Marketing and Social Media

Social Media has dramatically changed the marketing world. Organizations that are not actively including social media in their marketing plans are now rare — there is widespread recognition that it is now necessary for all. However, the benefits of social media marketing have been elusive for some organizations — while they have expended time and resources, they haven’t seen the results. In addition, increasingly-vast data sets are being accumulated for organizations to use and this raises many possibilities and questions.

These case studies provide examples of imaginative usage of social media in organizational marketing activity. Reviewing them will help you think about your own effective use of social media.

Victoria’s Secret is a brand known around the world for it’s glamours images of it’s elusive Angels creating a goal that many aspire to.  In the fast paced world of today the excitement of receiving their catalogue in the mail has been replaced by a few easy clicks to  order a little piece of the magic.  Though this provides quick and easy access to the customer,  the company has been faced with the question of how to reinvent that same excitement in today’s world?  Enter social media.    

As one filters through the literature on social media marketing, it becomes glaringly obvious that the rift between digital and traditional marketing has undergone some reverse tectonic movement. No one in any respectable marketing position will make the faux pas of comparing Facebook ads with print ads (unless they intend to elicit judgmental stares). Digital marketing in all its strategic glory is here to stay for the overnight cross continental long-haul.

Synchronized swimming is a relatively small sport when comparing it to sports like hockey, soccer, speed swimming, and gymnastics.  Synchro’s numbers in Ontario, in Canada and in the world are a mere fraction of those of the larger, more popular sports.  So how does a small club, in such a small sport get noticed? For the Waterloo Regional Synchronized Swim Club, located in Elmira, Ontario, the answer came to them this past summer.  While most club’s take a break from everything for a few months in the summer, the Waterloo Synchro Club aimed to increase the club’s profile not only in the Waterloo Region, but across all 7 continents. Erika Lindner, president of the local club, noted that at the beginning of summer 2016 “our follower numbers on Instagram and Facebook were low, and limited to current and past swimmers and their families”.  In the pool, the local club is top dog, having earned the Provincial title of top club in the Province for 7 of the last 10 years.  “We’ve always been trend setters and now that our club was on social media we wanted to set ourselves apart from others in this arena too”.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to scroll through your Facebook feed without having a video from Tasty pop up. Launched in December of 2015, this Buzzfeed-owned online food channel is garnering attention from across demographics. Tasty’s videos demonstrate how easy it can be to create mouthwatering food.  Through simple marketing, Tasty has managed to attract consumer interest by creating a winning formula of customer engagement. Tasty has capitalized on the fact that people are looking to be able to make delicious food without having to watch a long step-by-step video, or follow a deeply detailed recipe. By promoting trendy videos across multiple social media channels, Tasty has managed to ingrain itself into social media culture across the globe.

Patagonia is a hugely succesful company that grew out of humble beginnings. It all started when 14 year old Yvon Chouinard developed a love for the sport of climbing, as a member of the Southern California Falconry Club. As Chouinard became more involved in the sport, he soon realized that the only pitons available for climbing were made of soft iron and were placed in the rock once and left there. He found that this was not ideal. Chouinard then met John Salathé, a Swiss climber who made his own hard iron pitons. Chouinard thought that if John Salathé could do it, so could he! In 1957 Chouinard bought a coal-fired forge, an anvil, tongs and hammers and taught himself how to blacksmith. Chouinard made chrome-molybdenum steel pitons and before he knew it, he was in business. He could forge two pitons an hour, and sold them for $1.50 each. Over the years, this company grew to officially become Patagonia in 1973; a company that’s roots remain in alpinism but have expanded to include clothes for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running. Patagonia focuses on these silent sports, where “the reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.”

Social media networks connect people across the world in real time.  Sharing has now become second nature.  This new paradigm has many businesses spinning.  With the objective of building brand awareness and enhancing business growth, businesses embark on many different social media strategies. With the help of data analytics, businesses can determine which of the strategies are most successful in meeting their objectives.  The world of social media is continuously evolving.  It is becoming more and more difficult  to remember a time when the world wasn’t sharing. As a powerful tool utilized by businesses to market their business and generate sales.  Some of the key benefits include: Heightened brand awareness Increases in sales generated by successfully targeting existing and potential customers Heightened communication with customers leads to improved customer service Heightened customer engagement opportunities Social media has had a strong impact on the photography industry.   Some may argue that the impact has been negative as the high usage of photography apps with various filters has diminished the value of quality photography. On a positive note, social media has also provided photographers with an opportunity to share their photographs with the world and to establish a fan base using affordable marketing tactics.  Instagram has become one of the most powerful tools used by photographers. The social media platform gives photographers across the world an opportunity to have their work viewed by thousands, if not millions of people and fellow photographers.  Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest have become vehicles for photographers to share their works with their peer group and inspire possibilities for marketing collaborations. Another popular social media tool used by photographers to market their businesses is Youtube.  Youtube photo galleries and Youtube Channels are developed with the objective of showcasing photographic prowess and providing tutorials with valuable photography tips.  The channels provide photographers with an opportunity to build brand awareness, develop a fan base in addition to giving their followers an opportunity to share the posts and contribute  comments.

It’s happened more than I’d like to admit. I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed when suddenly I find myself making a mental list of the improvements I’d need to make to my home in order to sell it quickly and purchase one of the new listings Adam DeGroote has posted to his real estate page. I’m not even looking to buy but the beautiful photos and creative headlines always seem to draw me in. The Brantford and Brand County Real Estate agent has been using social media for years to help showcase his listings and grow his business. “That’s where people’s eyes are,” he told me when I asked him why he uses social media in his marketing campaigns. “Social media helps me to reach a broader audience. The younger generation is on social and if I can put my client’s properties on there, it helps to get the word out — you have to go where people are paying attention and everyone is glued to social media now a days.”

It has been almost six months since a video made by a group of friends at Edward H. White High school went viral on the internet and social media. Mannequin Challange is what this video is known for, Although the name ” Mannequin Challange” implies some challenge or contest, in reality there wasn’t any, or at least it is unknown to me at this point. This is how the story started for me, surfing on my Instagram account quite while ago, found an entertaining video made by group of close friends in the middle east in which, they were all frozen in action as if the time machine stops them all but the background sound was still alive and playing, filmed by a moving camera, I was quite mesmerized the way the video was professionally shot, and the idea was lit and quite entertaining. In fact, it got me and peaked my curiosity. I started to look for more detailed information on the video then the caption under the post; # MannequinChallenge Unbelievable what I found, hundreds of funny videos on Hollywood stars, NBA, NFL  athletes, and some videos posted on social media from people across the world in a variety of different situations, funny that this trend even found it’s way in the corporate world amongst employees in some companies.

When it comes to social media marketing it is important, to build a solid foundation to ensure that your efforts have the greatest chance of success.  A solid foundation really is about getting the basics right and remembering the purpose of social media is to engage with people.  Engagement is not announcing carefully crafted advertising pieces to your intended audiences it is about adding value to conversations that are already happening, building your reputation and remembering that social media is about listening and communicating.   Geranium gets social media marketing right.

From a marketing perspective, being able to distinguish your brand in a sea of competition is a difficult challenge. That being said, if you are the brand, this task takes on a much more strategic and personal dynamic. You are putting your personal interpretations and artistic creativity on display in an open forum for all to see. It can be an extremely daunting and vulnerable process. Your success as a artist/business, relies heavily on your ability to tell your story in a way that allows the consumer to relate to you, and your artwork. Such is the challenge for Joanna Gresik, a Canadian abstract artist by night and corporate interior designer by day, living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Joanna creates paintings that are inspired by the energy and life of towns and cities shown through sharp lines, carefully crafted colour palettes and gestural abstract expressionist marks. Joanna has a unique ability to see architecture and landscape through a different lense , and even more impressive is her ability to express those interpretations onto a canvas. With the emergence of social media as a trusted marketing tool for businesses over the last decade or so, it comes as no surprise that these same social media channels now play an important role for small business owners and artists just like Joanna. By providing a platform and a vehicle for messaging, social media marketers can now reach a wider more specific target audience with their products and services. Joanna understands the importance of creating such relationships and quickly determined that these interactions were essential for her growth, not only as an artist, but also as a business person.

From a business perspective social media marketing can result in improved brand awareness and loyalty, higher conversion rates, improved customer service, audience insights and decreased marketing costs—if utilized well of course. But so many companies, both large and small, struggle with social media marketing. It is a whole different ball game in comparison to networking with friends and family on your own accounts, although the principals of building and maintaining relationships are still the primary focus. If you’re looking for tips to improve your social media marketing efforts, read on. Illbury + Goose, is a small company that has mastered the art of social media marketing and have implemented strategies that companies of various sizes should take note of. Illbury + Goose creates sustainable, locally made clothing, accessories and home décor, and their brand is built on the foundation of Canadian patriotism. Starting as a local business a few years ago in London, Ontario, they have since expanded their team and have orders coming in from customers all across the country.

What binds together four University of Waterloo Alumni, millennia moms, and celebrity moms like Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, Heidi Klum, and Reese Witherspoon? Mabel’s Labels. They have developed a brand and social media marketing platform that responds to the needs of moms worldwide. What is unique about this story? The founders of Mabel’s Labels are pioneers. They started their company before the words “social” and “media” were put together in sequence (note that Facebook was founded in 2004). When founders Julie Cole, Julie Ellis, Cynthia Esp and Tricia Mumby created Mabel’s Labels through their social networks with other moms, they knew they were on to something… 2003, four busy moms noticed a huge gap in the market for durable kids’ labels. Frustrated by their children’s things getting lost, mixed up and leaving home never to return, knew they could do better than the scribbles on masking tape that were being passed off as labels. Presently, Mabels Labels has 163,600 devoted Facebook followers with a conversion rate of 5.1%.  In January 2016 they were acquired for $12 million by Canadian-based CCL Industries for its Avery North America division.

Rolling around on a skateboard is a right of passage for most children growing up in North America, many of them dreaming of becoming the next Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston. While many of these people will never attain these goals, they will still have a blast pushing around town on their boards. Skateboarding is a wonderful tool for transportation, but it has a few key limitations. The main problem is hills, and everyone who has ever stepped on a skateboard has a deep fear of the dreaded “speed wobble“. While going down a hill on a skateboard, you don’t have many options for braking and going up hills is also an issue, as it becomes a battle against gravity. Boosted Board is a company that was founded to improve some of the issues that have plagued skaters for years. Boosted Board is an electric skateboard controlled by a small handheld remote. You can adjust your speed and even brake! Skateboarders everywhere now have a solution to some of their problems. Boosted Boards has turned to social media to showcase their product to the skateboarders of the world and get everyone skateboarding again.

Magnolia…a few years ago it was just a flower, now it’s a trending brand that has reached far beyond its Texan origin. The creators of this brand, Joanna and Chip Gaines have social media followers from around the world. Tourists book stays at their Magnolia House rental property and visit their business headquarters named the Silos, in Waco, Texas. It’s now a tourist destination with a bakery, garden shop and retail store. The fourth season of their HGTV home improvement reality show, Fixer Upper, premieres this month. Each show profiles the home renovation process from purchase to completion in a one-hour segment. Joanna designs home improvements and decorates. Her husband and partner, Chip, constructs the renovations and the featured homeowners are presented with their on-budget dream home at the end of each episode. The hype for this show has been marketed with a quarterly journal publication and a newly released book about the couple’s story. Magnolia has complimented their brand with traditional marketing mediums and qualified it with social media. The book has just reached #1 on the New York Time best seller list,1 and this achievement is promoted on their website. Magnolia has also introduced a furniture, paint, rug and accessory line available nationally in the US and at three Canadian retailers. An online “Market” shop with all of their products is featured on their website. Magnolia has embraced social media to further increase its brand awareness. The company also benefits from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter activity and has millions of followers. Magnolia has truly saturated the home design, renovation and décor market through both traditional and social media marketing.

“People don’t buy from clowns.” The famous quote from Claude C. Hopkins may have been true in 1923, but times have certainly changed. Some of the biggest brands in the world use humor to sell their products on social media. We all love a good laugh and when we’re choosing who to follow on Twitter or Facebook, brands that make us smile are usually at the top of the list. In fact, entertaining content is one of the top five reasons people follow particular brands or individuals online. Incorporating humor into marketing materials isn’t for everyone and can seem like a risk for your business. Done right, though, a few laughs can bring big benefits to your social media presence, and your bottom line. The Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam claims to be the worst hotel ever. In fact, an official line from one of their ads claims, “The Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam. It doesn’t get much worse.” Without apology, they have made a successful business out of being awful. To truly understand how they can do this however, requires understanding of their target audience, their competitive environment, their strategic competitive advantages, and how all of that can be successfully leveraged. The target market for this hotel  – students and youth in their 20s, single, budget minded, international travelers visiting Amsterdam, attitude of adventure, curiosity and risk tolerant. Advertising slogans warn of no hot water, sparse rooms and filthy conditions. Guests are encouraged to dry off with the shower curtain to save on washing. The Hans Brinker owns awful. Nobody generally wants to be the worst when it comes to travel and hospitality. But trying for the best is a crowded space. They recognized that their target market just might love their honesty and humorous attitude. This position has allowed them to not only stand out from most hotels, but it also allowed them to stand out against other budget accommodation options. http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34457207/selling-the-worst-hotel-in-the-world/hans-brinker-budget-hotel

Recently in Toronto, an eCommerce mattress company is creating a buzz marketing around the city and redefining your imagination of shopping for mattress. From radio ads the traditional 680News to pushed ads on various social media sites, Casper bombarded media channels, and want to sell you mattress shipped in a box. Despite how comfy the mattress is, Casper definitely gets a firm handle of social media marketing and it is worthwhile checking out what we can learn about social media marketing from this rising start-up.

In April 2013 Lowe’s launched their extremely successful “Fix in Six” campaign on Vine. With Lowe’s being the second largest home improvement retailer in the world it seems appropriate that their Vine campaign is a variety of six second videos that gives tips for home improvement. Since the campaign began in 2013, Lowe’s has created and shared 115 vines that have generated over 65 million views.

Over the last ten years, the marketing world has changed drastically with the ever evolving world of social media. As a result, marketing plans featuring television or print advertising as a primary mode of promotion have given way to marketing plans that integrate customer engagement, branding and more targeted promotion through social media. Some businesses may certainly survive clinging to old school marketing practices but for those in the computer and technology field, it is essential not only to market through social media but to do so effectively in order to gain an edge on the competition. Bluespark, has truly found their niche in social media marketing while at the same time not appearing to be marketing their services at all. In addition to social media metrics, with clients that include big names like Ralph Lauren, Roomify and Trip Advisor, it’s a sure sign that you’re doing something right.

After 15 years of toiling in the Market Research industry for major corporations in the Toronto area, Mustafa Khaliq decided that the 9 to 5 grind just wasn’t for him. Rather than looking for another job out in his industry, he did notice (in the mirror of course) that he possessed a gift, and that was the gift of Men’s fashion flare. Usually you can see him walking the streets or sitting in a restaurant in his slim-fit patterned shirts, rocking some neon coloured socks with a set of pastel flavoured glasses adorning his always clean-cut head. With that, a lot of his closest confidantes suggested that he offer his ideas and ‘Muse-like’ creativity to the world of Men. “I’m my own best billboard. Men, generally appreciate looking good, it’s just that, its not a priority.” – Mustafa Khaliq In 2013, Mustafa set up a small consulting business called Style Counsel that helped men acquire the guidance in bringing their clothing game to the next level. With Mustafa’s love of discovering new and chic items that men could incorporate into their wardrobe, the service he was offering started to become popular as did the fashion industry for this particular demographic. The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020, up 14 percent from $29 billion in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. ~ Business of Fashion Offering a consulting service to help men with their shopping needs and fashion sense however, just wasn’t enough for Mustafa. He knew that men – especially ones in fields of professions that required a look of utmost sharpness – just didn’t have the time anymore to shop store to store to gather products and ensure what is right or wrong for them. So in 2014, along with his partner Mike Mossallem, a new idea was born to provide menfolk the products they need packaged up and sent to you directly without all the hassle. Items such as laptop bags, ties, bowties, shirts etc were neatly put into a kit, displayed online and marketed so clients can customize and choose whatever they require. Viktor & Muse being only just a month old really needed to engage their social media prowess to get their marketing engine going and we sat down with the founder of V&M Mustafa Khaliq to get his take on the challenges he has to face in such a tough competitive environment. Marketing in… Read more »

Social Media Videos Marketing Success for Pickering Public Library

TammySabourin   November 6, 2016

In our age of digital marketing where there are so many social media options to choose from, one community library is finding success through their development and use of videos.  In addition to using Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, the Pickering Public Library is including short, in-house created videos in their Facebook Page, YouTube channel and website to communicate upcoming events, new programs and services, fun facts and promote client engagement.  These videos have become quite popular in their community and beyond. Donna Moritz of Social Media Examiner attributes the rise in popularity of short video social media content to how “snackable” they are, as a quick visual method that grabs our attention, “Short videos suit our busy lives, brief attention spans and the need to consume content easily and quickly. Because fans are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, the shorter the content is, the better.”  

Marketing strategies have shifted, grown, and developed greatly over the course of history. From DeBeer’s age old “Diamonds are Forever” campaign in the early 1900’s and the Lucky Strike ads which had everyone picking up a bad habit in the 60’s, to the modern day “Just Do It” Slogan that defines Nike, we’ve seen a lot over the years. The channels of communication for marketers has changed over time as well. The game changed for marketers again and again, challenging them to come up with new and innovative ways to promote their products and services as the technologies and trends changed over time. In today’s world the internet reigns supreme, and marketers have quickly adopted web advertising as a part of any self-respecting ad campaign. Social Media is the most important aspect of this. A campaign that doesn’t have a #hashtag, YouTube video, or searchable Facebook content, may as well not exist at all. The companies that are realizing, embracing, and integrating social media into their campaigns are the ones who are seeing the most success. Many modern brands are doing a great job of combining social media with their marketing strategies, but one in particular really stands out.

DB Schenker supports industry and trade in the global exchange of goods: in land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and supply chain management.1 Globally they employ over 66,000 employees at over 2000 locations.  Their Canadian operations account for over 1600 employees at over 40 locations.  Roughly 3 years ago, DB Schenker started to utilize social media as part of their marketing strategy.  

One does not need to dig very deep through the internet to see how social media has changed the entire world, let alone marketing strategy. The list of changes to marketing tasks is a long one, but the level, speed and dependency of the of changes varies from business to business. Through my research, I found it interesting that businesses have embraced social media differently, at different paces and with different weights. But most experts agree, embracing social media at some level is a must. Ian Altman, contributor to Forbes Magazine says, “History is repeating itself. Only instead of phone or email, we call it Twitter and Facebook. If you ignore customers on social media, it’s like not answering your ringing customer service line.”

New Trends in Marketing Some people today will tell you that traditional marketing is dead – killed off by social media and the redistribution of power from marketers to the consumers. With technology we are able to find out for ourselves which brands are superior; we don’t need to be bombarded by ads to be persuaded we can simply read online reviews, blog posts, feeds etc. or ask our friends and family. We are even able to block digital ads from reaching us as we peruse our favourite sites. Consumers are literally outcompeting marketers for each other’s attention – according to Forrester Research 70% of people trust brand recommendations from friends and only 10% trust advertising. Personally, I agree. This is the end of marketing as we have known it; ads full of purely self-serving content merely get overlooked these days. Enter Content Marketing. This is when companies provide valuable and interesting information to their target audience and the consumers can’t help but to read or watch and take notice. The strategy behind it is to produce useful and relevant information to buyers who will then reward the company with business and loyalty. It’s no longer about marketing your brand but rather marketing an experience with your brand and reaching people on an emotional level before they make their purchasing decisions. This isn’t exactly a new marketing technique but a growing trend with 92% of marketers using it to increase brand awareness according to the Content Marketing Institute. One company that has this marketing tactic down pat is Huggies the maker of diapers, wipes, swim pants and training pants. Their target market is huge and they do a fantastic job of connecting with them and keeping them engaged. They even have a large following from women who don’t need their products yet – moms to be! Here’s how they do it…

When I think of a women’s lingerie store, my mind automatically goes to Victoria’s Secret, La Senza and La Vie en Rose. When walking by these stores in the mall and while going inside the stores, women are constantly bombarded with images of perfect looking models wearing the products. I think that trying on the products with these images in your head makes a lot of women reluctant to buy the items. Most women forget that yes, these models are beautiful and have thin bodies, however even they don’t look like the photos. Countless hours of retouching and photo shopping go into making them look like they do in the posters.   Modern American standards have created this perfect image of what women should look like, resulting in low self-esteem and dangerous eating disorders. Body image has become extremely important to women, especially at a young age.