Social media marketing is entering the marketing mainstream with heavy hitters such as Ford, Pepsi, and Best Buy investing significant percentages of their marketing budgets on social media. These companies have successfully capitalized on social media to bolster their reputation as well as their bottom lines.
With the anticipated launch of the Ford Fiesta, Ford created a social media campaign to create consumer buzz for the new car using multiple social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. The strategy revolved around a concept called the Ford Fiesta Movement in which Ford selected 100 individuals who were highly active on social media channels. Ford then provided them with the Fiesta 18 months prior to its release in the United States. Ford encouraged them to share their experience with the Fiesta over six months on their blogs and on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
The results of Ford’s social media campaign are impressive:
Ford was able to create viral awareness without one dollar of their traditional marketing budget spent. Perhaps most impressive of all are the 50,000 people who saw the car and were interested in learning more about it, particularly considering that 97% of them didn’t drive a Ford vehicle at the time.
In Super Bowl ads from 1999 to 2009, Pepsi spent over $142 million, but in 2010, Pepsi took the bold step of declining to run Super Bowl ads for the first time in 23 years. Instead, Pepsi chose to invest $20 million in a social media campaign called The Pepsi Refresh Project.
Pepsi Refresh involves requesting submissions for ideas that will benefit the arts, education, or the community, or meet a Pepsi Challenge. Those who submit ideas then promote them to the user community and seek votes. Submissions that get enough votes to become a finalist are eligible to receive $5,000 and $50,000 in funding from Pepsi.
Within nine months after launch, more people have voted for projects pitched to Pepsi Refresh than voted for the last U.S. president. The campaign registered over 80 million votes and generated almost 3.5 million “likes” on the Pepsi Facebook page and almost 60,000 Twitter followers.
Best Buy’s Twelpforce is described as “a collective force of Best Buy technology pros offering tech advice in Tweet form.” The concept involves allowing users to tweet questions and requests for help. The tweets are then aggregated to a central location, and employees answer questions while allowing Twitter users to provide answers and comments for customers to review.
Best Buy’s social media community is thriving, with a quarterly average of 600,000 customer visits and 20,000 messages posted. The success of the campaign has prompted Best Buy to create additional communities, including one dedicated to mobile devices.
Social media will continue to grow and some of the largest corporations are now using the platform for marketing and brand reputation. They are also looking for more genuine customer relations that will give them a competitive edge over their competition. This trend towards online internet marketing will create job opportunities and those who are seeking an internet marketing career can get the training they need through online internet marketing courses from the University of San Francisco.