(All accolades and credit for this tremendous blog post are for Ibrahim Fares who is the author and content creator. Thanks Ibrahiim for this case study!)
The Invasion of Social Media
I never imagined that one day non Information Technology companies would take social media so seriously and allow it to become so embedded in their daily business operations or even to become a key marketing channel for business growth. This blog post covers a real example of my current company.
I work for a multinational company that employs around 120,000 professionals around the globe. The company revenue is more than $28 Billion USD (2012). It manufactures and distributes electrical equipment. The company previously used traditional outbound marketing to reach our potential customers but our company has realized that social media is one of the main keys to success and required to see our business grow.
Also, recently I have discovered that our company had already created a division specifically missioned to focus on social media to better understand our customer’s wants and need. After the social media division came in to existence, our CEO began communicating to all employees that our next step in social media usage would be to focus on digitization. But first, let me explain how social media invaded our corporation.
Our vision has two key elements that specifically address using the web and social media to ensure we provide value for our customers. With these two key elements, social media began to become embedded in all our practices and activities.
- Our end-users and business partners find value in digitally interacting with us through the web
- Our website is a major enabler of our business strategies
(This vision image by United States Federal Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AVision_2015.JPG )
Social Media Goal:
- Become the preferred partner to interact with digitally in our industry
We have found that social media is a key component of the Digital Customer Experience (DCE). To support our vision, becoming the preferred partner to interact with was the logical step.
(This goal image by Fanny Schertzer (own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGoal%2C_Portugal_-_Argentina%2C_9th_February_2011.jpg)
Why Social Media Is Important:
Social media is becoming so important because many of our customers now turn to their social media tools to search for knowledge. Further, they are also engaging with other companies and their employees. So, social media is a valuable opportunity to increase the online conversation that connects our brand with topics related to being a global specialist in the energy management industry.
Social media provides us with many benefits. Social media enables us to listen and react to unhappy customers (see image below), respond to sales enquires, increase customer satisfaction, amplify messages of happy customers and employees, and educate audiences in the early stages of the buying cycle. It allows us to rapidly respond to customers by forwarding customer requests to sales.
(This road sign image is in the public domain according to German copyright law because it is part of the German Verkehrszeichenkatalog (Road Sign Catalogue), via Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exclam_icon.svg )
Are Social Media Platforms Successful In Influencing Customers?
Is social media successful in influencing customers? As we began focusing on social media, we determined that the following statistics argue that it is.
- Social media impacts purchasing behavior (SaleForce)
- Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot)
- 15,100,000 consumers go to social media channels before making purchase decisions (Knowledge Networks)
- 78% of respondents said that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases (Forbes)
- Out of 53% of consumers who said they use Twitter to recommend companies or products in their Tweets, 48% bought that product or service (SproutSocial)
- 58% of Facebook users expect offers, events or promotions when they become fans (Hubspot)
- 48% of consumers say that brands should listen in order to improve
Finally, our company believes that buying decisions are being influenced by social media, peer to peer recommendations, YouTube videos, blogs, etc.. What we have found is that:
- for print advertising, the cost per Impression (by 1000's) is about $27,
- for online advertising, the cost is about $5.19,
- for print direct mail, the cost is about $0.60 per piece,
- for email, the cost is about $0.01 - 0.02 per email.
Social Media Drives Business. Today!
What we have found is that, if used the right way, social media actually drives business and creates happy customers. Even today! The image below provides is a real live example from our company:
And because there is a strong system and methodology behind this process, marketing can measure harvesting outcomes and cost for our company!
How Do We Do It?
- Our company website content changes once every 3 months!
(This image by Shanghai killer whale (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATension-headache.jpg )
- Convergence of Disciplines
What we have found is that both people and search engines like:
- Content – Should be relevant, high quality, unique, and fresh.
- Keywords / Vocabulary – Helps everyone come to the same understanding and searchable.
- Socially Agreeable – If others “Like” your content more will Follow/Like and rank higher
- Brand Recognition – Words become synonyms with your brand image.
- Service our Customers – When help is needed, we can be found.
How Are We Going To Do This …
Where We Are Today:
Marketing/New Business Development
We need to increase the visibility (demand) of respective products/solutions. There are several ways that this can be accomplished. The current "social media" proposal is to embed social media practices into our new launch planning to announce and explain by:
- Crafting 3-5 messages for Twitter
- Creating 1-2 post for Facebook
- Creating a 30 second video for YouTube
- Using social media to amplify other activities (events, promotions, press informations, webnews etc.)
It is anticipated that following this process, the product launch will enjoy bigger visibility and provide detailed measurement of social media and web activities!
One Domain for Global Facebook.com/Corporation
- Winning SEO Value
- Consolidate to one find-able page
- Allows for anyone to draft content to be published
- Unifies ad spendign with Facebook
- Provides an umbrella structure for country specific pages “like” consolidation
- Permits banner images to be locally controlled
- Ensures photo albums are allowed
One Global Twitter Account
- Winning SEO value
- Meeting of conversations across functional expertise
- We must be able to tweet 3 to 4 times a day
- Must respond to engagement within 1 day
Pre-Start Launch Process Notes:
- Incorporate all relevant activities in an editorial calendar
- Planning for web activities should start with planning of the offline activity
- If news is about product/solution – create links to respective content on the website
- Try using a photo in news, where feasible
- If we have suitable video in YouTube – make sure you embed it in the news
- Share in social media from web – to help guarantee web traffic to the corporation website