Social Media Campaigns & the Consumer Voice: A Reflection of Chapters 9-12

From going viral to listening to customer feedback, chapters 9-12 in the Stukent online textbook discuss the several variables to consider when operating social media advertising campaigns and listening to what consumers have to say.

For this week’s blog post, I decided to summarize the key concepts the above mentioned chapters discussed, and what those topics mean for consumers and marketers alike.

The Process of Going Viral

Going viral, which is when information is quickly and widely shared among the masses, is a big determining factor for a product’s success after its launch. This process is known as the Viral Cycle Timeline, and it happens as such:

  1. A consumer sees an app/product
  2. The consumer tries it out
  3. The consumer officially becomes a customer after deciding they like it and wants to invite friend(s)
  4. They invite their friend(s)
  5. Friend(s) receives the invite/recommendation
  6. Friend(s) decides to check it out

And thus, the cycle repeats.

The author notes that sharing with others should be easy and drive conversion or adoption of whatever is being shared because the overarching goal is to gain as many new customers as fast as possible. The easier something is to share and use, the more likely that your campaign will be successful.

Viral Marketing Campaigns

Traditional marketing campaigns, which solely rely on the WOM communication between consumers after marketing information is delivered to them, are no longer as successful as they used to be. To catch up with the times, marketers have developed VMCs (Viral Marketing Campaigns). VMCs involve companies sending samples or trials of their products to people dubbed as ‘seeds’, who are known for having high opportunities for content sharing and engagement (social hub and social pumps). The seeds will then promote the brand by sharing a photo or video about the products/services to their own audience on social media (i.e. the masses). For what purpose? You guessed it: making the brand go viral.

Creating a viral marketing campaign isn’t an easy or predictable achievement. But if your campaign does go viral, it can mean thousands or even millions of new people being introduced to your brand and buying your products[…]

Kristin Baker

Because information from a social source is considered more influential than information directly from a company, and the cost for reaching and converting a consumer segment is lower on social media channels than traditional channels, VMCs happen to be very popular. For more on VMCs, visit The Ultimate Guide to Viral Marketing Campaigns by Kristin Baker.

Social Media Marketing Research

Traditional marketing research tactics, like paying consumers to be in case studies or to complete surveys, are expensive and don’t allow for an unfiltered or candid “customer voice.” Social media marketing research, on the other hand, involves companies using technology to collect samples of relevant engagement metrics (e.g. likes, comments, reposts/shares) on social media channels and analyzing them. Some companies like Starbucks, for example, use a crowd-sourcing approach and encourage customers to suggest product ideas and improvements.

Starbucks allows their customers to send in their suggestions for new drinks, food, or other products and services.

However, there are many considerations to be made regarding social media marketing research. A few are:

  • Engagement metrics sample might be taken up by an extremely vocal minority
  • It works best for large well-known consumer-facing brands
  • Sentiment scoring and natural language processing (NLP) algorithms are only about 75% accurate
  • Data can be skewed if the keywords that are being searched for are generic or used often outside of mentions of the brand

Network Externality and Monitoring Customer Feedback

Network externality is when the utility or enjoyment a customer derives from a product/service depends on whether other people use it, too. Products that are inherently social (meant to be shared with others) motivate people to recruit friends and family to try it out as well. However, just because other people interact with a product or service, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll like it more. In fact, sometimes we end up liking it less!

“Yet another Tik Tok video posted onto Facebook… man, I am getting really tired of that app.”

You may now realize how difficult it is for companies to know exactly what consumers think of their brand and its offering. A brand’s reputation is constantly at the whim of what their customers and other consumers think and say. For brands to control their reputation, they must monitor customer feedback. According to the textbook, “responding to customer feedback should be seen as an opportunity to contribute toward marketing objectives and generate value.” A lot is at stake when companies reply to customer feedback on social media because these interactions are public, so they need to answer the following questions after evaluating the consequences and benefits of action or inaction:

  • Who will handle their social media channels and who will respond to customers?
  • What types of feedback should be responded to or ignored?
  • What type of responses should be given?

Conclusion

Chapters 9 through 12 all mention the importance and value of WOM (word of mouth) communication between customers. Companies can utilize this kind communication to increase awareness of their brand (see “Viral Cycle Timeline”) and foster a positive/trustworthy reputation with helpful and considerate customer service. This helps brands stay on top of their game and achieve their marketing objectives.

What I like the most about social media is that it has given consumers a voice to let each other (and marketers by extension) know what they think about a new product or service. Social media strengthens the relationship between brands and customers in world with so many options, and that is why it is an extremely valuable tool.