Written by Pernilla Arbajian
Continuation of blog post part 1 published on 7th of August.
As discussed in the first part, strong social media presence on the social media platforms presents both advantages and disadvantages (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). The companies are thus able to use a two-way online communication model to market their products to the audience and get some positive and negative feedback that will help companies improve the quality of their products and offer more brand value for its customers (Akar, 2013). Social media exposure can result in some weaknesses such as over-exposure (Winer, 2009), financial loss (Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011), loss of control on the communicated product/brand (Chrisodoulides, 2009) especially over the negative comments from competitors and anti-branding sites (Krishnamurthy and Kucuk, 2009) and finally a difficulty to evaluate the results and the success of the strong social media presence. The international brand managers are responsible for fixing these weaknesses and help the brand/product/company not to get involved in such problems or to pull through them. “Social media make it more urgent than ever that companies get the basics right, developing and reliably delivering on a compelling brand promise” (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). Every year since the development of the web 2.0, the number of “people [who have] access to the Internet around the world” increases considerably (Sandes and Urdan, 2013). People from around the globe use almost the same social media platforms and are exposed to the same information (Sandes and Urdan, 2013). It is therefore important to solve the marketing mistakes on an international level. There are different actions that international brand managers should take in order to save their brand from a bad reputation (Krishnamurthy and Kucuk, 2009).
Study the target audience
According to Muniz and Schau (2011) it is important to “study” the target market before allowing consumers to “create the brand meaning”, “encourage and enable collaboration” and then “document everything” at the end. That way of engaging the audience allows managers to know what the customers value in the brand and what they don’t. In order to get a better reach that is time efficient and low cost, international brand managers should “identify which audience segment is using what social media” (Akar, 2013). As explained by Arnelli and Villanueva (2011) managers should be aware of the two distinct audiences: the “real people” who are the viewers and the “robots” which allow the information to be found online.
Respond to the audience
In Barwise and Meehan (2010)’s opinion it is important to respond to the audience and of course the international brand managers should not ignore negative complaints. In this case, the author gives the example of P&G’s response to the negative reviews on their new product for Pampers. The company “responded to all complaints, offered advices to parents and explained why the product wouldn’t be withdrawn” (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). It is better for International brand managers to respond to the negative reviews then to ignore or delete them from the social media platforms.
Be aware of the difference between the traditional and online marketing models
Despite the fact that online marketing and traditional marketing are different, they “share four fundamental qualities” which are: “communicate a clear, relevant customer promise”, “build trust”, “improving the promise” and “innovating beyond the familiar” (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). Other than these four points, social media marketing on social media platforms is completely different and should be “revised” (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). Unlike in the traditional marketing, having a strong social presence should be used to strengthen “customer insights rather than to sell”, to protect “the brand’s reputation” and “learn what people are saying” about it (Barwise and Meehan, 2010).
Other than the reviews, the audience also looks at what the company has to communicate. This is why it is important that the international brand managers communicate information that “conveys authenticity and relevance” (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). In addition, since they market the product to the audience, they should have strong knowledge about the product they communicate and they should understand and be aware of the brand values the targeted audience is looking for. In addition, international brand managers can increase the social media presence of their product/brand: they should know when it is the perfect time to communicate, on which social media platform and for what time period (Barwise and Meehan, 2010). This is done by studying the market and experience (Sandes and Urdan, 2013). Every social media platform is different from the other and requires different communication techniques. A common mistake international brand managers should avoid with social media communication is “using a scattergun approach- trying to do a little bit with a lot of different social media tools” (Akar, 2013).
Measure the success of your social media presence on different social media platforms.
Both the measuring tool for success of social media marketing and the equation to calculate social media presence on the social media platforms still need improvements. But since online marketing is not costly or at least it is much cheaper than traditional marketing, international brand managers have the opportunity to test different communication strategy. This should be done when the weakness of the strong social media presence is magnified and the brand is at risk (Winer, 2009). “There is a fair degree of uncertainty with respect to allocating marketing effort and budget to social media” (Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011). International brand managers should test different strategies on different social media platforms and with time conclude which has the highest “return on investment” (Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011).
In his article (Krishnamurthy and Kucuk, 2009) mentions that a brand with a strong social media presence is more likely to get negative reviews on the social media platforms. This is why it is important for international brand managers to take action in those cases. As mentioned earlier, managers should not delete negative comments they should response to it. Take the example of the Lebanese skier that is participating in the winter Olympics 2014. As soon as her video posing naked was shown on TV, the video circulated on all the social media platforms and reached people all around the world. Before the video was shown, Google search showed one article stating she was participating. But as soon as the video was shown the whole page in the Google search was about her posing naked. As she could not delete the video, she decided to apologize. This was the best to do since everyone is supporting her. The international brand manager should plan the communication in order not to create the overwhelming effect of too much social media presence. The main objective of the manager is to save its brand from a bad reputation and a negative image while communicating it to the audience and allowing them to create discussions about it.
In conclusion, it is important for international brand managers to take action when they see that their brand is losing its good reputation because of too much exposure on the social media platforms and thus a strong social media presence. There are different things to take into consideration. The first one would be the targeted audience. After this comes the planning of the online communication.