Seeing 20/20 with Your Social Media Strategy

It’s no hidden secret that every brand should be visible on social media. But, is it enough to just be present on social media or is there more to it? Ding ding ding! There is more to it. Many brands have a traditional promotional mix including: advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing, and sales promotions. A social media strategy should exist within a brand’s traditional promotional strategy (Mahoney & Tang, 2016).  

Orkut was a Google owned social networking site predominantly used in Brazil from 2004 until 2014. Orkut was designed for users to meet new and old friends and belong to communities (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Initially, Orkut was available by invitation only and was used in three ways: social, professional, and personal (Karch, 2019). In Brazil, outdoor advertising was banned, so they had to really dive deep into their social media strategy to keep users active on the platform.  

A social media strategy should follow a seven-step action plan:

  1. Goals
  2. Target Audience
  3. Social Media Choice
  4. Resources
  5. Policies
  6. Monitoring
  7. Activity Plan

Goals are objectives that can be monetary or on a larger scale, such as sustainability. The goal of Orkut was for users to find communities through keyword search, including titles, description, and browsing through other users’ memberships (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). 

Brands should identify a larger target audience to reach through mass media messages, a smaller niche audience to target through diffusion and community social media messages, and individual users to create lifelong brand advocates (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). The target audience for Orkut was predominantly technology workers and students. 

The social media choice is determined through research not assumption on what your target audience is using. Brazilians engage with brands that utilize online videos. Unfortunately, Orkut was not properly equipped to running videos or allowing users to upload and share videos (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). This failure was one of the reasons for Orkut’s demise in 2014. 

Compared to traditional promotions, social media promotions are much cheaper. Brands need to determine what their resources are for constructing and running a social media strategy. This could include promoting via social media platforms or hiring others to help share the brand narrative (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Orkut put privacy at the forefront but did not prioritize resources into the functionality of the networking site to take on more growth and cultural changes of the users.

Although not a glamorous side of social media marketing, having policies is essential to protect users information. One initial policy of Orkut was the invite-only membership which creating an exclusive feel to the social networking site. Orkut always put the privacy of members first, but they could not stop the fake profiles delivering spam, a virus in 2010 that collected personal information from user’s, and accusations from Brazil that the platform was crawling with pedophiles (O’Toole, 2014). These unfortunate issues were some of the main reasons why Orkut was shut down. 

While implementing a social media strategy, a brand must monitor and measure user behavior and effects (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Orkut fell short of monitoring their networking site and failed to protect users from privacy and spam. Consumers moved on from the site after their needs weren’t met with video and picture usage.

Lastly, a social media strategy requires an activity plan or a clear time frame when the campaign, project, and monitoring all take place (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Using a content calendar will help organize your strategy (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Timelines and benchmarks to measure success are also important components of the activity plan.

Is your brand seeing 20/20 with its social media strategy or is the road a little blurry? There is still time to fine tune your strategy so that you are successful and don’t crash and burn like Orkut. 

References:

Karch, M. (2019, December 17). What Was Orkut? Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/orkut-social-network-google-review-1616875

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2016). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

O’Toole, J. (2014, June 30). Remember Orkut? No? That’s why Google killed it. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2014/06/30/technology/social/google-orkut/index.html

Weixin – The Rise of the Lifestyle App

Weixin, pronounced “way-shin,” is the number one Chinese social media app that allows users to send messages, send money to friends and family, pay for taxis, and share and read news and pictures. Weixin is also referred to as WeChat for overseas users. The social networking app is similar to the WhatsApp and has an app store similar to Apple and Google’s app store (Boyd, 2017).

What makes this app so successful? For one, the platform studied its audience to understand what functions were most important. The creators allow users to get everything they need or would search for under one roof. Weixin also designs the interface to be straightforward and convenient (Mahoney & Tang, 2016).

Users can literally do just about everything within the app. Imagine combining all of our social media platforms onto one singular app. Just like it is normal for us to check Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, or LinkedIn a million times a day, the Chinese can check everything under one platform. They can even pay using the app. The app has turned into a lifestyle in China (Li, 2016).

How can you turn your app into a success like Weixin? Follow these few steps:

Step One: Know Your Audience

How would you describe your target audience? What are their pain points? Your app should solve your customer’s pain points. Research their behaviors and attitudes to understand what objectives your user might have when using your app. What are the key functions/capabilities your users are looking for? Focus on what your customers want. Do your research to answer these questions!

Step Two: Develop Your USP

USP is your unique selling proposition. How do you differentiate yourself from competitor’s apps? Create value for your target audience. What are pain points users have with the competitor’s apps? There are numerous social media platforms being used every day. How will you stand out?

Step Three: Keep Audience Engaged

Weixin continues to add new features to its app such as a cab reservation function and the Red Envelope Campaign where users could send money in red envelopes to family and friends during the holidays. The technology of a pay feature within the app further integrates into one’s lifestyle because Weixin users can now book flights and hotels! Why go anywhere else when the app has everything?

Weixin is a one-stop shop for its users. Your app can be successful if you continue to research what your customers want and add that to your platform.

Step Four: Never Settle

This might seem like common sense, but sometimes a business gets comfortable with where they’re at. There is always room for improvement, advancement, and growing! What’s the goal you have with this app? How can you continue to be successful?

You may have heard that mass marketing is dead. Customers want a personalized experience when they hear from marketers or go on a business’s app or website. Brands are getting smarter by using an individualized strategy to drive results (Paikin, 2018). As mentioned before by keeping audiences engaged, Weixin keeps introducing new functions to satisfy audiences’ new needs or to fit one’s mood at a particular time (Mahoney & Tang, 2016).

Lessons Learned from the Success of Weixin

  • Conduct market research to truly understand your target audience and their individualized behaviors and attitudes.
  • Keep your audience engaged by adding new features as their lifestyle and trends change
  • Personalize your experience to meet individual behaviors

About the Author: Courtney Pierce is a current Business and Marketing high school teacher in Wisconsin, a wife and a mom to the cutest little girl, Rory. Courtney is also a graduate student at Southern New Hampshire University studying towards a Masters in Marketing. #snhusmm

References:

Boyd, C. (2017, November 22). WeChat: The evolution and future of China’s most popular app. Retrieved from https://medium.com/swlh/wechat-the-evolution-and-future-of-chinas-most-popular-app-11effa5639ed

Li, C. (2016, January 19). Why is WeChat so successful in China ? Retrieved from https://visionarymarketing.com/en/blog/2016/01/how-to-explain-the-huge-success-of-wechat-in-china/

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2016). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Paikin, L. (2018, December 6). Personalization 2.0: Identity Matching For Individualized Marketing. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/12/06/personalization-2-0-identity-matching-for-individualized-marketing/#4cacd03949cc

The Impact of Viral Campaigns

Do you remember when females posted on their Facebook page their name and color of their bra, or “I like it on the floor” to help spread breast cancer awareness? I’ll admit, I’m guilty of posting the status of where I like to put my purse with “I like it on the counter.” Although these Facebook memes went viral, did they really accomplish the goal of creating real-life action to help cure breast cancer?

A viral campaign is a marketing technique to intentionally spread a message quickly (Dave, 2018). You also might remember the ALS ice bucket challenge where you either had to donate money to ALS or dump a bucket of ice-cold water over your head. Yet again, I’m guilty as charged and dumped a bucket of ice water on my head. In my defense, I was a broke college kid and needed money for tuition and couldn’t spare to donate money to another organization!

The ALS challenge offered a choice for consumers: donate or dump water over your head; whereas the breast cancer Facebook memes was simply creating a post on your wall. No one donated money, volunteered at a hospital, or signed a petition (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). What changes could’ve been made to make more of a difference to breast cancer causes? It’s simple: use action-oriented mobilization approaches.

Here are some simple action-oriented approaches to leverage a viral campaign:

  1. Set a call-to-action. Ask your audience to share about your campaign with others to keep your campaign alive (Dave, 2018).
  2. Attract celebrities to join in on the challenge. You can reach masses by including celebrities and influencers who make contributions and help spread your campaign (Dave, 2018).
  3. Create a sense of urgency. The ALS challenge gave nominated participants 24 hours to accept and complete the challenge.
  4. Use multiple marketing challenges. The Breast Cancer awareness viral campaign was only on Twitter. The challenge should’ve been on Twitter, YouTube and the news.
  5. Create a platform discussion to develop customer relationships. The Facebook memes should’ve included sharing information about breast cancer prevention or stories of breast cancer survivors to create an emotional experience for Facebook users.

One of the biggest indicators of mobilization or viral success is creating emotional real-life experiences. Cyberactivism and other prosocial movements have a natural advantage to social media mobilization strategies because social media reflects the interests and passions of everyone actively on the internet. According to the World Health Organization, social mobilization is the process of bringing together all societal and personal influences to raise awareness of and demand for health care, assist in the delivery of resources and services, and cultivate sustainable individual and community involvement (WHO, n.d.).

As more users view the memes or were listed as a nominee for a challenge, the more social observability which in turn leads to participants taking further action to support a cause because it satisfies their need of being generous, engaged, and honorable (Sherer, 2015). Social mobilization aims to facilitate change and utilizing social participation to share a post to create awareness or follow through with an action of donating money can help spark behavior change in communication (Mahoney & Tang, 2016). Audiences are now being communicated from the bottom-up versus talked down to by media messages (Mahoney & Tang, 2016).

Brands looking to create a viral campaign need to have a strong and trusted mission statement because they must be willing to give up control of their brand narrative by allowing users to create and design media content (Mahoney & Tang, 2016).  Users of the brand must also understand the authenticity of your brand and connect emotionally in order for the viral campaign to be successful. Understand what your brand stands for and ensure every message aligns with your core values and actions (Hodge, 2018).

So before creating a viral campaign, write out the goals of the campaign, create action-oriented approaches to accomplish those goals, and make sure every marketing message aligns with your mission statement.

References:

Dave, N. (2018, March 9). Top 3 Viral Marketing Campaigns to Take Inspiration From. Retrieved from https://www.semrush.com/blog/viral-marketing-campaign-inspiration/#:~:targetText=Viral%20marketing%20is%20a%20technique,shares%20and%20remarkable%20brand%20awareness

Hodge, A. (2018, September 10). Brand Authenticity: 5 Examples of Companies Making a Profit While Being Authentic. Retrieved from https://instapage.com/blog/building-brand-authenticity

Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2016). Active Within Structures. In Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Sherer, E. (2015, April 6). Cyberactivism, Its Past and Its Future | Elizabeth Sherer. Retrieved from https://www.digitalamerica.org/cyberactivism-its-past-and-its-future-elizabeth-sherer/

WHO. (n.d.). Social Mobilization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/healthpromotion/social-mobilization/en/#:~:targetText=Social%20mobilization%20is%20the%20process,sustainable%20individual%20and%20community%20involvement

Disrupting the Norm

The Revolutionary Idea

The concept of buying prescription eye glasses without actually trying them on in the store seemed like a crazy idea, but not to Neil Blumenthal and his co-founders who created Warby Parker. The “Home Try-On” service allows customers to order and ship five pairs of glasses to try on at no charge. Customers are then able to pick which pair they like best, and return at no charge.

Warby Parker hit its annual sales goal within three weeks of launching its website. What were some of Neil and his co-founders winning strategies?

  • Using social media to promote transactional communication with customers
  • Using user-generated content
  • Using a socially conscious business strategy narrative

Social Media

Move over traditional mass media, social marketing is the quickest way to influence consumer behavior by selling an idea and lifestyle, rather than a product. According to the book Strategic Social Media From Marketing to Social Change, social media allows marketers to engage directly with audiences through an open transactional process.

Warby Parker encourages transactional communication by communicating with, and responding to, customer comments on their social media platforms. Browse their Instagram page and you’ll see that Warby Parker responds to all customer comments. This personal interaction between the customer and the brand fosters trust and brand loyalty.

A staggering 81% of consumers think social media increases brand accountability. Consumer complaints are available for all to see, making it even more important for brands to quickly respond in a professional and unrobot-like manner.

User-Generated Content

Want a better way to engage your community? Look no further! User-generated content not only spices up your content from your social media team, but it encourages new target audiences to join in on the fun and loyal customers to stay engaged. Research shows that 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads.

Warby Parker utilizes user-generated content to allow new customers to hear about the product through an already trusted source, rather than through a businesses’ self-promotion.

A Socially Conscious Narrative

Using social media to market for social good is mutually beneficial for businesses and audiences. Warby Parker partners with VisionSpring, a company that provides a pair of eyeglasses to a person in need for every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased. One goal of associating a brand with a cause is building trust and awareness.

Roughly 70% of Millennials pay more for a brand that makes an impact on issues they care about. TOMS shoes is an example of a brand that is now linked to social good because of their social impact, and narrative they implemented in their brand story.

Implement social marketing in your brand strategy today to gain a better understanding of who your customers are, and what content they find engaging. Don’t just sell your product, sell the lifestyle and social benefit your target audience will receive when purchasing your products.

Spice up your content with user-generated pictures. Consumers trust their social network, and this is one simple way to start building the foundation of trust between you and your next customer.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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