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Social media adoption lifecycle for brands - Early/late majority (Part 2)

September 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM


by Mikul Patel

Digital Marketing Consultant at Matraxis

The social media space is relatively young but is constantly changing. But is it possible to apply the well-known technology adoption lifecycle, a sociological model that aims to summarise how new ideas, technologies and innovations spread across different cultures, to the adoption of social media platforms by brands?


In part one of a three-part series I looked at some of early innovators who used Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram. For part two I will look at how brands that have taken to social media in the early/late majority stage of the lifecycle.


technology adoption lifecycle early late majority


Early/late majority

After the early innovators have taken the market, the majority next show up; aiming to learn from the success and failures from early innovators/adopters. To be in the early/late majority stage you are typically defined to be conservative but open to new ideas. The 'majority' may also have a strong influence on the market and socially active.


Success in this stage can be significant for brands and possibly shape their future social strategy. In terms of social media adoption, the 'majority' may copy campaigns used by other brands and apply their own twist to differentiate themselves to create engaging campaigns.



Coca-Cola's strategic use of Twitter

For a globally-recognised brand, there has to be strategic approach to using a new social platform. That's why there's no surprise that Coca Cola falls into the early majority stage when they took to using Twitter. The main @CocaCola account was launched in 2009 and has grown to include sub-brands accounts such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero.


coca cola twitter page


With over 80,000 tweets on the main account, Coca-Cola is highly active on Twitter and uses it for a variety of digital campaigns including the blog-standard competition giveaways and sponsorship endorsement. That's not to say Coca Cola have not been experimental with Twitter. During the World Cup in 2010, Coca Cola became the second company, after Disney/Pixar, to reach Twitter audiences by advertising as a trending topic on Twitter – creating an estimated 86 million impressions.


Other memorable Twitter campaigns include allowing consumers the chance to tweet Christmas messages to be displayed on the Piccadilly sign. More recently, the 'Share a Coke' campaign has proven to be a success for Coca Cola by exploiting consumers' enthusiasm to share pictures of their personalised Coke bottles with friends.



Fun facts from the History Channel on Foursquare

Launched in 2009, it didnt take long for brands to make use of Foursquare's geo-location features to capture the gap between offline and outline marketing. Looking for a different social media channel, the History Channel Foursquare page launched in April 2010 (placing it within the early majority stage of the adoption lifecycle).


foursquare history channel


Whilst most brands on Foursquare have physical locations for users to check in, such as a retail store, this didnt apply to the History Channel. Thinking outside the box, the History Channel cleverly use Foursquare to provide historical facts for locations where its followers check in e.g. Tower of London or the Eiffel Tower. These fun snippets of information help to establish the History Channel's reputation of providing interesting historical content.


Building on the success of the US History Channel team, the UK History Channel looked towards developing a London-based strategy – identifying Foursquare's appeal of earning "badges" for checking in at locations and exchanging these for real life rewards.



Beyonce's digital redesign campaign on Tumblr

Tumblr is an ideal platform for brands looking to create campaigns based around creating microblogs. Fitting within the late majority phase, the marketing team behind global superstar Beyonce spotted the opportunity to use Tumblr as part of a digital strategy for the Beyonce brand.


beyonce tumblr launch


Launched in 2012, a revamped personal website using Tumblr technology was released sharing intimate moments of her lifestyle. The team behind the Beyonce brand also leveraged her sponsorship deal with clothing chain H&M, as she fronted their summer campaign, with high quality imagery used across print and an online Tumblr microblog – compared to Facebook or Pinterest, Tumblr is highly customisable with a greater focus on imagery and sharing.


Whether she personally uses her Tumblr site to write content or has a team to do it for her, it appears the relaunch campaign worked especially as it utilised other social platforms including Twitter – she only made her first tweet in 2012 after having the account name registered since 2009, and now has an impressive 12 million followers.




Large companies with multiple brands are more likely to enter at the early/late majority stage of the adoption lifecycle. It is not unheard of to have multiple agencies managing different social accounts. The advantage of using agencies includes the creative expertise and ability to identify successful and failed campaigns by other brands.


Whilst conservative brands and wait until the early/late stage of adoption, this does allow for competitors to sneak ahead and gain a greater share of fans and followers on social channels.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of my review into the social media adoption lifecycle where I will be focusing on the laggards area and whether it is a good thing to be slow to the market.

Tags: Social Media Twitter Technology Adoption Lifecycle Digital Campaigns Foursquare Tumblr Majority
Category: Social Media News

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