The way news is delivered nowadays has completely changed. It used to be waiting for the paperboy to throw the newspaper on our doormats and we’d had to read through, front to back while drinking a cup of coffee. But now we receive information fast and anywhere one you’d be. Social Media has evolved, allowed us to network and to find people with same interests (Dietrich 2011, Cited in Cohen 2011). Furthermore, Social Media is an online platform for user-generated content. It enables users to engage in communication between one and other, by means of creating content and commenting on it. Also, allows interactions to cross many platforms through social sharing, like feeds or email (Cohen, 2011). It helps companies gain better brand recognition, which makes it easier and more accessible to new customers, and makes it more recognizable for existing ones. Also, improves brand loyalty, because companies who engage on social media experience more loyalty from the customers (DeMers, 2014). In addition, there are three types of media. Owned Media, is basically any media channel, in which you are in control over the posted content. Paid Media, is any media channel that you don’t own and need to pay to gain access. Lastly, Earned Media is where customers engage, share and talk about the content you posted (Penn, 2012).
Station Restaurant is the business chosen to manage its social media channel. It is family owned, located next to the train station in Leysin. A few minutes walk from Swiss Hotel Management School and they offer a wide variety of pizzas, burgers, kebab, vegetarian and children’s menu. A business aim is set, which is brand building and Instagram is the platform selected, in order to reach its business objectives. Which were, increase customer engagement by at least 2 comments per picture and boost awareness, by increasing the number of followers to 20 and a minimum 8 likes per picture. Furthermore, the overall strategy implemented was the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applied to social media engagement. According to (Sorokina, 2015) as shown below in figure 1. In the survival stage, one should build an online presence before embarking on a journey to build a community, by carefully selecting the main topics of common interest. Secondly, in the safety stage, building an online reputation is crucial, so it is important to be consistent with the content and it should be fun and unique, in order to create more awareness. Thirdly, engagement and not the ambassador community corresponds to the belonging stage, because one could argue, how could you build a community filled with devoted followers, who are ready to like or repost your content without engaging with them first. Lastly, when the number of followers reaches to the thousands and millions. This is where you need to build and maintain relationships with social media influencers who are constantly active and have a large online following, in order to survive in the social media jungle! Now, to build relationships with influencers, first, identify related ones to your industry and contact them through LinkedIn, which is a professional social platform. But one should take the time to get to know them before bombarding with a lot of media marketing requests, so personalize your approach and make it as exclusive as possible (DeMers, 2014).
After setting the business aim and objectives, we identified three different target markets and decided to focus on the millennial group. As shown below in figure 2.
Furthermore, we defined our buyer persona and decided on the name Anna, we then identified her different characteristics, from demographic information to hobbies and much more. We then conducted research, where we asked few students around, in order to exactly define the buying process and what they usually go through. Before deciding on where to dine and socialize with some friends. This helped us identify Anna’s buying process. As shown below in figure 3.
After identifying the buyer persona, we chose the Zero Moment of Truth model (ZMOT) to identify Anna’s decision process. ZMOT is a new addition to the three-step process of stimulus, shelf and experience. It describes the customer’s research process. By using online tools such as search engines, like Google, or reviews on TripAdvisor…etc. (Lecinski, 2011).
Moreover, below in figure 4, depicts the various steps in the buying journey, where the writings in yellow are Anna’s needs and wants, the ones in green are the content. Lastly, in red and brown are the channels and format respectively. A loyalty ‘loop’ is formed when Anna’s experiences are met with her expectations, which leaves a positive impression and a willing to recommend.
In addition, Instagram is a fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures and videos (Instagram, 2015), where you can also showcase your company, products and features. We chose Instagram, because we are targeting people born from the 1980s to the early 2000s (Millennial), due to the fact that 37% of people in this age group are on Instagram. Moreover, Instagram has many benefits. For instance, increase in engagement, where the latest study by Forrester found that Instagram content generates more engagement by follower than Facebook and Twitter. Also, increase in awareness, where one should maintain a strong profile could prove to be highly beneficial for the company’s visibility. Lastly, Gaining a competitive advantage, a study by American Express Survey showed that 2% of small businesses, who adopted Instagram to their marketing strategy will likely reach their target audience far easier than Facebook or Twitter (Istvanova, 2014).
Furthermore, we decided on 2 strategies in order to accomplish our objectives. Firstly, we ran a contest, to aid in increasing customer engagement. Which in ‘social media means the ability to reach out to and get a response from a company or an audience’ (Hausman, 2011). According to (Reid, 2015), it is important to engage on social media, due to that fact 40% of hyper-engagers; people who participate with a brand online on a daily basis, purchase products many times a week. One could also state, engagement links back to the Second Moment of Truth stage (SMOT) in the buying journey. After it is done with the audience. Like, sharing their experiences, and if their expectations were met, in order to form a loyalty loop back to evaluation stage. The strategy is as follows as we chose the type of contest, shared the rules, and chose a relevant prize (Belosic, 2015). As show below in figure 5.
Secondly, for our brand awareness strategy, we highlighted user-generated content, as is in we showcased followers in our stream. Also, used the Station’s logo as a display picture and the business’ full name as a username. In order to show a consistent presence and so that fans have a better chance in finding you quickly. Thirdly, using Hashtags as a means for extending listening and reach. We used popular Hashtags in order to increase the restaurant’s visibility (Kitschke, 2014).
Moreover, upon defining which strategies to use, we move next to our content posting strategy. We had a timeline of 3 weeks. We decided to post 6x weekly, between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, because 54% of Instagram posts by top brands are posted between those hours (Thomason, 2014). Also, decided to post once or twice a day, due to the fact that 55 brands were looked over the period of several months, during which the average time to post 1.5x daily (Bercovici, 2014). In addition, we defined our value proposition as follows, as shown below in figure 6.
We decided to focus on the different variety of food and cold drinks, due to the fact they have a stronger marketability value than the others, we defined their benefits and decided to post related content showcasing it. Moreover, the type of content posted reflected upon the image we wanted to portray to our customers. For example, types of content marketing include: Informative, Educational, Entertaining and Inspirational (IEEI). Example shown in figure 7
We evaluated our results by using Iconosquare, which is a ‘fee to use Instagram management and analytics tool that allows you to view your Instagram statistics, manage Instagram comments’ (Chad, 2014). We reached one objective, which was the number of likes per picture. As shown below in figure 8.
We couldn’t manage to achieve the other objectives; which were increase customer engagement to at least 2 comments per picture. Kindly refer to figure 8. And increase the number of followers to 20. Kindly refer to figure 9.
In Conclusion, we started off by identifying our business aim; Brand Building, and precede to give out the 3 main objectives. The overall strategy used was Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs applied to social media engagement, where an analysis on the model was critically assessed. In addition, we identified the different target segments and decided on millennial students as our target market. We then continued by identifying the buyer persona, Anna and her buying journey. Furthermore, we defined Instagram, its benefits and the reason of choice, which is due to the fact 37% of Generation Y are on this channel. Also, we identified the value proposition and posted content which were IEEI. Finally, we reached one objective and realized, in order to reach the others, we need to engage more thoroughly with our potential customers. For instance, like and comment on their personal account, so we can create more awareness. Moreover, use more relevant famous Hashtags to extend the reach and try to reach out to potential influencers.
We recommend to cross-post Instagram with Facebook, in order to reach out to numerous amounts of followers. You’ll be building your Instagram following, while sharing interesting photos with people. This links back to the stimulus stage in the buying journey; by cross posting, we can create more awareness, which helps in the decision making process.
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