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The Ultimate Revolution of Social Media Marketing

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social_media_marketing_plan1A gigantic shift in technology over the years has changed the way we communicate and socialize. Transitions from society to social world, community participation to computer engagement and surroundings to online environment are a part of the journey from real to virtual. We’re no longer what we say; we are what we share. Such is the captivating power of social media that people become a part of it even before they know. It’s a strong platform for people to articulate their views, share information about their lives, grow their network and communicate with each other.  It goes without saying that where there are people, there will be marketing!

History of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) grabbed attention with the evolution of social media. Usernet systems, founded in 1979, allowed users to post articles to newsgroups. Bulletin Board Systems that came in the late 70s were the first type of sites that allowed users to log on and interact with one another but not as fast as we currently do. Six Degrees was launched in 1997 and was the first modern social network. It allowed users to create a profile and to become friends with other users.  These early social networks were not adequately designed to facilitate the delivery of social media messages and thus had limited advertising potential.  Platforms like Friendster, MySpace and Hi5 brought more people online. The turning point was the advent of Facebook in 2004 that later became the single largest social network with over 500 million active users. Facebook provided opportunities for branding, advertising and brand engagement and hence, an impetus to social media marketing. SMM flourished with aid from blogging, photo and video sharing sites. The social web was here to stay.

Strategy

Sites like Facebook, You Tube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter etc. have given rise to tremendous user-generated content online. To leverage it, following are the two approaches:

Passive Approach

Social media has become an economical and reliable source of market intelligence. Marketers tap and analyze the online reviews, perceptions, comments and feedback of people for a product before developing any strategy. Looking at social clicks – how many times a user has clicked on the social posts – is a great indicator of the person’s interest in the company. In this way, marketers know which age group to target, how to promote their brand online and engage with customers.

Active Approach

Social media can also be used to directly communicate and connect with customers. A lot of firms initiate online dialog on discussion forums to build a strong relationship with customers. They even invite customers’ feedback and thoughts on their blogs and campaigns. Company CEOs also employ this strategy of direct engagement. Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of India, ranks only second after President Barack Obama in number of fans on his official Facebook page at 21.8 million and counting. Modi employed social media platforms to reach out to the young and urban population of India which is estimated to be 200 million.

social-media-industry-report-benefits-marketing-stelzner-march-2009

Some Examples

In 2012, Lays created an annual social media campaign that allowed fans to create their own flavor for a $1 million prize for whatever flavor was voted the best. After 3.8 million submissions from fans, the top three choices were Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha. The fans purchased the three flavors in stores and then cast their vote on Facebook or Twitter for the best flavor. Lays gained a 12% increase in sales during the contest. Garlic Cheesy Bread was eventually named the winner of the contest.

Procter & Gamble’s feminine hygiene products brand ‘Always’ implemented an effective social media marketing strateg by using the hashtag #LikeAGirl  in June 2014, and it followed up with a Super Bowl 2015 initiative. The phrase ‘like a girl’ is typically used in a demeaning sense but the brand attached a positive sentiment to it. This made their online campaign popular

In 2014, Mercedes-Benz created a first-of-its-kind ad campaign using Facebook and Instagram together to promote its first compact SUV, the GLA. On Instagram, the automaker posted photos with the hashtag #thingsorganizedneatly to show neatly organized items in the GLA’s cargo area. The company also collaborated with photographers and fans to create a new Instagram theme, #GLAPacked, and asked the question, “What would you pack in your GLA?”  Facebook ads showed the car’s design and linked to a GLA-specific Web page. Instagram also published a case study based on the campaign.

Barack Obama, for the 2008 US Presidential campaign, used 15 different social media websites to interact with millions of American citizens. By the end of his campaign, he had 5 million social media network supporters (2.5 million on Facebook and 115,000 on Twitter). The use of social networking sites in his marketing campaign gave Barack Obama’s campaign access to e-mail addresses, as posted on social network profile pages.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.” –Erik Qualman

Image Credits: Google Images

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  • There are 2 comments


    • 2 years ago

      Anna   /   Reply

      Great article, it’s no secret that social media is an indispensable marketing tool for a business. Social media is such a fantastic platform for marketing these days because, as the article rightly comments, it’s a strong platform for people to articulate their views, share information about their lives, grow their network and communicate with each other. It’s a great way to grow a brand and increase traffic, and the majority of business owners hold accounts in at least the two giants of social media: Facebook and Twitter!

      • 2 years ago

        Bhavneet Kaur Guliani   /   Reply

        Thank you. Glad you liked it.

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