ef- fective customer engagement and a possibility to activate customers easier. From customer point of view, the advantages are possibility to get information about product or company unrestricted by time or place, easier access to information, possibility to get offers and discounts, to share thoughts with other consumers and to easily figure out the liability of the company based on online reviews and comments given by other users (Merisavo et al. 2006, 45) Disadvantages are, as Juslén (2009, 62) states, that it is hard to measure the effectiveness of social media marketing, as it is impossible to know the amount of people your message reaches and also because the target group is often not as homogenised as in traditional segment based mar- keting. Strauss & Frost (2009, 185) note another disadvantage: the com- ments about the company or its products given in social media maybe be negative or false information and there is no way to control this. One option is to have moderators to keep an eye on the discussion but if the negative or inappropriate comments are removed the users will most likely just end up posting their comment somewhere else.Main principles in using social media in marketing There are many ways to successfully use social media in marketing but some basic guidelines help you to get there. Juslén (2009, 312-313) sug- gests to first identify the target group and start following it, then com- ment and interact with the target group, add value by creating content that attracts the interest of the target group, identify useable social mar- keting tools and how to use them and finally measure the results.
Milla Kortesoja Assignment 2 3 (4)HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied SciencesMAR8LC067-2 15.9.2011 Kabani (2010, 4) introduces The ACT Methodology: a model consisting of three main principles being Attract, Convert and Transform. Attract means to get the attention of the potential customers and to attract traf- fic to your website. Attracting can be done by offers, discounts or spe- cial treatment for an example for people that are fans of the brand in Facebook. Kabani considers this the most important online marketing tool. Conversion means turning strangers into customers or consumers: when you sell the product or service to a person first turning him into consumer, someone who tries the product, and then to customer, someone who ends up buying the product regularly. Transform refers to past successes and turning them into so-called attraction magnets, mean- ing ways to attract more customers. Past successes serve as a proof of a good product or service and helps to attract more customers. Van Belleghem (2011, 70) agrees with Kabani on attracting attention be- ing the most important tool in social media and states that getting in- formation about new brands and products is what drives people to join social networks. Van Belleghem (2011, 82) also states that social net- workers expect direct benefit of companies in social media and that companies should understand this and use this marketing tool by offer- ing product information, updates on promotions and announcing events. That way they attract more attention and gain more profit out of social media marketing. Good example of a company with excellent social media appearance, in my opinion, is Ben&Jerry’s with their Facebook Group full of polls about favourite flavour, delicious pictures of the products and posts that just make you crave for some ice cream – what an excellent way to not just engage customers but also increase sales! Another good example, local one, is Summer Heat parties that were arranged at Wanha Ylioppi- lastalo, some events also at Hietaniemi beach, in Helsinki, Finland dur- ing summer 2011. The Summer Heat site in Facebook had frequent up- dates on how to win VIP-packages to the parties, competitions and pic- tures of the past weekends party pictures – elements that surely interest the people who attended the parties or were considering to do so.
Milla Kortesoja Assignment 2 4 (4)HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied SciencesMAR8LC067-2 15.9.2011References Juslén, J. 2009. Netti mullistaa markkinoinnin. Hyödynnä uudet mahdol- lisuudet. Kariston Kirjapaino Oy. Hämeenlinna. Kabani, S. H. 2010. The Zen of Social Media Marketing. An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue. BenBella Books, Inc. Dallas, Texas. The United States of America. Strauss, J. & Frost, R. 2009. E-Marketing. 5th edition. Pearson Educa- tion, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. The United States of America. Merisavo, M., Vesanen, J., Raulas, M., Virtanen, V. 2006. Digitaalinen markkinointi. Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy. Jyväskylä. Van Belleghem, S. 2011. Social Media Around the World 2011. http://www.slideshare.net/stevenvanbelleghem/social-media-around- the-world-2011. Accessed: September 15, 2011.