The power and effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool has been revealed this week by KFC Arabia, with the brand announcing that it is celebrating 2.5 million fans in 5 years on Facebook. From an initial 11,000 devoted fans recorded when it first started using the platform in 2009, the level of interactivity has risen exponentially, with the most recent count revealing 2.5 million fans on the KFC Arabiaua Facebook page.
From its initial tentative engagement with the medium, KFC Arabia’s Facebook page has grown into becoming the main forum for the brand to communicate with its customers, enabling a level of interactivity that was previously unthinkable. It has been instrumental as a tool for creating the KFC ‘SuperFan’ experience – a concept that involves the brand tying in its sponsorships of the popular reality TV offerings ‘Arab Idol’, ‘Arabs Got Talent’ and ‘The Voice’ with competitions that enable its most ardent fans to attend the live shows and be a part of the backstage experience alongside the judges and competitors. The brand has recently added a ‘SuperFan’ experience in its sponsorship of WWE, which will see customers given the opportunity to attend the WWE WrestleMania event that takes place in the USA this April.
KFC Arabia enjoys a strong passionate fan base on Facebook, from where was born the concept of ‘SupeFans'; these are KFC Arabia’s most active users on the page and who constantly support the brand. Whilst they are already acknowledged on a weekly basis, KFC Arabia will now reward five ‘SuperFans’ with valuable prizes as a reward for their continuous contribution to the 2.5 million Facebook fan community.
In addition to enabling the creation of ‘SuperFans’, KFC Arabia has been proactive in using its Facebook page to gain valuable insight into its customers’ thoughts and sentiments about the brand. This has been made possible through the ‘Talk-to-Us tab,’ an application that allows fans to post comments, voice concerns and even lobby for branch openings and enquire about job opportunities. The facility has proved vital in nurturing the relationship between KFC fans and its management, with the latter keen to implement requests as quickly as possible.
One example of KFC Arabia responding directly to customer feedback was the introduction of its campaign featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, which resulted in a significant increase in brand awareness for KFC and a subsequent sales increase of its products in the region by 15%. Having developed a savviness of the medium, the brand cleverly played on the rivalry between fans of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to generate traffic around its Facebook page, as the company had previously endorsed Messi in an earlier campaign. The Ronaldo campaign saw social media conversations increase by 137%, while its overall brand sentiment was recorded as climbing by 20%.
It is clear that KFC Arabia’s use of Facebook has been intuitive and organic, with the organisation’s first foray into the medium resulting in a structured plan for its evolution. It branded 2012 its ‘year of acquisition,’ when it set out to massively expand its fan base and followed it up with its 2013 ‘year of engagement,’ which saw it ramp up its level of interaction with fans. Moving forwards, 2014 has been established as KFC’s ‘year for advocacy.’ Judging by its level of activity so far, we can expect a great deal more initiatives and innovations from KFC Arabia’s Facebook page that will keep the conversations going.
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