Unlike the past, conventional methods of marketing do not influence the willingness of a customer to buy the advertised product. Most people have shifted to the use of electronic devices, following technological advancements. The innovation of smartphones, laptops, tablets and other mobile digital devices has been the prime reason for the shift to online marketing. Records reveal that cumulative app download has summed to 100 billion unlike the 5 billion five years earlier. It is factual that new online marketing channels have evolved, and this has enabled marketers to create awareness about their products and to receive real-time feedback from their customers (Tuten & Solomon, 2013).
Social media involves electronic communication, whereby users create online groups to share ideas, information, personal messages, audios, videos and so forth. Today, many companies utilize social media in promoting their products and services by connecting with users and creating awareness about their brand. Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing exists entirely online either via apps or websites. Lastly, social media marketing continually evolves with technology.
Social media marketing is the most convenience means of promoting products and it attracts the following advantages. First, it allows companies to present adequate product or service information at a reasonable cost. Therefore, it is an opportunity for start-up companies to exploit their small marketing budgets and attract numerous customers, for large firms, they too can reduce they operational expenses through social media marketing and gain a competitive advantage through aggressive advertisements. Secondly, social media marketing allows marketers to increase brand recognition and continuous customer loyalty. Marketers can also realize the tastes and preferences of their clients and hence modify their products to meet the customers’ demands.
Lastly, through online marketing customers can forward their queries, concerns, and complaints in a more reliable, fast and convenient scheme and receive a timely response. Companies can restore their customer relationships even after a mistake or misinterpretation through a rapid and smooth response on social network platforms. For instance, BP’s was able to restore customers and protect the company image after a Deep Water Horizon crisis by monitoring and quickly and smoothly responding to the public (Dutta, 2015).
Social media marketing commonly utilizes the following online systems;
Instagram has significantly contributed to social network marketing, as per 2015, the media had hit 400 million active users. As per the 2012 article in BBC news, top major brands around the world use Instagram as their core marketing strategy. Various marketers utilize lifestyle images and videos. Users can comment on posts as well as develop their posts to get more involved in the company’s marketing activities. Businesses can also disclose links that can enable customers to access the advertised products.
The media was founded in 2014 and by 2015. It had hit more than one billion active users. Companies utilize this extensive social network by creating pages that allow effective interaction with customers. Moreover, the media allows companies one-on-one conversations with their clients, to reach out to groups of people quickly, to evaluate on how often customers check into their site and gather customer opinions. The media also offers ads companies to allow marketers to reach different market segments such as age, location, gender with detailed analytics on performance. The “like” page function also allows marketers to deliver information to large groups of people in a short while.
The media is best known for its term “hashtag” which allow a single sign (#) to become a searchable link. It has over 320 million active users. Companies can register their Twitter account to enjoy instant conversations with customers and to build brand association by promoting deals, personal tweets, recommending a charity, validating market trends and so forth.
Founded in 2005 and as per February 2016, the website claimed more than 1 billion active users. Markets target this large segment by creating an audio or video marketing content that aims at “going viral.” The website allows users to share a link with friends via Facebook, email of other social platforms. Moreover, companies can share a link on their official website or different media to reach out to many customers (Akyol, 2013)
Founded in 2010, is commonly known as “a catalog of ideas,” and is used for inspirational activities. The media claimed 100 million users as per September 2015. The site aimed at advancing its boundaries to allow immediate purchase through the site. Companies post lifestyles that surround their products or services to mobilize users.
Founded in 2011 and attracted up to a 100 million users s per May 2015. The media is known widely for its disappearing messages function. The app allows messages to display for up to 0 seconds before deleting, however, “story” element allows images to last for 24 hours before disappearing automatically. The app allows marketers to create stories regarding the use of their products. Audi Company and DJ Khaled have made significant marketing achievements with the utilization of this media.
Founded in 2009, claimed more than one billion active users as per February 2016, the media is free of advertisements but can be useful outside paid ads. The founders aim at creating a tool that allows personal, commercial conversations to promote social media marketing.
A firm can evaluate the number of followers a page has and the number of reviews to determine social media success. Moreover, some social medias such as Facebook provides an algorithm that promotes favorite posts with a hypothesis that few but active and passionate followers are more significant than large passive members. Changes in the quantity of sales equating to the number of followers and comments can also measure social media success. Companies have further enhanced their social media success through influencers such as celebrities who endorse products or services to attract more customers.
Social media allows marketers and clients to interact freely around the clock. This interaction enables markets to realize the changes in the tastes and preferences of their customers and to modify their products or services to meet customer expectations. Social networks are useful marketing tools favorable to businesses because of their cost effectiveness and easy triggering of viral marketing.
Akyol, Ş. (2013). Social Media and Marketing: Viral Marketing. Academic Journal Of Interdisciplinary Studies. http://dx.doi.org/10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n8p586
Dutta, K.(2015) Social Media Marketing - A Paradigm Shift in the Marketing Practice. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2492674
Tuten, T. & Solomon, M. (2013). Social media marketing. Boston: Pearson.
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