Established companies are turning to online social sites to build brand communities and boost sales. This past year, companies have transformed these networking sites into a means for marketing and advertising to potential consumers. Recently Starbucks and Pizza Hut have proven to be top competitors in the social media marketing world.
Starbucks is now the top brand on Facebook. They have surpassed Coca-Cola in popularity, acquiring over 3.6 million followers on their fan page. They contribute their success to an aggressive social media marketing strategy and the construction of an online coffee community where Starbucks’ coworkers and customers can exchange stories and company ideas, connecting Starbucks fans worldwide. In addition they are using the social site to promote new products including the Via instant coffee. Last month Starbucks offered their Facebook followers a free cup of coffee for taking the Via instant coffee taste test at local stores.
Pizza Hut is also expanding their company with the help of iPhones. After downloading the Pizza Hut application, users are able to create and customize their pizza using the iPhone’s touch screen features. Similar to Starbucks’ strategy, Pizza Hut hopes customers will enjoy the interactive ordering experience, connect with the brand, and become loyal customers.
This demo video on the new iPhone application demonstrates how Pizza Hut is revamping the pizza industry.
The future for these social sites and devices is uncertain. Will they sustain popularity with users as more businesses utilize them for marketing purposes or will this just be another technology trend that will be replaced by something bigger and better?