Part 1: Social Media Analysis
The fast-food industry is in need to reach to customers quickly and become the leading driver of global growth. In this industry, one of the main representatives is KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) that is also pursuing different strategies to reach to its customers. KFC has its international presence, and due to this, it faces a challenge of dealing with a diverse range of customers that also have different backgrounds and different expectations and needs. It has effectively overcome this channel with the use of social media effectively. But it is still far behind in its efforts of using social media as a channel and making effective strategies in comparison with its competitors. KFC competitors such as Subway and McDonalds have an effective presence that can be seen in a number of their followers. KFC need to venture in the world of social media to get the potential benefits regarding increased sales, customer service, advertising promotions as well as human resource strategies.
Social media has enormous influence on modern life, and thus it is not possible to ignore its usage. The marketing over social media has gained importance both for consumers as well as for marketers. The use of smartphones has provided access to the customers to the social media, even if they are not present in their offices and homes. People get online and contribute much towards the profits of businesses by allowing easy techniques to be used by marketers. For instance, worth of brand and brand recognition can be increased, using social media as a channel. This not only provides an easy opportunity to target customers, but this is also a cost-effective method. KFC is also using this as a part of its marketing strategy and making efforts to overcome the weakness in its strategies over this media.
Social media has one major drawback that bad word of mouth cannot be stopped easily. If there are many advantages of having the quick feedbacks for the consumers and companies, then this quick feedback also serves as a disadvantage for the companies (Evans, 2010). Companies do not get much time to defend their position, and this brings a loss to them. There are many disadvantages of ethical dilemmas that companies face during the marketing at the social media. For instance, there are millions of users online at a single point of time, and if there is one single bad mouth started at any time, then its spread is so fast that it gets difficult to stop that discussion.
There are many situations in which companies fell prey to the conspiracy that can be carried out against them. There is often seen that a trend starts at the twitter regarding one thing and no one can stop it then until it made a huge loss to the company. KFC since its use of social media has also suffered from numerous such conspiracies, and these have d greatly reduced its customer’s loyalty. It is also facing problems due to these bad mouths. It is the time that its leadership should pay attention towards then current marketing strategies and make it possible to lessen or neutralize the effect of any such conspiracy.
KFC is currently using different social media platforms. These include Facebook, LinkedIn as well as Twitter. There are different strategies that the company is using to have its presence over these media to gain advantage from these media’s usage. The strategies also get differ with the change of the social media tool. For instance, for the Facebook, KFC is using different marketing strategies, and it is also using them by analyzing the competitor’s strategies. The current approach of KFC is to have the use of reactive strategies and respond to the marketing need of the company in comparison with its competitors. KFC currently has 49,351,104 followers on Facebook, and it is the most prevailing social marketing tool. It provides the greatest probability to influence many potential customers and establish brand awareness. Also, KFC is present over twitter and has12, 700, 00 followers on Twitter. Twitter followers could tweet and use different hashtags and provide their instant feedback related to the product’s features like quality and price in tweets. This is the best way to have the instant change in marketing and other strategies, aimed to increase the revenue and face the intense competition in the marketing.
KFC uses Twitter to establish its brand worth. For using the twitter, there is a free micro-blogging social network. This network makes it possible for the users to make their posts in the form of short messages, called tweets formerly. These tweets can be seen by any subscriber, who is called follower on the social media (Kwon & Sung, 2011). This being the social media tool can be accessed through the desktop computer, laptop, and phones as well as from other devices. Customers also subscribe KFC page and get attached to all tweets being posted by public relation teams working over twitter. For this purpose, there is no need to visit the profile of KFC by followers, but they once subscribe, easily get tweets as they get posted.
KFC at twitter is using another strategy also and also keep its accounts in some locations or countries private and allow only specific users to subscribe. It does so as a proactive approach to not damage its fame over the social media. The third platform that is being used by KFC is LinkedIn, at which it has 6,073 followers. It is using this platform to reduce its turnover and gain the competitive advantage. It activity informs the opened vaccines and the desired profiles of its employees.
The KFC marketing team started the use of social media marketing in 2010. It started this by adding social sharing buttons to its sites and started calculating results. There were surprising results regarding customer’s feedback over the use of social media. With all other activities at social media, there was also news sharing regarding KFC brand and its social media presence. Now the marketing team decided to turn these subscribers into their social influencers. KFC email databases are up surging with subscriptions and quality of their signups is also high. KFC has 49,351,104 followers on Facebook as compared to McDonald and Subway. Those have 76,110,501 and 24,227,121 followers respectively. Thus, KFC is performing well over Facebook as compared to its competitor Subway but at the same time, it is not performing well over Facebook as compared to McDonald that has more followers than KFC. McDonald is also serving in the best way, regarding the quality of its website and content for the users and Subway is in need to improve its quality. KFC is also good regarding the quality of its Facebook page and eases to access the information by the users and its attractiveness. At the Facebook page, KFC has FAQ portion that contains all the anticipated questions so that no negative publicity can be carried out against the company over the social media. In this way, customers get the answers of those questions are not indulge into conspiracies against the company.
The other social media site that is being used by KFC is twitter at which it has some followers up to 1.27 M as compared to McDonalds 3.56M and Subway 2.47M. KFC must also revise its strategies over this media usage as it lacks far behind its competitors regarding some followers and presence on this site. It is not effectively using this media and losing some customers as its competitors are performing well over this site. Even the quality of site of Subway is also not good at this platform, but still, it can attract more customers.
LinkedIn is used by KFC as a part of its marketing strategies and has less number of followers as compared to its competitors. KFC has 6,073 followers, and McDonalds and Subway have 490,370 and 105,323 followers. The quality of McDonald and Subway site regarding contents and ease to customers also including feedbacks is superior. There are always more online users at a specific point of time present as compared to online users at KFC. These online users form communicates, and nature of these Facebook communities is different that of Twitter communities. People use Facebook mainly to get connected with their friends and family, and in this way, they become the source of some information also regarding a certain product or service. However, Twitter users have a different attitude, and these have more link with their surrounding happenings, their observations and their comments regarding the particular situation. Thus, people at Twitter share their surroundings current situations. Marketers make use of this and twitter accounts are using to make the customers update regarding the current trends. In this way, marketers also get information regarding the current customers’ behaviors, and they modify the products accordingly.
|· Strong brand recognition
· Less employee turnover
· Home meal delivery
· Variety in menu
· Global presence
|· Ineffective presence over social media
· Unreliable suppliers
· Negative profile-raising
· Unhealthy food menu
· Use of more traditional marketing
· Products only in chicken range
|· Introducing new products to its only chicken range
· Use of technology
|· Competitors strong marketing efforts
· Competitors strong fan following and social media presence
· Cultural barriers
In the past, there was the use of traditional media to reach consumers. There was the use of traditional magazines, radio along with the use of television and direct mail. But this method was not convenient both for the consumers and marketers or businesses. The reason was its nature of one communication, and the feedback process was very slow. Even there were a large number of consumers who have no trust over the information provided through this media especially when there come the health concerns.
Then with the passage of time use of traditional media was replaced by social media. Social media usage consists of the use of different social networking sites as well as different blogging platforms. Now, this use of social media is increasing in this contemporary society. This is due to the nature of dealing that has changed over the social media. Now it is possible for consumers to have the instant information regarding any concern about the company as well as its products. It is also possible to provide and get instant feedback over the social media. Now consumers at social media also get the opportunity to talk and exchange different views regarding the company and products. Thus they exchange information through easy and instant access. There are online communities of interest present over the internet. Thus, this platform is increasingly used to share information among consumers and this now also serves as an authentic source over which people believe.
But at the same time, there is also a drawback of the use of social media for marketing. There are numerous ways in which a company reputation can be destroyed or harmed. One such case is also of KFC. PETA has stimulated KFC and other fast-food restaurants to provide the ethical treatment to animals as a requirement to be fulfilled necessarily (Francione, 2008). KFC suffered a lot on the point of its quality when there happens the leakage of a video that was showing how at KFC there was a violation of PETA orders. This news spread over the social media, and there was a huge loss to KFC. Now there were reservations by customers for the treatment by KFC with animals. With the initial sharing of information, social media being the powerful tool spread the video to a large number of customers in no time, and it served as a bad mouth.
Consumers, in this case, played their active role as this was over the social media. In traditional means as magazine and newspaper, they have only the passive role. And if the company was using this, it may have saved this immediate spread of information among consumers. But now with social media, consumers are both the initiators as well as recipients of information exchanges. Thus, at social media consumers not only get connected, but they also share information and serve as an advertising channel.
KFC also provided a reaction over the video and explained its point of view with effective blogging. There was a movie that was containing an apology, and it was also describing the details of the steps that were undertaken by KFC in this regard, and it was also ensured that no such things would happen in future. But this was a slow process, and KFC paid much regarding its reputation and loss of customers along with the profit decline during that quarter. However, after this, it has started using good communication tactics to overcome these types of situations timely (Zhu, Anagondahalli & Zhang, 2017). For this purpose, it has established online space that has a task to deal with these kinds of crisis situations. This approach does not allow comments to flood a blog. Now KFC starts a space at its Facebook or Twitter page that is mainly used for customer support as well as feedback. This strategy will assist the company, and it will be able to overcome all the negativity easily if it ever happens over the social media against the company.
Social media is serving as an effective way to address the consumer’s needs concerning the marketing of products and companies. This media has established its credibility for the consumers as they actively participate here as compared to their passive participation over the traditional media. This participation offers a benefit of not only gaining higher credibility and trust, but it can also enhance search rankings for a company or its products. Moreover, all the marketing done through the use of Facebook carries the potential of increasing brand awareness, loyalty by customers as well as sales at the end. With the use of social media, there is a wider audience available for targeting. This also assists in establishing a good relationship with consumers. Thus, now KFC is also paying attention to use this media more effectively as it is a two-edged sword. It is not a perfect approach has certain disadvantages. The best strategy is to use it correctly and turn its disadvantages into advantages by using different strategies.
Evans, L. (2010). Social media marketing: strategies for engaging in Facebook, Twitter & other social media. Pearson Education.
Francione, G. L. (2008). PETA and KFC:‘No Differences of Opinion about how Animals Should be Treated.’. The Abolitionist Approach.
Kwon, E. S., & Sung, Y. (2011). Follow me! Global marketers’ Twitter use. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 12(1), 4-16
Zhu, L., Anagondahalli, D., & Zhang, A. (2017). Social media and culture in crisis communication: McDonald’s and KFC crises management in China. Public Relations Review, 43(3), 487-492.