With more than 2 billion active social media users today which is further bound to grow, and with GenerationY spending most of their leisure time on these websites, it becomes important for the companies to connect with this audience in real-time online.
But, do these companies have certain objectives/strategies in place when they invest their time and money in this new marketing channel? Most of them do. Some may have 'brand awareness at minimal cost' in mind whereas the others may be seeking to create brand loyalty and customer retention by engaging with their customers on the social platforms most suited to them.
7 of the most popular strategies employed are described below, and reading them might change the way you think about future posts by brands. The classification also draws some ideas from the 'See-Think-Do-Care' model propounded by none other than Avinash Kaushik.
i) See Strategy:
Companies employ 'see' strategy in order to create a buzz around their brand, i.e., create online brand awareness. The 'See' audience is the largest audience pool which may or may not have any commercial intent. The posts are usually highly shareable and thus must be novel in the sense that either they should provide some new information or be funny.
Some of these shareable posts become 'viral' which bring huge ROIs to the brand, but you can never be sure beforehand whether the post would go viral. As your followers start sharing your posts with their online network, new netizens are introduced to your brand.
An example of this strategy is a post by Zomato (a restaurant search and discovery platform) below:
Zomato's 'See' Strategy
This facebook post by Zomato is aimed to naturally appeal to all Foodies without any deliberate attempt to link it to a transaction with Zomato. People come on Facebook to kill time and share good content with their friends, and Zomato is trying to become a part of this connection.
ii) Think Strategy:
A post with this strategy in mind is less shareable as compared to the one above with See strategy. 'Think' strategy is directed towards those users who have a commercial intent but not necessarily towards the brand in question. This strategy is used with an objective of further channelizing down the customer through the funnel towards 'Do' intent.
Again, an example from Zomato's Facebook Page is taken:
Zomato's Think Strategy
Here, the target audience is small in the sense that the post is useful for either the people living in Metro Manila or someone who is planning to visit the place soon. It could also be shared by a local user to let his/her network know about the legendary restaurants in town. However, there may or may not be any actual commercial transaction happening. Hence, it has less commercial value than 'Do' strategy which we will discuss next.
iii) Do Strategy:
Most of the companies come on Facebook with this strategy in mind, i.e., they want to push the users down the sales funnel as soon as possible. This is what brings the companies Returns on their Social Marketing Investments by directing user to either visit website pages (e.g. a content website) or conduct monetary transactions right then and there. The target audience is even smaller in this case and include only those who have a commercial intent towards the brand specifically. However, posting a lot of 'Do' strategy posts might annoy the broader target audience which comes under either 'See' strategy or 'Think' strategy, and hence the company should keep a balance between these different strategies.
An example could be additional discount given by an ecommerce website for a particular day. Customers with a commercial intent are incentivized to carry out their purchases on that day, even if they would have waited for the same had there been no added incentive in place. Hence, there is a clear 'Do' strategy.
Zomato's Do Strategy
Again, an example from Zomato's Page. What it wants through this post is for users to 'do' something - in this case, visit DailyObjects website and order an exclusive Zomato phone case. Someone who has a commercial intent at that point towards buying a phone case for his/her new smartphone might decide to go through the process.
iv) Care Strategy
This strategy is used by companies to create brand loyalty and retain customers who have carried out business with them or have been regular followers of their social media page.
Airbnb's Care Strategy
Someone who has liked Airbnb's Page must have either conducted business with them earlier and liked the experience to like them back on Facebook, or is a potential customer who would probably use Airbnb's services in future. Airbnb needs to generate content regularly for such users to constantly remind them of Airbnb by consuming some space in their News Feeds.
v) Customer Complaint Resolution (CCR)
In this digital age, customer is truly the king. He/she has many alternatives to choose from and doesn't take much time to move away from a brand if the customer expectations are not met. Thus, companies need to be highly customer-service oriented. With such an orientation in mind, a presence on social media provides companies an opportunity to address customer issues in real-time and try to give them a reason for not leaving the relationship.
Both Facebook and Twitter have been used by several organizations to resolve customer complaints by having a dedicated staff just for this purpose.
Oyo's CCR Strategy
As you can see, a representative of Oyo Rooms read the complaint, thought of an approriate response and replied back, all in 7 minutes. This will be a highly distinguishing factor for companies trying to ensure high levels of customer service.
vi) Online Reputation/ Crisis Management
Some companies might see no value in social media marketing as of now. They might see no significant ROIs in any of the above strategies mentioned. However, today anything can go viral within hours through social media. For example, if a person posts online a picture of rotten product at a food chain outlet, there's a high likelihood of it going viral and thus could suck significant business out of the company in question.
A company which has a social presence might be better equipped to handle such crisis before it becomes unmanageable, both in terms of its detection and formulating appropriate responsive strategy. Hence, at least for all big companies, crisis management provides an ample enough reason for them to be present on social media.
Many companies have joined and created their profiles on Linkedin. Why? Because Linkedin has become such a huge repository of resumes that it becomes quite convenient for companies to find the right candidate for them. And, in this age of talent management and acquisition, it becomes even more strategically important for companies to hire the perfect candidate.
Airbnb's Recruitment Strategy
So, these were some of the important strategies which companies have in mind when deciding to have a presence on social media.
If we talk about the type of content being shared by companies on say Facebook, then it can be generally said an image/infographic mostly comes under See Strategy, whereas a shared link comes under Do Strategy. Content Websites mostly use Do Strategy as their main goal is to drive website traffic, for e.g., Indian Express would mostly be posting links of their website articles on Facebook to drive Social traffic to their website (this social traffic also provides a boost in SEO). However, most of the companies use an integrated approach with all the above mentioned strategies in place.