I choose a pharmaceutical foreign trade company which is Dandong Qianjin Trade Co., Ltd located at my home town in China. It mainly focuses on online trading. I know I can choose some newer ideas such as single-hand keyboard or some product which is not so professional. But this is my family’s business and my bachelor degree is about pharmacy. So I think this topic is more practical for me.

Business background

Dandong Qianjin Trade Co., Ltd, which is a Chinese family business, is established in order to meet the needs of international trade of Donggang Hongda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Dandong Qianjin Pharmaceutical Material Co., LTD, which are related to it. This company mainly focuses on exporting Phenprobamate, Chlorpropamide, Chlorpromazine hydrochloride and Promethazine hydrochloride, which are products from the two cooperation pharmaceutical companies (Anonymous, 2009).

Dandong Qianjin Trade Co., Ltd is a typical small family company. Firstly, there are less than 20 employees and some of them are relatives of owners. For example, office manager is the wife of owner and assistant is her sister. Secondly, the owner, whose name is Zhujun Hou, is also the only manager in the company. He is the only one who makes decisions. Thirdly, this company is established less than 10 years and has very small market share.

Through the analysis, there are also some characteristics of small business that Dandong Qianjin Trade Co., Ltd is fit for. Firstly, the employees are closed to their customers. They can talk to their customer and obtain feedback directly. Secondly, the working time of employees is flexible. Sometimes employees just connect with customer online in their own houses. Thirdly, as other small companies, there is not any professional manager on social media, either domestic or overseas. Finally, they only focus on the products from the two cooperation pharmaceutical companies but not all pharmaceutical companies. And they do not know how to find other cooperation.

Therefore, based on these characteristics, there are some analyses focus on WEB strategies and suggestions on how to apply or improve SEO and Social Media Marketing.

Situation Analysis

There are some strong advantages for this company to use web tools to manage their business, which are employee loyalty, closeness to customer and flexibility of work. Therefore, the loyalty of employee can create a stable environment for online innovation (Anonymous, 2011). Moreover, closeness to customer can help companies obtain new ideas from customer needs. They can talk to their customer online every day, reply emails and answer the question as soon as possible. Finally, the flexibility of work can keep employee’s activity to make innovations (Lynn, Sophie & Stephen, 2010). Especially for foreign trade company, time difference is very important. Employees can only focus on their own countries and keep online follow the other country’s time zone.

To sum up, all three advantages in this company has provided enough environments to use social media. However, there are also three main disadvantages of restricting entrepreneurial management.

These disadvantages are lack of team work, no experience on social media and limited creditability. Firstly, it is obvious that only one people making decision is easy to follow one model. It is better to obtain new idea through discussion, especially the difficulties from other countries (Seltzer, 2002). Furthermore, with the rapid development of technology, they can discuss online or through other social media so that they do not need to meet in person (Hanratty, 2011). And they can also ask advice through professional media like LinkedIn too.

Secondly, no one has used social media in this company before. As a result, employees need relevant training. It is very easy to study how to use them. But the difficult part is how to use social media to create reputation, find potential customer and build trust. There will be some useful software in recommendation part.

Finally, because pharmaceutical foreign trade is much more professional than normal trade, this company does not consider much more about using social media but just use some B2B platform like Alibaba. However, it is necessary to use social media on reputation and creditability. On the one hand, this company is facing to small companies as same as its size, which is hard to obtain information from other countries. Therefore, these potential cooperation companies may use searching engine to verify its reputation. So that social media can help this company on this aspect if they have Twitter or Facebook page. On the other hand, social media is better in B2C than B2B trade, but considering that potential cooperation companies may be also small family companies and have limited resource, it is a worthy try. And more important, social media is nearly free. Consequently, there is no loss even there is no result from trials.

Implementation

Through the analysis, it is obvious that this company should use social media. There are three steps to implement.

First step is to create accounts in different social media which are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, LinkedIn and Wikipedia. In these social media, Wikipedia is the most important one. Although it cannot be used in the paper, many people love and trust it. Moreover, if people search some proper noun, Wikipedia is always in front. It will be helpful to establish corporate image. There are some difficulties that in China people cannot visit many of these social media. But some software can solve this problem and not expensive.

Second step is to learn how to manage these accounts. They are easy to use, but the problem is what information should been shown on them. Before that they should discuss what information they will show to customers and make sure everyone has the same answer of the same question. And if there is any change, they should change the information at the same time. Furthermore, they should consider about every response online because they can be recorded and never delete.

Finally step is the most significant one, which is measuring ROI. Unlike traditional media, the ROI of social media cannot be measured directly. It seems easy to use ‘posts’ of blog, ‘likes’ of Facebook and YouTube and ‘retwitte’ of Twitter to indicate the effect on consumers. However, they are not the real evidence connected to profitability or increasing customers (Donna & Marek, 2010).

Recommendations

There are some strategies to show how to use social media to help business in step two. Firstly, social media is just a tool of marketing. Therefore, it is not omnipotent and cannot instead of other marketing strategies. There are some position may help marketer to understand social media in table 4.1.

Table 4.1

Author
Theory
Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010
1. Social media cannot solve the problem of company and product.
2. Social media is not just Facebook and Twitter. To use it, marketers need to do deeply research of consumer, industry, product and competitor.
Michelle, Brittany, Peggy & Dustin, 2011
Social media can help advertisement to reach customer, but it is not an advertising channel.
Nüscheler & Cochrane, 2009
People need to study social media technology, language and culture.

Secondly, marketer should set their objective first and make sure how to measure the results. There are some examples for this process in table 4.2.

Table 4.2

Objective
Strategy
Customer
1. Using STP (segmenting, targeting & positioning) strategy to find out who they are, where they are and what their needs and wants are.
Ask yourself before:
2. What are their characteristics? How to attract them?
3. How many customers do you want to achieve?
4. Do to want to sell product or build customer loyalty?
5. How can you measure the result?
(Kerpen & ebrary, 2011)
Service
Ask yourself before:
1. How many customers do you want to achieve?
2. For service marketing doing marketing research through social media will be more effective.
3. Reflecting quickly.
4. Showing appreciation to feedback.
(Wankel & Emerald, 2011)
Brand
Ask yourself before:
1. How to attract new customers?
2. How to keep current customers?
3. How to improve your word of mouth (WOM)?
4. What kind of information do you want to provide to customer? Is it your key spirit of your brand?
(Sterne, 2010)

Finally, more skills are needed to improve their practice. There are also some suggestion about how to deliver information, how to change social media user into customer and how to keep them in table 4.3.

Table 4.3

Objective
Strategy
Information
1. Should be relative, direct and useful (Brogan, 2010).
2. The format should be various (Brogan, 2010).
3. Use story and emotion to attract people (Brogan, 2010).
4. Do not be too professional (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
5. Be honest (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
Leading
1. Lead your visitor to make best choice.
2. Achieve your real customer.
3. Use correct tags and key words.
(Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010)
Keeping
1. Keep update information.
2. Do not provide too much information, customer may give up.
3. Use gift, feedback to connect with each other.
(Sweeney & Craig, 2010)

There are also some methods to measure the effectiveness of social media. And through the practice, there are several tools can be used. Table 4.4 shows some useful software which are designed for measuring ROI of social media.

Table 4.4


Name
Attributes
Salesforce for Twitter
1. Face to B2B marketer (Kho, 2008)
2. Monitoring Twitter feeds (Salesforce, 2011)
3. Talking to customer directly (Anonymous, 2009)
4. Getting cases and leads, making them into different processes (Anonymous, 2008)
HootSuite
1. Face to B2B marketer (Highby, 2010)
2. Managing several Twitter account at the same time (Godsall, 2011)
3. Connecting many social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc (Chartier, 2010)
4. For free (Highby, 2010)
Sentiment Metrics
1. Face to B2B marketer(Anonymous, 2010)
2. Managing Twitter, Blogs, forum and other network community (Anonymous, 2010)
3. Including context (Anonymous, 2010)

Picture 4.1 Salesforce for Twitter

1.jpg

Picture 4.2 HootSuite

2.jpg

Picture 4.3 Sentiment Metrics

3.jpg

Not only study these software, but also RSS feed can help marketer to analyse feedback from social media (Donna & Marek, 2010). It can find out how many people visit the website and do some research of customer needs (O’Flynn, 2011). To sum up, it is hard to deal with new problems of ROI. However, there are still some exploration and tools to help marketer’s analysis.

In conclusion, creating accounts, managing marketing strategy and measuring ROI are the three implementations this company should do. It may be not as useful as in other industry, but still valuable to have a try.


References

Anonymous. (2008). Experience salesforce mobile on BlackBerry. Customer Relationship Management, 12(10), S11.
Anonymous. (2009). Retrieved January 28, 2012, from http://www.qianjinchina.com/Index.asp?COLLCC=2412148489&
Anonymous. (2009). Salesforce.com; salesforce.com extends the service cloud into real-time customer conversations with new salesforce CRM for twitter. Science Letter, 4032.
Anonymous. (2010). Sentiment metrics launches an industry first in social media engagement capabilities. PR Newswire.
Anonymous. (2011). MetLife study: Small businesses see decline in employee loyalty. Professional Services Close – Up.
Brogan, C. (2010). Social media 101: Tactics and tips to develop your business online: Tactics and tips to develop your business online. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Chartier, D. (2010). Oversee your company's social media with hootsuite. BUSINESS CENTER. Macworld, 27(10), 62.
Donna L, & Marek F. (2010). Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(1), 41.
Godsall, D. (2011). HootSuite media inc. BC Business, 39(4), 76.
Hanratty T. (2011). Social media users on rise. Gulf Daily News.
Highby, L. (2010). How I use HootSuite to manage my company's tweets.(FIRST PERSON). Inc, 32(1), 42
Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! the challenges and opportunities of social media. BUSINESS HORIZONS, 53(1), 59-68.
Kerpen, D., & ebrary, I. (2011). Likeable social media: How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on facebook (and other social networks). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kho, N. (2008). B2B gets social media. ECONTENT, 31(3), 26-30.
Lynn, M., Sophie, H., & Stephen, L. (2010). Learning characteristics of small business managers: Principles for training. Journal of Workplace Learning, 22(3), 146-165.
O’Flynn, S. (2011). RSS to monitor business threats. Business Information Review, 28(2), 83-91.
Salesforce. (2011). Customer Interaction Solutions, 29(12), 14.
Seltzer, L. (2002). Teamwork made easy. FSB : Fortune Small Business, 12(9), 96.
Sterne, J. (2010). Social media metrics: How to measure and optimize your marketing investment. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Sweeney, S., & Craig, R. (2010). Social media for business : 101 ways to grow your business without wasting your time. Chicago: Maximum Press.
Wankel, C., & Emerald. (2011). Educating educators with social media. Bingley, U.K: Emerald.