Social media is an important idea for getting an effective change in communication of any organization whether business-to-business, customer-to-customer or business-to-customer. The aim of this report is analyzing the impacts of application of social media in the business. As social media has enabled a person to talk many other persons around the world. It provides possibilities to present a product in various communities around the world. It also consist various functions which allow customers to tag, blog, dig etc. Various platforms in social media are Facebook, Google plus, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. These platforms are very helpful in providing information regarding the products and services to customers regarding any kind of business. It is found that around 70% of social media users are engaged in marketing of their products on social media. Due to lack of control and ease way of getting information cybercrimes is increasing continuously (Hill & Moran, 2011).
Literature review: social media marketing
Now day’s social media marketing is continuously increasing such that many businesses are able to target their market easily. Social media marketing can be understood as the use of social media in marketing of products and services by businesses. Social media has engaged in mass marketing and mass communication by encouraging the customers to spread the message worldwide. Many new tools are developed in social media now days. Social media is very effective for the marketers as by using various social media tools, they are able to connect many customers for the business profit (Gurau, 2008). It is well known that there are many social media sites with the innovative forms and features. According to Gordhamer (2009), social media marketing is very effective for relationship marketing by which many companies try to maintain significant relationship with the potential customers in the market. In fact, social media marketing has various face of marketing which relationship marketing is important to build and maintain the relationship with the customers in the market. Relationship marketing is crucial for the companies to improve the customers’ loyalty for the specific product or service. Jan &Khan (2014) stated that social media is essential and innovative tool for the companies to develop strong relationship with the potential customers on the virtual networks. With the social media networks, it is very easy to manage public relations because larger numbers of the customers are active on the social media sites. In current time, customers have more power to judge the product or service so; company should be available on the social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, Blogs and Forums every time. By the social media platforms, companies get various opportunities to attract the customers in the market.
Palmer and Lewis (2009) stated that there are many social media channels facing challenges and issues in current time and companies are facing issues in the profit levels. So, companies are using traditional methods along with the social media platforms to improve the brand value and marketing activities. In the complex economic environment, companies always focus on the promotion and advertising budget and have shifted towards online promotional activities and budget. Forrester research study (2011) argued that companies are focusing on the on the online advertisements based on the needs and requirements of the buyers and end users. The consumers and buyers on the social media are more tech savvy and enthusiasts in present time. It can be seen that there are many social media sites available for the organizations to stay connected with the consumers (Hafele, 2011). The popular sites of social media used by the people are YouTube, Twitter, Face Book, LinkedIn etc. These listed social media platforms are commonly used by the various organizations to develop brand awareness and to engage the consumers with the specific products and services. Thus, it is understood that social media marketing is beneficial for the companies in establishing the strong relationship on the professional level. Social media marketing include both advantage as well as disadvantage for the business enterprises.
Types of social media
In the social media platforms, Facebook is considered as the first stop for the companies to make the presence among the customers. FaceBook has vast network including flexibility and simplicity to use and these features make it good for the businesses. Further, Google Plus is also popular social media platform and provides unique business i.e. business present with the Google Plus enjoys the increased ranking in terms of Google search. The result is that Google works to with the network to improve the brand awareness among the customers. Next, platform is Twitter which can be used as the useful platform for the organizations as it provides steady flow of news flashes and links to share with the followers. If the company wants to share image or short video content, for those another platform is Instagram that enables the companies to attract huge audience of users. Along with this, there are many other platforms which offer marketing opportunities for the right type of business. Pinterest is continuously growing and female user social media platform and LinkedIn is popular among the freelancers to find out the clients.
According to theWatson (2002), due to increase in popularity of global marketing, many businesses have started endorsing their products and services on social media. Many social network sites like Facebook and Twitter has changed the process of advertising and promotion. Instead of websitessome businesses are able to attract customers by social media pages. There are relatively some examples of using social media in business.
The main benefit of using social media is that it reduces the cost of the business. The cost used in other marketing tools like distributers, middlemen or sales person is high in comparison to cost incurred on using social media. Also, social media enables the companies to contact with its customers which are not possible in other distribution channels. By providing advantage in two areas for the customers, many social media platforms reduce costs and increase the access of customers (Watson et al, 2002).
Social media platforms are useful for the businesses as they provides effective ways of marketing to broaden their exposure in the market with the lower cost as compared to traditional marketing. By establishing the presence on the commonly used platforms such as Twitter and FaceBook which are helpful to target new customers and improving the brand image among the customers. Along with this, social media provides two-way communication which is helpful in improving the customer services and enables the business to achieve new information about the customers in the operating market (Barefoot & Szabo, 2010).
Firstly, without any hindrance the companies are able to provide information regarding goods and services to its customers. Beside this, customers can easily understand the available information. For example, scheduling and reservation system in airlines is complex to generate and sustain in terms of individual needs. In such case, social media or web based concept is very useful to maintain customer’s loyalty as preferences of customers are quite large. Secondly, by using social media companies are able to modify its information to communicate with customers. This information allows the customers to meet their needs (Weinberg, 2009). Social media provide opportunities to the companies to do transactions which require human contact. Five advantages of using social media in business are:
Because of using social media, customers are becoming more active in shopping their behavior now days. Interactivity is one of the main factors in new media technologies which provide better quality of information with the control over the content of social media (Liu, Yuping & Shrum, 2002). Interactivity can be considered as consumer oriented information with messages, machines which focus on practical features of social networking process. The reason of involvement and positive attitude of customer towards any brand is increasing level of inactivity (Xiang & Gretzel, 2010).
The main benefit of social media is minimization of costs. Majorities of social media sites can easily be accessed and is free to post any kind of information. Businesses can run easily with a limited budget using social media campaigns. With little cash investment it provides the advantage of targeting large number of customers
This is one of the most important phenomena in social media to extend and create new forms of social interaction. Now day’s people spend a lot of time on social media communications. Social networking sites are very popular among the customers as like destinations. A study reveals that the information which is available on social networking sites have put direct impact on purchasing power of the customers (Arthur et al, 2006).
It is very important factor for social media marketing. Every company should have well designed customer service system. There are many links available on online like frequently asked questions (FAQs) that are very useful for buying process in customer decision making. Companies which are using Logistics system provide guarantees for fast delivery after checkout process which helps in increasing customer’s satisfaction. This system allows many different ways to deliver the products (Tanuri, 2010).
Further, the order fulfillment and delivery system are critical to e-loyalty development. For the fast delivery, there is the need of proper logistics system which contributes in the customer satisfaction and loyal behavior towards the product. There are some customers who prefer the product delivery by the parcel services like FedEx and UPS. Some like to pick the products in the physical store. So, to minimize the insecurity of the product delivery, the social media marketers offer the brands that are well-known, good product quality and guarantees.
Social media helps in attracting various people and helps in building strong customers base. Social media also provide the mouth world which helps in promoting much beyond advertisement. In some segments of customers, traditional methods of marketing are not helpful. Thus social media helps there in marketing of products. For example-if a person is interested in music of any specific country, and he likes it on social media then these sites will show ads related to that country’s music performance and performers.
Increased brand loyalty:
To improve the brand loyalty among the customers, social media is very effective tool for the companies. A study conducted by The Social Habit reveals that there are 53% of Americans who follow the brands on social media and they are more likely to remain loyal for those brands. In current time, social media is now more than a sales pitch. Social media platform provides two-way communication methods that are helpful for the companies to build strong relationship with the existing and new customers. The social media makes the companies more confident in the decision making process. Along with this, social media is helpful in encouraging the customers to select the brand in future (Weiss, Lurie & Macinnis, 2008).
Although social media is the powerful marketing tool but it is not risk free. Followers on the social media are free to post their views and comments on these platforms but there is the risk of negative publicity by the consumers. A quick response by the company can minimize the possibilities of risk but it cannot be erased properly. Along with this, there is another threat of social media i.e. Hackers. The hackers can take over the website page of the company or they share wrong information that can quickly go viral. Even every large and famous company has to face the threat of hacking so, it is important for the small businesses to take safety precautions while creating and sharing the password information with the employees.Yet social media generate many opportunities for business but there are many challenges in social media. The main disadvantages of social media marketing are as follows-
There can be issues related to trademark or copyright in using social media. For a company, the brand and other property are valuable for the products and services which they are offering. Business men should regularly check their trademarks and copyrights to avoid misuse of intellectual property. Trademarks and copyrights are important factors but it can also be ruined by the abuse of business’s trademark (Teinman & Hawkins, 2010).
In social media marketing of businesses, there can be issues related to security, trust and privacy. So it is very important for the company to have knowledge about these issues. To reduce uncertainty about brand trust, the company should be loyal about their products as customer can not touch, feel the products in online marketing. The perceptions about internet like internet is unreliable, unsafe issues also create disadvantages for social media (Ray et al, 2011).
Regarding products and service, consumers are now free to give their feedbacks whether positive or negative which creates pressure on the companies. Customer’s views greatly impact the business process of a company in the market and negative feedbacks also spoil the brand of the company in the market. Companies cannot ignore their negative feedbacks.
According to Gurau (2008), the online marketing environment provides various opportunities as well as challenges for the marketers. The customers are becoming more proactive but the companies have more opportunities to target more and more customers in the market. The social media allows the companies to gather, register, analyze and utilize the customers’ data for better targeting audiences. The cost-related features, interactivity, social interactions, customer service and target market opportunities are the features for the companies to get success in the social media marketing (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). On the other hand, down side of the social media include time intensive, trust, privacy and security issue, trademark and copyright issue, negative feedback from the customers and user-generated content (UGC) and these are the major barriers facing by the social media marketers. So, it is recommended that the message communicated online should include core corporate values, online strategy and tactics of the organization. The selection of the proper communication mix should be done by the company for the effective social media marketing (Sheth & Sharma, 2005).
As the key part of communication, social media is an important tool which can be found anywhere and should be measured by marketers, advertisers and content creators. Now day’s customers are getting new place in social media. Social media tools are very popular in uploading the videos and pictures of the products. Based on above report, it is seen that there are both advantages and disadvantages in using social media in marketing of products by the companies. Various organizations are still doing research to get a correct method of using social media. Many marketers are still not aware of the challenges and risks associated with social media marketing. So, before opting for social media in business, business men should do complete study on it. A company must know the values and plans of using social media in marketing of its product and services. To satisfy the requirements of its customers, companies should be loyal and should provide good quality products.;
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