1. Definition

In the past years, the Internet changed from a static information platform to a dynamic channel for people around the world. The rise of Social networks, such as Facebook or twitter gave the user the opportunity to introduce themselves to a huge audience. The intention of Social Media is to connect with one another. It includes all kinds of digital media and technologies that enable users to create and exchange User Generated Content. It was only a matter of time until companies realized their chance of taking part in this movement.

2. Objectives

In 2011, 59 per cent of all German DAX-listed corporations declared their use of Social Media. Especially in Marketing/Sales, PR & Corporate Affairs, CRM and Human Resources, Social Media is a popular and often used tool. It can be a very helpful tool to reach some major objectives of the company and so they started hiring social media experts.

Companies can attract interest and awareness for their brand and products by publishing frequent updates and news. Ideally this can lead to customer loyalty and also to the acquisition of new customers. Because of the backward channel, customers can address the company in a direct way and take part in the process of developing or optimizing new products. This leads to a high involvement, not only for the product or the service but also for the company.

In addition, Social Media can be used for market researches and to get to know the relevant audience. All these objectives are leading to one major aspect: to generate a growth in sales as a result of a confident and loyal customer base.

3. Advantages

But working with Social Media is a delicate business and some rules have to be considered. Because of the fact, that the audience gets a voice to express their opinion on a campaign and the company, an unskilled developed concept can have serious consequences.

Nevertheless there are a lot of advantages which makes it worthwhile taking the risk.
A Facebook page or a Twitter channel is an easy and relatively cost-effective substitute for the company’s website. Because of the channel there is a direct and instantaneous contact to the target group and companies can get into a customer dialogue and cooperation.

In addition, Social Media has a high word-of-mouth potential. If one user “likes” the page of a company it appears on its Facebook profile. Friends and other user have access to this information and their friends as well. This happens without the company’s influence, so every user acts as a brand ambassador without any payments.

On the basis of the number of likes and followers, the company can get an idea of how many potential customers they can reach with their campaigns.

4. Five Factors for Success

As said before, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, when dealing with Social Media. For a successful use and to reach the company’s objectives, there are five factors that have to be considered:

LISTEN – taking in what is out there.

ENGAGE – find something that resonates with your business.

TELL – stuff that you’re doing that is actually interesting.

SHARE – let’ your customers know that you bring value by finding new information an aggregating it for them.

CREATE – increase your brand value by creating original content.

5. Example

With their campaign called “Tile and inspire”, the dutch Airline KLM shows how to engage their customers and increase their brand recognition by using social media. People all over the world had the opportunity to design their own little tile with a photo of themselves. In a contest, the most inspiring tiles were chosen to appear on one of the airlines planes. With videos on the companies YouTube channel, its Facebook page and on the official website, people were able to see how their tile was placed on the plane. In a short period of time, 120,000 tiles were designed and 123,830 new “Likes” were generated. The campaign was a huge success for the company and the worldwide awareness of the brand’s Dutch heritage and it’s promise to supply Journeys Of Inspiration was increased.

6. The game is changing

Companies need to have in mind that the impact of taking part in Social Media will always have an impact on their daily Marketing and PR business and the way of how to handle traditional communication working routine. Communication is no longer a one-way channel: there is always a dialog, a communication process between customers and companies. It is very important to build a relationship to the (potential) customers via two-way communication. Companies need to truly understand the values and behavior of their target-groups. It is mandatory to be open for the needs and trends of their customers and to consider the input of the customers: bottom-up instead of top-down strategies need to follow as a consequence. This leads to the conclusion that a new understanding of marketing also requires a rethinking of tradition brand management.


Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft,Telekommunikation und neue Medien BITKOM (2010): Leitfaden Social Media. Berlin: BITKOM.

Deutsches Institut für Marketing DIM (2011): Social Media Marketing (SMM) in Unternehmen. Köln: DIM.

Kaplan, Andreas M.; Haenlein, Michael (2010): Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. In: Business Horizons, Ausgabe 53, S. 59 – 68.

Medienmilch.de (2011): Studie: 59 Prozent der DAX-Unternehmen setzen Social Media ein. Internet: http://www.medienmilch.de/sahne/meldung-des-tages/artikel/details/101296studie-59-prozent-der-dax-unternehmen-setzen-social-media-ein/, 27.04.2012.

Salcido, Miguel (2011): Advantages of Using Social Media | Advantages of Media, Internet: http://www.organicseoconsultant.com/advantages-of-using-social-media/, 27.04.2012.

Wagenhaus, Michael (2011): A Brand Like A Friend? Über die Eignung von Facebook Brand Communitys als Plattform zur Markenbindung für schnelldrehende Konsumgüter auf dem deutschen Markt. Bachelor-Thesis an der Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart.

YourSourceIsOpen.com (2012): 3D Like And Dislike Buttons – Free PSD. Internet: http://bit.ly/IeFkek, 27.04.2012.

http://www.wds7.at/2011/07/klm-kampagne-tile-inspire-als-kachel-durch- die-luft-fliegen-teil-2/

http://www.traveller-online.at/news.html?tx_traveller_news %5Bdisplay_uid%5D=5062


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