This document contains information relating to a marketing campaign aimed at increasing the market share of Facebook among young people aged between 16 and 24 years. It is informed by a declining interest of the same demographic in the online social networking site and its struggle to keep existing users interested in it. The dwindling interest in Facebook is partly supported by 2017 statistics, which showed that the company lost at least 2.8 million users in the United States alone to Instagram (Shah, 2018). Most of these users were under the age of 25 years. From the year 2016 to 2017, Instagram also reported an increase in monthly online users from 600 to 800 million people (Shah, 2018). Reversing the trend requires an elaborate marketing plan that would attract and keep the younger demographic of users. This is the goal of this marketing plan. However, before delving into its details, it is important to understand the target audience, which is described below.
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Understanding the Target Audience
As alluded to above, a trend in social media exists where users who are aged between 16 and 24 years have a low interest in Facebook compared to Instagram. Part of the reason for this shift is the feeling that most posts on Facebook are argumentative, or “too commercial” in nature (Shah, 2018; Guynn, 2018). There is also a notion among younger people that Instagram has a “charming vibe” that Facebook cannot match (Shah, 2018; Guynn, 2018). Stated differently, Instagram emerges as a “happy place” where they go to seek comfort. The use of visual cues is considered one of the most appealing aspects of the social media platform because it offers social media users a break from numerous text messages and status updates, which are traditionally associated with Facebook. Therefore, Instagram provides a simpler and more imaginative way of communication, which is primarily reliant on visual communication.
The choice concerning whether to use Instagram or Facebook could be explained by a model developed by “Marketing theories” (2018). It suggests that the consumer decision-making process is characterized by five key stages that include problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post-purchase satisfaction. The problem-solving phase is largely characterized by a user’s need to join either Instagram or Facebook. The purpose could be social, marketing, or entertainment (just to mention a few). Establishing this goal is likely to prompt a user to look for information that would help him/her to identify which social media platform best suits their interest (“Marketing theories,” 2018). Here, they could get the information through friends, online search engines, and other platforms. This second stage is characterized in the model as the information search process (“Marketing theories,” 2018).
The third phase of decision-making involves an evaluation of alternatives. As its name suggests, users could evaluate the merits and demerits of either using Facebook or Instagram, based on how these sites help to meet or address the needs identified in the first stage of the model (“Marketing theories,” 2018). After selecting the best alternative to use, users are likely to join a specific social media site. Here, they would have to choose to use either Facebook or Instagram. The last stage of the decision-making process involves an evaluation of the social media platform chosen. In other words, here, users would assess whether they are satisfied with the services offered on the platform, or not (“Marketing theories,” 2018).
The core message that should be communicated to the target audience is the need to integrate Facebook with their Instagram profiles. Here, the marketing communication plan would be centered on a value-added strategy as opposed to one that tries to convince the target market not to use Instagram. Therefore, the core message would be that Facebook enhances their user experience by creating additional value to what they are already experiencing by using Instagram. The key assumption is that Facebook has unique capabilities that are unmatched by Instagram but useful to the user experience in the end. Although fans of Instagram prefer it for its visual nature, the proposed marketing development plan will highlight the capability of Facebook to add value to their overall user experience. For example, emphasis should be made to show Facebook’s ability to integrate articles and text posts, which are often missing on the Instagram platform. Here, users will be informed that although visuals may be appealing on the Instagram platform, Facebook would complement the same success by amplifying other attributes of social networking, such as the easy integration of links, because it is not purely visual.
Another issue that the target population would learn through the marketing plan is the ability of Facebook to improve their user experience by allowing them to easily transition between applications and external links better than Instagram can (Clarity Marketing, 2017). By comprehending this value, they would easily tap into the possibility of getting a broader pool of information and users by using Facebook as opposed to Instagram, which has a clean and clear-cut messaging style. This advantage will particularly be useful for Instagram users who want to direct traffic to their websites, blog, or any other platform.
Although Instagram is more preferred to Facebook because of its visual appeal, the target audience should be made aware that linking Facebook with their Instagram accounts would be beneficial to them because it makes it easier to share the visual images or pictures they want people to see. Users will also be informed of the fact that Facebook and Instagram have the same owner and each of the two apps is designed to work well with each other. This fact means that users will get more traction concerning their postings and enjoy a better integration between both platforms.
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Relative to the fact that some young people consider their Instagram identities to be personal branding platforms, they should be informed about the need to integrate their Instagram profiles with Facebook to further cement their brand identities. In other words, linking their Facebook profiles with Instagram would create the impression that they are trustworthy and well established. The same subset of the target population should be encouraged to equally integrate Facebook on their Instagram identities because it will allow them to reach a bigger audience (Instagram has only about 800 million monthly users while Facebook has about 2.2 billion monthly users) (Guynn, 2018). Overall, the key message that should be communicated in the proposed marketing plan is the need to integrate Facebook and Instagram. The overriding theme would be premised on the fact that Instagram users do not necessarily need to choose one of the platforms at the expense of the other. Instead, all of them are useful and should be embraced for their unique capabilities.
Word-of-mouth communication is selected as the best communication strategy to advance the proposed marketing plan because it builds on people’s natural tendency to talk. This type of communication channel is ideal for spreading the word on Facebook because the target audience already knows about it and it would best understand its hidden value through the same strategy, relative to any other communication platform. This is true because traditional sources of media are not popular among young people. Part of this statement stems from the fact that the target audience, which is comprised of people who are below 25 years are social and would quickly spread the word about Facebook better through word-of-mouth communication compared to any other channel.
One of the biggest motivators for recommending this type of communication channel is its power in creating a deeper sense of understanding about the hidden value of Facebook. Therefore, when the target market reconsiders using Facebook, they would generally have a good idea of what they are doing on the social media platform. Stated differently, they would have a proper understanding of what they are doing on the platform because someone else would have explained to them the value of the social media platform. Comparatively, if they were merely to stumble on Facebook, they would need a fresh new explanation of what Facebook offers. Such an approach would take a lot of effort and as “Benefits of linking Instagram to Facebook” (2017) suggests, it would lead to a low conversation rate, which could undermine the purpose of the marketing campaign in the first place. Lastly, word-of-mouth communication is also selected for use as the most effective communication channel because the target population (users who are aged between 16 and 24 years) is probably in educational institutions, which act as small communities where information about the marketing plan could easily spread. Therefore, being an effective means of communication, the contents of the proposed marketing plan could organically spread within these institutions through word-of-mouth.
This paper has presented key tenets of a marketing plan that should be considered by Facebook for adoption to increase its market share among users who are under 25 years. As highlighted in this report, these users are leaving Facebook because of the “negativity” associated with it. Comparatively, Instagram has a “happy vibe,” thereby acting as a place of refuge for users who want to limit their consumption of lengthy texts in place of visual communication cues, which are often engaging. Although Instagram has these merits, this paper suggests that a marketing campaign should be launched to persuade this demographic to integrate their Instagram accounts with Facebook. The strategy is designed to be a subtle approach of making them more aware of the benefits of Facebook to their Instagram profiles, as opposed to undermining the value that Instagram offers to them. Word-of-mouth communication has been selected as the best communication channel for implementing this marketing plan because most young people under 25 years are social and probably in institutions of learning where word about the marketing promotion could easily spread. Broadly, if these key tenets of the marketing plan are effectively implemented, Facebook stands a good chance of successfully drawing the interest of young users to its platform.
Clarity Marketing. (2017). Linking Instagram and Facebook: How and why It’s important. Web.
Guynn, J. (2018). Bye Facebook, hello Instagram: Users make beeline for Facebook-owned social network. USA Today.
Shah, A. (2018). Instagram vs. Facebook – Why Instagram seems to be the clear winner.