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Optimal ways for companies to use Facebook as a marketing channel

Linnea Hansson (Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)
Anton Wrangmo (Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)
Klaus Solberg Søilen (School of Business and Engineering, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 17 May 2013

Abstract

Purpose

Social media has increased as a marketing channel, and Facebook is the biggest social media company globally. Facebook contains both positive and negative information about companies; therefore, it is important for companies to manage their Facebook page to best serve their own interests. Although most users are familiar with business and marketing activities on Facebook, they use it primarily for fun and personal purposes. The most effective methods for companies to use Facebook have not been clear. The personal nature of Facebook presents unique challenges for companies by raising ethical and social responsibility issues that are important to users. The purpose of this paper is to discover how companies can optimize their use of Facebook as a marketing channel.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted. The respondents were 158 users of Facebook in Sweden; complete answers were provided by all respondents. In a series of specific questions and comments, the respondents were asked to describe an optimal marketing solution on Facebook for companies. They rated different functions, which were illustrated with pictures, to help in the cognitive process and to avoid misunderstandings.

Findings

Most users who have an opinion on the issue accept marketing on Facebook, but only in the right amount. There are basically two groups: those who think that companies have no place on Facebook and those who want companies to be active on Facebook. The latter group emphasizes the importance of meaningful posts without unsolicited sales messages, and would prefer to search for the companies themselves rather than being bombarded by company messages. By far, status updates and pictures/images were found to be the most important functions to respondents.

Research limitations/implications

The sample consisted of only Swedish users. Another limitation was that, since many Facebook users do not normally think about the implications of being exposed to marketing on Facebook, they have difficulty taking a position on many issues related to the service.

Practical implications

The results give companies a clear idea of how to effectively use Facebook in their marketing efforts.

Originality/value

A large number of companies are currently asking themselves, “How can we use Facebook in an optimal way?” The results in this study answer this question and lead directly to saving time and resources for these companies.

Keywords

Citation

Hansson, L., Wrangmo, A. and Solberg Søilen, K. (2013), "Optimal ways for companies to use Facebook as a marketing channel", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 112-126. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-12-2012-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited