Marketing and Social Media

Social media is transforming marketing in most organisations. Philip Kotler is respected as one of the leaders in thinking about marketing today and he provides an introduction to marketing strategy in this video:

This week we consider the impact of information technology on marketing and in particular the impact of social media. We look at how social media is transforming influence, how that has progressed over time. Statistics from provide details on what is happening with social media today. Canada are among the heaviest users of social media in the world. The Social Media Marketing Report is examined which reports the attitudes of organisations to social media. Mobile and video are growing rapidly at present and these are discussed. Finally, social media disasters are used to illustrate the potential negative impact of social media if it is managed badly.

The following chart, from trendstream and Universal McCann, describes the transformation that social media has brought to the business world. It describes three media ages. In the pre media age consumer influence could be through face to face discussions or through talking to a seller. In the mass media age, people could talk face to face, through phone calls, they could talk with a shop worker, consult professionals, write letters to the media or phone in to TV and radio.

In the social media age, the range of opportunities for influence by the individual consumer is extensive and is listed in the chart. This has created a radically different environment than has existed in the past and companies are considering how they should deal with this. The following video introduces social media: reports on global trends in internet usage. Its reports are based on the analysis of real internet traffic and they show changes in the use of social media over time, in reports produced annually. Recently they have reported that the use of video is increasing quickly:

In their 2013 report on Canadian activity comScore say that Canada continues to lead the world in online engagement with visitors spending an average of 41 hours per month online, creating opportunities for digital marketers.

Facebook appears to be reaching saturation point in Canada, while other social media tools, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, are growing strongly. In Canada, as elsewhere, online video is growing rapidly. Entertainment is the fastest growing content category..

Display advertising is more social through advertising on social media sites and the increase in use of socially enabled ads that allow users to click through to a social media tool. 45 percent of people in Canada have a smartphone and mobile content usage is growing quickly. The impact of social media on marketing globally is revolutionary:

The Social Media Marketing Report reports on the views of social media marketers and has been conducted annually for the past four years. It’s 2014 report highlights the following

  • Marketers place very high value on social media: A significant 92% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business, up from 86% in 2013.
  • Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master: At least 89% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best ways to engage their audience with social media.
  • Blogging holds the top spot for future plans: A significant 68% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogging, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2014.
  • Marketers want to learn most about Google+: While 54% of marketers are using Google+, 65% want to learn more about it and 61% plan on increasing Google+ activities in 2014.
  • odcasting on growth trajectory: Only 6% of marketers are involved with podcasting, yet 21% plan on increasing their podcasting activities in 2014—a more than three-fold increase—and 28% of marketers want to learn more about it
  • Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for marketers. When forced to only select one platform, 54% of marketers selected Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 17%.
  • Most marketers aren’t sure their Facebook marketing is effective: Only 34% of marketers (slightly more than one in three) think that their Facebook efforts are effective.
  • Original written content is most important for social media marketing: A significant 58% of marketers stated that original written content is the single most important form of content, followed by original visual assets (19%).

Growth is also taking place in mobile technology, with increasingly advanced devices and more and more apps available. Tablets are growing in the market and there is increasing use of mobile broadband, enabled by unlimited data usage plans.

Social Media Disasters

As social media usage in marketing has grown, knowledge of its effective use has been imperfect and this has resulted in some embarrassing and sometimes humourous episodes.

Price Chopper, a US supermarket, tried to silence one of their critics with negative results:

A number of celebrities supported a campaign based on their fans paying money to charity to resurrect them from “digital death” which embarrassingly failed to attract significant interest:

Groupon’s Superbowl ads were widely recognised as being in bad taste and quickly withdrawn:

Groupon Rainforest:

Groupon Tibet:

Groupon Whales

Meanwhile Kenneth Cole’s tweet about the demonstrations in Cairo was widely criticised:

This week we have looked at how social media is transforming marketing. We looked at the statistics on changing tends in social media usage. Canada’s leading role in this area was identified and the Social Media Marketing report looked at how marketers view social media today. We considered video and mobile social media, areas of rapid growth today. Finally, we looked at social media disasters.

Further content on the use of Social Media in Business Performance is available on the website that supports my course on this topic:


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