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The current report aims at developing a marketing plan that incorporates social media marketing for a company in the automotive industry. There are a number of good arguments that can be presented as reasons why the company should adopt the plan. One reason why the plan should be adopted is that it will enable the company to utilize the current most powerful marketing tool – social media. Social media is currently the most powerful marketing tool due to the fact that it is the most far reaching. Therefore, it makes it possible for companies to reach a large amount of people and, consequently, reach the potential customers using a single platform. Another relevant reason why this plan should be adopted is that traditional marketing techniques have lost their ability to create an impact and influence people’s preferences for a given product. For instance, these techniques no longer have the ability to grab the eyes and ears of millennials who out rightly ignore them. Thus, this plan will be effective in aiding the company to redefine itself in the eyes of this customer base, since it represents future.
The plan should also be adopted because it will provide the company with a form of low cost advertising. This is because traditional advertising platforms, such as television, newspapers, or advertisements in magazines are very expensive. Though many claim that social media is free, this is not necessarily true and this is not what low cost refers to in this context. The truth is that the company will spend money on things like broad band and employment of a social media coordinator. What makes it low cost is the fact that at the end of it, everything becomes more affordable, as compared to traditional forms of advertising. Finally, the plan should be adopted because it will provide the company with an advertising potential that is limitless. Social media has become a driving force for businesses today and, thus, in order for them to remain competitive, businesses should work to ensure they make use of this tool to succeed through effective marketing.
The overall condition of the automotive market is currently in a crisis. It is comprised of uncertainty, which is a result of the global economic decline. For instance, Assaad and Gómez (2011) opine that the 2008 economic crisis almost brought the entire market to its knees. In addition, the economic decline experienced around the world has had a direct impact on consumer demand, which has contradicted considerably, making it nearly impossible for automotive companies to realize any significant sales. It has also adversely affected the supply base of players in the market. This is because of the rise in number of layoffs which are abounding throughout the entire automotive industry. Gas prices are another significant force that is driving the market. Companies have been forced to contend with gas price fluctuation, which has increased the level of uncertainty that was already present in the market. The situation has proved hopeless, given the fact that large companies throughout the industry are filing for bankruptcy. At the same time, smaller automotive companies are simply taking the step of closing down the business. Bode (2014) affirms that the conditions in the market have further been worsened by the increased government regulations with regards to emissions. The government has also increased its authority with regards to fuel economy. This has placed automotive based companies in a difficult spot. The companies now face a trade-off between spending money on adhering to the new regulations and saving the money instead to use it to manage themselves during the worst market downturn that has taken place in over two decades.
As a company that is currently operating in the automotive market, there is considerable amount of failures with regards to social media presence. The company is yet to build a strong social media presence. As it currently stands, the company’s Facebook fan page has a total of 30,000 thousand likes, while its Twitter account has managed to attract a total of 43,000 followers. This is a very low figure, as compared to the company’s competitors whose likes and number of followers range in the figure of millions. Further, the company’s figure for number of likes received on a post is not very satisfying. This, of course, can be attributed to the fact that it has less number of followers. The shares per post are also disappointing.
Analysis of the Competition
The company’s competitors’ presence in social media is very strong. For instance, a company like BMW has established itself as a social media giant of the automotive. BMW (2012) points out that its Facebook fan page has received more than 18.5 million likes. Further, the company is averaging an impressive 25,000 likes and hundreds of shares of their posts (BMW, 2012). GM is another automotive company that has built a strong automotive presence in social media marketing. Platon (2014) explains that this is actually quite impressive, given the fact the company suffered a setback when it was forced to carry out a recall exercise of 1.6 million vehicles. The automotive company has a team that quickly responds and interacts with people who interact with the company in its various social media platforms. Mini is yet another competitor that has realized the significance of social media and has in place a great social media existence. It has a huge amount of followers, around 187,000 all over the world (Platon, 2014). The company is an active social media user. For instance, it maintains its presence on Twitter by making an average of 2-3 posts per day. This is a very effective tactic, as it helps to make their products fresh in the minds of its followers without necessarily bombarding their newsfeeds with too many posts which are likely to be annoying to followers.
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The traditional advertisement that has been selected is a television commercial marketing a vehicle. The advert runs for 45 seconds. It features a well-known celebrity, as its main selling point. Two men driving in their car become distracted and when they find themselves in a neighbourhood which is populated by various versions of the celebrity. They pass the celebrity, while she is on a bicycle, when she is being given a ticket by herself as the attending officer, and when she is dancing on the street with other versions of herself. The men become so engrossed that at one point they almost knock over another version of the celebrity, while she is crossing the road. The vehicle’s auto-emergency breaking system prevents them from knocking down the celebrity. During the entire 45 seconds of the advert music is playing in the background. Therefore, this advert is about a company, trying to advertise a specific component in its vehicles, its braking system. It is asserting that its breaking system is the most essential, as it can prevent accidents from taking place. Formulation of this advert was tactical. In the first place, inviting a celebrity who is liked by people captured the attention of many. The creativity of using various versions of the celebrity, as the population of the neighbourhood was also interesting and was also meant to bring in humour to the advert. The created hyperlink for the advertisement is (https://www.youtbube.com/watch?y=Ih4YVnbm6sz).
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The company has formulated this marketing plan with the following goals in mind. One of such goals is building a strong relationship with its current and potential customers. This entails making them feel they are cared for and their needs are taken into consideration whenever they are brought forth. Bode (2014) points out that another goal for this marketing plan is to build not only a strong relationship with customers, but also a strong brand. This is essential because social media is a powerful tool that provides companies with the broadest opportunity to find their target audience and directly engage them with regards to their needs. The need to drive conversion is yet another relevant reason why the company has formulated this social marketing plan. This is because conversions are easily tracked in the realm of social media. This will make it easy for the company to increase its sales. Finally, the need to increase its presence in its customer bases is another goal that has necessitated the company to formulate this social media marketing plan. This is because social media makes it easier to achieve this goal.
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The company is trying to reach trendy, young people within the age of 20 to 40 with their social media marketing plan. Further, besides their age specification, the company’s target also includes individuals with a passion for cars which are edgy and fast. This target also entails people who are obsessed with technology and want the latest thing in the market. Assaad and Gómez (2011) note that the reason for targeting this segment of customers is group makes up the majority number of total users of social media platforms. Another reason is that this group will allow the company to become innovative, as it works to meet its need foe edginess, speed, and up to date technology.
Strategies and Tactics
Deciding on a social media channel to use should be a process that involves significant amount of research. This is to enable the company to be able to get the correct combinations of social media platforms to use that will be effective in their social media marketing. It is recommended that the company take a combination of Facebook and Twitter as its main social media channels. According to BMW (2012), this is advisable because they are the most used social media platforms around the world. For instance, Facebook users add up to a total of one billion users, while Twitter is believed to have an active user number of 307 million users per month. Thus, by making use of these two social media giants, the company will be able to reach a larger number of people. Another effective social media channel that the company can use is Instagram. The photo sharing social media site has become popular because it allows people around the world to share photographs and also videos of things that have meaning to them and their lives. This is a significant point to note, since despite Facebook having a large user number, most of these users are from an older generation. Thus, Platon (2014) explains that for the company to be able to reach out to young people, they should utilize a social media platform, such as Instagram. It will allow them to develop products which are more edgy and technologically up to date and promote innovation in the company, since this is effective in capturing the attention of the young.
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Once the company has identified the type of social media platform to use and has gained some followers and users, it is essential for it to establish ways of engaging them. One way of engaging with customers is to respond to their comments. This may sometimes prove to be impossible, especially if a company has a big number of followers. Therefore, in order to enable this, the company should be willing to spend money on a social media team that will respond to customers’ comments on their social media platform. Assaad and Gómez (2011) opine that the company can also engage with its customers by making them become interested in their projects. For instance, it can start a competition, which involves their customers posting videos, capturing them driving their cars in various interesting ways and terrains and request them to share these videos on social media platforms, such as YouTube. This will be exciting and will encourage customers to engage with company.
The company should strive to be creative in the content it posts in its various social media platforms. The content should be created with the goal of completely capturing the attention of anyone who will come into contact with their various social media accounts. Thus, creating content should entail a lot of creativity and imagination on the part of the company’s social media team. Additionally, Bode (2014) states that the page content should consist of a combination of high quality images and videos. In fact, the social media coordination team should avoid using too much description in the content of posts to be placed on their social media platforms. This is because people usually lose interest in posts which are descriptive since they have no time to read through. Instead, high quality images and videos will be more effective in raising some form of interest in their product. The type of content to be created within the company’s social media should also entail using photographs of the company’s vehicles, while in action. This will truly go a long way in capturing the interest of followers. They will develop a perception that the company’s vehicles are exciting. This kind of content will really appeal to people who are highly adventurous in nature. Something else to include in the company’s content for social media is to include photographs and videos of their cars driving through various locations from around the world. Platon (2014) asserts that this should also entail differing terrains and environment. The impact of this is that it will enable the company to capture a more global audience and facilitate it to reach the potential customers from various parts of the world. To further reinforce this global theme, the company should also share content that incorporates various images of landscapes from various countries of the world in their social media posts.
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Monitoring and Measuring
Once the company has established itself as a social media marketing guru, it is imperative and assesses whether its social media marketing plan is effective or it is failing. This entails having in place various tools and that can be used to measure and monitor the social media campaign. One tool that can be used to measure and monitor the campaign is the number of views the company is receiving on its posts. Assaad and Gómez (2011) affirm that this is significant for a social media platform, such as YouTube. In a similar capacity, the number of likes, subscribers, and followers, the company has managed to attract and be an effective way of measuring and monitoring the effectiveness of its campaign. By assessing the level of engagement between it and its customer base or followers, the company will also be in a position to ascertain whether its campaign is successful or failing. This can be through the number of reposts, retweets, or comments it receives on its posts. The company may also use conversion to determine the success of its campaign. In this regard, it should calculate its conversion rate by determining the percentage of users who purchase their vehicles directly from a piece of social media content.
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Social media marketing has become a great part of the marketing strategy of many companies. Technological advancement has forced companies to conform to this new style of marketing if they are to remain relevant and competitive in their various markets. This is more so for the automotive market, whose key players are engaged in fierce competition with one another. Social media marketing has superseded traditional marketing techniques such as television, newspaper, and poster advertisement. Thus, in order for a company to be able to successfully see through their goals there is need to keep up with the times and formulate and adopt a social media marketing plan.
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