1. Altimeter identifies six stages of social business transformation, how would you assess the maturity of this brand’s social business strategy? Critically discuss.
Altimeter’s Charlene Li and Brian Solis establish that businesses are born as equals in their social media maturity. There are emerging organizations that have social media strategies against “social business”. Business invests in social media tied to business goals by integrating social methodologies to generate business impact (Higgins, 2011). While companies mature across their social platform, they move through six distinct phases as planning, presence, engagement, formalized, strategic and converged. Through various recommendations a business is able to transform itself from one stage to the other effectively.
If ever there was a company that demonstrated the influence of social media marketing in China, it is no doubt Xiaomi. According to the six stages that Altimeter identifies, first two stages are planning and presence respectively. Xiaomi has turned into a key market player in China, and now even in the globe, in just a few short years. Mi noticed the importance and advantages of a successful social business strategy, as well as recognized the needs of the market. They, then, have applied a extraordinarily simple, yet very much clever marketing approach – social business strategy. Their marketers are smart to understand that there is no way they can compete with gigantic global brands such as Samsung and Apple, throwing millions of dollars at paid promotions and advertisements. Moreover, Mi gets the point that no matter what country the consumers are in, one of the easiest ways to fail at social media is to only think about themselves. Therefore, they have been trying to sell their smartphones while spending nearly nothing on paid promotion; and at the same time, they have tried to add value to their fans on different social platforms. They value social media, as well as their customers, because it’s where they can effortlessly listen to their customers, get their criticism and advice, and tell them what they have in mind instantaneously.
After implementing the first two stages, the brand engages with the users. Xiaomi have also used social media marketing to build bridges with their fans and create a dialogue. They use giveaways and discounts to lure people to follow them in the first place, then give them a say in what the company does, and responds to their comments and inquiries. Their fans have an involvement on everything from the development of new products to the means in which those products are sold, creating a strong bond with the brand and generating fierce fidelity and loyalty.
What’s more is that with a solid social media presence, and an obsessive fan base, Mi has been able to play on quick-fire promotions on special shopping days to whip buyers into a rage. “Singles Day” is China’s biggest online shopping day, with the total sales figures easily eclipsing Black Friday or Cyber Monday. In November 2014, Xiaomi launched a flash sale which saw them shift 720,000 devices in a 12-hour period, making ¥1 billion (£112 million) in revenue (Market Me China®, 2018). They were able to do it due to the good use of social media.
It is needless to mention again that how successful Xiaomi is by using social media marketing to create brand loyalty, generate word-of-mouth marketing, and make their fans feel involved in the way the company operates. After all, the Company shows us the fact that investment in time on social platforms can be just as effective as paid campaigns like other giants have been doing. Certainly, right attitude and skill set are needed when a company is trying to use this approach.