The purpose of this paper is to: first, examine why companies create brand pages in social media, how they use them, what policies and strategies they follow, and what outcomes do they expect; and second – from firms’ point of view – how users are benefited from such pages.
A qualitative study approach was employed for this study. Data were collected from personal interviews with 14 marketing managers responsible for the social media activity of their company, providing preliminary evidence about the actions firms take, the motivations that led them to getting involved, and the derived outcomes.
The main actions of the firm are making prize competitions, announcing new products/services, interacting with fans, providing advice and useful information, and handling customer service issues. The basic motivations are the increasing popularity of social media, competitors’ presence, headquarters’ strategy, and cost reduction pressure. Interact with customers, create/enhance relationships with customers, brand awareness, customer engagement, promote products/increase of sales, and the more targeted acquisition of new customers, were referred to as the main expected outcomes for companies.
Given the qualitative nature of the study and the emerging field of research about social media, findings should be considered as preliminary and exploratory. Interviews with companies from more sectors and also with social media users will provide a more comprehensive view of the topic.
The paper identifies several opportunities for company managers, suggesting practices for effective social media handling.
Considering the rapid development of social media and their penetration in business marketing actions, this paper is an exploratory step toward the ways firms utilize social media channels.
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