These days, it seems that every company is reaching out to customers with multiple websites, newsy tweets and Facebook pages, viral ads and videos posted on YouTube, rich-media emails, and mobile apps that solve consumer problems and help them shop. At the most basic level, marketers set up company and brand websites that provide information and promote the company’s products. Many of these sites also serve as online brand communities, where customers can congregate and exchange brand-related interests and information. For example, Mountain Dew’s “This Is How We Dew” site serves as a lifestyle hub where the brand’s super-passionate fans can check out the latest Mountain Dew ads and videos, vote on new flavours, follow the adventures of Mountain Dew’s amateur skateboarding team, “chase the taste” with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., or just check out the Mountain Dew product lineup. Beyond brand sites, most companies are also integrating social and mobile media into their marketing mixes. Social Media Marketing
It’s hard to find a brand site, or even a traditional media ad, that doesn’t feature links to the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media sites. Social media provide exciting opportunities to extend customer engagement and get people talking about a brand. Nearly 90 percent of all U.S. companies now use social media as part of their marketing mixes. By various estimates, social media spending accounts for about 10 percent of marketing budgets and will rise to an estimated nearly 20 percent within the next five years. Some social media are huge—Facebook has more than 1 billion members; Twitter has more than 316 million active users per month. Reddit, the online social news community, has nearly 63 million unique visitors a month from 174 countries. But more focused social media sites are also thriving, such as CafeMom, an online community of 10 million moms who exchange advice, entertainment, and commiseration at the community’s online, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and mobile sites. Online social networks provide a digital home where people can connect and share important information and moments in their lives. Using social media might involve something as simple as a contest or promotion to garner Facebook Likes, tweets, or YouTube postings. For example, when Boylan Bottling Company ran Facebook promotions giving free bottles of its Shirley Temple soda to consumers who shared the promotion with others, Facebook chatter about the brand jumped to five times the normal volume. But more than just Likes, tweets, or video posts, the goal of most social media campaigns is social sharing: getting people to talk with others and pass along their positive brand experiences. As Boylan Bottling’s CEO puts it, “We’ve done some advertising to get Facebook Likes . . . but we’ve found that Facebook is a better place to percolate a frenzy around our brand.” Method, maker of eco-friendly household cleaning and personal care
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