Abstract This report is conducted by the four students in the third year at Dublin Institution of Technology for the module Strategic Management – An Applied Approach lectured by Dr Jennifer Lawlor. Students have worked on different aspects of the report and this made sure that every student does an equal amount of labour. The group held 3 meetings to check the stage of their research and to gather the information. Also, students, held on-line meetings to discuss the subject. At these meetings, a logbook was completed and it is attached to the Appendix 1.
To ensure that the assessment ave matching scores below 1 5%, students submitted their group assignment to SafeAssign. The matching scores 2% and the hard copy of Page 1 of the SafeAssign Originality Report is submitted to the Appendix 2. The first part of the research shows what is social media and what it is the impact it has on the organizations. The students identified the positives and negatives side if organizations involve with social media using examples. The second part of the report details the social media platforms used by Subway -organization selected to complete the research.
The students studied how Subway – one of the best known restaurants uses social edia. 1. Introduction Thus it is known that most of the executives believe that engagement with social media is more valuable than silence, others don’t see this as opportunity. In this report we are discussing about social media within organisations and how executives can develop strategies to engage effectively with social media. As consumers have become very attracted to usage of social media, so have the businesses. It is a fantastic source of reaching the customers and building a positive relationship with them.
In order to get the positive outcome of using social media in businesses, it eeds to be fully understood how it works and how and when to use it. Organizations are working with social data more and more wisely, however it will still take some time before businesses will learn how to utilize it in scalable manner. Human mind is an unbeatable tool that should be exploit. Society is willing to tolerate negative consequences as long as there will be more positive outcomes. Even though many businesses recently are experimenting with usage of social media channels, there is still big reluctance to engage into this new strategy. Sponder, 2012) Executives should embrace new technological advancements and leverage new edia to engage customers closer and deeper and to ensure at the same time that businesses efforts and hard work could reach people anywhere, at the right place and time. (Bernhardt, Mays, Hall, 2012) It is understood that not every organization has time and resources to invest in social for business, but it is a mistake. Millions of people use these new media, numbers talk for itself, why not to build presence and publicize business to them. Engaging in social media might be too intimidating and challenging for some organizations.
Managers are not convinced enough that their efforts will pay off at some point. The problem might be also caused by executives that drive decisions in the organizations. They simply choose the wrong platforms that cannot satisfy their expectations. The organizations should be explicit what their needs and wants are and why it is vital in deciding upon the proper media channel. (Sponder, 2012) 2. Social Media – valuable tool for any organizations It is known that most of the executives think that engagement with social media is more valuable than silence, others don’t agree with this.
In this part we are discussing about social media within organisations and how executives can develop trategies to engage effectively with social media. First should be defined the term of social media to have a clear understanding of it. Social media is viewed as a business model and a set of concepts that every organization should be ahead social media. As a term – social media was first mentioned by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty in 2004 as “Web 2. 0”, and later was renamed to “social networks” and today is known as “social media”.
The change can be represented as a list of new applications as Google AdSense, Wikipedia and Flickr, only it is much more profound. (Levy, 2013; O’Reilly, 2005; Knot et al. 2008; Panahi et al. , 2012). Web 2. 0 can take many different forms, such as text, images, audio and video. Popular social media include blogs, podcasts, etc. There are many ways to take advantages of the new social media tools which any executive should learn about. These includes embracing the new normal, making collaboration easy, encouraging content communities, thinking big, start small and driving effective change.
Social media has become an important channel for reaching the potential customers. It has also changed the way people learn about products and services and the way they purchase them. Due to the growing orldwide explosion of social media, businesses are under extreme pressure to engage in areas where the customers are paying attention. It helps to gain customers perspectives and reinforce connections with them. It is an effective tool to get closer to customers. Nowadays, executives should see the engagement with social media as a transformation of its organisation’s from an enigma into a human being that people can relate to.
There are lots of benefits of using social media and executives should engage with it. Most of the benefits are: 1. Leadership – Executives are supposed to be visionary and they must lead by example. This means that their team should also be innovative, engaged, proactive, creative, authentic, transparent and communicative. 2. Learning – Social media it is a constant window of learning. Executives must observe, listen, process, learn and understand the benefit of engaging directly with customers of their goods and services. Social media also allows access to business, market and competition in real time. . Business – Executives must pay attention to business. There are lots of positive reasons why social media has a very important influence on the business: Innovation; Built partnerships; Attract and retain talent; Open markets; Create relationships; Company branding; Word-of-mouth advertising; Increased customer loyalty and trust; Improved audience reach and influence; Drive revenue; Increase personal and corporate brand equity; Generate communications leverage. After selecting the most important benefits, executives should notice that social media has a significant impact on organisation as an entity. . Communications – Social media gives the chance to be proactive in organisation’s communications. It is strongly recommended that organisations create strong relationships, supporters, fans through social media. 5. Legacy Benefits – Social media can enhance the value of existing relationships and create new ones. (Matt, 2011) As, 2013 is coming to an end a new era is beginning. It is known that customers are using more frequently the Internet to read, watch, upload, and to buy services and products. That’s why organisations should look and think forward. Now, using social media it is a must.
Executives will have to find ways to integrate their social media efforts with their strategy, and to see the impact of social media in terms of generation, referral traffic, and revenue. (DeMers, 2013). With the rise in social media, it appears that corporate ommunications has been democratized. And with more than one billion members on Facebook, nearly 500 million Twitter users, and 200 million LinkedIn members, executives must develop an effective social media marketing strategy that will allow businesses to reach out and actively engage with prospective customers.
Here are several strategies that social media can help businesses to grow: 1. Humanized brand – people prefer to do business with other people. Nowadays, companies are very popular on different platforms that keep customers up-to-date and offer them the chance to give feedback of the product, service they offer. It is known that the more likes the organisation gets on Facebook the more customers it will get. 2. Monitors brand’s reputation – by utilizing online reputation management tools, organisations can monitor for mentions of your brand on the Internet to promptly engage in those active conversations.
That’s why organisations should use different tools to keep an eye and scan their environment in order to understand the importance of conversations or any other information flows that might affect in a way or another current or future position in the market (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCathy, 2011). . Industry expert – earning this status is important as this is viewed as an expanding of brand. 4. Loyalty – people choose to follow brands that are more active on social media. Again as an example, is a Facebook page. If the page get more “likes”, then it is more likely that that brand will get more business.
Word of mouth is the most important, as people trust people. 5. Search engine optimization – Create more content more often. The search engines take in consideration the quality of the directly and efficiently. Leaving big gaps between the comments would not look professional. The customer could wonder if he/she would be treated same way in the real world. Building the brand and company’s reputation is usually in hands of one person, therefore it is vital to have the arising issues dealt correctly and in efficient manner. Having qualified person to do that Job is the key to success.
This person should facilitate conversations with online customers, friends, enemies and individuals that have influencing power. Has to be the online eyes and ears. Nominated employee must embody and embrace personality and spirit of organization’s brand. (Lanz, 2010) Negative comments are one of those things that businesses are afraid. Everyone can see it on social media platforms. None of the issues can be ignored. Quick and proper response is very important, otherwise it will be seen as poor service and might result in loosing current or potential customers.
Example of Ryanair case can be shown here to outline the importance of the above. A complaint posted on Facebook by furious passenger attracted half a million likes and over 20,000 comments. Ryanair did not even try to apologize or solve the issue, moreover posted an offensive statement saying that passenger should have been aware of terms and conditions and none of it would happen. The whole situation resulted in 29% profit drop weeks right after the incident. Fraud is listed as another disadvantage of social media.
It is very easy to pretend to be someone else and to act as some business. It could cause a damage to its reputation. Every organization will turn into whatever the person in charge of social media wants to. Dealing with issues through social media platforms is a bit impersonal. It is better to deal with customers face to face, to be able to match face with a name. Especially when dealing with sensitive cases, it is easier to talk to someone over the phone or in erson, rather than trying to solve it online in presence of thousands or millions of people.
It is known that number of people that are active on social media is getting higher and higher, however it is still Just 20% of global population that is engaged in this kind of social activity. We are about to face a real monster of data, once the remaining percent of population will become active as well. (Sponder, 2012) For easier understanding of benefits and possible negative effect of social media platforms please see presented S. W. O. T analysis for social media: Positive Negative Internal Weaknesses
Possibility to hear your customers Valuable information not available anywhere else Low cost and highly effective advertisement possibilities Customers can take over control Control is in one employees hands Negative experience and information spread very quick External Opportunities Threats Smartphone apps in combination with social media platforms Possibility to stand out Expanding sector with many possibilities to succeed Social media becomes anti – social media Loss of control Content can be easily duplicated Inability to resolve customer concern may effect in loss of profits Large competitor action Possibility of fraud .
Social media platforms used by Subway restaurants The Subway restaurant is a privately held franchise. It was founded by two young college students in the USA in 1965. Today it is owned and operated by Doctor’s Associates, Inc. Subway is a multi-billion dollar business with over 32,500 stores in 91 countries. In the UK and Ireland there are over 1 500 subway franchises. Subways core product is the submarine sandwich and is the second-biggest fast food chain in the United States, after McDonald’s. Subway’s menu varies between countries and religious reasons.
The chain has a very strong support network which is the biggest trength of the company. Subway biggest competitor is Quiznos. The social media platforms used by Subway are the following: 1 . Facebook 2. Twitter 3. Linked In 4. Wikipedia 5. EBay and Amazon 6. News delivery sites 7. Open Source Software communities 8. Social bookmarking sites [social media/ Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites, where users can build, present maintain their profiles. It also allows organizations to create their company’s profile page.
People can like these pages and get latest updates, from the company, on their profile wall. It allows organizations to advertise their products and upcoming romotions, find out customers opinions through wall posts and pooling questions. Many countries have Subway Facebook pages, and almost every store in that country have their own Facebook page. Official American Subway page have over 25 million likes, Australia 600 thousand, Brazil over 3. 5 million, Canada Just under 1. 3 million and official I-JK & Ireland 400 thousand.
And these are only few countries mentioned, Mexico, Nederland, Poland, India and many more all-around 1 million likes. Some Subway pages have a questionnaire where they are asking about the ingredients customers would like to have on their subs. People are very involved when discussing products. A post like ,New Sub with cheese and steak – will introduce new product which is expected to achieve over 100 likes and over 30 comments about what people think of it. Also another way to find out popularity of old product is by posting, ‘Press Like if your favourite sub is Spicy Italian’, and this post is expected to have over 150 likes.
Then company can check their analysis page and find out what areas these likes and posts are coming form to promote these products in these areas. Twitter is a popular micro blogging system which allows sharing of micro posts up to 140 characters. Among users these micro posts called as tweets. With their tweets people often attach a photo or a web link. You can choose people and companies to follow what means that you will be getting posts from them. Twitter is one of the most frequently used apps on the smartphone in the world during quarter 2 this year.
This means that people are sharing their experience on the go very often. Subway Twitter users have same variety of choice; they can follow subway by the country or by the local store. Subway UK has 8500 followers. Twitter users are more likely to post complaint messages such as ‘Had a thick black hair in my ubway today – emn. ‘! or,… points weren’t added to my sub card AGAIN after a purchase! ‘. System allows company to reply to customers and deal with their concerns. But also it informs other followers with problems Subway may offer to them.
Advertising messages are the same as in Facebook, users can comment or re- tweet them and spread the information. Re- tweet is often used by a participating company in promotion so their followers can see it too. For example Subway tweeted: It’s half term! So get down to SUBWAY stores with your kids and get a #Cloudy2 bag! At Cinemas Now! http://ow. y/i/3wDYl and it was re-tweeted by a Sony pictures UK in such way the amount of followers to the message doubled. Linked in is another social media platform that allow business create connections through professionals.
All employees could connect on their site as a follower. Today there are more than 25000 employees registered on Linked in. In this way former and future employees could share their knowledge, experience or Just meet others or find more about the product and services. Social media allows Linked in users to easily share content from the website and anywhere else on the internet. Wikipedia could give more detailed information about subway. Information about early history products regional variations, nutritional content advertising controversies.
It is well known that Wikipedia is not a reliable source and people could use it for their own research. As everyone can share information on Wikipedia, there are lots of mistakes, misunderstandings and lies as well. Wikipedia shouldn’t considered as a very good source because anyone could edit it. On EBay or on amazon websites the Subway operator or any people could buy restaurant uniforms e. g. pods shirts, hats. Collectors can search for collectables. On eBay classified there are Job advertisements as well. Even Subway restaurants are for sale. On Amazon. om people selling gift cards and there is few customers’ discussion about the restaurants. EBay or Amazon is very useful as a marketing tool because it could reach many people. Subway restaurants’ uses news delivery sites e. g. current TV as their primary marketing tool. Every day many subway commercials are broadcasted. The main reason TV advertising is so effective is the size of the audience it reaches. That is the best way to tell people about special deals and promotions. Subways are changing heir menus and offering special deals very often.
They can reach many people quickly and safely with TV commercials. It also allows them to target certain segments of customers. Open Source Software communities e. g. Mozilla is a free software best known for supporting the Firefox browser. Subway using Mozilla to calculate social media metrics and global fan distribution. People can learn more about products by using this search engine. One can easily reach any information in seconds. They have very strong relationship with Facebook and twitter as they all featuring up-to-date information about the business.
Subway has many advertisements on these sites. News vine is a community powered news website. Users can write articles and discuss a topic. One of the best features of news vine is nobody is going to be able to change or edit the article. Users have the opportunity to write about their own stories and comments. For example people can start a topic about the Subway restaurant, and share their experiences. This type of social media is very powerful because unhappy customers can share their opinion and they will.
Thousands of people visiting Facebook and twitter in every minutes so social media is a powerful marketing and feedback tool. Many mobile phone users will have even more opportunities to share their experiences in few second. You Tube is a video-sharing website probably the best advertisement choice. It is easy to reach for anyone all you need Just an internet connection. Registered users stuff. One can watch the latest commercials and interesting content from the restaurant. Subway is putting many commercial on YouTube with some celebrities or famous people.
On you tube anyone can share, comment or rate. Videos also can be sent to others and friends or emailed. YouTube is known as a very powerful social site for small business. It is way cheaper to advertise Subway on YouTube than TV advertisement. 4. Recommendations To conclude research on social media platforms used by Subway the recommendations would be to use different advertisement content for every platform, because most of social media users have accounts on several channels and the advertisement loses possible power of discussion, because of analogic content.
Open an account on Foursquare. Some Subway restaurant locations are submitted onto channel by Foursquare users but not regulated by the company. Subway is missing opportunity to advertise current deals and discounts and to offer oupons to customers who use Foursquare and check in frequently. There is also a possibility to track which restaurants are checked in more frequently. This can be used as a valuable marketing research tool, to develop long-term campaigns. 5. Conclusion The increasing number of users using social media requires separate attention from the companies.
Ignorance and inability to adapt can cause major consequences in profit or reputation. The emergence of social media has transformed consumers from content readers to publishers, making their role more significant. There were several case examples in this paper when company wasn’t capable to eal with power of social media. Managers have to understand that social media is not an exclusive toll for online businesses only, and that all possible threats has to be evaluated. Social media have lots of benefits to offer if managed properly.
Creating and never been so easy. It gives you access to all customer segments in an instance of the click. This is invaluable marketing tool. Word of mouth has always been most effective and low cost advertisement form. The right use of social media can lead to win-win situations for both organizations and customers. 6. Bibliography 1 . Jan H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, Bruno S. Silvestre, 2011, “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media”, Business Horizons, 54, pp. 241??”251 2.
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