Ellie-Brown - How implementing social media strategies(the right way attracts customer loyalty A Directed Research Project Submitted to The Faculty of

Ellie-Brown - How implementing social media strategies(the...

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1 How implementing social media strategies (the right way) attracts customer loyalty A Directed Research Project Submitted to: The Faculty of the Public Communication Graduate Program School of Communication American University Washington, D.C. In Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts By: Ellie Brown April 2010
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2 Abstract Social media is transforming the way the public and brands interact. Marketing strategies that once included careful message development broadcast to mass audiences, are now giving way to the idea that the public is a co-creator of brand messages and a trustworthy promotion channel. Two-way interpersonal communication is re-emerging as a necessary strategy for engaging a public growing increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing tactics. Despite its emerging popularity, many brands are wary to invest the time to participate in social media because it remains unproven if social media engagement translates into increased sales. However, the experiences of three well-known brands, Ford, Chevrolet and Starbucks, show that brands can increase sales if their social media strategies build brand loyalty though the cultivation of reciprocal relationships and appropriate interaction within their social networks. Purchasing behavior is supported by inclusion in branded social media marketing strategies that encourage the promotion of guided messages.
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3 Contents Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 4 Literature Review ............................................................................................................................ 6 Word-of-Mouth Marketing ...................................................................................................... 7 Opinion Leadership ................................................................................................................. 9 Diffusion of Innovation ......................................................................................................... 10 Social Influence and Size of Networks .................................................................................. 11 Weak Ties .............................................................................................................................. 12 Case Study Analysis ..................................................................................................................... 13 Ford Fiesta Movement .............................................................................................................. 13 Background ............................................................................................................................ 14 Social Media Strategy Details ............................................................................................... 14 Results ................................................................................................................................... 17 Additional Components ......................................................................................................... 18 Analysis/Conclusions ............................................................................................................ 19 Chevy Tahoe “Create your own ad” Campaign ........................................................................ 22 Background ............................................................................................................................ 22 Social Media Strategy Details ............................................................................................... 23 Results ................................................................................................................................... 23 Additional components .......................................................................................................... 25 Analysis/Conclusions ............................................................................................................ 26 Starbucks ................................................................................................................................... 28 Background ............................................................................................................................ 28 Social Media Strategy Details ............................................................................................... 29 Results ................................................................................................................................... 31 Analysis/Conclusions ............................................................................................................ 33 Discussion ..................................................................................................................................... 35 Cultivating Reciprocal Relationships Builds Brand Loyalty ................................................ 35 Sustainable Social Media Strategies ...................................................................................... 36 References ..................................................................................................................................... 37
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4 Introduction Is social media marketing here to stay? The tag “Follow us on Twitter” is becoming as commonplace as adding a website or a phone number to an advertisement to encourage people to find out more information. It seems like every brand has a Facebook page, and if they don’t there is a vocal group of “experts” pushing them to adopt social media as a communication and marketing strategy. Social media is a monetarily inexpensive, yet time-intensive medium that encompasses the coveted word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) technique for brands. Social media has been defined as the “use of technology to co - create, know, like, and trust.” Using tools such as blogs, social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter), social search/trending, book marking (e.g. del.icio.us, StumbledUpon), and video creation and sharing (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo), social media opens up new access points to reach targeted groups and
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