Sunday, October 27, 2013

Social Media Marketing Strategy @ Coca-Cola – Coke Facebook Strategy

Coca-Cola has built an active presence on various social media platforms without much effort by the company as the brand is hugely popular and integral part of the daily lives of the people across the world. Moreover Coca-Cola’s customers themselves have been active on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, etc.  A key step forward was made I the year 2012 when the company announced Content marketing Strategy 2020 where in the company moved from moving from “Creative Excellence” to “Content Excellence” Creative excellence has always been at the heart of Coca Cola’s advertising particularly the 30 second Television Ads and they have decided that content is now the key to marketing in the 21st century on a social web. Consumer engagement and collaboration model was adopted where in Consumers ideas, creativity and conversations on various social networks are tracked and use them to increase brand visibility and market the products. The purpose of content excellence is to create “Ideas” that are viral and uncontrolled which is called “liquid content”. Coca-Cola adopted 70/20/10 Investment principle to creating “Liquid content“, 70% of content should be low risk that pays the rent and is bread and butter marketing (also easy to do and consumes 50% of time), 20% of content creation should innovate off what works and 10% of content marketing is high risk ideas that may be tomorrows 70% or 20% or will fail.

The Coca-Cola Facebook Page is a collection of customer stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today. Most of the content on the page is consumer created and the company’s focus is on maintaining the brand image and raising awareness of its ad campaigns. Coca-Cola, which joined Facebook in 2008, has garnered close to 75 million likes by engaging customers and fans actively and less focus on product promotion and more on its fans. Coca-Cola's success has been achieved through statuses, updates, videos and photos that increase customer engagement and interaction, supporting various social causes and integrating other forms of social media. Apart from promoting the widely popular Polar Bears campaigns, Olympics and Euro 2012 ad campaigns, Coke’s social team post questions and run polls often, but pictures and photos that are shared generate significant response from fans in terms of comments and ‘likes’. Coca-Cola also has a number of Facebook apps, including one called ‘When will happiness strike’ that is basically a video real of its ads and another called ‘Ahh Giver’ that allows users to send a personalised message and a free Coke to a Facebook friend. Coca-Cola also has Facebook pages for its other products such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero, however these have far fewer fans. But interesting fact is that Coca Cola did not start the Facebook page first, it was started by the company fans, and it is created by its loyal consumers. It all changed when Facebook introduced new rules which mandated that brand pages must be administered by the brands themselves and Coke decided to keep the existing page but manage it themselves rather that they starting a new page. Coca-Cola realized the fact that only traditional advertising is no longer relevant it has to be supported by active social media presence where customers actively engage by sharing opinions, videos, stories and photos and this highlights the fact that the company cares. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Social Media Marketing Strategy@ IBM LinkedIn Strategy

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking site also one of the major social media platforms that companies across the world use to engage with customers, industry experts and others and also utilize LinkedIn to share brand marketing, company values, and product updates, with potential partners, investors, and customers. Initially most of the companies utilized LinkedIn for recruiting purposes like posting job opportunities, identifying talent and verifying the backgrounds. In a study carried by data analytics firm, Simply Measured, IBM has emerged as the top brand with maximum – 6,052 – number of engagements. IBM shares relevant industry articles to engage computing professionals.

IBM LinkedIn page has close to 1.5 million followers and millions of interactions every year. The company uses LinkedIn to let audience know happenings within the organization, and it also posts articles from around the Web on IBM-relevant topics. Topics like Big Data, Cloud Computing, Research, Innovation, latest product launches, etc. are all covered on the LinkedIn page. Followers comment on the updates and posts, like them and even start their own discussion threads that leads to the millions of interactions that makes IBM the most active company on LinkedIn. IBM promotes its services under the products and services tab, where various products like IBM Training and IBM Software are recommended by LinkedIn users.

For IBM LinkedIn is a crucial social media platform, both as a content channel and a discussion forum for IBM employees to actively engage with customers. “We are finding LinkedIn to be a promising content platform as opposed to just a recruiting platform,” said Ethan McCarty is the Director, Enterprise Social Strategy and Programs for IBM. “Usage of the site is trending a lot more toward professional content consumption – it’s not videos of cats. The fact is, people behave differently on different networks,” says McCarty. “On Twitter we try to structure content around an impactful headline. In [the Facebook] context, people want to talk about less technical topics and more societal impact kind of work. When it comes to LinkedIn, we tend to get deeper into the professional details. If you’re going into a community that’s all about smarter water management, we feel pretty confident about putting more technical water management content in there.”” he says in an interview with Lauren McKay, eMarketer.

LinkedIn Groups play a crucial role in pushing IBM content towards an important and informed expert audience with an advantage of pushing IBM employees to the forefront in engaging with customers and generating opportunities directly. “What’s nice and distinctive about LinkedIn is we can really emphasize interactions with IBM experts and the content they create,” says McCarty. LinkedIn is a perfect ecosystem for IBM as it includes discussion groups, recommendation ads, thousands of job postings, updates, comments, shares  and other forms of social display advertising that is generating significant return on investment for IBM and it also meets the fundamentals of IBM social media strategy of reach, engagement, amplification and conversion.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Social Media Marketing Strategy @ IBM – Active Listening & Employee driven

IBM had restructured its Marketing Teams with a focus of increased presence and engagement with customers on various social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google hangouts, etc. Social Media will supplement traditional marketing channels in improving further its product, brand and channel marketing strategy in future, according to Ed Abrams, IBM Midmarket Business Vice President. Marketing Teams were retrained to use social media channels, understand the company guidelines that need to follow while on various social media platforms and drive demand for IBM’s products and services along with actively listening and engaging with customers and prospective customers. The success of the IBM social media marketing strategy can be attributed to the training that was given to the marketing teams as it is very essential for the marketing managers to have right skills to actively engage with customers on various social media platforms and any mistakes or wrong moves will out rightly affect the brand image of IBM. IBM employees are trained and validated before allowing them to engage with customers on social media platforms.

IBM social media training for employees includes how to get started on various social media platforms and improve their skills blogging, tweeting and using other social media to share their expertise and connect with IBM customers. IBM’s social media marketing strategy is based on fundamental of   “active listening” on social media channels, understand the customer concerns, gather details, in case of prospective customers initiate the fist contact and providing content that is relevant. “In that context, we’ll deliver proof points, access to experts and expertise to solve IT problems of our audience,” Abrams said. “IBM wants to be responsive to our customers,” Abrams said. “We’re out there with our own tools listening to conversations going on in social stratosphere. We’re building a library of influencers who in real time can get involved in those conversations to provide content.” With social media, IBM’s positioning and market direction can be altered quickly: “You have options for the 8-minute, 8-hour or 8-day reaction,” Abrams said in an interview with The VAR Guy.

IBM has decentralized its social media and content marketing by relying on the employees particularly the specialists and subject matter experts related to various technologies and products from across the company and including their personal blogs, tweets and posts into the company’s marketing mix, crucial success factor. Employee engagement is at the heart of how IBM creates great experiences for its customers, explained Ethan McCarty, IBM’s director of enterprise social programs. “We want to create the most innovative, leading-edge experiences” for customers with employees actively engaged in the process. IBM’s social team that includes the HR and legal teams too have been working develop a program to encourage employees to actively participate and proactively manage their digital footprint. It all started in 2005 when the company internally crowd sourced “blogging guidelines” which were necessitated by the fact that employees then were actively engaged on both internal and external blogs and over period of time these guidelines ultimately became the social media policy of IBM that included various other platforms along with blogs and wikis. IBM is having positive returns by allowing the employees discuss and link to IBM products on their blogs and social media posts. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Social Media Marketing Strategy @ Kentucky Fried Chicken- Customer Service & Engagement

Kentucky Fried Chicken has been actively and aggressively using the various social media platforms to promote their menu offerings, promotions, contests, new product launches and most importantly focusing on the freshness and juiciness of their chicken compared to its competitors “It’s really about connecting with fans and making sure the brand remains relevant,” said Rick Maynard, manager of public relations at KFC. KFC is active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. and all of these channels play a crucial role in connecting with consumers all over the world. KFC has a highly loyal customer base who loves their food as they go to their restaurants across the world and also engage actively on various social media platforms. This prompted the company to actively build and maintain social media presence and engage with customers on day to day basis. Most of the fans, followers and likes that KFC garnered on various social media platforms are due to their loyal customer base and they did not spend much on building this except for occasional promotional offers and discounts to enhance customer engagement.

The KFC Facebook page has millions of likes, thousands of people talking about the company and thousands of them are checking in and updating their Facebook status. KFC has restaurants in more than 100 countries and KFC’s Facebook pages of specific countries highlight their international audience and customers actively post KFC-themed photos of their KFC restaurant visits from around the world. KFC only posts about 15-20% of promotional content and most of the posts are customer generated content uploaded and shared by customers mostly their experience in the KFC restaurants. The KFC Twitter feed has a good following and the focus is not on pushing sales but most of the tweets are related to genuine fun which most of the company fans appreciate and the two-way communication is working well for the company. Twitter campaign presented a high school senior with a $20,000 Colonel’s scholarship based on a 140-character Twitter application which also highlighted the Colonel Sanders’ dedication to kids and education. The company received nearly 3,000 tweet applications, national news coverage for the program that awards 75 $20,000 college scholarships each year.

KFC manages its corporate social media tools internally, with a cross-functional team and the strategy: to connect and engage with KFC followers, cultivate relationships and respond to any inquiries. Customers are actively contacting through social media platforms both positively and negatively which forced KFC to use social media for customer service purposes. The company does not remove negative posts and if any customer posts a negative comment/post via social media instead of a phone, company ask for details, handle it and thank them for bringing it to our attention. Since customers are looking for quick response on social media platforms the company has exclusive people online for customers’ service during all normal business hours. KFC sees the social media scene as more of an opportunity to interact and engage their customers, not much focus is placed on the return on investment the activity generates. We don’t get a lot of pressure to justify [the return on investment]. It’s a very important customer-service element, and that’s enough for us. It’s about cultivating relationships, and that has a real business output,” Maynard said.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Social Media Strategy @ McDonald’s – Real time monitoring & quick response

McDonald’s engages actively with their customers and fans actively on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. and is a complex task for the company to do so as it operates in 118 countries across the world. Company has to make sure it is sending a consistent and uniform message to its customers across the globe.  According to McDonald's Global Director of Digital and Social Media Sosti Ropaitis, McDonald’s is global decentralized brand and the local marketing teams within each market take their own decisions exclusively for those markets. It is even more required because of the social, cultural changes that each market has and also the different menus that company customizes according to each market requirements. But the company headquarters will take care of the global campaigns related to global sporting events like Olympics and World Cups. Some of the regional or country specific campaigns like the McDonald’s Canada Campaign “Our Food. Your Questions” giving people a chance to ask the company anything about its food are highly successful.

Real time monitoring is essential part of McDonald’s Social Media strategy. Every month, McDonald's tracks between 2.5 million and 3 million conversations on social media sites in an effort to identify consumer trends. The company uses tools like Radian6 and Sprout Social that helped in increase the speed and visibility of certain issues as they emerge.The company relies on true engagement, which is a function of content, context and timeliness. Lot of time is spent on creating real-time content; create unique transparent campaigns that connect with audiences. Internally with the help of Legal teams, company developed guidelines that help in taking advantage of real-time marketing opportunities like celebrities walking into McDonald’s Restaurants and taking pictures with the company products or tweeting about their experience with McDonald’s, the company retweet the original tweet without adding anything to the tweet.

McDonald’s adopted the constant test-and-learn mode, wherein the company tests and evaluates the different marketing messages whenever they are rolling a new product. Company constantly talks about the various attributes of the product rather than the product itself and this engagement drives significant volumes for the new product. Quick response is also essential for the company to survive as the customers have to be answered and also the company needs to control the social conversations across the various social media platforms. McDonald’s also had certain bad experiences earlier with their social media campaigns and the company seems to have learnt lesson and realized the fact that it is better to keep a constant monitoring on the social conversations and respond as and when there is a negative conversation and try contain the damage or else the company’s brand reputation will take a beating. The biggest learning from McDonald’s Strategy is that for quick response on social media platforms first social conversations have to be monitored on a day to day basis and create an internal framework, guidelines and teams that can respond without wasting time. 

Social Media Marketing Strategy Case Study – Intel Inc. presence on Facebook, YouTube

Intel was one of the first companies that adopted social media, actively present on major social media platforms like Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and also uses social network styled platforms both internally to engage with employees and externally to engage with community. The company currently has 75 Intel-related accounts with nearly 180,000 followers. The company has 19 different topical or regional blogs. The company has 11 communities in several different languages plus software community for developers. Intel’s Facebook presence comprises 50 Facebook Fan Pages in different countries, led by, which has 1.5 million fans, plus a YouTube Intel Channel. The company is everywhere - blogs, Facebook (close to 23 million likes, close to 400,000 people are talking about the company on Facebook), Twitter (close to 2.2 million followers, more than 400 tweets and more than 1,150 followers!), YouTube (2 channels, close to 5,000 videos, more than 45 million video views and close to 63,000 subscribers!), Instagram (more than 200 posts and close to 6,000 followers), Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Intel Free Press is a tech news site from Intel Corporation, covering technology and innovation stories focused on people, technology, events and topics relevant to Intel and the computing industry.

Under Intel’s global social media strategist, Ekaterina Walter leadership, Intel has seen a good 10% to 12% monthly fan base growth. Her principles for Facebook engagement include original content, not just automated, and original videos, not just YouTube links. In August 2012, Intel’s campaign “How computers were made” post on Facebook attracted 102,5K+ likes in a week since it was published on August 9. More than 34,069 people have chosen to share the link, while 3,258 commented on it. 80%, of the conversations around Intel and products happen on blogs and twitter. Facebook usage within the business has also increased with 250 individually created and managed pages which was becoming difficult to co-ordinate and manage multi market campaigns. After reviewing 250 Facebook pages  and 250 Twitter handles/account  presence,  Intel took the decision to alter their social media strategy from being decentralized to a centralized global strategy supported by internal guidelines, training programs, content editorial, publishing schedules, supplemented by a suite of publishing Vitrue, listening, Radian6, & internal reporting tools. This centralized strategy allows them to listen and respond globally, locally or to individuals, based on the context of the conversation.

Intel’s marketing is not just about hardware, chips and engineering--“experience” is the new focus.  "People don’t buy processors…they buy experiences," said David Veneski U.S. Media Director, at Intel Corporation. “You need to turn a moment into a momentum, and a momentum into a movement,” Veneski said. Projects like Intel’s Museum of Me use social media to encourage users to create a “visual archive of their social life.” Another campaign, “Intel Ultrabook Temptations” is a collaborative social experiment to assess how desperate people will be to get their hands on the product. In this experiment users are encouraged to jump around on a custom-built measurement device to generate their “excitement” rating and the event is captured on video and shared socially as the feature on Intel’s YouTube page.

“The focus has shifted from being iconic to posting a status update," said Veneski which makes Intel more humanized and relatable to the consumer. Intel is embracing social media and using it as a key element to understand the driving factors behind day-to-day experiences. Intel’s products are at the core of technologies that people use, and users like to capture those experiences, talk about them, and share them with friends, families and others. Through blogs, video, and social networks like Twitter, Intel is actively onboarding new customers’ faster and strengthening relationships with existing customers. Like most companies, the online community was initially built by marketing. "It is integrated into our marketing plan," explains Laurie Buczek, who heads enterprise marketing for Intel's Storage Group and works closely with the leaders of Intel's 3,000 to 4,000 salespeople. Intel also uses YouTube, which enables product managers to vividly demonstrate new technologies and Twitter (@Intel). Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence sets the strategy and guidelines for all social media content across the company’s far-reaching locations and business units. 

Social Media Recruitment Strategy Case Study: Accenture Plc.

Social media has become an essential and powerful recruiting tool available for HR managers and also changed the recruitment process by bringing relationships to the forefront. There is great value in leveraging this tool just because of its natural potential to multiply connections, build viral networks and reach talent faster. The use of social media as a recruitment tool has taken off in recent years with a number of high-profile companies like Accenture, Infosys, Burger King, Reckitt Benckiser, SABMiller, etc. using it to recruit talent for their companies. According to Suzy Style, Accenture's UK recruitment director, the professional services company turned to social media including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to adopt a more aggressive recruitment strategy to find talent. "There is a global war for talent and we believe that to [gain an advantage companies need to] develop long-term relationships with candidates. Social networking sites are one of the key enablers in achieving this," Style says. The popularity of social networks among graduates is one of the reasons the company started to test social media in the recruitment process.
"We're advertising all our roles through social networking and particularly in experienced-hire recruiting on sites such as LinkedIn and what we're finding is [LinkedIn] particularly plays to the strengths of some groups," Accenture's Style says. "We're actively involved with some groups - SAP professionals for example - and we're seeing an increasing number of people using it as part of their strategy to find jobs." This highlights the fact that Social Media also plays a crucial role in recruiting experienced hires too. But it's not just the big names using social sites to access a new talent pool. According to LinkedIn, smaller companies are using the professional networking site's tools to recruit new talent, along with more than 25 per cent of the FTSE 100 in the UK and 50 per cent of the Fortune 100 in the US. "In terms of company size, we have everything from companies with £100bn valuations to agencies and clients that have two or three people," says Ariel Eckstein, LinkedIn's MD of hiring solutions Europe.
According to John Campagnino, senior director of recruiting at Accenture, they are saving over $100,000 for a senior hire by using social media. He estimates that Accenture will make 40% of its hires in the next few years using social media. When recruiting through Social Media platforms HR managers have to know what tools to use for recruiting what type of talent. Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs are all separate tools that may warrant different approaches. Accenture's Style says: "You might find that a graduate is more likely to be using Facebook for example and an experienced hire might be more likely to be using LinkedIn, so it's ensuring that you look at the channels for the best way to reach the people that you need."
Accenture has an employee referral program that is the management consulting company's primary source for talent. "[The] program allows employees to search for open jobs around the world and share them with their network through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter," says Accenture's global head of sourcing, Sjoerd Gehring."Employees can track the status of their referral through their personalized employee referral site. Through integrated communication campaigns we've been able to significantly drive up the volume and quality of employee referrals." Accenture people play an important role in our recruitment efforts because our employees know Accenture well and can . . . help find the right person for the right role. Employee referrals are also a cost-effective way to fuel growth."  
In the past 3-4 years, Social Media recruiting has gained prominence and HR Managers are using social media sites for both checking the prospective employee backgrounds and also using the data provided on sites like LinkedIn in their recruitment process. The second aspect of social media recruitment is the distribution of information relating to job openings and requirements through 2nd degree network referral effect like Facebook’s “Like” and “Share” buttons, Twitter’s “ReTweets” and LinkedIn’s that allow rapid spreading of content (i.e. jobs and candidate referrals) to second and third degree networks, that also pushes message out to a much larger and more qualified audience. Another big advantage is the low cost factor as most of the social media sites are free to sign up and also charge lesser amounts of sign up fees which will definitely help the companies to save money on recruitment processes. But the fact remains that social media recruitment is a good option but companies still have to rely on traditional sources of recruitment for majority of their recruitment and for best results they should maintain a best mix of both the types of recruitment.