Social Marketing

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The Problem With Online Ratings

Studies show that online ratings are one of the most trusted sources in e-commerce decisions. But research suggests that these ratings are systematically biased and easily manipulated. The heart of the problem lies with herd instincts — natural human impulses characterized by a lack of individual decision making — that cause us to think and act in the same way as other people around us.

Image courtesy of Boston College.
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It Started with a Hashtag: Revitalizing BC Football with Social Media

Boston College’s football recruiting efforts were turned around with a social media campaign led by the coach and staff. They started using #BeADude on Twitter and in Facebook, Instagram and Vine to represent the program and depict the new attitude of the team. Result: many new recruits attributed their decisions to come to BC directly to the “#BeADude campaign. Here are seven lessons from the campaign.

Image courtesy of Flickr user splorp.

How “Social Selling” Is Reinventing Cold Calling

In a Q&A, LinkedIn marketer Ralf VonSosen says his company is using its own tools to build connections through social channels that facilitate a better selling and buying experience. He calls this “social selling,” and says that done right, it “moves our contact from a traditional cold call to either a warm introduction or at least a warm conversation.” VonSosen details the free ways people can build a personal brand online and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, which scales up the concept.

Anna Granholm-Brun

Turning a “No Comment” Company into a Social Media Advocate

Danish shipping and energy company Maersk Group had nearly 100 years of history as a strong, silent type before corporate brand manager Anna Granholm-Brun came along. In a conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review’s Robert Berkman, Granholm-Brun explains how the company has shifted from one end of the transparency spectrum to the other, why there’s so much value in a good story and what it took to sell social to company executives.

Image courtesy of Flickr user trialsanderrors.
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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user PhotKing ♛.
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One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media

How can corporations get more value from their use of social media? They can start by paying attention to research into developmental psychology, argues Boston College’s Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane. Understanding why people use social media differently at different ages can provide considerable insight for corporations that want to interact with customers.

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CMOs Using Social Data to Flex Their Muscle

Recent studies show that CMOs are highly involved and supportive of the use of social media for their function, and are enthusiastic about its potential role it may play throughout the entire business as well. This strong and growing relationship between CMOs and social media data may be leading to a growing influence and strength among CMOs in the C-suite and throughout the enterprise.

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Is Viral Marketing a Myth?

That ideas can go viral is now a given in corporate marketing. But new research suggests the term “viral” marketing does not describe well what happens in the market.

Sharad Goel, senior researcher at Microsoft Research, and fellow researchers wanted to see whether messages spread via social networks virally, “like the common cold, some sort of biological contagion. One person gets infected and their friend gets infected and a friend of their friend gets infected.”
That wasn’t what Goel found.

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How to Create Brand Engagement on Facebook

Brands have embraced Facebook Inc. as a key marketing channel to drive engagement and brand awareness. The question is whether some brand content creates more brand engagement on Facebook than others. A recent study coded more than 1,000 wall posts from 98 global brands, aiming for a better understanding of how different wall-post attributes impact the number of “likes,” comments and “shares” a post receives. This article offers up the results of that study, for brand managers to act on.

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Turning Facebook Fans into Product Endorsers

“If you engage customers,” says V. Kumar, “they go and they get their friends” to try out a product, too. Kumar, of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, explains how companies can find their most influential online customers and enlist them to help promote their brands.

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Image courtesy of Hokey Pokey.

Increasing the ROI of Social Media Marketing

Marketers know social media should be a powerful way to generate positive word-of-mouth. If marketers can select the right platform, design the right message and engage the right users to spread that message, their campaign should succeed. One successful campaign — which marketers can look to as an example — took place at Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Creations, an upscale ice-cream retailer in India. By following a seven-step process, Hokey Pokey substantially improved its social media marketing.

Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media

SAP: Using Social Media for Building, Selling and Supporting

SAP runs a 10-years old, online community network that has more than a million unique visitors a month. Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media, tells how his company is using social media for “outside-in” market insight and as a mechanism to immediately tell the world about its new products.

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The Perils of Social Coupon Campaigns

Social coupons have become a popular form of marketing promotion. Businesses such as restaurants, car washes and dry cleaners pitch coupon discounts through Internet sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial in hopes of attracting a new crop of customers. But a poorly designed coupon campaign can do serious harm to a business’s profit margin. While the coupons can generate value for customers and the social coupon service providers themselves, they can lead businesses into a thicket of problems.

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How to Trigger CEO Interest in Social Networking

Featured this month in the Social Business Innovation Hub:

McAfee Q&A: What Sells CEOs on Social Networking
In 2006, MIT Sloan's Andrew McAfee coined the term "Enterprise 2.0" as a shorthand for what collaboration and sharing tools such as blogging and wikis (and, today, Twitter) would mean for enterprises.

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Six Ways to Tweet Smarter

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

Research into the Twitter practices of 47 companies including Whole Foods, Starbucks, Nokia, and JetBlue shows that to build a better tweet, think short, punchy and newsy.

Image courtesy of Flickr user luc legay.

How to Get Your Messages Retweeted

Many companies are trying to leverage the power of Twitter to connect with customers and promote their brands and products. This article identifies factors that increase the likelihood of “retweeting” so that a company’s tweets will be shared with recipients’ networks.

There are several practices that don’t work well. The most important to avoid is blatant hard-sell messages. Twitter may be better suited for building brands than for building markets for new offerings.

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