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Future Implications

Do you know anyone not using social media? Five to ten years ago, most people could say yes, but today the answer is generally no. Or if they do know someone not using it, it’s just one or two people at the most. It’s remarkable to think how far communication has come in just the past few years. We have new social media sites, mobile capabilities seem endless, and consumers are staying connected with companies in ways unheard of just five years ago. Social media itself has come a long way, but so have companies who utilize social media in their marketing strategies. Future implications for social media marketing include: real time, customer-centric, mobile usage, searching, and tracking data.

  1. To start with, consumers are finding out about news and events almost instantaneously through social media. When the blackout occurred at the last Super Bowl, I just happened to be away from the TV and when I came back I noticed the stadium was black, so I immediately went to Facebook to find out what happened. We’re in an age where people want answers immediately and want to be able to interact and be part of live events. Companies are beginning to use innovate and creative tactics to reach consumers with live brand social experiences such as flash mobs and live promotions. A study in the UK found that 37% of consumers would join a brand’s social media page as a result of a live brand social and 49% are more positive about brands that do so (Taylor, 2013).
  2. Social media needs to be all about the consumer. After all, without them social media would not exist. Companies need to get in the habit of thinking of their social media audience as potential future customers or referrers of future customers (Leaning, 2013).
  3. Smart phones and apps are becoming an everyday norm with more than 50% of U.S. mobile phone users now smart phone users (McDernott, 2013). Companies now need to think about consumers that can access social media and websites through their phones or other mobile devices. Content needs to be altered to fit small screens and low capabilities. Apps can be designed to bring more engagement and interaction between the consumers and brand.
  4. Social searching is becoming a trend as well. Companies need to include keywords throughout their social media site in which consumers might use when searching for the company or product. In fact Facebook just recently announced they will now make hashtags clickable and searchable (McGarry, 2013).
  5. How can a company really know if their social media strategy is successful? Fortunately today companies have many options available to track their data. This includes sites like Google Analytics, HootSuite, etc. All of these sites track and analyze various aspects including, likes, comments, click through rates, how many views, etc. This type of data can really help companies today in that while comparing it to sales figures, it can show whether social media is having an impact on sales or just brand awareness. Companies can also tailor their strategies depending on the results. If they notice certain features are not getting any likes or comments, companies can try something else to generate more engagement. Companies can also find out what consumers are saying about a brand or product by searching social media sites. One tool this can be done on is Social Mention.

Want to know what social media platforms are being used the most by companies? Here’s a list of the top ten marketers plan use in 2013.

Social media is a part of our everyday life and companies are now aware of this fact as well and are able to communicate and engage with consumers in a variety of ways. It’s been interesting to see how far social media has come within the past few years, and it’s hard to believe what they’ll come up with next.

Resources:

Leaning, B. (2013 March 13). The future of social media marketing according to HubSpot’s CMO. Retrieved from: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34257/The-Future-of-Social-Media-Marketing-According-to-HubSpot-s-CMO.aspx.

McDernott, J. (2013 May 28). A majority of U.S. mobile users are now smart phone users. Retrieved from: http://adage.com/article/digital/a-majority-u-s-mobile-users-smartphone-users/241717/.

Taylor, J. (2013 May 22). Are live experiences the future of social media marketing? Retrieved from: http://oursocialtimes.com/are-live-experiences-the-future-of-social-media-marketing/.

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Viral Marketing Initiatives

As several experts in the marketing field, including Jonah Berger, say going viral is not about luck or chance, instead there’s a science behind it (Schawbel, 2013).

What makes a marketing initiative go viral?

  • Content itself (subject)
  • Relevancy
  • Emotion
  • Interaction
  • Social Currency

The content itself is what will help drive the whole ad into the social world. It must be able to spark interest in consumers and there needs to be a target market in mind as well. If the target market doesn’t get the message or doesn’t care, odds are it will not go viral. The ad needs to be relevant to consumers. It can either relate to current events, time of the year, trends, etc.

Emotion is very important in making content go viral as it drives consumers to share it with their friends. This can be humor, sadness, anger, etc, but it really does depend. Negative emotions like sadness decrease sharing, but it’s not so much about the positive or negative than it is about arousal – in what feelings it evokes in consumers to pass things on (Nicholson, 2013). There are countless viral ads that depict examples of evoking emotions in consumers and the one I picked is with the Jeff Gordon prank by Pepsi MAX. In this video, Jeff Gordon is disguised while taking a car for a test drive with a salesman. Now because Jeff Gordon is a professional racer, he drives the car very wild while the salesman is freaking out inside. The idea of this ad was to present how Pepsi MAX is a zero-calorie drink in disguise as well. Click here to watch the video. This ad provoked a lot of humor in consumers, which helped it go viral. Pepsi utilized hash tag to help spread this video by including #GordonTestDrive in the description on You Tube (Pepsi, 2013).

Another good aspect is interactivity. Consumers will get more out of content if they can interact in some way, whether that’s clicking on a link or commenting. Interactivity helps consumers connect more with the company or brand. It allows them to feel like they can contribute in some way if the interaction involves commenting for example. A good example for this is one of the first examples in viral marketing, Hotmail. When Hotmail users would send out an email, the bottom of every email contained a message stating “get your free email at Hotmail”, where users could click on that link and they were taken to Hotmail to either sign up or find out more information (Bianchi, 2012). This is a great example of interaction as users could click on a link in which they were taken to then be signed up with the company and be more involved with the brand.

Social currency is actually a good idea Jonah Berger had in his research, which is “the idea that people share things that make them look good” (Schawbel, 2013). So users can share information that will make them seem like they are smart or up on the latest trends. An example of social currency is with the Dove Real Beauty video. This ad features women coming in to describe themselves to an artist, of which many women pick out their negative facial features. Before doing so these women first met another woman involved in the ad and they were asked to describe her as well, which many women described their positive features. The women were then shown both sketches (the one they described and the one described by another woman). The one described by another person was much closer to the real than how the women described themselves. The overall message Dove portrayed with this ad is the idea that “you are more beautiful than you think” (Gray, 2013). This ad can help others feel good about themselves and want to spread that same message to their friends as well. Dove also helped make this ad more social by tagging it with their whole Real Beauty campaign and using a hash tag to help in the conversation (DoveUnitedStates, 2013).

There are several aspects that can help a campaign go viral including the overall content, the relativity, emotion, interaction, and social currency. All of these and many other factors are what contribute into consumers seeing these videos on a daily basis and hearing about news reports about the latest video that went viral. We live in a social world that just wants to keep sharing and companies will keep taking advantage of that!  

 

Resources:

Bianchi, L. (2012 August 7). How Hotmail became a viral hit once. Retrieved from: http://www.viralblog.com/research-cases/how-hotmail-became-a-viral-hit-once/.

DoveUnitedStates. (2013 April 14). Dove real beauty sketches [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk.

Gray, E. (2013 April 16). Dove’s ‘real beauty sketches’ ad campaign tell women ‘you’re more beautiful than you think’ (video). Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/doves-real-beauty-sketches-ad-campaign-video_n_3088071.html.

Nicholson, C. (2013 May 17). Q&A: Jonah Berger, Wharton marketing guru, on what makes things go viral. Retrieved from: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure-genius/q-a-jonah-berger-wharton-marketing-guru-on-what-makes-things-go-viral/10010.

Pepsi. (2013 March 12). Pepsi MAX & Jeff Gordon present: “Test drive” [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5mHPo2yDG8.

Schawbel, D. (2013 April 25). Jonah Berger: How to make your marketing campaign go viral. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2013/04/25/jonah-berger-how-to-make-your-marketing-campaigns-go-viral/.

Differentiation

I have chosen to examine two giants in the consumer beverage industry, Pepsi and Coca Cola, and how these two companies utilize social media.

Pepsi is active on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. There idea is to build relationships with millennials, ages 18 to 35, which just happens to be the “largest, most diverse, educated and complicated group of shoppers the world has ever seen” and they are the most active on social media sites (HootSuite, 2013, para. 3). This is exactly why Pepsi is after this generation. “Pepsi is learning that if you want to remain relevant with this new type of consumer, you have to be where they are, you have to talk their language, and you have to connect with them in a way that keeps them feeling like they want to be part of your brand” (Horton, 2012, para. 5). After all that is the idea of engagement marketing. Companies need to keep their consumers interested in the brand by reaching out using social media tactics and making consumers think differently about the brand because of their engagement on social media. One of Pepsi’s new global campaign is called Live For Now in which inspires consumers or Pepsi fans to live for the moment and live life to its fullest with the idea of connecting on a global level with consumers (PepsiCo, 2012). The U.S. version, Pepsi Pulse, features interacting content with videos of music stars, Pepsi ads, tweets from fans, pictures of Pepsi products taken by fans. Their website engages consumers by highlighting aspects of how they “live for now”. Their Facebook and Twitter pages contain the same type of content by highlighting “live for now”, featuring Pepsi drinks being utilized in different ways, pop culture icons, and thousands of comments from fans. Their You Tube account features videos of their ads and highlights of the “live for now” campaign. What’s so important for any company and what Pepsi is doing very well is keeping their brand image consistent. Every site is all about the “live for now” campaign. Pepsi is utilizing an integrated marketing communications strategy. What’s also important is that Pepsi is simply letting consumers speak, but they are also communicating back by reviewing what consumers say about the brand and answering questions or trying to solve problems.

Coca Cola on the other hand is active on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr. Coca Cola ranks as the most valuable brand in the world and the most followed on Facebook (Roman, 2013). That kind of ranking is a lot of pressure for a brand as they need to uphold their image throughout social media. One of the keys aspects Coca Cola does throughout their social media sites is they listen to consumers and then respond. Their SVP of Integrated Marketing states “we have to, consumers expect that we’re listening and responding” (Roman, 2013, para. 6). They also make sure everything they do and are is share worthy. That is a strategy seen throughout their social media sites. Their Facebook page contains stories and pictures from consumers about what Coke means to them, various pictures depicting Coca Cola, and comments from consumers. Their Twitter and Google+ contains news about the Coca Cola Company. Their You Tube account features different ads they have run, their products in the news, and consumers using Coke all around the world. Flickr features photos submitted by users and also ads the company has put out.

Coca Cola wants fans to talk about them and have that lead to sales. However a recent study from Coca Cola indicated that their social media does little to influence sales (Clark, 2013). Wendy Clark, SVP of Integrated Marketing says the study is true, but yet still says social media can do much more and is in fact a combination of media that helps brands. “It’s the combination of owned, earned, shared and paid media connections – with social playing a crucial role at the heart of our activations – that creates marketplace impact, consumer engagement, brand love and brand value” (Clark, 2013, para. 6).

Overall these two brands have a tremendous impact on consumers as they engage throughout social media. They are well known brands and have to keep up their image wherever that engagement may take place.

Resources:

Clark, W. (2013 March 20). Coca-Cola’s Wendy Clark defends ‘crucial’ social media. Retrieved from: http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/social-media-matter-marketing-coca-cola/240444/.

HootSuite. (2013 January 11). The evolving role of brands for the millennial generation. Retrieved from: http://blog.hootsuite.com/the-evolving-role-of-brands-for-the-millennial-generation/.

Horton, C. (2012 May 17). 5 ways Pepsi’s use of social media is right on. Retrieved from: http://socialmediatoday.com/synecoretech/509355/5-ways-pepsis-use-social-media-right.

PepsiCo. (2012 April 30). Pepsi launches first global campaign, “live for now”. Retrieved from: http://www.pepsico.com/pressrelease/pepsi-launches-first-global-campaign-live-for-now04302012.html.

Roman, E. (2013 January 24). Coke’s 7 smart social media rules for success. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ernan-roman/cokes-7-smart-social-medi_b_2528038.html.