Social Media Campaigns (Resubmit)
Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have become important channels of communication used by consumers to express opinions, share ideas, and gather and use information and knowledge. SNSs encourage user participation and content sharing on the internet by making information easily accessible to consumers for use and dissemination. Increased internet accessibility, as well as advancement in technology, has resulted in exponential growth in social media usage. Users can participate through contributing, content creating, or consuming content. Internet users who participate through contributing express their opinions on the content created by other people through activities such as ‘likes’ and ‘comments.’ Users can also participate by creating content by actively engaging in publishing and producing brand-related content. Content creation can be achieved through sharing posts within social media sites, such as Facebook, or uploading brand-related images (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Such activities trigger further interactions whereby brands and consumers mutually engage in co-generating content. Marketers believe that social media users who share information with friends and other members of social networking sites are preferred targets for user participation in viral marketing. Their involvement in such sites allows brands to spread viral content because the users naturally want to share information and interesting content with friends.
Diverse applications exist that businesses can use in online marketing campaigns. Social media tools, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube offer a viable platform for businesses to promote their businesses and increase traffic for their brands. Applications such as Hootsuite, Ad Roll, HubSpot email marketing, MailChimp, Boomerang, and Offer pop are great tools that businesses can adopt in their online marketing campaigns. Businesses can also other tools, such as Google Analytics, to get geographic breakdowns of how to locate target customers. Google AdWords are also helpful in online marketing campaigns as customers search for specific keywords that can help businesses to better target their content (McDonald & Meldrum, 2013). Companies opt to use more than one online marketing application due to various reasons, such as the need to reach a large audience, improve search engine rankings, and deal with competition. Reaching the entire target demographic through only one social medial platform might not be feasible. For instance, while some of the target consumers might be on Facebook, others may prefer using other sites, such as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, among others. Concentrating on one of these applications leaves out some members of the target groups. It is, therefore, more feasible to use more than one platform to advance online marketing campaigns.
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any type of content, such as text, images, reviews, video, social media posts, and comments, created by individuals other than the brands. Notably, UGC is created by users of a brand. Brands commonly share user-generated content on their social media accounts, websites, as well as other marketing channels. For instance, Instagram users can create and share posts featuring a certain brand, hence exposing the company’s products and services to their audience. UGC acts as social proof for companies to promote their brand message by helping in the expansion of social media followers, instilling trust among the target audience, building search engine optimization (SEO), boosting sales, and strengthening relationships with clients (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Consumers are more likely to view user-generated content as trustworthy and authentic as compared to content created by brands themselves. Similarly, potential consumers tend to trust the reviews and comments of other users more than the information created and shared by brands. UGC campaigns, therefore, create brand desire and drive purchase decisions among target customers.
Businesses can choose from a variety of blogging platforms as part of their social media campaigns. Examples of such platforms include; Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, and WordPress. As an important way of marketing a business, bloggers build additional web traffic and help companies connect with potential consumers. Similarly, blogs share value-added information about businesses by disseminating information about news, events, or issues that could affect the company or its customers. When engaging bloggers as part of their social media campaigns, various important factors must be put into consideration. These factors include; the type of tone needed for the current trends, intended goals, and social media platforms. When engaging a blogger, it is crucial to consider the voice that the brand needs to adopt. For instance, does the business want to be perceived as being funny, laid-back, or serious? Depending on the desired tone, a business will choose the type of bloggers to be engaged with (McDonald & Meldrum, 2013). Additionally, the image that the business wants to convey is a key factor when choosing a blogger to use during a social media campaign. Using bloggers termed as ‘controversial’ would result in tarnishing a company’s brand image. The current trends, whether business or political, are a crucial factor to consider when choosing the type of bloggers to use in a social media campaign. During periods of heated political rivalry, companies may opt not to use politically controversial bloggers to convey their genuine business messages.
Duct tape marketing
A brand fan page is a social media profile created and managed by a business. Its aim is to market its products and services, as well as foster closer a relationship with consumers. Fan pages allow businesses to exchange and distribute information virally. They also allow consumers to communicate with each other and express their opinions regarding the brands. Notably, the users of brand fan pages exhibit different brand promotion behaviors and varying levels of engagement. Brand fans tend to spend more money on products and services as compared to non-fans. For businesses using social media marketing, engaging consumers in a ‘brand fan’ level is crucial. Fans make various contributions to the business in terms of revenues and brand loyalty. The information contained in brand fan pages is co-created by consumers and the business, hence making consumer engagement in fan pages to be viewed in accordance with the value co-creation logic. Brand fan pages also spearhead the concept of co-production, whereby services are produced through the interaction of consumers and the business (McDonald & Meldrum, 2013). As such, businesses are more likely to make products and offer services that best meet the needs and preferences of their consumers. Brand fan pages are vital in creating ‘brand communities,’ whereby consumers can interact with each other, exchange views, suggestions, and make reviews and recommendations. Such ‘communities’ help businesses establish brand identity and ownership among customers, hence establishing brand loyalty.
Online community management entails building a steady group of followers and guiding them towards brand loyalty. Although effective online communities can give a company’s marketing plans a boost and drive sales to the next level, it is important to use a strategy that avoids some common disadvantages and shortfalls. Among the common disadvantages of building an own targeted web community is the fact that some highly vocal but disgruntled customers could easily disrupt the online community, thus resulting to severe damage to the company’s reputation. Constant complaints from vocal members of the community can lead to customers, both existing and potential, losing interest in the business and its products. Secondly, starting and maintaining the online community is a tough task. For instance, it requires constant updating, and therefore, significant resources have to be devoted to its planning and execution. Another disadvantage of building an online community emanates from the fact that a company needs to create a consistent and appealing voice throughout all its posts. Doing this can prove a time-consuming and tiresome task.
Grassroots marketing is a strategy involving businesses creating content that is targeted to a certain niche or particular audience. Marketers adopting this strategy aim to reach a small audience group with a targeted message and then encourage them to share and amplify the content. Notably, grassroots marketing is similar to like viral marketing, though grassroots marketing is less costly since the marketing campaign is targeted to a smaller audience. Key characteristics of bootstrap marketing include inspiring a small targeted audience to take action. Grassroots marketing is characterized by highly specific content that is targeted to a small audience, which later shares the message on behalf of the business or entity. This strategy is also characterized by small marketing budgets, thus making the strategy more cost-effective compared to the other forms of marketing. Additionally, the audience is very specific and targeted, hence the marketing content used is tailored to meet the target segment. Another characteristic of grassroots marketing is that it relies heavily on movement spur within the target market. Information and content are relayed to a small group of people who later disseminate the information to the other groups within the targeted market.
Consumer-centric marketing teams place every single customer at the core of their marketing strategy and plan. The strategy acknowledges that there is no ‘average’ customer since individual customers have different preferences and behaviors. As such, consumer-centric marketers have to go beyond the ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of marketing (Hinchcliffe & Kim, 2012). Additionally, consumer-centric marketers think of their customer base as the most important asset and investment. Customers are prioritized over any other factors. A blend of common sense, solid data, and intuition are used to create a marketing approach that best fits the target customer. Customer-centric marketing teams work around the preferences and needs of consumers by assessing the world from the customer’s point of view. Further, insightful metrics are used to understand the customers, and in the process, build products and services that best meet the customers’ needs. Companies using a customer-centric marketing approach are able to build around different market spaces and then tailor the products and services to address the specific needs of the users in each demographic region. Businesses are able to differentiate brands by analyzing consumer trends, hence enabling them to create loyalty and build long-term relationships with customers. Across the world, a customer-centric focus is the hallmark of world-class, profitable organizations.
Video marketing is a digital marketing tool based on audio-visual images, mainly conducted over the internet to achieve specific objectives in a marketing strategy. Notably, it involves adding videos to the content marketing strategy. Video marketing teams curate, create and use videos as a means of marketing their products and services to targeted audiences. The aim is to keep the audience engaged with the brand in a way that is easy to digest and simple. A social video is designed specifically to be shared and promoted on social media sites. Social media users are more likely to view, share, comment, or retweet posts that contain an audio-visual as opposed to those that do not. Video advertising can be harnessed over social media due to the large influence social networking sites have. For instance, videos advertising different products and services can be placed on different social media sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. A majority of consumers cite a connection between watching a video and their buying decisions. Video advertising, coupled with social media influence, helps businesses to build brand awareness on social media. Creating compelling and exciting video clips can help companies to convey their messages to customers efficiently.
Often, B2B companies cannot use a social media marketing strategy because their focus is on the business customer, not consumers using social media.
Social news sites are web communities that encourage their users to submit stories, images, videos, or stories and share them with users of the general public. Notably, social news sites function using the crowds’ principle, whereby a group of individuals with different points of view is able to determine the importance or value of content shared through the community. Users are offered editorial power, which influences the visibility of the content. The core of any social news site is the communal sharing of content from all over the web in various categories. Submissions that become popular are placed at the top pages of the news sites where they amass massive traffic within short periods. Users provide a URL link to the media or news that they want to share, enter a hashtag or description, and submit the listing of items to be viewed and voted on by the online community (Hinchcliffe & Kim, 2012). If a company’s content is interesting to the users, it automatically moves to the top of the social news sites, thus creating more traffic, and consequently, high awareness of the products or services advertised.
Businesses require charismatic torchbearers who praise their products to harvest audiences’ interests compellingly and organically. Brand evangelists and ambassadors are meant to achieve these goals. Brand ambassadors and evangelists are cultivated, with a complex back-and-forth being required to integrate such individuals into the machinations of a successful marketing campaign. Businesses cannot promote their products or services without the help of word-of-mouth advertising from ambassadors and people who are enamored with the business. Companies can cultivate brand evangelists and ambassadors through:
Asking loyal consumers to become brand ambassadors. Asking customers to help with marketing is not always the first tact that businesses think of, despite its huge potential. Loyal customers can become important ambassadors and evangelists for a brand.
Starting with the internal team. Employees can prove very good brand ambassadors and evangelists. Businesses, therefore, need to encourage their internal teams to help in marketing and promoting their products through talking to friends, encouraging internal purchases, and owning the business.
Giving free services or products. While the best ambassadors will market the company’s products for free because they love it, others will need an incentive. Giving free products can help companies build a pool of ambassadors who pass on word-of-mouth to other potential customers.
Expeditionary marketing refers to marketing for growth, whereby the main objective is to move businesses and companies into new markets, hence increasing the firm’s value. Such a marketing strategy plays an important role in identifying new opportunities, as well as in minimizing the risk of adopting new corporate strategies. As opposed to entrepreneurial marketing, expeditionary marketing is not limited to start-ups (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Large and established companies in the world use the marketing strategy to expand into new markets. Notably, expeditionary marketing helps companies to venture into new niches before their competitors. The strategy involves more planning and research and less of designing advertising messages. Companies adopting this strategy have to be bold and think outside the box in order to develop new products that meet the target market’s needs. In practice, only companies looking to grow rapidly adopt an expeditionary marketing approach. The marketing strategy is one of the most strategically difficult approaches to use due to the various changes involved in its implementation. For instance, a company that wants to introduce an entirely new product must build new production facilities, hire staff, and establish a sales network.
Hinchcliffe, D., & Kim, P. (2012). Social business by design: transformative social media strategies for the connected company. John Wiley & Sons.
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2016). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. John Wiley & Sons.
McDonald, M., & Meldrum, M. (2013). The complete marketer: 60 essential concepts for marketing excellence. Kogan Page Publishers.