Social media marketing has reached an unprecedented high over recent years, allowing companies to interact directly with their client base. Whilst the importance of social media marketing is paramount it is still advisable to plan accordingly and practice restraint, as ill-timed or misguided use of social media can lead to angry customers and a poor public image (Thompson, 2013). According to Cahill (2009) when planning marketing communications online the following four stages are vital; building a strategic road map, identifying the most influential blogs and social sites, encouraging social media in an open pragmatic manner and to implement social media tactics to drive marketing outcomes. Modus Novels have therefore decided to implement a variation of this strategy following the selection of their social media channels, by conducting research into their competitor’s social media strategy to establish a relevant and effective plan for the future.
As a book/print copy seller, Modus Novels considers Waterstones to be their major competitor and will evaluate and create their social media plan in relation to their use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Waterstones operate their social media across all three of our selected platforms.
Waterstones Facebook page (Facebook.com, n.d.).
It is obvious across their Facebook page, Waterstones follow a very visual theme with all posts containing images or creative content such as videos. Despite their common theme of creativity, post styles are varied. This is vital as repetitive posts can lead to consumer’s feeds becoming clogged up, ultimately resulting in an unhappy customer and potentially a loss of followers and interest in the brand (Isaac, 2015). Furthermore, posts are limited per day, as sharing too much too often can have the same impact as repetitive posts.
Waterstones Twitter feed (Twitter.com, n.d.).
It is important to note that across their Facebook and Twitter page the same header banner was used, this creates continuity across platforms and reinforces brand image, making it easy to notice and recognise the Waterstones brand across integrated platforms. Furthermore, Waterstones applied that same constant plan within their Twitter campaign, applying imagery in all posts in addition to ensuring consistency without repetition.
Instagram is a different platform in comparison to the text based Facebook and Twitter formats, instead Instagram promotes the use of visual material to convey messages. This platform is in line with Waterstones overall marketing strategy of using visual imagery to help promote its goods, services and offers.
Waterstones Instagram (Instagram.com, n.d.)
The only comparable differences between Facebook and Twitter are the increased use of hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags not only help to promote a post but also increase visibility for searchers, a vital tool in promoting on Instagram. Secondly Waterstones use a theme of quotes and then images of their products throughout their Instagram account, this creates varied and engaging posts, which will not deter the visitor.
To add depth and validation to their research into competitor social media tactics, Modus Novels further analysed an additional competitor, Taschen. Who operate across the same selected social media channels as Waterstones and Modus Novels.
Taschen’s Facebook page (Facebook.com, n.d, b).
Taschen use a similar style as Waterstones to interact with their audience over Facebook. Using imagery in line with branding colours to attract reader’s attention. However, the critical difference is Taschen are more engaged with cultural affairs than Waterstones and are happy to post relevant news articles which relate to their products and brand values.
Taschen’s Twitter feed (Twitter.com, n.d, b)
Taking a similar approach to Waterstones, Taschen’s Twitter page follows a similar theme to their Facebook, using captivating imagery to promote their products. One critical difference is that Taschen are, once again, more interactive with other accounts, using the re-tweet function to promote brand values and encourage discussion regarding the arts industry. Furthermore, Taschen use their twitter account to promote upcoming events relating to their business, an element which was scarce in Waterstones social media strategy.
Taschen’s Instagram (Instagram.com, n.d, b)
Taschen’s Instagram page differs considerably from Waterstones. Firstly, rather than posting images of their products, Taschen use images relating or which feature in their books to help promote a product. For instance, rather than posting a front cover, like Waterstones, they use an image from inside the book. This may be done to generate interest with the visitor as they may believe the image is of something current, when it is not. Due to this variability of content they do not need to split their theme between photographs and quotations, like Waterstones do. The only similarity between the two appears to be their use of hashtags, as mentioned earlier, this is a vital tool in promoting on Instagram as it increases post visibility.
Following analysing Waterstones and Taschen’s social media marketing tactics, Modus Novels will implement the following in their social media strategy:
- Ensure a consistency of branding material; such as headers and logo’s.
- Use visual content to help attract visitor’s attention to posts.
- Create creative content such as video’s and blog posts.
- Ensure hashtags are used to help promote the brands visibility.
- Ensure a varied content of posts; this may include promotions, news updates and general company updates to ensure the visitor is not deterred by repetitive content.
- Not post too frequently – a maximum of twice per hour is advisable to ensure visitor satisfaction.
Market research demonstrated that consistency is key to generating an effective social media marketing strategy, which engages and captivates the audience’s attention. Doing this combined with the above road and strategy map is anticipated to allow Modus Novels to create an effective social media strategy.
Cahill, B. (2009). Your Attention Please: The Right Way to Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Plans. The public relations strategist, 15(2), p.25.
Instagram.com. (n.d.). Waterstones (@waterstones) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/waterstones/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Instagram.com. (n.d, b). TASCHEN (@taschen) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/taschen/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].
Isaac, E. (2015). 6 Mistakes Companies Makes On Social Media. [online] Digital.klood.com. Available at: https://digital.klood.com/blog/mistakes-made-on-social-media/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Facebook.com. (n.d.). Waterstones. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/waterstones [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Facebook.com. (n.d, b). TASCHEN. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/taschen/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].
Thompson, M. (2013). The Definitive Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing. EContent, 36(7), p.19.
Twitter.com. (n.d.). Waterstones (@Waterstones) | Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/waterstones [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Twitter.com. (n.d, b). TASCHEN (@TASCHEN) | Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/TASCHEN [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].