In modern world, social media plays an important role and have changed the way people communicate, search information about products or services, find media content. This development has changed the way businesses are promoted. This article is going to provide a basic understanding of social media concept, evaluate the role of social media in promotion of a FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brand in the Russian market utilizing the case of Company X.
Authors: Tamara Vladimirskaia and Marja Viljanen
Social media as a marketing tool
Social media are online tools and platforms that allow internet users to collaborate on content, share insights and experiences, and connect for business or pleasure (Strauss & Frost 2009, 329). Social media includes social networks, blogs, microblogs, photo, and video host services, forums blogs. Most of them have a unique, recognizable interface and work on a set of different technologies that make a certain website a unique communicational tool. (Neyaskin 2010, 7). There are several significant issues that distinct social media from traditional ones: the ability to share information immediately, less censored content, ability to edit and publish any kind of the material. Hence, many companies nowadays have shifted to social media instead of the use of television, newspapers, radio and magazines as marketing channels.
Social media marketing (SMM) is the complex use of social media websites and social networks to promote a company’s products and services. SMM is used to increase sales, brand awareness, attract new customers and partners, analyze the market and search for new opportunities for a business. The main channel in SMM promotion is promotion via social networks. Social networks are websites or apps that unify different people and provides an opportunity to communicate, share media, discuss opinions and search for information. Different social networks could be utilized for different purposes of the company.
Social networks and social media marketing in Russia
In Russia, social networks are popular among people of different ages, nationalities and social status. According to the latest statistics provided by State Statistics Service of Russian Federation (2018), 71.5% of the population in Russia aged 15-72 are active Internet users. Currently, 45% of citizens of the Russian Federation over 18 years old are currently using at least one of the social networks almost every day, 62% – at least once a week. Therefore, there are unlimited opportunities for different companies to use social media as a marketing tool. This is applicable to different types of business, including fast-moving consumer goods brands (FMCG). In the Russian market, the most popular social networks are YouTube, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Instagram and Facebook. VKontakte and Odnoklassniki are Russian-based social networks, launched by Russian web-developers in accordance with customer needs and preferences in the specific market.
Currently, social media are used by different size companies for their promotion. This usage is applied to convey the market position, become more customer-friendly and customer-oriented. (Saravanakumar & SuganthaLakshmi 2012). For an FMCG brand, such as Company X, social media practices are an excellent opportunity not only to attract new customers and increase sales but to create a channel to receive feedback, respond to comments and communicate directly with the consumer. For an FMCG brand, the recommendations for SMM strategies are the following:
- Strategy planning for social media campaigns, clearly stated goals and prepared plan for tools utilization;
- Content planning with proper media content that shows values of the company and specially designed for each publication;
- Involving users of social networks and customers of a brand in a content creation to increase loyalty for a brand;
- The diversity of the content used in promotional campaigns;
- Budget planning for digital marketing activities in accordance with the needs of the company.
Research and findings
The empirical research done for the case Company has shown several significant issues that could be utilized by an FMCG brand. The empirical research was based on the analysis of the case company social media marketing activities, the survey of the customers and the interview with personnel. Even thought the research was conducted especially for the case company, the results are applicable to other companies in Russia in order to improve SMM activities.
The first key finding was a demand to improve the strategic planning. This includes the need to plan and schedule publications, the budget planning for tools and resources used and the general concept for the promotional plan, content plan development. Second, the content planning requires more attention. There are variety of media types that could be utilized to diversify the content in social networks. This may attract new customers and help to avoid user fatigue from brand content in social networks. Third, due to the specifics of Russian market the focus should be shifted to the social networks that are the most popular in this country. These social networks are YouTube, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Instagram and Facebook. All these networks have their own features, different audiences and user interfaces. Therefore, different groups of the target audience might be covered via diverse marketing channels. Furthermore, the implementation of contests and giveaways on a regular basis might stimulate users to create user-generated content and positively influence on the brand image. Finally, the utilization of different SMM tools, such as target advertising, advertising via influence agents, hashtags implementation, execution of pixels of the social network to the website, attracting traffic from the communities bring significant results.
The research results showed that the strategic planning, content planning, different social networks utilization, use of the diverse SMM tools could work in compilation for the stable and ongoing results. Social media is a great tool for promotion, attracting new customers and maintaining existing one. The Russian market with its own specific characteristics is a perspective for FMCG brands further development.
Neyaskin G. 2010. Social media influence on business communication. Dialog communication in business. Moscow: High School of Economics.
Saravanakumar M., SuganthaLakshmi T. 2012. Social Media Marketing. Life Science Journal 9(4):4444-4451. [Cited 23 Nov 2018]. Available at: http://www.lifesci-encesite.com/lsj/life0904/670_13061life0904_4444_4451.pdf
State Statistics Service of Russian Federation. 2018. Use of the Internet by Population of Russian Federation. Tables 3.1, 3.11. [Cited 25 Nov 2018]. Available at: http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/new_site/business/it/fed_nabl-croc/PublishData%5CRe-ports%5CReports_2016.html
Strauss J. & Frost R. 2009. E-marketing. 5th edition. USA, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Vladimirskaia, T. 2018. The Role of Social Media in Promotion of the Fast-Moving Consumer Good Brand in The Russian Market. Case: Company X. Bachelor’s thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti. [Cited 11 Dec 2018]. Available at: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2018120520277
Tamara Vladimirskaia has studied Business and Administration at Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management at Lahti University of Applied Sciences and has graduated and received a BBA degree in December 2018.
Marja Viljanen works as a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management, Lahti University of Applied Sciences.
Illustration: https://pixabay.com/en/social-social-media-communication-3064515/ (geralt/CC0)
Reference to this publication
Vladimirskaia, T. & Viljanen, M. 2018. Social media as a marketing channel for FMCG brands in Russia. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: http://www.lamkpub.fi/2018/12/12/social-media-as-a-marketing-channel-for-fmcg-brands-in-russia/