Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Social Media as a Means to Connect with Consumers

Social Media as a Means to Connect with Consumers

Ratings: (0)|Views: 6 |Likes:
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Thomas Haddock. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann M. Torres in the category of Business & Economics
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Thomas Haddock. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann M. Torres in the category of Business & Economics

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

02/28/2014

 
 
Social Media as a Means to Connect with Consumers
INTRODUCTION
More and more, firms are turning their backs on traditional sources of media and focusing their effortson taking advantage of the developments in social media as a means of connecting with theirconsumers. One study (Barnes and Mattson, 2008) has found that the fastest growing companies, Inc.500, are more likely to be engaged in the use of social media as a means to reach customers than moreestablished Fortune 500 companies. By utilising new technologies firms are increasingly able toidentify and target specific segments of their target market with more appropriate messages which
meet the consumers‟ personal needs. This allows firms to build brand awareness and to nurture a
relationship be
tween the consumers and the brand. Vargo and Lusch (2004) commented “
The focus isshifting away from tangibles and toward intangibles, such as skills, information, and knowledge, andtoward interactivity and connectivity and on-going relationships
”.
 One company which is at the forefront of social media promotion is the Ultimate Fighting
Championship. The UFC is the worlds‟ premier Mixed Martial Arts organisation, a private company,
with an estimated worth of over $1 billion. As a relatively new sport, MMA has developed in syncwith the new technologies of the digital age. The majority of fans are in the 18-34 demographic andare tech savvy. UFC President Dana White is an outspoken proponent of social media. His officialtwitter has over 1.3million followers and he regularly responds to fans tweets concerning both hisown company and his competition. The UFC holds approximately twenty live events per year and inthe week preceding these events Dana White records himself for his online blog, which regularlyreceives hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
ADVANTAGES
In mid-January of 2011 the UFC announced a deal with Facebook which allowed them to streamseveral untelevised undercard fights live on their Facebook page. In order to view these fightsconsum
ers had to log into Facebook and „like‟ the UFC page. According to Mendoza (2011) this dealnetted the UFC approximately 66,000 „likes‟ for their page in just one weekend. This represents a
huge potential for reaching new customers as people may see a lot of their friends liking a page andthen they themselves may view the page. By giving away these fights free of charge they are hopingto encourage people to purchase their Pay-Per-Views. Many fans who may not have consideredpurchasing the P.P.V.s may have their opinion changed by a particularly exciting fight which they seefor free. This also, potentially, allows the UFC to gain access to the demographics of those who haveviewed the fights on their page, as Facebook users usually log in with their real identity. This wouldprovide them with invaluable marketing data about their consumers.
 
 
2 |
Page
 
Dana White uses his Twitter account as a means of generating interest in the live events which theUFC puts on in multiple states in the U.S. as well as in several countries throughout the world. Oftenin the days preceding an event he will twitter his location in the host city and then give out free ticketsto the first of his followers to reach the location. White (2010) recounts a story in which he was tryingto quant
ify the power of Twitter and he‟ tweeted‟ his location in Montreal. Within 36 seconds the first
person had arrived and within minutes there were hundreds. This shows the immediacy of socialmedia, and the speed with which messages can be disseminated. It is also invaluable to them inkeeping fans up to date on news about the events, as injuries often lead to changes in the bouts beingpresented.The capability to log and record those who purchase your product is an invaluable tool as it allows theproduct t
o be more tailored for the market‟s needs. As Verhoef 
et al
 put it “non
-transactional
customer behaviour is likely to become more important in the near future”. This is because the cost of 
recruiting new customers is higher than the cost of retaining older customers, particularly when theorganisation has reliable information about their needs. This allows the organisation to adapt itsproduct fairly easily in response to customer feedback as social media also allows for immediateresponses from consumers. For example, on numerous occasions, the UFC has changed scheduledfights following negative reaction on Twitter. White (2010) commented "People have been saying onmy Twitter that they're not happy with that fight. It's something I need to rethink." White has beenknown to engage in arguments with his followers on Twitter on the merits of his product, and has alsobeen critical of some of his own employees. This honesty and openness has won him criticism andadmiration in equal measure, but it only goes to further strengthen the relationship between hiscompany and the consumers.Kane
et al
(2009) believe that “
Community members using social media tools and features establishmultifaceted relationships that are far richer than those in earlier-generation online communities
”. By
engaging with the fans, White helps to make them feel like they are an important part of the equationand that he is listening to their feedback, regardless of whether or not he agrees with it. Thisrepresents a different dynamic to the owners of other similarly sized companies in terms of accessibility, which helps to cultivate a community atmosphere among the fans, which in turn helps tostrengthen brand loyalty.One of the main concerns with social media promotions is measuring the return on investment and
determining whether or not a course of action was successful. As Sinickas puts it “It‟s not about howmany people are reading your corporate blog, it‟s about who‟s reading it”. It is in this aspect that
social media appear to hold an advantage over traditional forms of promotion. Not only can thenumbers of people viewing the media be calculated but they can also determine the numbers who acton the media and proceed to make a purchase. For example the UFC Facebook features a link which
 
 
3 |
Page
 
allows users to purchase tickets to live events. As most methods of communication used in socialmedia are relatively cheap to use, the only real investment is in the time required to monitor themedia. However, this is a vital investment, as the Brand can be damaged by rumours and gossip. Thisis a serious issue online where anonymity can lead to people making unsubstantiated claims withoutany basis in fact.
DRAWBACKS
However, there are also several pitfalls of which marketers should be aware when it comes to socialmedia.
According to RIMS “
The risks are similar to those that companies have always faced --reputation damage, legal liability and employee workplace issues to name a few. The difference is thatsocial media risks occur on a platform that is unfamiliar to many of those in management
”. As a result
of this organisations need to be creative in the way in which they manage the risks associated. Theyshould be proactive in implementing policies which address these issues and ensuring that allemployees are aware of these new directives.
According to Helm and Jones “Bad news can now
spread lik 
e wildfire and severely damage a brands
reputation and equity more widely and rapidly than ever
”. This was blatantly evident when Dana
White, a polarising and often controversial figure, posted a video on YouTube in response to anarticle written on an online MMA forum. The video was obscenity filled and derogatory towards theauthor of the article, and garnered the UFC much negative publicity in the media. This highlights theneed for adequate media training as the emergence of immediate social media has changed the way inwhich corporations, and their employees, interact with the public.Iwata (2010) recognised that employee use of social media exposed the company to a reputation risk that should be considered an enterprise-level threat. In response to this, and other similar incidents,the UFC has hired a PR firm (Digital Royalty) to teach its fighters to use social media properly. Thisis a focused training effort to help the organisation to avoid unnecessary negative media. This hasresulted in many of the fighters starting Twitter accounts and YouTube blogs which are a means forthe fighters to increase their fan bases. The UFC website features links to both fighters and fansTwitter accounts on its homepage. This shows that organisations not only recognise the importance of social media, but also the need for proper use of said media, as it holds many potential challenges thatdo not exist with other more established means of communication.From the consumers point of view social media has become an extremely important tool in how theymake their purchase decisions. Whereas previously consumers had only the limited pool of theirfriends and acquaintances reviews and official media releases, to evaluate a product, there are nownumerous sources of information available. Online forums and blogs allow for critical review of products and services from people who have purchased the products. This represents a new direction

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->