Social Marketing

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Customizing Your Social Strategy to the Platform

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Companies that want to draw innovation ideas from social media need customized approaches. An approach that works on Facebook, for example, is different from one that works on LinkedIn. Companies also should emphasize the “social” by helping users create or enhance relationships. Companies that do this often benefit through people’s subsequent engagement with the company’s online innovation activities.

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Finding the Right Role for Social Media in Innovation

Social media provides a game-changing opportunity to support new product development. But taking advantage of the opportunity requires more than just a Facebook presence with a loyal base of “friends.” To use social media for innovation, organizations need clear strategies and objectives. They also should look beyond social media used by the general public to lesser-recognized platforms, such as special user forums or expert blogs, for especially valuable user-generated feedback.

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How Crowdfunding Influences Innovation

Crowdfunding is changing how entrepreneurs bring new products to market. It has allowed thousands of innovating entrepreneurs to raise money, build brand awareness, and join a broader conversation with large numbers of potential backers — all while still in the product development process. But crowdfunding’s potential goes beyond financing and marketing. The people who back projects can also be important sources for product feedback and ideas.

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Turning Content Viewers Into Subscribers

Content websites can more readily convert site visitors into paying customers by prompting visitors to gradually increase their social engagement with the site — using a concept the authors call the “ladder of participation.” This means thinking strategically about using site engagement to improve conversion. It also means taking an active role in encouraging users to climb the ladder of participation and move quickly up its rungs.

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How Transparency Changes Business

The Winter 2016 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review explores how increased transparency — and, in particular, the ready flow of information in a digital world — is changing the environment in which corporations operate. Transparency also is changing the distribution of power between large organizations and those who challenge them. Executives need to anticipate the possibility that any issues related to their company could someday be public knowledge.

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How CEOs Can Leverage Twitter

Rather than waiting for impressions about a company to be driven by others in social media, CEOs of large companies can help shape the conversation by becoming active on Twitter. Journalists often check a CEO’s Twitter account before covering the CEO or the company, and certain types of business-related CEO tweets — including tweets about new management initiatives; strategy and performance; and new products and services — have even correlated with positive movement of company stock prices.

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When Customers Become Fans

Beijing-based smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. has actively involved enthusiastic customers — known as “Mi Fans” — in both software and hardware development processes. Tech-savvy users test interfaces and products as volunteers, doing much of their communication on the Internet. Customer involvement in the product development life cycle has not only helped Xiaomi reduce R&D costs but also enabled the company to cultivate a sense of participation and pride among lead users.

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How McDonald’s Cooked Up More Transparency

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 7 min 

The McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign engaged customers on social media and the web. As manager of brand reputation and public relations for the U.S. McDonald’s Corporation, Lainey Garcia helped put the campaign together. “We had to align those responses across a variety of functions — whether it be legal, supply chain, communications — and really prepare for what we knew consumers were going to ask,” she says. “That was new for many members of our organization, to really understand the nature of social media.”

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Thinking Outside the [Penalty] Box

When you think of sports teams using social media to great effect, you probably don’t automatically jump to the NHL’s use of Pinterest — but you should. The league has far outstripped all other sports leagues in gathering a following on the fast-growing social media site, with nearly 50 times the followers of all other leagues combined. Impressive as those results are, its path to success involved following some fairly simple, basic rules of social business.

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Should Employees Be Encouraged to Tweet?

At Mitel, an Ontario business communications company, managers have enlisted 1,600 people to become actively involved in social media. The company believes that all employees are stewards of the brand — and therefore can be trusted to represent it well on social media. Many large companies “do their best to inhibit and restrict employee participation in social or major brand initiatives,” says Martyn Etherington, Mitel’s CMO. “We, on the other hand, have tremendous faith and trust in our employees.”

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Customizing Social Media Marketing

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. Instead, companies need to tailor campaigns to fit their products. Recent research suggests that one key question that can guide the approach is whether a company’s products are primarily useful or fun. For instance, consumers expect to encounter messages about fun products on platforms like Facebook. In contrast, they will only glance over recommendations for useful products. Because reactions differ, so too should the social sharing mechanisms used to promote these products.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Michael / Hello Turkey Toe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/helloturkeytoe/8782246559

After a Social Media Gaffe: How to Recover and Not Dig a Bigger Hole

It was late at night when a staffer from the American Red Cross accidentally sent a personal tweet from the organization feed. Unfortunately, it was a tweet about beer. Immediately, there were thousands of tweets in response saying, “The Red Cross is drunk.” Wendy Harman, director of Red Cross information management and situational awareness in disaster cycle services, says that what happened next was a product of being prepared for social media mistakes and trusting that a little humor would help.

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Moving Beyond Marketing

The 2014 research report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte finds that measurement sophistication is finally taking hold in social business. More than 90% of “socially maturing” companies actively measure their social business efforts, and measurement sophistication is starting to prove its value. As well, social business is becoming not just a B-to-C phenomenon, with nearly 60% of B-to-B companies saying that social business initiatives are positively impacting business outcomes. Crucial to all these efforts: C-suite leadership.

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Be a Good Sport With Social Media

Reaching out to customers on social media platforms can be a double-edged sword, particularly when the subject is sports. As airlines KLM and Delta discovered, there is a fine line to be walked between supporting the home team and offending a multitude of potential customers. Social media expert Gerald Kane offers some lessons derived from the Twitter errors made during the 2014 World Cup.

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Rejuvenating a Brand Through Social Media

When Nestlé UK invited customers to vote for a new chocolate bar flavor, the company’s target customers participated in droves. By leveraging social media for the Kit Kat brand, the company was able to build positive word of mouth through consumers who became brand advocates; increase sales; and generate a higher return on investment. The process followed a four-step framework that any company can use to extract valuable information from the vast amount of data generated by social media.

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The Multiplier Effect of Social Business Tools

Mondelez International’s brands include some well-recognized names, including Oreo, Ritz, and Cadbury. Yet as Mondelez’s vice president of global media and consumer engagement Bonin Bough explains, even a powerhouse like Oreo must work to engage its customers — and in the modern era, that means using social media. In his interview with David Kiron, Bough describes the company’s innovative methods for expanding its reach.

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How to Avoid a Social Media Fiasco

If you think social media crises are uncommon things that happen only to other companies, you’re kidding yourself. A panel at the 2014 South by Southwest festival highlighted some of the most prominent recent fiascoes and offered a compelling view of just how commonplace these events have become. Five key takeaways from the panel offer suggestions for keeping a company from being the next entry on the steady parade of social media disasters.

Showing 1-20 of 49