3 Ways to Think Beyond Social Media Marketing

Mon 11 February 2013 10:00, Harshvardhan Vasudeva

3 Ways to Think Beyond Social Media Marketing

Following the recent trends and the hype related to social media marketing, I wanted to know whether social media could mean more than just marketing for companies? If so, is it worth investigating other avenues by which firms could create a sustainable advantage over its competitors?

Pretty much every company today has at least a basic social media presence such as a Facebook page, some take it further and even offer free giveaways in exchange for a ‘like’. Case in point the "Breaking Rocks" clothing store offers a chance to win 3 hip sweaters for liking their page a month before the actual launch of the brand. In the past few years social media has proved itself to be a low-cost, effective, and measurable referral marketing technique that has carved the path for new-age SMEs to scale globally and play with the big boys. 

Some companies have gone a step further and have been using social media for anything from better employee communication to custom user content with greater cross-functional integration, in some cases generating up to an astounding 70% of extra profit through social technologies. Below are a few inspirational uses by some firms that can be easily applied across most industries. 


Microsoft’s Channel 9, a software-community platform where developers can watch and comment on videos, was rebuilt using a Microsoft cloud platform due to its popularity within the developer world. The website’s purpose is essentially two-fold – on the one hand it provides vital information to developers and on the other hand it enables Microsoft to crowdsource innovative ideas by leveraging the developer community’s expertise.



KPN, a Dutch telecommunications company, stumbled upon their newfound social media function with what began as a social media strategy to strengthen their employees’ networks. This shaped into a more operational use when 170 volunteers from KPN’s social community came to the rescue of a technical team that was testing a new modem by helping them test the product and provide the designers with feedback. In this sense, integrating crowdsourcing with social media can provide an innovative, cost-effective and interactive way to utilise an established community. 


Customer Service

A rapidly emerging trend is the use of social media platforms such as twitter for customer service or post-sales support. Customer service over twitter has a multitude of advantages over the conventional system, the first one being cost reduction. Additional benefits include transparency, lightning fast issue resolutions (sometimes all it takes is a tweet!) and positive brand recognition. For instance, Comcast set up @Comcastcares and became one of the first companies to use twitter as an effective tool for customer-relationship. An interesting in-depth analysis and easy step-by-step instructions to use twitter for customer service can be found here. 


Whether it’s marketing, customer service or operations, the role of social media in business is one that no company can afford to ignore anymore.

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