Social Media: What Does It Take To Succeed?

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Many said that social media is like a teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When its finally done there is surprise is not better. Officially though, when manage in a right manner, social media is not like teen sex. It can be determined as an umbrella which defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio. It is also a fancy way to describe the zillions of conversations people are having online 24 hours 7 days a week.

Another important issue which businesses should concern is about brand awareness. Brand awareness does not only talk about the case of "Brand Mind", but it should also cope with the "Brand Heart" and "Brand Wallet". Having people recognizing, loving, and buying your brand would help businesses survive through the challenging competition in business. In the past, utilising endorsers, print or digital advertisement might work well in building awareness of certain product. However today, consumers are giving less trust to paid advertisement. In the other hand, consumers are very attracted to messages distributed and communicated by unpaid references such as the other customers which has an experience with a certain product. Because of that, utilising social media in this era where consumers could communicate and create factors like word-of-mouth, buzz, or going viral would be a good idea to create awareness and persuation of a certain product. In addition to that, looking at the behavior of todays generation which are mostly highly dependable toward the internet access, had made the practices of going to social media in businesses becomes a must.

Let’s talk about what can happen in a day in social media. In the next 24 hours, 700.000 more people will join facebook bringing it’s total users to 30million in the UK alone. Today they will tag, post, view, and share, more than one billion pieces of information. Having this big numbers of users, it is important for businesses to successfully reach the social media demographics of their target market. Utilising the facebook adds to engage to the right customers is one alternative ways to reach the right audience. In the next 24 hours, 90.000 iPhones and 160.000 android devices will be sold. Smartphones had put social in our hands. No wonder that 300.000 people will join Twitter today, sending more than 45.000 tweets per minute, or 64 million tweets per day. With it’s ability to go limitless in bringing information to the world, twitter could reach more people with a single tweet than Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or Financial Times which we got for free everyday. In twitter, when you follow and being followed by those “high followers twitteres”, you will be able to get a change to widely spread your messages. Youtube, as the 4th most visited site in the world and the 2nd largest search engine in the world has made them one of the huge things in the marketing world. 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute. That’s about 1.1 billion hours of video content added every 24 hours. So what does all this mean? When only 14% of people trust advertising and 90% trust recommendations via social media, it means if you’re not taking social media seriously, you will loose your opportunity to become BIG.

So now let’s talk about factors that are important in social media which bring to successful social media practices. Hill and Moran describes several important factors. Customization is important to give your business point of difference compared to the competitors which conducts social media marketing also. In the case of Facebook, Customization includes the ability to give customized attractive landing page in facebook, and also the ability to customized the usage of their page according to their objective of going into social media marketing. Interactivity is also important which includes the ability to stimulate conversation by their followers and viewers. In addition, businesses should also concern about the ability to create the social interaction in their social media marketing. The communicated message is not only expected to create interaction between customer to the business, but it should also able to go 360 degrees where customers and viewers are motivated to communicate the message widely though their networks. To support those important action, having your whole employees involvement and support is crucial. The social media marketing is not expected to only be the responsibility of the marketing department, but having every employees in every department participating will make the social media marketing becoming a part of the whole firm strategy. Last but not least, clear performance measurement is also an important factor. You cannot manage well things that you cannot measure. So make sure you have a clear goal to measure and keep a close eye on the metrics that you are reaching.

We have a case study which define a success story of social media marketing implementation. Decathlon Italy which is a retail company of sports utilities. In the begining, they have around 6000 likes in their facebook page. They feel that this number of likes does not give a satisfactory amount of viewers coverage. So they decided to go for a concultancy. After the concultacy period ends, and Decathlon starts applying the strategies suggested by the consulting firm, they are able to have an increase number of 25.000 likes. It continously to keep rising. Today, they have more than 84.000 of likes and having around 6.500 conversation in their page.

So what is the secret to their success?

First is their willingness to involve all the employees in the process. When the page is very crowded, it might be difficult if only one particular person engage in every conversations created. Because of that, when all of the employees are commiteed to the social media strategy, this will enhance their ability to better engage in the interactivity of the conversation. Second is their ability to utilise the SEO well to make it easily accessable to those target audience which are not familiar to the brand. Third is the way they maintain the balance of their emotional content and information. They understand that the main purpose of social media is not only to attract people to talk about the issue they stimulate, but also the ability to communicate information regarding their brands to their target audience. Fourth is the integration of information. Decathlon are able to use the information they generate from the social media to be utilised by every depatment of the firm to create better strategies. Last but not least, is their ability to create community in their social media marketing strategy. Community which had individuals having similar identity to the brand had helped Decathlon to reach more target audience.

This article has been written by HANDINI AUDITA and assessed by UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE, UNITED KINGDOM. This article are assessed for the subject of International Marketing Works by Dr.Beverly Wagner