The utilisation of social media, for both business and personal use, has seen an exponential growth in the last decade. Evans (2011) describes it as the next generation of business engagement and highlights it as a vital strategy for businesses in order to stay competitive in the ever-growing markets. This blog will be delving into the importance and use of social content and how it can be applied by looking at examples from the social media top scorers West Ham United.
Wang, Yu & Wei (2011) propose a socialization model which hypothesises a direct positive relationship between factors such as uniqueness, peer communication and product involvement, which are the determinants for purchase intention. Now this may seem fairly complicated but to summarise, it basically highlights the importance of communicating useful and relatable content in order to encourage purchase whilst taking consumer attitudes towards the content into consideration. With social media being the platform which many businesses utilise in order to communicate with their customers, it emphasises the need to create such content. Evans (2011) describes this as ‘building an outpost’ on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social content can come in many forms, but it generally follows a similar structure when it comes being applied successfully. Based on the model of Wang, Yu & Wei (2011), consumers look to social media to find content which is;
- Uniqueness – Content which isn’t just the same repetitive information available elsewhere on the internet. Unique content is usually more recognisable for consumers.
- Relatable – Content which consumers can relate to and perceive it in a way which is personal to them. This is a way to drive consumer engagement.
- Engaging – Engaging content is key as consumers are more likely to act upon content which entices them to read on and this also supports the end goal of encouraging purchase.
An example of consistently successful application which utilises all three of these points is the social media platforms of West Ham United whom are considered as top performer on social media when ranked by percentage of engagement per 1,000 fans (in comparison to their premier league counterparts). Arrigo (2017) explains that their custom video edits and unique visual representation of stats were key components in this. The content they provide is; relatable to their audience, unique in a way that other clubs have yet to adopt and engaging to the point where they are in the top 3 performers compared to other premier league clubs. An example of their content is the announcing of new signing Chicharito, which was one of the clubs most engaged tweets, which has tallied over 140k engagements. This level of performance isn’t entirely mirrored in all aspects of the club’s business and activities, but in terms of social media, they have implemented a successful social content strategy.
Measurement and Monitoring
The ways in which this strategy is kept consistent, is through the constant monitoring and measurement of analytics to gain an insight into how the content is performing. A starting point would be looking at the worst performing content and identifying the problem. In the context of West Ham United, they looked at their worst performing content, which was betting related content which was deemed as being promotions rather than relevant content (Arrigo 2017). This stresses the importance of keeping all content relevant and engaging for the audience. Also by keeping tabs on which content is performing the best, a business can keep tabs on what their audience reacts the best to.
Implementing any digital marketing strategy comes with potential risks. Consumer attitudes towards content is the main area in which risks can arise. Some content isn’t always received in the way it is intended to, which can cause problems for a business. Negative reactions towards content can cause a conflict of interest between the brand and the consumer which isn’t likely to aid the consumers purchasing decision in a positive way. If this isn’t dealt with, then it could lead to negative effects on their brand image. Evans (2011) suggests that this is one of the biggest factors behind certain brands not being as creative or unique, as the risk of negative press can be too much for a growing business.
However, with the platform of social media being free, there is seemingly no limit to the potential benefits of creating unique, engaging and relatable content. It is a strategy which will lead businesses into the future in the ever-developing digital world.
- Arrigo, Y. (2018). Who is winning the Premier League on social media?. [online] Campaignlive.co.uk. Available at: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/winning-premier-league-social-media/1442318 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
- Browne, E. & British Computer Society 2012, Working the crowd: social media marketing for business, 2nd edn, BCS, London.
- Evans, D. & Dawsonera 2011, Social media marketing: the next generation of business engagement, 1st edn, Wiley Technology Pub, Hoboken, N.J.
- Wang, X., Yu, C. & Wei, Y. 2012, “Social Media Peer Communication and Impacts on Purchase Intentions: A Consumer Socialization Framework”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 198.