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Social media adoption lifecycle for brands - Laggards (Part 3)

November 01, 2013 at 12:45 PM


by Mikul Patel

Digital Marketing Consultant at Matraxis

At times it often feels that a new social media platform is being launched every week; some naturally fail but the odd few go on to be a global success. When it comes to marketing, the challenge for brands comes in designing and executing campaigns across multiple platforms.


In the final of a three-part series, I will look at examples of brands that have taken a cautious approach to social media and whether being late to the market has been a benefit or not. Don't forget to read part 1 and 2 of my series; covering the innovators and majority phases.


technology adoption lifecycle laggards



By definition, laggards are seen to have a very conservative management style and approach to technology. This would be due to a lack of resources and knowledge. They closely monitor the success and failures of the early adopters and majority and act late in order to not feel 'left out'.


When applied to social media, an example could be a brand only just creating an Facebook or Twitter account in 2012/2013. When you consider those platforms have been around for over 7 years, that's a long time!



Does Apple need to use social media?

As crazy as it sounds, the world's largest tech company has taken a cautious approach to social media. Rather than creating multiple brand accounts to cover their diverse product range, Apple have a focused social strategy. Currently there are only 9 verified accounts on Twitter, of which Apple only recently revived the official iTunes account following the launch of iTunes Radio; focusing on the iTunes and App Store brands but nothing for iPhone or iPad.




Apple is famous for their secrecy, marketing and strict focus on customer relations. Perhaps this has restricted any past initiative to interact with consumers via social media. An ad-hoc approach to social media could damage brand image if the messaging isn't right.


However, it does appear attitudes are changing after Apple CEO Tim Cook first started tweeting a few weeks ago under the alias @tim_cook. Being open on social media could help to shake off the usual "Apple are evil" criticisms that are banded around. That's not to say that not being very active on social has hurt Apple, recent Q4 earnings recorded $7.5bn profit on $37.5bn sales, so do people really care if they are active on social media or not?



Have Avon been slow to use social media?

Famed for their door-to-door representatives, Avon soon found consumers moving online to purchase their cosmetics. Slow to react, Avon's lack of digital presence has been one of the many reasons behind a drop in sales in recent years. Tasked to overhaul the brand, new CEO, Sherilyn S. McCoy, took charge in 2012. Despite a greater focus on digital, this still did not stop views that "Avon is late to social media's party".




Through a carefully thought out social media strategy, Avon could look at empowering each of their representatives to become more active online. Developing consumer relationships over Twitter or Facebook would be an extension of what they have been already doing for many years. Not forgetting analytics, Avon brand managers and representatives could socially collaborate together to share ideas and monitor performance...this is something General Electric (GE) achieved through their custom Colab social collaboration platform.




There will always be organisations that will have a cautious approach to new technologies. Strict management structures may restrict the level of creativity that marketing teams are given in fear of damaging brand image. Unlike traditional marketing, brands need to take an open approach to social media and not be afraid to make mistakes or try something innovative. Constantly broadcasting corporate messaging will not get consumers interacting with your brand.


Developing a social media strategy, can help to organise and focus objectives to achieve from social media engagement.

Tags: Social Media Facebook Twitter Digital Marketing Adoption Lifecycle Digital Campaigns Apple Avon
Category: Social Media News

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