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Social media and its implications for viral marketing



Social media presents potentially seductive opportunities for new forms of communication and commerce between marketers and consumers. As advertisers typically want to find some way to follow their target audiences, many new media opportunities are presented to advertisers. However, we are still social media pioneers. While the boom in social marketing appears persuasive with an estimated 70% of consumers visiting a social website for information, other research points out that 90% of WOM conversations still occur face to face or by phone, and only 7 percent occurs online. In contrast to traditional advertising media such as television, there are measurement and consumer behaviour modelling issues that will need to be addressed before marketers that measure and manage their media investments will be able to fully embrace the opportunities and navigate the risks presented by social media. Ultimately, advertisers will be forced beyond the "old-school" approaches to adopt many of the principles and techniques of relationship marketing in order to effectively use social media and likely the multiple niche co-creation of products and services.
Social media and its implications for
viral marketing
Rohan Miller
The University of Sydney
Natalie Lammas
The University of Sydney
Social media presents potentially seductive opportunities for new forms
of communication and commerce between marketers and consumers.
As advertisers typically want to nd some way to follow their target
audiences, many new media opportunities are presented to advertisers.
However, we are still social media pioneers. While the boom in social
marketing appears persuasive with an estimated 70% of consumers
visiting a social website for information, other research points out
that 90% of WOM conversations still occur face to face or by phone,
and only 7 percent occurs online. In contrast to traditional advertising
media such as television, there are measurement and consumer
behaviour modelling issues that will need to be addressed before
marketers that measure and manage their media investments will be
able to fully embrace the opportunities and navigate the risks presented
by social media. Ultimately, advertisers will be forced beyond the “old-
school” approaches to adopt many of the principles and techniques
of relationship marketing in order to effectively use social media and
likely the multiple niche co-creation of products and services.
Keywords: social media, new media, marketing communication, viral, word of
In the last decade there has been a major shift from traditional media. The second
generation of Internet-based applications (i.e. “Web 2.0”) or what Shih (2009)
calls the fourth revolution, in which users generate and control communication,
holds great promise to signicantly enhance marketing efforts with viral
marketing campaigns (Thackeray 2008:2). This technology presents
opportunities for relationship building, not only peer to peer but also between
Asia Pacic Public Relations Journal, Vol. 11
marketers and their customers (Harridge-March and Quinton 2009:171). Recent
studies show that the corporate adoption of social media by the fastest growing
US corporations is now at record pace (Barnes 2008:74). Yet, because of the
novelty and potential effectiveness of Web 2.0, some marketers may be enticed
to prematurely rely on social media in promotional plans. This paper discusses
whether social media is able to consistently generate effective viral word-of-
mouth for brands and products?
Marketers and the social bandwagon
Marketing communications practitioners are inundated with new ideas and
technologies that often provide great promise but do not live up to their hype. In
an era when the media is fragmenting and advertisers are critically questioning
the cost and effectiveness of older media, particularly among younger and male
demographics, the data indicates a strong surge in social media use advertisers.
For example, Nielsen estimate there are 142.1 million US, 46.6 million Japanese,
and 31 million Brazilian consumers who accessed social networks and blogs
in December 2009 alone (WARC 2010a). In Australia, the Internet reaches
a potential audience of over 11 million users of which more than 70% use a
social network; Facebook has over 6 million registered users and Twitter has
800,000 registered followers (Comscore 2009) Moreover, the McCann tracker
study (2008) found that active users reading blogs grew from 54%-77% within
two years. The number having written a blog increased from 28% to 45% and
also notably people watching video clips online jumped from 32% n 2006 to
83% in 2008 (Smith, 2009). Kaplan (2001) further suggests the transition of
social media to a signicant marketing communications medium is due to a
combination of; technological drivers such as bandwidth; economic drivers
such as user access to more tools to develop User Generated Content (UGC);
and social drivers such as the generation of IT savvy youth recently become
consumers with purchasing power. (Kaplan, 2010). However, the social media
are no longer the domain of Generation Y; older generations are heavy social
networkers with Facebook’s largest demographic now women aged 55 and older
(Angel & Sexsmith 2009, p.2). If the maxim that advertisers will ultimately
follow audiences holds, then social media’s appeal to expansive and difcult
to reach audiences should somehow translate into commercial success for
marketers and social media operators.
Indeed, social media’s inuence promises some sort of marketing
communications revolution: for instance, global brand Pepsi will not be
advertising during the Super Bowl, instead opting for a digital social media
campaign they say will “help their customers better understand what Pepsi stands
for” (WARC, 2010b). By contrast, Pepsi’s main competitor, Coca-Cola, will run
two spots during the Super Bowl, yet these advertisements will direct viewers to
social media sites linked to its charitable activities (WARC, 2010b). Consumers
searching online for information about a product, or brands, not only gain access
Social media and its implications for viral marketing
to corporate marketing materials, they now also have access to product reviews,
opinions and commentary from other consumers (Smith, 2010).
Social media is also building a business case for driving purchasing
behaviour with research by EDI (2008) showing that a majority of consumers
surveyed relied on various types of social media websites as much as company
websites for product and brand information and that nearly half of those made a
purchase decision based on what they gathered. However, although social media
applications are controlled by users, trend data is not yet conclusive with respect
to who is generating, and accessing information (Thackeray 2008, p.341).
How consumers interact with social media has become crucial to
marketers. One stream of research suggests the existence of a “loyalty ladder”
in social networking communities that splits users into categories such as:
“lurkers” (those who are reticent to contribute to sites); “tourists” (those who
post comments but demonstrate no commitment to a network); “minglers” (those
who post with no regularity or frequency); and “evangelists/insiders” (those
who are enthusiastic, expert and regular in their contributions) (Harridge-March
& Quinton 2009, p.176). Other researchers split users into slightly different sets,
for example: “social clickers” (users who communicate with friends and create
content on message boards and review sites); “online insiders” (avid online
shoppers who vocalise product preferences); and “content kings” (young men
addicted to online entertainment) (Riegner 2007, pp.439-440). These groupings
demonstrate the complexity and lack of uniform measurements for marketers
targeting users of social media. By contrast, the established media like television
offer well established and accepted means to measure and manage marketing
campaigns that facilitate investment in marketing communications campaigns.
Social media’s viral marketing potential
Viral marketing, also known as word-of-mouth (WOM) or “buzz marketing”, is
the tactic of creating a process where interested people can market to each other
(Subramahi & Rajagopalan, 2003, p.1). In this age of user-generated media,
social media is not merely a marketing channel, it facilitates WOM. While Web
2.0 media presents communications and sales opportunities for marketers, it
brings with it a potential and worrying lack of control of marketing messages.
Before constructing social media strategies, marketers must ask
themselves: how can we engage consumers to promote products to specic
communities it in a credible, controlled and cost effective way? Social media has
provided consumers with their own voice, not as passive respondents as in their
previous relationship with brands, but as active members of brand communities
who have the condence to come into the brand’s “space”. Marketers working
with leading brands in social media suggest one solution may be “co-creation”
where marketers encourage users to become actively involved with a brand
or product (Needham 2008, p.61). Thus, in order to develop loyalty with tech-
savvy consumers, some marketers have decided to stop talking or selling “at”
Asia Pacic Public Relations Journal, Vol. 11
them, and instead market with them. Some marketers incorporate this approach
within “relationship marketing”; rather than focusing on transactional marketing,
the aim is to build longer term relationships with customers, generating trust
between buyer and seller so that loyalty develops (Harridge-March & Quinton
2009, p.174).
Online relationship marketing requires the facilitation of the processes
of interaction, communication, dialogue and value (Harridge-March & Quinton
2009, p.174). Emerging social media tools for marketing include real-time
video training and webinars that can provide marketers with applications more
consistent with the social nature of the selling relationship (Oracle, 2009) by
opening the relationship to a dialogue. Social marketing technologies also permit
marketers to customise their messages and have a dialogue with customers.
Moreover, the technological bases of online communication often enables better
targeting of potential customers as the databases driving sites such as Facebook
are able to segment audiences by variables such as demographics and interests,
and even to map the emergence of online communities as targets (Gillan, 2009).
However, the success of these media is contingent on considerable resources
being allocated to their proper use and evaluation.
There are considerable and popular expectations that social marketing
applications can result in extremely effective marketing. For example, Fisher
(2009) concluded that of the 70 percent of consumers who had visited a social
media site to get information; 49 percent of these customers made a purchase
decision with this information they found and 60 percent of the respondents
in the study said they are likely to pass on information they nd online.
Other research prompts caution that the potential outcomes of online
social marketing should not be overstated. For instance, the Keller Fay Group
(2006) identied that while 90% of WOM conversations occur face to face or by
phone, only 7 percent occurs online. Thus, WOM’s real power remains outside
Web2.0, where most conversations still take place. While people are apparently
ocking to social networking sites and applications, they are not necessarily
using social networking sites to get and exchange information on buying
decisions, and are not very likely to buy products from companies advertising at
such sites (Knowledge Networks, 2009).
Success in viral marketing hinges upon understanding the nature of
knowledge-sharing and persuasion by inuencers and responses by recipients
in online networks (Subramani & Rajagopalan 2003, p.4). Online inuencers
should be viewed as knowledgeable helpers in the social network rather
than as mere “agents” of the marketer. Schemes that make overt attempts to
co-opt users to promote products and services may upset the status quo and
reduce the effectiveness of the marketing approach to the detriment of both the
marketer and users who may have beneted from the knowledge-sharing acts
of inuencers (Subramani & Rajagopalan 2003, p.5). Specically, a key issue
facing marketers is the source-credibility of online actors. Readers of user-made
Social media and its implications for viral marketing
commentary typically evaluate the opinions of complete strangers, and often
readers are aware of this. A proxy for individual credibility should be identied
in marketing campaigns (Brown, Broderick & Lee 2007, p.7).
Cautions of social media in marketing campaigns
As noted earlier, many marketers are risk adverse and experience has taught
them to be reticent about consumer-generated media due to their inability to
control the message. In one instance, pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson &
Johnson released an online marketing campaign via an online video about pain
relief for women who carry their babies in a sling. Within hours, Twitter and the
“blogosphere” exploded with negative commentary about the video’s perceived
denigration of motherhood. On top of this, the online discussions would also be
communicated off-line and sometimes reach tradition media. Thus, over a single
weekend, the volume and sentiment of the consumer-generated media brought
down a well-planned advertising campaign (Baker 2009, p.2).
Related to the source credibility issue identied earlier, another hurdle
for marketers is that customers will consider information if it is both useful
and believable, but will react badly to sales-push messages that violate social
networking’s intrinsic qualities of socialization and trust (Angel & Sexsmith
2009, p.4). Making social networking sites overly commercial is risky, as users
might turn away from the site if they feel their interests are being subjugated
to those of advertisers; a warning issued by analysts to News Corp when it
acquired MySpace, shifting it to a mass-market advertising platform giving
brands the opportunity to both advertise and also interact with the website’s
users (Carter 2006, p.2). Similarly, creating fake blog entries is another example
of how the misuse of social media can irritate consumers and harm brands. The
now infamous “Walmarting across America” fake blog (or “og” as it became
known), came under severe criticism online after the ethical breach was exposed
(Burns 2008, p.16). Poor execution brings poor results.
The size of online communities is also a factor in the limitations of
social media on generating online WOM. Many marketers are born in an era
of mass marketing and are driven by the prospect of large and often hard to
reach audiences viewing their campaigns. Paradoxically for these marketers, for
online groups to be effective, there needs to be a nite size to each community
(Phillips 2008, p.82). The concepts of “reach” and “mass media” needs to be
reconsidered and new emphasis needs to be placed on “focused” “customised”
marketing campaigns. For social media campaigns to be effective, the new
commercial imperative dictates marketers need to belong to a large number
of groups or communities, rather than merely rely on broadcasts to an online
group with a large number of members. This recognises that both the cultural
and emotional relationships are paramount (Phillips 2008, p.84), suggesting the
need to continually monitor and truly belong to these forums rather than be users
of mere convenience.
Asia Pacic Public Relations Journal, Vol. 11
Opportunities for using social media to generate
viral marketing
A real understanding of how WOM networks specically work online, as opposed
to ofine, is particularly pertinent to contemporary marketing communications.
To generate a sense of group mind-set and shared interests, online “brand
communities” should include a wide range of interests that have a direct, but
nonintrusive, connection with the brand (Brown, Broderick & Lee 2007, p.15).
Ensuring that brand activity is relevant to a social network’s core audience is
crucial for advertisers wanting to tap into niche communities (Carter, 2006).
For example, Procter & Gamble’s successful promotion of its Tampax brands
to teenage girls, was not by talking about tampons, but by creating an online
community for teens that integrated peer networking with games, quizzes, music
videos, service articles and a Q & A area. Just as they do in an ofine mode,
marketers need to think about their customer’s problems and offer solutions
Conceptual models have been developed to guide the process of “co-
creation” with online consumers. One example is the DART model which
comprises: “dialogue” (fostering meaningful dialogue with the consumer),
“access” (providing a company’s customers access to each other), “risk
return relationship” (offering something tangible to the online consumer),
and “transparency” (creating an environment to share valuable information)
(Ramaswamy, 2008, p.3). Real dialogue with the consumer led to Unilevers
ground-breaking online viral campaign ‘Dove Campaign for Real Beauty’.
Unilever were able to send the most relevant messages to consumers based on
precisely what they were seeking and/or conversing about. However, critical
evaluation of these models for their suitability for the time, place and products
proposed should occur before they are used, and any model which promotes co-
creation with consumers must nd that segment of real ardent fans and create
special programs and tools that will empower them to share that enthusiasm.
While there are many prominent (even brilliant) examples of the successes of
social media communications, there are many more failed campaigns buried
deep in the online abyss.
Another area of opportunity for social marketing is “brand building”
- connecting enthusiastic online brand advocates with the company’s product
development cycle (Ferguson 2008, p.181). Here, research becomes marketing;
product developers are now using social forums to spot reactions after they
modify an offer, a price, or a feature in a product or service. Such brand-
managed communities can have real success. One well-documented example
is IdeaStorm, Dell’s community discussion and “brainstorming” website, which
saw a measurable increase in sales following its launch, by providing a forum
for meaningful dialogue and “to gauge which ideas are most important and most
relevant to” the public (
Social media and its implications for viral marketing
Measuring social marketing
The often unanswerable prediction is whether online viral marketing campaigns
will be effective in the short and long terms. Viral marketing is notoriously
difcult to execute successfully and measure adequately. The quest for reliable
metrics means that some marketers will shy away from implementing online
viral tactics that draw only short-term attention (such as viral videos) to tactics
that actually allow for prospect identication and capture of behavioural data
(Ferguson 2008, p.181). Much of what happens in social marketing is little
more than experimental, or simply about “insights” rather than metrics. Many
marketers feel the need to “tick” the social media box and demonstrate how
cutting edge they are, while the primary drivers of their campaign remain
embedded in traditional media.
There is a need to effect a paradigm shift from a traditional “more is
better” approach. While many social marketers xate on volume metrics (website
trafc, hit rates, click-throughs, time spent on-line, postings etc), successful
social marketing often depends more on qualitative metrics for desirable signs
of the tone, quality and customer benet of the interaction (Angel, Sexsmith
& Sexsmith 2009, p.6). These may include: unique visitors, interaction
rates, relevant actions taken, conversation size , conversation density, author
credibility, content freshness and relevance, audience proles, unique user
reach, and so on (Fisher 2009, p.191). Such metrics not only measure whether
people are engaged, but how they are engaging. However, such metrics often
need to be customised for individual campaigns and need be considered in the
pre-launch phase, ideally incorporated in message testing.
Web 2.0 social media is a potentially powerful medium for nding key consumer
inuencers, engaging them, and generating brand advocates. However, in order
to build viral campaigns and foster online WOM, trust must be established and
subsequently reinforced in order to overcome any reluctance on the part of
the would-be consumer. This means moving beyond “old-school” approaches
to website advertising to embrace the principles of relationship marketing -
building virtual environments in which customers can connect with each other
to share insights and relevant information. One tactic for success is for brands
to move away from the hard-sell to instead embrace the notion of “co-creation”.
By tapping into or creating their own online social networks, social media
marketers can inuence a brand community and potentially inuence consumer
behaviour. To capitalise on currently available opportunities, marketers need
to nd or establish real brand communities, listen to them, and then create
special programs and tools that will empower potential and existing community
members, rewarding existing consumers and eliciting behavioural change from
Asia Pacic Public Relations Journal, Vol. 11
potential consumers. Perhaps advertising effectiveness in the rapidly digitalising
world of television (and other audio and visual media) will be improved through
the adoption of synergistic paradigms of multiple-niche co-creation.
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... I found out that I was there. The actual transaction of the purchase process occurred in only 7% of consumers (Miller and Lammas, 2010). This suggests that entrepreneurs need to be aware of the choices made by such consumers and anticipate their future needs and desires (Palalic et al., 2020). ...
... Once it expands to enough people, the advert maker no longer possesses rule over its distribution and use. This means that any mistakes or error in the ad that people may find and take offence to will be exceedingly difficult to correct (Miller & Lammas, 2010). ...
Launched in February 2004, eight years later, Facebook has more than 955 million active users, half of whom use the social networking website with the help of mobile phones. In India alone, there are more than 27 million users of Facebook. In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions affecting the brand equity of various products and social lives of people at the same time in myriad ways. A proactive marketer touches his digitally aware customer on Facebook, thereby tapping the network of friends and using the social graph of the customer to promote the product and also, the interest graph of the user to further connect with the customer, thus enriching the Customer Relationship with the user. Social media is a potentially powerful medium for finding key consumer influencers, engaging them, and generating brand advocates. Online relationship marketing requires the facilitation of the processes of interaction, communication, dialogue and value. In this paper, we shall study the attributes of Facebook as a social platform and as a stage for the development, nurturing and furthering Customer Relationships of customers who are also the users of Facebook. The paper also analyses, qualitatively, the primary data obtained from Facebook, with particular reference to the timeline pages of two prominent banks in our country. Thus the paper shall throw light on how a timeline page of a product on Facebook could assist CRM.
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Institusi pondok telah menjadi salah satu pilihan tempat tinggal bagi warga emas beragama Islam untuk tujuan kerohanian. Umur yang panjang dan sihat pada usia 60 tahun dan ke atas adalah masa yang sesuai untuk mendalami ilmu agama dan aktiviti kerohanian sebagai bekalan di akhirat. Kajian ini bertujuan meneroka secara mendalam faktor pendorong warga emas memilih pondok sebagai tempat tinggal dan hubungannya dengan kesejahteraan hidup mereka. Seramai dua puluh (20) orang warga emas dalam kumpulan umur 59 hingga 80 tahun dan beragama Islam di Pondok Al-Huda, Wakaf Tapai, Marang, Terengganu dipilih sebagai responden dengan menggunakan kaedah temu bual mendalam. Maklumat daripada warga emas dikaji dan dianalisis menggunakan analisis kandungan. Hasil kajian menemui faktor utama warga emas memilih tinggal di pondok adalah untuk mencari ketenangan dan menambah ilmu agama. Kebanyakan warga emas wanita cenderung memilih tinggal di pondok kerana kesunyian hidup selepas kematian suami. Dari aspek kesejahteraan, keseluruhan warga emas seronok dan mencapai kesejahteraan jiwa menerusi pelbagai pengisian rohani dan fizikal yang disertai di pondok seperti aktiviti harian yang bermanfaat, peluang berkawan, dan jaminan keselamatan. Kajian ini menonjolkan sumbangan penting Institusi Pondok al-Huda, Wakaf Tapai, Marang, Terengganu sebagai institusi sokongan sosial yang amat diperlukan oleh warga emas untuk menjalani kehidupan pada usia tua yang sejahtera dan selamat.
The aim of the current study is to understand the motivations that lead to social media engagement and customers sharing intention on social media. A theoretical model is developed including six independent variables, which are community culture, altruism, fear of missing out, entertainment, informativeness, and social media engagement and likelihood to share as dependent variables. A quantitative methodology is used, where an online survey with close-ended questions is distributed and then the data was analyzed. The results of the data analysis found that four of the independent variables have a positive influence on customers’ likelihood to share, and social media engagement has the highest value. However, entertainment and informativeness had no impact on the likelihood to share viral content. eral motivations and the likelihood to share. Furthermore, it outlines key elements to create viral content and guides, marketers, to effective communication with online consumers.
This research aims to study the effect of the marketing communication mix through social networks, in particular the Facebook network, on the purchasing behavior of customers of tourism agencies operating in Algeria, through the main elements of Facebook marketing communication (advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion and viral marketing). To do this, an electronic questionnaire was prepared and designed by modeling it in Google Forms and then inviting clients of tourism agencies that are members of Facebook pages across the country to respond. The total number of questionnaires entered into the analysis was 505. The questionnaire is composed of 57 elements covering the variables of the study, the descriptive analytical method is used in order to analyze the questionnaires retrieved using SPSS Modeler 18.2.1 and Spssv27 software. The results of the current study have shown that the decision tree is the best model to represent the relationship between the dimensions of marketing communication via Facebook and the components of purchasing behavior. Three dimensions are of significant in the construction of the model, they are: viral marketing via Facebook, advertising via Facebook and direct marketing via Facebook. We note that viral marketing is the most important dimension in the construction of the model (decision tree) with an importance estimated at 67%. The study found that there is a medium level of marketing communication via Facebook for tourism agencies operating in Algeria, and hesitant behavior via Facebook for clients of tourism agencies operating in Algeria. The study also found that there is a statistically significant relationship between all dimensions of marketing communication (advertising, public relations, viral marketing, direct marketing, sales activation) through Facebook and buying behavior.
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The study aimed to identify the impact of Social media in improving customer relationship management (CRM) at Jordanian Islamic banks (JIB), identify the impact of achieving the effectiveness of Social media at JIB. To achieve the objectives of the study, the researcher prepared a questionnaire to measure the role of Social media on CRM. The researcher selected the study sample randomly by distributing 365 questionnaires on the customers of JIB where (302) were retrieved. After reviewing the questionnaires, it was found that there were (28) questionnaires invalid for the statistical analysis. Thus, the total number of respondents was (274). In order to answer the study questions and test its hypotheses, the researcher extracted the arithmetic means and standard deviations and applied the multiple regression equation. Accordingly, the study reached too many results, most important of which is that there is a statistically significant effect for Social media on achieving the effectiveness of the CRM. The study recommended the need that JIB seeks for adding various characteristics of editing, deleting, copying, and setting time on the basis of text messaging through such networks as well as the need of conducting marketing studies aimed to enabling banks to achieve the customers' wishes in a method matching their expectations.
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In recent years, a new trend has emerged with internet-based applications defined as social media. These internet applications provide an ever-increasing interaction between consumers and companies. The most basic tool of this interaction is social media ads. In this direction, this study examines the effect of social media advertisements on university students' purchase intentions. Data were collected from university students using an online questionnaire. In the scope of the research; the relationship between purchase intention and variables related to social media advertisements such as interactivity, perceived relevance, informativeness, habit, hedonic motivation, and efficiency was examined. University students living in Kayseri constitute the population of the research. There are various difficulties in reaching all consumers in the research universe. For this reason, convenience sampling method was used in determining the sample of the study. The questionnaire form was applied to 366 people. However, 1 of the questionnaires was excluded from the analysis because it was incomplete or incorrect. As a result of these processes, the total number of usable questionnaires reached 365. The survey application, which started in September 2019, was implemented until April 2020. Structural equation modeling was used in the analysis of the data. The analyzes were made with the AMOS program. According to the findings of the study, the perceived relevance and computationalism are effective on productivity. It is concluded that the interactivity does not have a significant effect on performance expectancy but has an effect on hedonic motivationmotivation. However, while interactivity, informativeness and hedonic motivation has significant effect on purchase * Bu çalışma 1919B011904135 nolu TÜBİTAK 2209/A Projesinden türetilmiş olup, 20. Uluslararası İşletmecilik Kongresi'nde genişletilmiş özet bildiri olarak sunulmuştur. Çalışmanın verileri 2019 yılında toplanmaya başlamıştır. Etik kurul onayı yoktur.
The purpose of this article is to address the factors that affect the use of Social Media (SM) in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), with the aim of proposing a theoretical model that allows a better understanding of the phenomenon in question. A documentary review was carried out in recognized databases such as EBSCO, Scopus and Google Scholar. 50 scientific articles were analyzed, each one contributes a model related to the use of Social Networks in companies. A theoretical model composed of three main variables that affect the use of Social Networks, as interactivity, profitability and compatibility is proposed. Likewise, the main benefits of the use of Social Networks in companies, increased sales, increased customers and improved brand visibility were recognized. It is concluded that the adoption of Social Networks for companies is currently a necessity for permanence in the market.
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The rapid evolution of consumer technology has given rise to the opportunity for individuals to express their views through the medium of discussion sites. Discussion sites allow on line interaction between interested parties who share their views on products, brands and consumption experiences. Such sites present opportunities for relationship building, not only between peer to peer but also between marketers and their customers. Hitherto, literature on relationships in the marketing arena has been limited to the relationships that companies endeavour to build with their customer base. This conceptual paper proposes that a hierarchy exists of social network users and that this hierarchy can be linked to the ladder of loyalty within traditional relationship marketing. The subsequent suggested contributor ladder can help marketers to gain insight into the structure and form of social networks in order to improve their understanding of the key influencers within the networks. This understanding will enable marketers to communicate more effectively with both the influencers and other members of the social network ladder.
Purpose – This paper aims to describe the ways word-of-mouth (WOM) can operate in social network platforms such as Facebook Design/methodology/approach – Using Headbox, a research and seeding community for 30,000 16-25 year olds who share their thoughts, their opinions and their ideas and get rewarded for it, consumer insights on brands and how positive and negative WOM are described. Findings – The paper finds that the importance of co-creation is vital in diffusion. Co-creation implies that marketing happens with young people rather than it being directed at them. Research limitations/implications – Results are limited to technological societies where the web has permeated and is accessible as a means of general communication Practical implications – Managerial implications suggest a new mindset toward marketing and greater emphasis on the active role of social communities in the youth market Originality/value – A new approach to marketing using social networking and a very large sample suggests that we are near to a clearer understanding of the complexities of diffusion by WOM.
Purpose – This case aims to demonstrate how leading firms are learning how to sustain competitive advantage by co-creating experiences of value with customers. Design/methodology/approach – The shoe company Nike provides a glimpse of the next “best practices” of value co-creation with customers. By engaging with informed, connected, and networked customers around the globe, Nike has found their shared experiences to be a new source of value. Findings – The paper finds that customers are now informed, connected, networked, and empowered on a scale as never before, thanks to search engines, engagement platforms, the growth of internet-based interest groups, and widespread high-bandwidth communication and social interaction technologies. Customers have learned how to use these new tools to make their opinions and ideas heard. Practical implications – A few leading companies like Nike are involving customers in the value creation process by offering Internet sites where they can share their interactions and experiences. These range from customers' ideas about how to improve or customize products to their feelings when they use products.). For Nike, the learning from these interactions creates new strategic capital. The company can now learn directly from customers' direct input on their preferences. Nike can build relationships and trust with the Nike+ community and experiment with new offerings, all the while enhancing its brand. Originality/value – The strategic opportunity for Nike is to build and promote the use of Internet engagement platforms through which the firm can build customer relationships on a scale and scope as never before. Effectively managing these new initiatives initially posed a new challenge for Nike, a traditionally product-centric organization. Now their viewpoint is reversed. “In the past the product was the end point of the consumer experience. Now it is the starting point.”
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study examples of emerging marketing trends like word-of-mouth and viral marketing, and attempt to determine their measurability in terms of return on investment (ROI). Design/methodology/approach – The study examines real life campaigns from well-known companies and attempt to measure consumer response beyond merely viewing or participating in the campaign. How much of an actionable response can be evoked and measured from viral and word-of-mouth campaigns? Testimonials and commentary from marketers practicing these methods and the pundits that attempt to gauge the effectiveness. Findings – The paper finds that word-of-mouth or viral marketing efforts are not always a sure bet. But a well-placed, calculated and provocative campaign can spark a firestorm of buzz that sometimes can be effective for years in non-terminal new mediums like the internet. While the jury is still out on finding hard quantitative ROI measurements for these campaigns, they can produce hefty returns for brand awareness. Research limitations/implications – Tracking ROI for viral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing campaigns remains an inexact and difficult science. Practical implications – The paper suggest following the included Viral Commandments when creating a word-of-mouth campaign to ensure marketing resources are put to highest and best use. It also suggests focusing on identification of the consumer as a vital step to build advocacy. Viral marketing should not anchor marketing strategy, but when used effectively can be an important ace-up-the-sleeve. Originality/value – The paper explores some recognizable viral marketing campaigns and studies the effects they had on product sales, consumer advocacy and brand awareness. It teaches important factors to consider when developing word-of-mouth marketing: who is doing it well, who is not, what lasting effects can a campaign deliver, and are there any effective ways to measure return on investment?
Return on Investment (ROI) has become the Holy Grail of social media. Marketers are being squeezed between admonishments to participate in the vast new online communications available to them and demands to justify the cost using conventional advertising metrics. New `ROI calculators' are being created almost as fast as new social networking sites - then just as quickly being dismissed as being unworkable. In this article, Tia Fisher of eModeration takes a long view of the current state of ROI in social media, and examines the arguments for and against attempting to use any kind of metric to justify involvement in a social media program.
The internet stands apart from other media in enab[ing its "users" to interact. From this perspective, the internet will always be, at its core, a tool for interpersonal communication. While consumers find emotional and practical benefits in participating in online discussions, these conversations have profound commercial implications as well. Everyday consumers are wielding greater control over their media habits and their role in the commercial marketplace. Moreover, with the growth of online participation, consumers exert greater influence over the products and brands considered for purchase. Based on a study of over 4,000 broadband users in the United States, this article examines consumer adoption of Web 2.0 and the impact those rants, raves, comments, and reviews are having on purchase decisions today.