Discuss about the Introduction to Marketing for Communities and Reviews.
The term social media can be defined as computer-mediated technologies which facilitate the creation as well as sharing of different forms of expression that includes ideas, information, career interests and other via virtual communities and networks. In this era of modernization, popular social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat are being used by several organizations to promote the business as well as to enhance the consumer base. Social media marketing can be defined as the usage of social media platforms to promote a product or a service. Considering the fact that majority of the population of Australia, as well as the world, is present in social media, social media is used by the organizations to directly communicate with the consumers and understand their specific requirements (Sensis Social Media Report, 2017). Before the emergence of social media, consumers had little power over large organizations. However, nowadays the traditional power imbalance between the consumers and brands is getting shifted. In this essay, the extent to which social media provides power to the consumers to take action against the organization have been discussed
The concept of social media is largely confined to Facebook. This is because, the mentioned social media platform alone has 850 million users and daily produce 250billion uploads and 1.2 billion like daily (Hajli, 2014). However, when it comes to marketing through social media, the concept is not confined to just Facebook. Organizations frequently use blogs, video sharing, microblogs, forums and opinion sites for promotion and marketing their services and products. In Australia, more than 9 percent of the individuals use social media more than 5 times a day (Xiang & Gretzel, 2012). Due to continuous advances in social media development, the interconnectivity between the consumers is increasing. Consumers communicate with each other through online forums, communities, reviews, rating and recommendations. This communication, in turn, has enabled new streams which empower the consumers to convey their point of view as well as influence others.
According to Goh, Heng & Lin, (2013), social media has converted internet from a platform of information to a platform of influence. Social media which were supposed to empower the organizations have empowered the consumers instead. It has been found that consumers are forming groups with the help of internet and are gaining power (Berthon et al., 2014). As been stated earlier, an individual consumer has a limited amount of power against big organizations and corporation. However, since social media allows consumers of similar opinions form a huge group, the power of consumers has got highly enhanced. However, according to (Chen, Fay & Wang, 2013), this power of consumers are limited to the organizations that are available in the social media.
According to Deans, (2012), in spite of the fact that several organizations have gained consumer loyalty by using social media for promoting and marketing their service, the social media platform is not designing for marketing branded products. Rather than that, the sole purpose of social media is to interconnect individuals through conversational webs. Therefore, whether a brand will be welcomed or gain popularity in the social media depends totally on the consumers. Thus, consumers are the one who decides which brand to interact with.
Mangold & Faulds, (2013) argues that the power of accepting a brand in a specific social media platform partially lies in the hand of its online competitors. It is crucial for any organization who wants to enhance its revenue through social media marketing to follow the trend set by other companies in the same domain. A newcomer organization needs to adopt the culture of the specific social media platform it wants to be a part of. In order to gain acceptance and validation from the consumers, organizations should ensure that consumers are able to comment on as well as share the information provided in the official page of the organization.
However, in several cases, it is found that negative comment of the summers is deleted by the management of the organizations in order to retain the positive image of the brand. For instance, one of the most globally renowned brands of Australia, namely, Qantas, used to remove negative comments an feedbacks from their official page on Facebook. In spite of imposing a short-term beneficial impact, this phenomenon can lead to a disaster when it comes to the long-term success of an organization ( Labrecque et al., 2013). This is because deleting genuine feedback results in deterioration of the trust of consumers and hence eventually reduces the consumer loyalty of the company. An example of the power of consumers in Social media is demonstrated below. A huge online support from global consumers was able to bring back an obsolete product named Ako-Kola which is a Swedish candy. The mentioned candy was unavailable in stores of Sweden since the year 2006. In order to analyse the power of the consumers who use social media. Three marketers created a Facebook page with the aim to get enough likes to get back the one-time famous candy. The mission became successful and finally, the Cloetta Company relaunched the Oka-Kola candy in selected stores in Sweden.
According to Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, (2015), along with the power to bring back dead products to life, consumers have the power to harm the reputation of the company. Unlike the past, consumers are not passive receivers, they themselves have the power to create content which can lead to disaster for the company. Consumers are free to post their negative reviews and feedback as a form of a blog or on the official page of the companies. One negative comment can influence thousands of consumers. Thus Organizations needs to be aware of the fact that one unhappy or offended consumer may results in attrition of consumers in a huge number. Not only by posting their genuine impression about a product or service, consumers are also found to be presenting honest opinions and reviews about a certain product. For instance, a huge number of beauty bloggers nowadays, are found to be posting honest reviews on various cosmetics and skin care products through blogs, YouTube and popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and others. These reviews, if negative can hugely affect the sale of the products as well as the consumer loyalty to the organization. Another example that can a rigid evidence of the power of the consumer provided by social media to task action against a particular organization provides bellow. The sales of the McDonalds Corporation, a highly popular fast food chain of America, suffered a drastic decrement in its sales due to videos and evidence posted against it in a blog named 'MCcruelty: I am hating it'. In this blog, evidence of the cruelty of the mentioned organization to animals was exposed. Visitors who visited the page was able to read a blog named ‘Chickens killed for McDonald's are slaughtered using an outdated method that results in extreme suffering’ where details of how the animals aware tortured and killed were documented (Chen, Fay & Wang, 2013). Not only that, the blog also created comics on Ronald McDonald that demonstrated how the iconic clown of the McDonalds Company is slaughtering the animals ruthlessly. In a nutshell, the mentioned blog used the icons of the Company against them. This blog became viral within a very short period of time. It was shared on popular social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn by a huge number of consumers. An innumerable number of consumers re-tweeted the blog on Twitter. In spite of being a huge organization, McDonald's seemed to be powerless when it came to hinder the way of negative promotion against the company.
Social media has both driven and coincided with a dramatic change in the way that helps businesses to interact with their customers and vice versa. Along with that, the rising pressure on companies will be more socially responsible and value creation for both long-term and short-term investment in society. This phenomenon translates into consistent and firm growth and dominant positions in the operational market segment. On the other social media has become essential equipment that consumers can aggressively use against the business organisation to reform their business attitudes and force companies to handle greater social responsibility. The significant utility is being able to deliver a truly integrated communication platform, where customers have their choice of how and when they communicate with an organisation (Goh, Heng & Lin, 2013). Concerned consumers realise that they can use social media to organise themselves around shared values to start dynamic movements.
From the above context it can be said that the popular social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat are being used by several organizations to promote the business as well as to enhance the consumer base. On the other hand, because of continuous improvement in social media and its accessibility development, the interconnectivity between the consumers is also increasing.From the above discussion, it can be observed that the consumers are forming groups with the help of internet and are gaining the power to influence the organisational operations and business strategies.Apart from that, it is also noticeable that, the consumers are not passive receivers, they themselves have the power to create content which can lead to disaster for the company.Therefore, it can be said that the rising pressure on companies will be more socially responsible for both long-term and short-term investment of the operating business organisation.
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