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Background: Content marketing has become a leading marketing technique in digital marketing communication and uses the point of view of consumers to build relationships by creating and sharing engaging content in social media that enhance their daily lives. Existing research on social media communities has focused mainly on social media marketing and virtual brand community perspectives while content marketing’s valuable and unobtrusive role in social media content communities has largely been overlooked.Objective: The purpose of this article was to investigate content marketing’s role in social media content communities to engage with the target audience in an innate manner.Method: This study made use of a directed, inductive content analysis of 51 practitioner documents relating to business-to-consumer content marketing practices to add another perspective to existing research on communities in social media. The content analysis was facilitated by using QDA Miner, a widely adopted and reliable qualitative data analysis software programme.Results: Three categories emerged from the data namely building content communities, platform-specific content and understanding channels. These categories provide sufficient evidence of how brands make use of social media content communities to connect with the target audience in an unobtrusive manner, in addition to being present in virtual brand communities.Conclusion: The findings make several contributions to the existing literature. Firstly, it provides a clearer distinction between brand and social media content communities. Secondly, it extends conceptions about social media communities to include content communities and, thirdly, it provides sufficient evidence of how content marketing could benefit a brand by naturally becoming part of social media conversations.
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South African Journal of Informaon Management
ISSN: (Online) 1560-683X, (Print) 2078-1865
Page 1 of 7 Original Research
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Author:
Charmaine du Plessis1
Aliaon:
1Department of
Communicaon Science,
University of South Africa,
South Africa
Corresponding author:
Charmaine du Plessis,
dplestc@unisa.ac.za
Dates:
Received: 20 Mar. 2017
Accepted: 05 Aug. 2017
Published: 05 Oct. 2017
How to cite this arcle:
Du Plessis, C., 2017, ‘The role
of content markeng in social
media content communies’,
South African Journal of
Informaon Management
19(1), a866. hps://doi.org/
10.4102/sajim.v19i1.866
Copyright:
© 2017. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Introducon
Social media has become imperative for branding because of the brand’s ability to connect with
consumers in a more interactive and individualised manner. Brands thus have a growing interest
in social media–based brand communities to cultivate relationships with consumers through
community building activities. Brand researchers concur that community building in social media
leads to more brand loyalty and trust, although there are still different perspectives on how to
achieve it (Laroche, Habibi & Richard 2013). Consequently, there are ample studies on diverse
brand community topics through lenses such as virtual brand communities (Potgieter & Naidoo
2017; Rosenthal & Brito 2017), social media marketing (Cawsey & Rowley 2016) and consumers’
reasons for joining brand communities in social media (Chi 2011).
Fewer studies focus on social media content communities whose main purpose is to share content
in various formats among users (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010). Recently, social media content
communities have become more prominent because of brands that use content marketing as a
branding technique. Content marketing is a contemporary marketing paradigm with many long
term benefits such as building brand loyalty by engaging with the target audience with valuable
content without employing promotional techniques (Pulizzi 2012b). However, more clarity is
needed about the role of content marketing in social media content communities, especially
because content marketing is often confused with social media marketing (Murdock 2012).
Although social media marketing is widely adopted on social media platforms, it is more
promotional and interfering than content marketing. While there are similarities between content
and social media marketing, they have different processes, focal points and goals. Weinberg (2009)
defines social media marketing as:
Background: Content marketing has become a leading marketing technique in digital
marketing communication and uses the point of view of consumers to build relationships by
creating and sharing engaging content in social media that enhance their daily lives. Existing
research on social media communities has focused mainly on social media marketing and
virtual brand community perspectives while content marketing’s valuable and unobtrusive
role in social media content communities has largely been overlooked.
Objective: The purpose of this article was to investigate content marketing’s role in social
media content communities to engage with the target audience in an innate manner.
Method: This study made use of a directed, inductive content analysis of 51 practitioner
documents relating to business-to-consumer content marketing practices to add another
perspective to existing research on communities in social media. The content analysis was
facilitated by using QDA Miner, a widely adopted and reliable qualitative data analysis
software programme.
Results: Three categories emerged from the data namely building content communities,
platform-specific content and understanding channels. These categories provide sufficient
evidence of how brands make use of social media content communities to connect with the
target audience in an unobtrusive manner, in addition to being present in virtual brand
communities.
Conclusion: The findings make several contributions to the existing literature. Firstly, it
provides a clearer distinction between brand and social media content communities. Secondly,
it extends conceptions about social media communities to include content communities and,
thirdly, it provides sufficient evidence of how content marketing could benefit a brand by
naturally becoming part of social media conversations.
The role of content markeng in social
media content communies
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the process that empowers individuals to promote their websites,
products, or services through online social channels and tap into
a much larger community that may not have been available via
traditional channels. (p. 3)
Hillebrand (2014:9) argues that content marketing is used as
an alternative to ‘connecting with the users and building
relationships with customers instead of simply informing
about new products and promotions’. As early as 2008,
Agichtein et al. (2008:183) argued that numerous social media
activities revolve around content and that online communities
have become one of the many emanations of social media.
Much of the literature reveals that this phenomenon has since
grown to include brands which, in order to stay relevant,
must tap into the millions of social media conversations
occurring in the array of social media communities (Kaplan &
Haenlein 2010; Smith, Fischer & Yongjian 2012). Unlike much
of the work in this area, which has focused on brand
communities in social media networking sites from
consumers’ points of view (see, for example, Chi 2011;
Dessart, Veloutsou & Morgan-Thomas 2015; Tsimonis &
Dimitriadi 2014; Zaglia 2013), the focal point of this
exploratory study is to gain a better understanding of content
marketing practitioners’ use of social media content
communities to connect with the target audience. This study
thus delineates content marketing’s role in social media
content communities to address the paucity of research and at
the same time providing more clarity between content and
social media marketing when building communities.
As a theoretical point of departure for social media brand
communities, the researcher adopts the widely recognised
and cited classification scale of social media types proposed
by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010:63) that is based on consumers’
social media presence and disclosure. A social media
application such as Facebook is seen as a social networking
site because of consumers’ high level of social presence, self-
presentation and self-disclosure. Applications such as
YouTube and Flickr, on the other hand, are classified as social
media content communities because of less disclosure and
presence, although consumers also share pictures, videos and
other forms of media. A social networking site is also more
friends-driven as opposed to the need for information in a
social media content community. A social media content
community’s main objective is to share media content
between users, allowing any content producer more flexibility
to create and share content across multiple networks
(Thompson 2011:463). While brands use content marketing on
their own and partially owned media platforms, conversations
around content in social media content communities offer
interesting and alternative opportunities to build relationships
and foster beneficial connections with consumers.
This argument is based on the findings generated through
the investigation that addressed the following two main
research questions:
• How do content marketing practitioners make use of
social media content communities to connect with the
target audience?
• In what way are content marketing techniques
unobtrusive when it comes to building relationships with
consumers in social media content communities?
This study made use of a directed, inductive qualitative
content analysis of 51 practitioner documents relating to
business-to-consumer (B2C) content marketing practices to
provide evidence of a phenomenon that has not been widely
investigated. In addition, incomplete conceptions about
social media communities have been further refined,
extended and enriched.
Literature review
The term ‘content marketing’ coined by Pulizzi (2010) from the
Content Marketing Institute (CMI), is not new but it is still
evolving. Defining content marketing has been challenging as
its meaning changes depending on the context. Marketers are
increasingly adopting content marketing to replace interruptive
advertising and to attract more attention to the brand (Du
Plessis 2015; Zahay 2014). Content marketing is ideal as it uses
unobtrusive pulling and not pushing techniques to attract
consumers to brand content (Liu & Huang 2015). It furthermore
implements theories of marketing communications, integrated
marketing communication and relationship marketing (Cronin
2016:88). However, unlike promoting products or services,
content marketing is a branding method that creates and
distributes relevant and valuable brand content to entice and
involve the target audience. Practitioners create and share
brand stories online to make the target audience more familiar
with the brand (Brieger 2013:6). Content marketing is often
seen as resembling publishing, native advertising, inbound
marketing and storytelling (Du Plessis 2015; Holliman &
Rowley 2014:270).
Numerous definitions of content marketing abound but thus
far the CMI’s definition of content marketing is still very
popular which defines it as:
the marketing and business process for creating and distributing
relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a
clearly defined and understood target audience – with the
objective of driving profitable customer action. (Pulizzi 2012a)
However, content marketing has gradually expanded beyond
this definition with scholars such as Du Plessis (2015) and
Pazeraite and Repoviene (2016) acknowledging the
complexities of the content marketing process which should
be carefully managed. Pulizzi’s (2012b:118) argument that
authentic brand stories are the main focus of content
marketing is supported as the theoretical lens through which
content marketing is viewed for this study.
More recent studies about content marketing have approached
it, among others, from angles such as business-to-business
strategy (Holliman & Rowley 2014), brand engagement
(Vivero 2016), company branding (Koljonen 2016), its
fundamentals (Du Plessis 2015), practical performance
(Arhammar 2014), online marketing strategy (Augustini
2014), as a new trend in marketing practice (Wong & Kee
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2015), customer satisfaction (Andaç, Akbiyik & Karkar 2016),
optimisation (Kose et al. 2016), digital channels (Banjo 2013),
opportunities and challenges (Salojärvi 2016) and search
advertisement effectiveness (Pazeraite & Repoviene 2016).
Although these studies consider social media as a tool that
supplements a content marketing strategy, to the researcher’s
knowledge no study has specifically looked at content
marketing’s role in social media content communities to
engage with the target audience in a more natural manner.
Because content marketing follows and practices a ‘consumer-
centred philosophy’ (Kuş 2016:47), social media content
communities allow for conversations around content, which a
brand could use to resolve concerns, while the community
members could also assist each other through user-generated
content. In addition, more storytelling opportunities could
connect consumers with the brand on a deeper emotional
level. In this regard, Du Plessis (2015) argues that content
marketing mirrors the natural occurrence and unobtrusiveness
of content in private online media spaces while natural
messages also add more warmth and a familiar brand voice in
social media.
Much previous work has focused on describing virtual brand
communities via social media, websites and blogs, in addition
to reasons why consumers join them. Seminal work by Muniz
(2001) defines a brand community as a:
specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a
structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand.
It is specialized because at its center is a branded good or service.
(p. 142)
A study by Laroche et al. (2012) indicates that consumers join
brand communities for various reasons which could benefit
the brand in the long term. Consumers not only identify
themselves with the brand, they also depict how they want to
be identified by others in the same community. Being part of
a community also enhances feelings of community which
increases brand loyalty. In addition, some consumers search
for content, opinions and advice while others do surveillance
and want to exchange information (Muntinga, Moorman &
Smit 2011:16–17).
In another study Zhou et al. (2012) found that a sense of
community leads to an emotional connection with the brand
as consumers identify with it. A company should therefore
strategically and continuously nurture relations within a
brand community.
However, the evolvement of social media also gave rise to
social media content communities where users consume,
generate and share multimedia content on blogs, social
bookmarking sites, and photo and video sharing communities
because of a need for interest-driven participation (Thompson
2011:463). Some of the most popular content communities are
currently focused on videos (YouTube), photos (Instagram and
Flickr), bookmarking (del.icio.us), presentations (Slideshare)
and audio (postcasts) (audio) (Content communities n.d.).
Various community-driven question-and-answer portals, such
as Quora and Yahoo Answers, also provide an alternative to
finding answers without search engine searches but are not the
focus of the study (Agichtein et al. 2008). Research by Chi
(2011:51) indicates that users are more accepting of
conversations in social media communities than advertising,
as they are less intrusive. Social media has thus changed
communities in that they are no longer only collected around a
brand but also around social content interactions among the
community members. Brands need to sustain these
conversations with relevant and compelling content as part of
a content strategy without interrupting the conversations. To
engage consumers in a social media content community the
content strategy should focus on identifying the type of content
that would be interesting and relevant by understanding the
target audience (Chauhan & Pillai 2013:41). Consumers view
brand content in their newsfeeds and choose to like, share or
comment on them, which is a form of electronic word-of-
mouth (eWOM). Research indicates that users engage most
with brand posts that are consistent, interactive and vivid
(Tafesse 2015:937). Engagement is a multi-dimensional concept,
and various perspectives about what it entails are evident
across different academic disciplines. Within the context of this
study and building relationships, consumer engagement is
defined by Van Doorn et al. (2010:254) as ‘customers’
behavioural manifestations that have a brand or firm focus,
beyond purchase, resulting from motivational drivers’.
This behaviour is reflected in, among others, eWOM activity,
recommendations, writing reviews, blogging and helping
others. Online consumer-to-consumer interactions (eWOM)
amplify reach and impact, while user-generated content
reflect how engaged they are by interacting, sharing,
uploading and creating content (Muntinga et al. 2011:16).
However, Noble, Noble and Adjei (2012:476) warn about
brands losing control and the possibility of negative eWOM
in online social media communities, which should be
carefully managed and responded to.
Because of the unobtrusive nature of content marketing,
social media content communities could allow for non-
promotional information and interactions around a topic,
which highlights the brand as a thought leader while
gaining insight into the target audience. At the same time, a
group of brand advocates could increase eWOM and thus
engagement. A content community also provides both users
and a brand the ideal opportunity to tell a story. The
company could create content that humanises its brand and
connects with the target audience by showing an
understanding of their needs and problems. Similarly, users
could co-create a story that reinforces a favourable
perception of the brand (Johnston 2017).
Methodology
For this study, a directed content analysis of professional
documents concerning B2C content marketing practices was
done. Content analysis is a widely used and flexible method
to analyse text data’s patterns and frequency. A directed
content analysis was a functional method for this study as
research about content marketing in social media content
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communities is lacking and would benefit from further
description (see Hsieh & Shannon 2005:1277).
A total of 51 full-text copies of documents serving as best
practice illustrations for digital marketing agencies’ content
marketing services were accessed online through search
engine searches. The documents, in public domain, were
identified and selected by using a purposive sample, a non-
probability sample procedure that uses specific selection
criteria to fit the purpose of the study before elements are
included (Daniel 2012:87). For this study, the criteria were
that the documents had to include topical contributions
concerning the use of social media for content marketing
purposes. In addition, they had to convey practical
information about using content marketing techniques for
content communities. This study is exploratory in nature,
and hence, 51 documents were deemed enough to provide a
snapshot idea of current content marketing practices when it
comes to social media content communities. The units of
analysis were social artefacts (practitioner documents).
A qualitative data analysis approach by Miles and Huberman
(1994) was followed for accurate data reduction to prepare
the data and to ensure that only relevant material was used
for the analysis. The directed content analysis approach
entailed identifying key concepts in accordance with the
literature as initial codes. The key concepts are development,
process, conversations, engagement, platforms and channels,
which were then appropriately labelled and condensed into
three categories. Thereafter, operational definitions were
developed for the three predetermined categories in
accordance with the literature. After the initial manual review
of the documents, they were imported into the QDA Miner
qualitative data analysis software programme by Provalis
Research. An electronic coding scheme was finalised by using
the predetermined categories for text retrieval as a point of
departure and highlighting similar data using different
colours. All colour-coded data were then indexed into
subcategories and labelled. Finally, summarised codes were
checked for consistency and omissions as well as similarities
and differences (see Hsieh & Shannon 2005). The final code
frame consisted of 25 individual codes located across the
three main categories which were then interpreted inductively
and conclusions drawn. The codes were interpreted on a
manifest level (meaning visible in the text) followed by a
latent level (considering the deeper meaning of the text)
(Bengtsson 2016:9).
Similar to suggestions by Welsch (2002), the issue of coding
reliability was addressed by following up the initial manual
coding with coding via a qualitative data analysis software
programme. This ensured that data were thoroughly
interrogated. A computer programme–assisted analysis with,
for example, QDA Miner software ensures higher reliability
than human coding techniques (see Lewins & Silver 2007).
Findings
Three categories with two subcategories respectively
emerged from the data.
Table 1 illustrates the three main categories, number of cases,
codes and frequency, which are discussed in more detail
below. It can be inferred from this table that social media
content communities are used in content marketing as an
alternative way to engage the target audience.
Each category is explained in more detail below.
Category 1: Building content communies
Category 1 encompasses all findings relating to building
communities around content. It constitutes 55.90% of the
codes. Content communities allow the brand to build a
community ‘interested in its content’ and who could also
create more content to generate trust and credibility. Two
subcategories also became evident, namely that of
engagement and brand advocates. This category firstly
illustrates that the main purpose of building content
communities for content marketing is to enhance loyalty
through creating and curating valuable content as gatekeepers
‘to the best information on the industry available to them’.
The brand must ‘provoke’ conversations by talking and
socialising with the community through social listening and
responding to all queries and concerns. This will indicate an
understanding of consumers’ needs. The content must be
captivating enough to generate continuous conversations
and could include many ‘community elements’ such as blog
posts, newsletters, infographics, videos and images, to name
a few. A widget ‘to bring together social media posts’ should
also be available to the community.
Secondly, a community of brand advocates will also benefit
the brand in the long term in that they constitute real fans. It
is therefore important to have good knowledge about
customers, including brand advocates, to develop a brand
persona to which they can relate. Because the brand persona
is ‘a profile that a writer creates to embody the characteristics
of the target audience for whom he or she is writing’, it could
serve as a ‘framework’ through which suitable content for the
community could be created to humanise the brand and
make it more visible. The brand’s message will also be
amplified if customers are motivated enough to create their
own content, which will be available in their own networks.
TABLE 1: The three main categories and frequency in the data.
Category Descripon Frequency Codes (%)Cases
n%
Building content communies Community building around content 184 55.90 23 45.10
Plaorm-specic content Content that is tailored for specic community plaorms 73 22.20 23 45.10
Understanding channels Content distribuon and potenal inconsistencies 72 21.90 21 41.20
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Table 2 depicts the subcategories and codes for Category 1.
Category 2: Plaorm-specic content
Category 2 encompasses all findings relating to content that is
tailored for specific platforms and not a ‘one-size-fits-all’
approach. It constitutes 22.20% of the codes. The platform of
the content marketing message is the ‘context’ that should be
considered as customer profiles are different on different
platforms. The same content will therefore not be suitable for
different content communities. Two subcategories also became
evident, namely that of purpose and cross-form messaging.
The category firstly illustrates that each ‘piece of content’
should have a purpose and a measurable goal to provide the
necessary focus. Stories attract and retain customers and every
platform’s story plan should preferably form part of a
documented content marketing strategy consisting of ‘content
pillars’ to match consumers’ interest. Each:
content pillar identifies a question, idea or type of information
that will be useful to the audience, and each piece of content
should align with a pillar to clarify what content types will work
best.
The focused content will enhance the visibility of the content
among the clutter. Content should be delivered at the right
time for the most impact ‘across channels by aligning persona-
based content with customers’ digital body language’. By
focusing on content quality ‘value and engagement are
created, not merely noise’.
Secondly, it is illustrated that cross-platform messaging
should be true to the brand’s essence to adequately represent
and capture its unique attributes. It could also act as the
‘basis for the emotional connection with customers’ within
the context of the reader. A more subtle approach includes
non-promotional human stories with a tone of voice and
style that ‘act as glue’ to enhance the relevance of the content
on different platforms.
Table 3 depicts the subcategories and codes for Category 2.
Category 3: Understanding channels
Category 3 encompasses all findings relating to understanding
channels and links to Category 2. It constitutes 21.90% of
the codes. This category, however, necessitates a separate
discussion because it focuses more on integration of content
for optimal reach and impact. Two subcategories also became
evident, namely that of coherence and amplification.
The category firstly illustrates that to reach the target
audience effectively in a social media content community,
the channel should support the relevance of the message. The
target audience is part of the community for a reason, and the
content should address the audience’s needs. Because brands
typically use more than one channel, all channels should be
coherent and unified when it comes to ‘content touch points’
to strengthen the message. The channels should also be
linked to the main channel, which could be the brand’s
website or blog and be consistent with the brand’s editorial
strategy to humanise the brand. The content should form
part of ‘liquid ideas’, which capture the imagination and
generate eWOM but are still ‘centred on the core brand story
and experience’. In addition, ‘liquid ideas’ should reflect
positively on the brand, although their impact cannot always
be controlled. The channel should thus be understood to
‘create a content ideology that matches consumer behaviour’.
Secondly, it has become evident that brands want to ensure
optimal content consumption in social media content
communities by having continuous open conversations
around the content. The conversations are always unobtrusive
because they deal with consumers’ daily challenges and
lives. The content should be ‘evergreen’ and up to date to
ensure more return in the long term which could be financial,
more brand awareness or demand generation (interest).
Table 4 depicts the subcategories and codes for Category 3.
Discussion
Although the findings cannot be generalised to all content
marketing practices, the data provide sufficient evidence
showing that social media content communities do play a
role in content marketing, in addition to being present in
virtual brand communities.
The first research question in this study sought to understand
how content marketing practitioners make use of social
media content communities to connect with the target
audience. Findings suggest that practitioners strategically
build content communities around content on different social
media platforms to generate as much eWOM activity as
possible, not only to build trust and credibility but also to
achieve the greatest reach and impact (Muntinga et al.
2011:16–17). Practitioners thus provide compelling and
relevant content to consumers who are really interested in
TABLE 2: Category 1: Building content communies.
Subcategories Engagement Brand advocates
Codes Gatekeeper Knowledge about customers
Community elements Customers create content
Socialisaon Brand loyalty
Useful content (problem-solving) Brand persona
Social listening
TABLE 3: Category 2: Plaorm-specic content.
Subcategories Purpose Cross-plaorm messaging
Codes Timing True to brand essence
Measurable goal Tone of voice and style
Story plan as part of strategy Human stories
Content pillars Non-promoonal
TABLE 4: Category 3: Understanding channels.
Subcategories Coherence Amplicaon
Codes Channel supports message Fostering dialogue (open
conversaons)
Liquid ideas Content with more return
Link to main channel Opmal content consumpon
Consistence with editorial strategy Evergreen and fresh
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the content, as also put forward by Chauhan and Pillai
(2013:40). The content is strategically planned for specific
communities and for different channels based on a brand
persona to which the target audience can relate. It is therefore
important to understand the target audience and who the
brand advocates are, as well as the best channels where they
are present. (Du Plessis 2015:128). The brand then acts as a
gatekeeper to generate conversations around the most recent
and significant content in the industry that addresses
consumers’ needs, as was highlighted in a study by Andaç
et al. (2016). In addition, brand advocates also augment
messages by creating their own content. Consistent with the
literature on engagement, consumers are motivated to
become involved in eWOM activity because of relevance
(Van Doorn et al. 2010). Because eWOM is anticipated in
social media content communities, brands want content to
create a buzz, but continuously use social monitoring tools to
proactively respond to potential harmful conversations
(Noble et al. 2012:479).
To answer the second research question, namely in what way
content marketing techniques are unobtrusive, it was found
that brands purposefully use non-promotional human stories
carefully integrated on different social media platforms.
Perhaps the most interesting findings are the activities with
no promotional intrusion, which is consistent with the
literature on content marketing. Consumers are truly
interested in the content tailor made for the particular
channels and are therefore drawn to it based on interest.
Because the brand is able to connect emotionally with
consumers, messages in social media content communities
have the potential to become part of their daily lives (Zhou
et al. 2012). The findings also support arguments by Du
Plessis (2015:127) that natural messages also add more
warmth and a familiar brand voice in social media to which
consumers are paying attention. Kuş’ (2016:47) arguments
about a ‘consumer-centred’ community are important as the
focus in social media content communities is on consumers’
needs and not on the brand. These results further support the
idea of the value of brands’ unobtrusive participation in
social media communities without alienating them with
promotional content.
Conclusion
While exploratory in nature, this study offers several useful
insights into how content marketing plays an important role
in engaging with the target audience in an innate manner in
social media content communities. This kind of engagement
differs from the more intrusive nature of social media
marketing. The findings have expanded understanding of
how brands use social media communities to connect with
the target audience, beyond having a presence in virtual
brand communities. The findings also make several
contributions to the existing literature. Firstly, it provides a
clearer distinction between brand and content social media
communities. Secondly, it extends conceptions about social
media communities to include content communities and,
thirdly, it provides sufficient evidence of how content
marketing could benefit a brand by naturally becoming part
of social media conversations.
The findings will be of interest to brand managers seeking
alternative ways to connect with the target audience in social
media. These findings add to the rapidly expanding field of
content marketing by exploring a different area of practice.
Further studies will have to continue to explore the
significance of social media content communities also from a
consumer perspective and with different methodologies. A
limitation of the study is the non-probability type of sample.
Findings can therefore not be generalised to the larger content
marketing practitioner population. However, sufficient
evidence in the data provides a snapshot idea of content
marketing’s role in social media content communities as well
as areas that need further research.
Acknowledgements
Compeng interests
The author declares that she has no financial or personal
relationships that may have inappropriately influenced her
in writing this article.
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In illustrating examples of software use in different contexts through three distinct case-study examples we hope to paint a picture of some common aspects of analysis in the context of software tools so that you can draw out ideas about what might be useful in your own particular research. We understand that your choice of software may be limited within the constraints of local provision, but our purpose is to enable ambitious yet secure use of any CAQDAS package and the moulding of its functions to your needs, while also adding to your awareness of what other tools work well for particular contexts. We believe that a broad understanding of software packages other than the one you happen to be using will open up your thinking about your own work. Above all, we see ourselves as ‘facilitators’ rather than ‘instructors’. The way we teach is informed by the belief that you are the expert about your project and your needs. We can show you tools, illustrate their benefits and caution against their potential limitations. We can make suggestions about their suitability (or not) for different approaches to data analysis. But you need to decide whether to use software at all – and if so, then which package. If you decide not to use software then you need to be able to justify this. If you decide to use software, you need to design a strategy for doing so within the parameters of your broader methodological context, specific analytic needs and any practical constraints within which you are working. We hope this book will provide you with the context you need to frame your thinking about software, to give you insights into the way particular tools might be useful at various moments, and to heighten your reflection about the relationship between technology and methodology. More than anything else, we hope this book will inspire you to explore your data to greater depths, to experiment with software tools and to develop systematic and creative ways of conducting robust and well-evidenced analysis.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide a unique overview of business-to-business (B2B) companies engagement with and strategic approach to use of social media in brand building. This research complements the much more extensive knowledge base regarding social media use in business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts. Design/methodology/approach Since social media marketing is a relatively new activity for B2B companies an interpretivist stance that is inductive in nature is adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with marketing professionals involved in managing social media programmes in France, Ireland, the UK and the USA. Findings The study found that the level of enagement with social media marketing varied, as summarised in the B2B Social Media Engagement Taxonomy. Enhancing brand image, extending brand awareness and facilitating customer engagement were the most common social media objectives. There was no evidence to suggest that companies saw social media as heralding a paradigm shift in brand management and control of the kind discussed and experienced in B2C social media contexts. The B2B social media strategy framework is proposed; this identifies the following six components of a social media strategy: monitoring and listening, empowering and enagaging employees, creating compelling content, stimulating electronic word of mouth, evaluating and selecting channels, and enhacning brand presence through integrating social media. Originality/value The research contributes to the knowledge base associated with social media marketing by offering insights into and a framework summarising B2B social media strategy.
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Purpose This paper aims to introduce a new integrated marketing communication (IMC) strategy, not yet appearing in textbooks, into the classroom. Design/methodology/approach A thorough review of the limited sources so far available introduces the subject. This is followed by a report on the results of the author’s own introduction of the topic into his course. Findings Students reacted very favorably to learning this new and challenging marketing communication strategy. They also reinforced their own understanding of other principles, e.g. content management, taught earlier in the course. Practical implications Adoption of transmedia storytelling will advance the teaching of IMC in the classroom. Originality/value This paper proposes a formal definition of marketing transmedia storytelling. No pedagogic paper has previously been published on this new IMC strategy.