businesses and social media.. why should they use them?

Fiona McQuarrie: Can social media mobilize audiences and consumers for non-commercial purposes?

Social media promoted as a way to create new relationship between producer and consumer. It looks at building relationships and creating consumer motivation to buy/use produce.

Business and social media use:

What difference does it make if they use it or not? There are four existing research:

  • they can use it for product development or pilot projects. A source of free market research information.
  • they can facilitate consumer flocks and swarms
  • social media facilitates community
  • reasons why consumers use social media.

There are many reasons why they use social media. Online communities tend to become self-directed and self-selecting.

They looked at World Wrestling Entertainment and Social Media: it is an established company, profits of $475 million in 2009. One of the first to use technology and adapt to it as it came along. They have three designated positions for social media. Social media strategy is based on ‘go where people are nesting’. Passionate fans/consumers who are heavy social media users. In their last annual report they got several million page views. Their fans have played online games from their site.

They launched a campaign called Stand up for WWE in Oct 18, 2010: they created a list of things to do:

– upload videos, email your friends and family, friends us on facebook, write a letter to a newspaper, share story on facebook and twitter, read negative story and write to its author.

They posted daily on their campaign. They did this because WWE came under fire because Linda McMahon its CEO was running as republican candidate for Connecticut senate and WWE was critizcized for violent, sexually explicit material that glorified the exploitation of women and the mentally disabled. They handed out free stuff on election day. Linda McMahon did not win. The campaign itself won several awards for online award but they haven’t done much since then and not much happened since McMahon lost.

How successful were they as a company in this campaign? what did fans do in response to this call? and what was the reaction to it?


  • – 195 videos were uploaded – some were positive and some were negative.
  • – positive videos spoke of fan/consumer relationship to company
  • – negative videos spoke of WWE not caring for fans and campaign being more about politics.


  • 93000 likes and there were few negative comments.


  • 22 thousand followers with 155 tweets
  • most posts by WWE; limited # of retweets

Other online reactions:

  • mixed reaction on blogs/websites
  • company seen as insecure, not understanding fans
  • also questioned why support needed at this time but not others

News Media:

  • contacted four reporters whose stories were cited on SUFWWE website
  • 3 contacted by fans through email; 2 additionally contacted through news organization’s blog
  • All said messages were ‘I love WWE’
  • No messages addressed criticism of WWE
  • Attempt to ban WWE apparel got more support for WWE than SUFWWE did

Was it successful?

  • yes; fans/consumers were motivated to act
  • no; fans did not convey WWE’s messages (and McMahon lost election)

Reasons why SUFWWE did not completely succeed:

  1. connection with election campaign
  2. localized issues, but worldwide fan/consumer base
  3. no clear simple message to transmit
  4. lack of WWE response to criticisms of campaign
  5. although it is an interactive medium, they never used that interactivity by not responding to people’s questions or criticism

Recommendations for social media campaigns:

  • have clear motivation for campaign – make the message concise and small.
  • justify motivation for the campaign, or be able to explain why motivation is valid
  • target appropriate demographic, and/or show those outside that demographic the value for them in their participation
  • use interactivity of social media and respond to feedback/criticisms: if you don’t respond to people they will feel ignored. You have to respond to them to make them feel they are listened to and important.