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The Influence of Social Media Fans on the Sales of a Company: A Case of the Coca-Cola Company

The Influence of Social Media Fans on the Sales of a Company: A Case of the Coca-Cola Company

The Influence of Social Media Fans on the Sales of a Company: A Case of the Coca-Cola Company

Description

Research Type

The investigation is intended for scholarly use. It is done as a requirement to attain a Master’s degree. As such, the study is academic in type.

Overarching Issue or Problem Description

Business institutions use the social media with the intent of increasing their sales by widening their marketing and promotion strategies. The reason as to why the social media is becoming a critical marketing and promotion tool in the current times is that a number of people nowadays spend much of their time on these platforms. The current human generation, in particular, is shown to have embraced the social media more than the mainstream media. The majority of people prefer getting information and interacting with others in the social media. They have less time for watching television, listening to the radio, or reading printed media. As such, the best ways for companies to reach their customers in the modern society have to consider the various social media websites.

At the international level, companies such as Coca-Cola have been shown to be using the social media more thanThe Influence of Social Media Fans on the Sales of a Company: A Case of the Coca-Cola Company before to market their products and brands (Christodoulides, 2009, pp.117). The international companies seek to maximize their social media fan base. While other companies also use the social media, there are considerably huge margins of profits that the organisations make. For example, while some companies are registering profits, others have experienced losses. A solution to the puzzle lies in how committed to the social media some companies are as compared to the others. Such can be examined by critically evaluating a number of factors. Firstly, it lies in how they engage with the social media platforms. It begins with whether they are using Twitter, Facebook, blogging sites, Google +, and YouTube among others in their attempts to reach all the customers at their conveniences. Secondly, one should understand whether they actively use various contents such as videos, pictures, and statements to interact with their customers. For example, if a consumer wants to watch a video, he or she can use Facebook live or YouTube contents that contain the company’s information. Thirdly, one should assess the levels at which the companies use the fan-generated contents. Fourthly, one should check whether the companies have interconnected all their social media sites such that when a customer visits its website, he or she can notice their Twitter handle, Facebook page, Google + account, YouTube account, or blogging site. Lastly, the levels of activity of the companies need to be examined in order to understand the degree to which they reach their customers. A deeper insight into the five issues pertaining to the social media utility will unearth the power that the fans have in taking a business to a given end.

While virtually all companies in the UK and other parts of the world have created accounts on various social media platforms, they lack the effective use of such channels. The Coca-Cola Company has shown the world the way to go in utilising the social media fans base. It has effective and efficient working strategies in which the social media can be used for the benefit of the company. As such, the Coca-Cola Company offers significant learning opportunities to the UK’s businesses that desire to increase their sales through the social media fans.

Research Question

How can UK companies adequately utilise the social media fans to maximise their sales?

The Object or Field of the Research

Overall, the study examines the importance of fans on social media. Specifically, it looks into the ways in which the fans on social media can be influential to a company as far as the organisation’s sales are concerned. It looks at the Coca-Cola Company as a case study that offers significant product marketing, brand promotion, and organisational sales expansion lessons to the other business-minded institutions that have not yet effectively mastered the art and science of social media utility. The inquiry identifies fans as the social media subscribers who follow or are friends with authority figures who also use such kind of fora. In this study, the authority figures are companies such as Coca-Cola Company and Next PLC among others with the UK origin. The followers or friends can either like or react to the company’s page, account, post, or comment. They can also retweet, share, or comment on the organisation’s post. Some companies also engage their fans in the generation of their marketing contents. Fans and companies meet online on a number of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, blogging sites, Google+, YouTube, and chatbox among others. The sites can support a range of media such as videos, statements, and pictures.

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While the study’s findings can be used successfully by any business in any part of the globe, the study is particularly intended for the UK-based companies that are doing poorly in the social media fans’ engagement. It critically reviews the evidence generated from books and peer-reviewed journals as well as relevant articles about the Coca-Cola Company. It also generates data from a few Coca-Cola employees working in the UK. On the same note, it highlights the failures witnessed by the UK-based companies that have made them score poorly the sales generated as a result of their use of the social media. The sources of information are limited to the period between 2007 and 2017. The primary audience is composed of the scholars in the business field and those who desire to gain insight into the social media utility. The coverage ranges from the various types of social media to the different ways in which the social media can be used, the level of activity of the company in the social media, the social media content generation, the interconnectedness of a given company’s social media accounts, and social media sales making. The investigator does not limit the audience to the primary ones mentioned in the research proposal. Any company or policymaker that finds the information useful is free to use the data without seeking permission from the investigator so long as the intellectual property rights are observed.

Study Obstacles

It is anticipated that the study will have no major obstacles. Inasmuch as the literature reviewed will be from the secondary sources, the investigator intends to engage the Coca-Cola Company in collecting the primary data with the intent of validating how the company operates its social media platform. The sampled primary sources will submit their responses online within a span of 2 weeks. The investigator will be reminding them on making their submissions as deemed appropriate.

Literature Review

Types of social media

The Coca-Cola Company uses the various types of social media sites such as Twitter, blogging site, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. A sample review of the other companies globally and within the UK shows that several companies use these sites as well. Others even use more social media sites than the Coca-Cola Company does. One notable difference in this regard is the use of LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1694/). The Coca-Cola Company has a LinkedIn account that it uses to engage the fans on the social media while a considerably big number of the UK’s local companies do not have such as deduced from their personalised blogging sites or websites. LinkedIn is largely considered a professional networking site. Probably, it is the reason as to why many UK’s local companies do not readily use it as a social site. In light with this, evidence has it that Coca-Cola seems to be registering more profits than most of the companies that use more social media sites yet not using the LinkedIn site.

Ways of using the social media by Coca-Cola and the other companies

The Coca-Cola Company uses statements, pictures, and videos streamed online to engage the fans on social media in the various sites it uses. A review of the company’s website showed various statement, pictures, and videos. The Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts of the company also had videos. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages of Coca-Cola had pictures and statements. Evidence shows that a number of companies have embraced more than one method of engaging the social media fans (Kaplan, & Haenlein, 2010, pp.62). For example, Next PLC, which is a UK-based fashion company with branches across the globe, has videos, statements, and pictures in the range of social media platforms in which it has an account. Even if numerous companies are favourably competing with Coca-Cola on the use of various methods in engaging the fans on social media, the latter seems to be making larger profits than a considerable number of the business entities.

The interconnectedness of the social media accounts used by the companies

It has been noted that many for-profit organisations including the Coca-Cola Company use a range of social media sites in varying ways. It has also been observed that the companies have integrated their accounts, particularly from their personalised websites. As such, it can engage fans on the social media directly from the blogging sites where users can click on the logos of each social media site in order to reach the page of the company with which they are interacting. For example, Next PLC has integrated Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube like Coca-Cola (http://www.next.co.uk/).

The level of activity of Coca-Cola in the social media

The levels of engagement of the companies vary (Moriuchi, 2016, p.6). Tracking the Twitter and Facebook interactions with the social media fans as used by different companies, it is noted that considerable numbers of companies actively interact with fans on the social media. For example, Next PLC replies to the comments and posts made by its followers on its Facebook page (https://web.facebook.com/nextofficial?_rdc=1&_rdr). The Coca-Cola Company also does the same with the fans. The findings are similar to those of the Twitter accounts of the companies (https://twitter.com/COCACOLACO).

The social media content generation by the companies

Evidence shows that the companies do use diverse contents to connect with the fans on the social media (Bowen, & Ozuem, 2016, pp.100). However, in most cases, a number of companies use the contents they have created by themselves to engage with the fans. Be that as might, the companies also use the contents generated by the fans, which are referred to as the user-generated contents (UGC). The UGC seemingly is the greatest game-changer in the product marketing and brand promotion in the social media (Daugherty, Eastin, & Bright, 2008, pp.21). The Coca-Cola Company is reported to have significantly banked on the strategy when it made profits in the 21st Century. The company has been developing customised products and brands to reach its fans on social media. For example, one of its UGCs has had the names of its customers and their friends or relatives drinking and sharing the Coke. It also uses the statements as Share a Coke’ and ‘Taste the feeling’ which reach to its consumers personally (Moye, 2016, pp.1).

Notably, many UK companies have not adequately embraced the UGC, particularly those ranking low in profit-making. For example, a visit to the Facebook page operated by Next PLC showed that it began using the strategy later than the Coca-Cola Company (https://web.facebook.com/nextofficial?_rdc=1&_rdr). Any company that began using the UGC when Coca-Cola introduced it or thereabouts is still recording negative sales needs to re-evaluate its UGC or even customise the Coca-Cola model (Moriuchi, 2016, pp.115).

Approach/Methodology

The inquiry will be a case study design. The focus of the investigation is the Coca-Cola Company, particularly in relation to how it uses its social media fans base. It reviews the relevant information from 10 quality secondary sources composed of books, peer-reviewed materials, and articles from non-predatory sites. Apart from the reviewed secondary sources, the investigator will rely on the primary data generated from a few workers employed particularly in the sales and marketing department. The focus of the investigation will be on how the Coca-Cola Company has managed to both effectively and efficiently engage its fans on social media in order to market its products, promote its brands, and increase its sales. It also seeks to find out whether the company uses the social media to sell its products or brands to consumers and the logistics that inform the occurrence.

The study is relevant to understanding the characteristics of the modern world’s marketing. The world has shifted from the mainstream media to Internet-enabled platforms. Any company that wants to thrive in the current business world has to re-evaluate the ways in which it reaches and engages with customers. The study is useful in understanding the ways in which the Coca-Cola Company operates in the current social media times. Such information will be useful in helping the other companies understand what is needed of them to have a fully and successfully operational social media marketing and sales plan. The underlying position of the inquiry is that different companies are using the social media in various ways for marketing. However, some companies have succeeded in using the platform and made considerably huge sales out of it, while others register less profit or even losses in spite of having social media accounts. The intent of any business is for profit making. As such, it is important to study the various ways in which both the successful and unsuccessful companies engage the social media fans. It will help in understanding what works best in the social media sales and marketing and the things that do not yield fruits for businesses. Such a lesson will help the companies making minimal profits or registering losses even with the use of social media come up with effectively working sales and marketing plans that will revolutionise their engagement in business.

The inquiry uses a single company as a case study to illustrate the utility of the social media fans. Such information can be considered for adoption by the other companies that are doing poorly in the social media fans utility.  However, they can improve the social media operations with the intent of making larger profits that they are currently doing. The use of the social media fans base by the Coca-Cola Company is discussed in a number of ways as highlighted in the literature review section. In most cases, the Coca-Cola Company is used as the organisation to emulate by the other businesses that are doing considerably poorer in their businesses. The companies have the social media accounts but are not adequately utilising them.

Data Collection

Data will be collected in two ways. The major source will be the secondary materials, which include the books, peer-reviewed articles, and relevant online materials totalling to 10. The second source will involve having a discussion with five purposively selected employees of the Coca-Cola Company. The second source will be useful in validating the literature reviewed.

Justification of the Methodology

The inquiry is significant because it is a requirement for the investigator to graduate in his master’s programme. Secondly, it is important because it provides useful information to the business entities that intend to use the social media fans as well as the ones that are currently making inadequate use of such a platform. As such, it bridges the knowledge gap that exists in the business sector as pertains to the engagement of the social media fans. Thirdly, the information will be used by other researchers to develop their studies and add to the knowledge in the field.

Study Limitations

The study faces the limitation of having questionnaires either answered by people not actually intended such as spouse or child or being filled by more than one person.

Timeline

Period Activity
Week 1Developing the topic
Week 2Doing literature review and annotation of bibliography
Week 3Doing literature review and annotation of bibliography
Week 4Writing the first draft of the research proposal (chapter 1 to chapter 3)
Week 5Redrafting the study proposal and pre-submission review
Week 6Submission of the study proposal for review by instructor
Week 7Data collection
Week 8Data collection
Week 9Data analysis
Week 10Report/Thesis Writing

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Bibliography and Annotations;

BOWEN, G., & OZUEM, W., 2016. Competitive social media marketing strategies. Hershey, PA, Business Science Reference.

The source is important because it critically discusses the various methods that are used while interacting with the fans on social media and their utilities in marketing.

Christodoulides, G., 2009. Branding in the post-internet era. Marketing theory9(1), pp.141-144.

The source discusses branding in the era where everyone is internet savvy and spending most of his or her time online. It underscores that social media branding goes miles in giving any company a competitive edge.

Daugherty, T., Eastin, M.S. and Bright, L., 2008. Exploring consumer motivations for creating user-generated content. Journal of Interactive Advertising8(2), pp.16-25.

The source highlights the reasons why companies are shifting to UGC, which is primarily because the consumers are motivated by such moves. A company that meets the consumers such as Coca-Cola has been recognized for being at the forefront in following the consumers online.

https://web.facebook.com/nextofficial?_rdc=1&_rdr

This is Facebook page operated by Next PLC. It is an evidence presented to note the ways in which the company engages the fans on social media.

Kaplan, A.M. and Haenlein, M., 2010. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business horizons53(1), pp.59-68.

This source is important in discussing the challenges that companies face while going online. It also emphasizes the reason why every profit-oriented company has to take the social media dimension by noting that the customers are all there most of their times.

https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1694/

This is a LinkedIn account run by Coca-Cola. It is useful in highlighting the seriousness with which the company has embraced the social media.

MORIUCHI, E., 2016. Social media marketing: strategies in utilizing consumer-generated content. http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/?fpi=9781631571190.

The source observes in details the social media marketing strategies and their utilities. It gives special attention to UGC and its significance in increasing a company’s sales.

Moye, J., Jan 19, 2016. ‘One Brand’ Strategy, New Global Campaign Unite Coca-Cola Trademark’. Retrieved on 04/06/2017 from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/taste-the-feeling-launch

The source discusses the Coca-Cola’s stories about the brands it uses to connect with its people and, in effect, increase its sales.

https://twitter.com/COCACOLACO

The Twitter account is run by Coca-Cola. It is useful in highlighting the manner in which the company engages fans on the social media.

http://www.next.co.uk/

This website managed by Next of the UK is useful in noting that the company has integrated a range of social media sites in order to interact with fans on the social media.

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