Social media marketing strategies under the microscope in Vaasa

Social media marketing strategies under the microscope in Vaasa

Henrik Virtanen and his colleagues are examining the social media from different angles regarding marketing, in CERS Vaasa.

”We have been trying to figure out how the social media mechanisms work in marketing of small companies that need to create and increase awareness”, Assistant Professor Henrik Virtanen explains. He has been studying how start-up companies can boost their marketing with Instragram, and published a research paper about the topic together with his colleagues Peter Björk and Elin Sjöström last year.


Henrik is working on other papers on the subject right now. “For example, we have collected information in local small companies about their thoughts on the social media and web shops.” The issue is to help companies make use of the vast amount of social media information they gather. The topic is burning current in the light of marketing analytics and measures to follow-up marketing activities and efficiency.henrik_bild_artikel_2018.jpg

Henrik is also interested in research on B2B marketing. He has research experience of both small and middle-sized firms as well as smokestack industry, in the Ostrobothnian area. ”In our research, we have focused especially in so-called coopetition, which is a strategy where companies combine cooperation and competition and can get better results together.” Focus is especially on cooperation between competitors. For instance, Nautor’s Swan and Baltic Yachts are competitors building luxury sailing yachts. They cooperate by pooling resources, or by exchanging personnel in the production when there is a peak in either company’s order books.


Henrik started as a university lecturer at CERS at 2016, and as an assistant professor at 2017. He has earlier worked as a principal lecturer of marketing in the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. Now he estimates that about 60 or 70 percentages of his work consists of teaching, and the rest of research. As typical, Henrik says that research time is determined by the terms of teaching.


Like all the researchers in CERS Vaasa, also Henrik confirms that a small unit has many good sides. It is easy to keep close contacts with students when everybody knows each other and the working atmosphere is positive, and also their contacts with business life are tight, thanks to researchers’ personal networks in the area.



More about Henrik’s recent research

Virtanen, Henrik, Peter Björk, and Elin Sjöström. "Follow for follow: marketing of a start-up company on Instagram." Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 24, no. 3 (2017): 468-484.


Virtanen, Henrik, and Sören Kock. ”Management of tension in coopetition between small- and medium-sized firms”. In Etemad, Hamid, Natsha Everes, and Sören Kock (Eds.) (forthcoming) “Entrepreneurial Internationalization in Increasingly Digitized and Networked World Economy”, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Annamari Huovinen


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