Turning social media into value (Engaging customers and prosumers)

In the last few years, social media became inevitable by launching marketing campaigns. This new media, consisting of online social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many more, is closing the gap between producers and consumers. Consumers are empowered to make decisions by voting, to come up with ideas for new products or improvements and to really express their opinion about products and services.


It all starts by engaging consumers.  When a company engages consumers in their business experience through social media, they can generate free publicity as many consumers will express their thoughts about it on social platforms. This also contains some risks but “sitting on the sidelines is the greatest risk of all”. By engaging consumers, brands can create trust and opportunities by building a presence in consumers’ lives. Ultimately these ‘loyal’ consumers will generate the revenue a business is looking for.

In the article “Tweet me, Friend me and Make me Buy” the authors even point out that research showed that many consumers complete their purchase journey before having any contact with sales. Another interesting fact can be found in the research of (Li, Berens, & de Maertelaere, 2014). Also, social media –the new form of electronic word-of-mouth– is 20 times more effective than marketing events and 30 times more effective than media appearances.  A well-managed twitter channel can definitely improve a firm’s reputation and profitability.

The strategy must be effective in order to sustain attention from users and to gain value in the end. Two successful campaigns using social media and engaging the customers in a creative way are the campaigns of Lay’s and Cap’n Crunch. Lay’s campaign included consumers creating their own potato chip flavor. This successful campaign illustrated the production co-creation of consumers. In fact, this resulted in 3.8 million submissions of ideas in just 3 months, creating 4.9 billion PR impressions (free publicity!!).

Cap’n Crunch (cereal company) used twitter to be directly involved with this target group. They replied to brand mentions in a hilarious, unique way. They used trending topics on twitter. For instance, when #ThreeWordsSheWantsToHear was trending, the Cap’n replied with “Breakfast in bed” (Chan, 2014). The strength of a twitter campaign is that you can create potential new followers/consumers. All in all, social media should be a key point in all marketing strategies nowadays. It creates a bigger reach of the content a company is trying to communicate.


Chan, N. (2014, September 22). 3 Customer Engagement Strategies That Marketers Can’t Ignore. Retrieved from OutBrain: http://www.outbrain.com/blog/2014/06/3-golden-customer-engagement-strategies-that-marketers-cant-ignore.html

Giamanco, B., & Gregoire, K. (2012). Tweet me, friend me, make me buy. Harvard Business Review, 88-93.

Li, T., & Soonius, G. (2012). Is Your Social Media Strategy Effective? An Empirical Study of the Factors Influencing the Success of Facebook CampaignsProceedings of the Workshop on Electronic Business, 1-11.

Li, T., Berens, G., & de Maertelaere, M. (2014). Corporate Twitter channels: The impact of engagement and informedness on corporate reputation. Forthcoming: International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 1-34.



One thought on “Turning social media into value (Engaging customers and prosumers)

  1. I agree with your post and the importance of companies being heavily present on social media. Like your infographic depicts, social media dominates traditional marketing strategies. When you mentioned the Cap’n Crunch campaign, a lot of other social media campaigns on Twitter came to mind. I know that one of the hashtags that was really popular in the US was the #shipmypants campaign for KMart. Their video and the hashtag associated with it went viral very fast and all of the sudden people were aware of the online possibilities that KMart had to offer.

    Most recently, The United Nations started a campaign under Emma Watson called #HeForShe which doesn’t exactly aim to raise money, but awareness about feminism and it has been extremely successful with many people joining in to say that they support the movement. The purpose of engaging consumers isn’t limited to retail companies, it can expand to awareness campaigns as well.

    Companies that use social media campaigns often end up being very successful if they are done right with a good amount of humor and are catchy. Often times, consumers will tweet their own thoughts along with the hashtag, therefore increasing brand popularity. Personally, I don’t tweet much, but I do think its very fun when companies that I like, or campaigns that I find interesting, allow me to interact with the brand.

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