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The Live Case Study aims to provide an opportunity for you to:

1. Demonstrate your understanding of the overall use of social media, and
2. Analyse potential effectiveness with regard to achieving marketing objectives.

About Uber

Uber is an App-Powered on-demand car service provider for smartphones. The organization got the market in 2009 with the launching of app for both android and Ios operating system (Cramer & Krueger, 2016). The app in their screen devices connects the driver and passenger with a route to travel. The people make people life convenient, easier and safer. The USP of their travel experience is on demand availability, exclusive ride at affordable price and convenience.

On the daily basis, some of the varied services provided by the company are – Uber Moto, Uber Go, Uber Pool and Uber X. The head quarter of the company is situated in San Francisco. The company serve more than 785 metropolitan areas (Brazil & Kirk, 2016). The target market of the company is all men and women ages 18+ who travel frequently to places or does not have a driver license. In an Australian first, Uber has collaborated with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) and thus delivers new insights in respect of IPA Transport Metric. In response with this initiative, their aim is to enable government and the broader community to evaluate the impact of planning and infrastructures decisions on real journey times in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane (Bogle, 2016). This gives them a detailed picture of how the road network works within our four biggest cities.

The Uber app is itself a channel for Uber to reach out to people, however, social media channels play an important role to reach out with the potential customers. It also helps the company to gains fans and converts them quickly into paying customers. All giveaways, discounts and offers are pushed through social media campaign. Moreover, Social media also helps Uber to market out new cities where it is yet to roll. 

Social Media has been turned into a new battleground for various business enterprises. Whether it is about marketing or customer engagement, this platform helped many companies in raising their revenue and market share by increasing their number of followers and fans and create a strong relationship with them (Nelson, 2018). In addition, for many organizations, social media plays a significant role in their marketing strategy. This is why many organizations have formulated smart and strong social media strategies. They believe that customer engagement is the critical point to the success of the business.

Uber, a peer-to-peer ridesharing company also using various tools on the social media and so left its mark in this field to promote interest on a continuous basis. The company continuously exploiting their networking effects so as to maximise the profits and customer satisfaction. With the help of Uber, many integrated networks has been developed.

The first stop of Uber is Facebook where they have around 21,745,259 followers and more than 21,749,966 likes their page. Even Ford had less number on their main Facebook page. Their Facebook account broadcast various informative information to the customers and users relating to all deals and offers. As a customer, one can vibe a deeper connection and can perceive a level of contentment that the business has engendered in the few years. As Uber has a large list of followers on Facebook, they push many discounts, offers and new rides so as to inform and promote their services (Cramer & Krueger, 2016). Moreover, the company also address the customer compliant with their Facebook account. Below is an attached picture which states that how Uber user its Facebook account in acknowledging the issues of customers. In this picture, it is showed that the consumer representative at Uber try to solve an issue posted via Facebook and replies them with the adequate guidance and clarification. 

Uber's Services

This shows that with the help of Social Media, a company can address customer complaint and manager their long-term relationship in a better way. Many times customer service channels not work out or unavailable and in that case, company can use social media as an emergency tool to resolve the respective issue raised by the customer.

Uber has a wide spread of linkage between drivers and loyal customers (Bashir,Yousaf & Verma, 2016). Uber can use Facebook in addressing the issue effectively and thus maximising customer satisfaction. This will bring smarter results for Uber.

In respect with customer connect formula; Uber did not limit its presence to Facebook. With twitter, their connection with customers goes deeper. Uber twitter page provides better exposure than Facebook as it looks more glamorous when it comes to putting of pictures and clips of videos. This leads to information uses of twitter. With the help of related videos and pics, the users and customers can be made easily aware of the new deals and discounts. This is why many marketers use this platform to maximise their brand impact. At present, their page has more than 955K followers with around 15.3k tweets. Tweeting and getting retweeted, it all is a part of the networking effect that works in favour of the company.

The marketers of Uber also made an Instagram page so as to deepen their reach. It has 911k followers, which is helping millions of people move towards opportunity every day. It is known that sometime story seems better when showcased by picture. Instagram helped Uber in deepening their influence so as to get nearer to the customer by showcasing themselves differently.

Respectively, Uber also made their presence on the biggest video sharing site online i.e. Youtube. Their Youtube account has an appreciable number of subscribers. Up to now, their Youtube account has more than 2, 50,000 subscribers and their videos have gathered more than 40 million views. Their channel on Youtube is an important aspect of their social media strategy that helps the company in attracting and engaging customers in a better way. Uber know that with time-to-time posting of new videos, they can do both customer engagement and advertising.

Other than these channels, various other places and platforms are also there where Uber have made its presence such as Pinterest and Linked in. (Cusumano, 2015) For example, their Linked in account has around 9lacs followers, which also shows various job position vacant in the company and the list of employees working there.

Uber follows highly creative social marketing strategy against their competitors (Bashir, Yousaf & Verma, 2016). For example, Uber used National Cat Day to get some advantage with the followers on social platforms. Uber also made partnership with Cheezburger and local animal shelters so as to launch campaign on social media in which consumers could request a kitten for 15 minutes of petting (Cannon & Summers, 2014). This promotion was widely efficacious as it raised $17,000 for animal shelters and this makes even more followers and clients for the company. This shows a unique advertisement as compared to the competitors. Moreover, this also inspires other companies to adapt unique advertising to attract customers. 

Uber's Target Market

In addition, with social media still a relatively new thing for most brands, these risks are not yet understood quite as well. Various inherent risks that are associated with the practice of social media are like negative comments and feedback, technical malfunction and security breach, fake business profiles and accounts, risks of non-legal compliance (Anderson, 2014). However, the more the brand will aware of in social media, the better will they be equipped in handling them.

One of the marketing effort on twitter by Uber also failed once in relation to the immigration debacle (Harding, Kandlikar & Gulati, 2016). In response to President Trump’s immigration ban, taxi drivers decided to stop service to New York JKF International airport, however, Uber made a statement on twitter by capitalizing in relation to development: 

Many customers and celebrities see it as an Uber profit making strategy from the controversy and this makes rise to the #DeleteUber movement. Moreover, many users on twitter deleted the app from their smartphone as post the screenshot for the same. After few days to their original tweet, more than 2lacs people had remove the application and pledge their reliability to their top competitors i.e. Lyft.

Uber learn later that during the cultural and political issues, the brand needs to trade carefully on social media. The company need of several pairs of eyes while planning to target on social media.

Before it was said that world need to adapt Uber but since the rideshare company started operating in Australia and create a whole new market, the success of uber is now converting them into the risks. This force Uber to adapt to the world it created.

In addition, the red tape differs state by state – Queensland drivers complain they must pay $1000 in fees before they can become a rideshare driver (MarinGuzman, 2018). Uber now also very few barriers to entry in the point-to-point transport market.

Moreover, the company is facing various rivals in the form of Chinese rideshare giant Didi Chuxing entered Australia recently transporting 450 million clients with the help of 25 million rides a day. In addition, Indian rideshare start-up i.e. Ola is also expanding their feet and influencing to the success of the Uber.

In addition, Uber also face various allegations over pay and work condition in Sydney, 2017. The Fair Work Ombudsman also began an enquiry to check whether Uber method of engaging driver breached Australian workplace laws or not.

Therefore, it is proved that the changing business environment comes with various risk to the Uber and also having a significant influence on the operations and profitability of the company. 

Strengths

· Well-recognized brand.

· Consist of unlimited fleet of vehicles.

· High valuation in the market.

· Ride-sharing service is 40% cheaper than taxis in Sydney.

· They have option to adopt dynamic pricing (Surge charges).

· Adaptive Business Model for All Demographics as they are operating in more than 633 cities worldwide.

Weakness

· Highly dependent on manpower.

· Australian consumer pragmatism to ditch Uber for its bad reputation.

· Various controversies.

· Facing competition even from Niches.

Opportunities

· High growth rate as customers is now dissatisfying from the traditional taxi base.

· Moreover, other cab services are restricted only to their demographic boundaries but Uber make their network across the globe with maximum fleet of drivers.

· Cheaper electric cars in future will give a cost advantage to Uber.

· Can tap growing markets in suburban areas where taxi services are not available like Wallan, 45 kilometres north of Melbourne.

Threats

· Uber faced many legal battles in Australia relating to Vic cabbies, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in paying of GST, and many more.

· The company is also facing high level of competition from Lyft and other start-ups.

· Self- driving cars i.e. Google cars will eliminate the needs of Uber.

Technology can bring to the industry and the existing firm's remarkable impacts (Posem, 2015). In case of Uber, they always aim to stay relevant and desirable to their customers, members and targeted audience (Laurell & Sandström, 2016). Moreover, their convenient app permits users to book a more premium taxi, which is more reliable than the traditional street taxi. Currently, Uber is ruling the physical world as it is adopted by an early majority of smart phone users (Gabel, 2016). This brings them various potential advantages and pitfalls. However, for earning more market share, the company need to grow themselves into the virtual world, which is social media including Facebook, twitter, Youtube and many more. Their every content leaves an impact on the minds of the customers; however, there are certain areas, which need to be tapped by Uber to overcome various potential risks. The company also need to focus on the various strategies used by their rivals to lure the customer towards them such as niche marketing strategy, social engagement, CRM, etc so as to retain the market share in Australia. Uber needs to focus on content and timing of any post plan for twitting on social media. For example, one of their failure social media campaign related to immigration debacle was posted on wrong timing with unclear meaning. This was the time when the country is facing political issues related to Trump's travel ban. This causes the company as they lost 2lacs customers within some of the days. This also gives their competitor i.e. Lyft an advantage.

References 

Anderson, D. N. (2014). “Not just a taxi”? For-profit ridesharing, driver strategies, and VMT. Transportation, 41(5), 1099-1117.

Bashir, M., Yousaf, A., & Verma, R. (2016). Disruptive business model innovation: How a tech firm is changing the traditional taxi service industry. Indian Journal of Marketing, 46(4), 49-59.

Bogle, A. (2016). Uber shares data to show how the Australian commute is still horrible. Retrieved from: https://mashable.com/2016/10/09/uber-ipa-transport-metric/#Bh8Y_5CGymqj.

Brazil, N., & Kirk, D. S. (2016). Uber and metropolitan traffic fatalities in the United States. American journal of epidemiology, 184(3), 192-198.

Cannon, S., & Summers, L. H. (2014). How Uber and the sharing economy can win over regulators. Harvard business review, 13(10), 24-28.

Cramer, J., & Krueger, A. B. (2016). Disruptive change in the taxi business: The case of Uber. American Economic Review, 106(5), 177-82.

Cusumano, M. A. (2015). How traditional firms must compete in the sharing economy. Communications of the ACM, 58(1), 32-34.

Gabel, D. (2016). Uber and the persistence of market power. Journal of Economic Issues, 50(2), 527-534.

Harding, S., Kandlikar, M., & Gulati, S. (2016). Taxi apps, regulation, and the market for taxi journeys. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 88(1), 15-25.

Laurell, C., & Sandström, C. (2016). Analysing Uber in social media—disruptive technology or institutional disruption?. International Journal of Innovation Management, 20(05), 1640013.

MarinGuzman, D. (2018). Uber's success a 'double edged' sword. Retrieved from: https://www.afr.com/news/policy/industrial-relations/ubers-success-a-double-edged-sword-20180706-h12cdl.

Nelson, S. (2018). 7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business. Retrieved from: https://www.digitaldoughnut.com/articles/2018/february/7-reasons-why-social-media-marketing-is-important.

Posen, H. A. (2015). Ridesharing in the sharing economy: Should regulators impose Uber regulations on Uber. Iowa L. Rev., 101(1), 405.

Statista. (2018). Global gross booking volume of Uber from Q3 2016 to Q2 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/550581/uber-global-gross-bookings/.

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