How do you connect with people when you cannot connect with them face to face due to time, size, or geographic restrictions? The answer Is social media marketing. When a person mentions the term ‘social media’, one of the most common thoughts is people talking to people, and that’s exactly what it is (Constant, 2013). The idea is that a happy customer will tell another person who will then tell another, or the first happy customer may simply place their thoughts In a post, or blob, online about their experience.
Now dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of others can read that one customers experience. Social media marketing has become increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes, and has many advantages as well as disadvantages. Social media marketing has also allowed companies including Pepsi, Marital Home Builders, and Ford Motor company to launch their customer experiences throughout the world, and many other companies are beginning to utilize the same concept in order to take advantages of certain marketing changes over the next decade (Profiteered, 2011).
Social Medal Marketing In Business No matter what the size of the business, social media marketing has become increasingly popular for businesses’ to help with a variety of goals including: website traffic, conversions, brand awareness, creating a brand identity, and communication ND interaction with key audiences (Wordsmiths, 2013). Every generation, young and old, has been taken over by social. No matter what age, what culture, or what class a person falls into, they are online finding out about the world, finding out about others, and finding out about businesses.
Any company that wants access to this customer base consisting of millions of people connected in some way, shape, or fashion, must get onboard with social media marketing. Some of the top sites including Faceable, Twitter, and Linked can have thousands of people tied to just one users account. Whatever that single individual posts about a company now has the potential to be read by thousands more. It would be foolish for a company not to use that as a free marketing tool to reach around the globe.
Businesses can also create their own accounts on social media sites and manage their reputation as well as inform others of news even before it becomes mainstream news (Youth, 2013). Businesses’ to use it as a brand-building tool and create repeat brand exposure to its users. Businesses have been using it to run promotions and giveaways that encourage people to ‘like’ them, or Join their online community.
This allows the business to create a loyal following of well informed followers who can now share that information, along with posts from the companies page, to other members of their own communities which in turn expands recognition of the originating business (Youth, 2013). People also trust information more because it is coming from within their own network. They aren’t hearing testimony from some random person that they don’t even know is telling the truth or not, but instead from their friends, family, and coworkers. So what social media sites have the highest potential for growing and maintaining a customer base on?
According to a study as recent as August of 2013, Faceable is the number one social media site with 750,000,000 users, Twitter comes in second with 250,000,000 users, and Linked comes in third with 110,000,000 users (biz, 2013). And how are these sites being utilized by businesses to reach millions of people around the globe? Faceable allows businesses to create a Faceable Business Fan Page, where the business pages revolve around furthering conversation with users by posting business-related articles, images, and videos (Faceable, 2013).
Twitter creates a different experience by allowing businesses to tweet about specials, accounts, and news related to the business and its industry. Businesses can also rewet messages from other customers whenever that customer says something good about the business (Twitter, 2013). And finally you have Linked, where businesses can create a business page and have their customers post experiences and ‘recommend’ the business to others. Recommendations make a business appear more credible and reliable for new customers (Linked, 2013).
Combine all of these possibilities for businesses to reach millions of current, and potential customers, and TTS not hard to see why social media marketing has become exceedingly more popular among businesses of all sizes. Advantages ; Disadvantages Average business owners do not fully understand the risks of social media marketing, and the field is still so new that it is difficult to evaluate the social media experts who offer their services to businesses (Sandiness, 2012).
In order for a business to effectively and efficiently use social media as a marketing tool, and use it in the safest and most valuable possible way, they need to be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of it. When looking into the advantages of social media networking, it hits all the key features that a business would want in an advertising platform. Social media marketing: is cost effective, brings new business, brings people together, builds loyalty, and is fun and attractive. Most social networking sites for businesses are free and fairly simple to get off the ground.
What’s better that a free marketing medium? Social media marketing also drives people back to the businesses website and into their stores. A user can begin on the home page of the networking site, and from there follow promotions and other offers o various places throughout the businesses actual website. Other advantages like bringing people together, and creating loyalty are accomplished by allowing people from different geographical locations to meet at a single point and express their views, and then allows them to follow that company daily for updates (Beirut, 2010).
The days of reading newspaper articles, flipping through magazines, and even watching TV ads is history. People want to occupy their time with the latest and greatest gadgets and many of those gadgets have the capability to connect to social Edie. There are numerous disadvantages to social media marketing as well. Some of these disadvantages include the fact that social media can: be time consuming, damage a company’s reputation, be difficult to manage, and affect worker productivity.
Social media sites do not run themselves; instead time needs to be invested in them to ensure all the information on that site is correct and that it accurately portrays the views of the business. That time can add up which in turn makes a free social media marketing venture cost the company more than its worth in the long run. That leads into the next disadvantage, the potential for social media sites to be difficult to manage. It’s not that starting the site is difficult, but instead the skill needed to update news, keep up promotions, and vet postings.
This could take a skilled social marketing expert and not everyone has that skill. Social networking sites can also damage a company’s reputation Just as fast as it builds it. Its one thing to make and only have a few people know about it, and it’s another to make a mistake and have thousands of followers know about it. That mistake could cost the company nonusers and in cases, employees. So when choosing to use social media as a marketing platform, companies must be aware, and weigh, the advantages and disadvantages of it.
Pepsin’s Social Media Marketing With the capability to reach millions of consumers on multiple electronic platforms, Social media marketing is proving to be a goldmine, rich with customer engagement and insight that companies would never have otherwise. Companies like Pepsi have gone to extensive lengths to embrace this type of collaboration with its fans, and the payoff has been big (Buttoner, 2010). Pepsi has learned to use, and referred the use of, social media for: collaboration, dynamic consumer engagement, user-generated content, data aggregation, gee-local reach, inbound marketing (Horton, 2012).
Pepsi uses collaboration by hosting campaigns which involves Pepsi fans and the general public picking flavors, flavor names, and voting on the best user- submitted ad campaign for the next great Pepsi product (Brandywine, 2008). Brett O’Brien, Mountain Dew’s marketing director, said it best when he said: What we’re calling it is collective intelligence; it’s less about scrounging, but more about collaboration. It’s been great for us to have this really unique dialogue that we normally wouldn’t have, it really has opened our eyes up.
To me, that’s tremendously exciting, to me, that’s the social media story (Buttoner, 2010). Pepsi uses a digital dashboard on social media in order to foster dynamic user engagement. In a recent use of an online strategy Pepsi used Pulse and Sound Off, both online destinations which encouraged visitors to comment on a popular Fox Network show, The X-Factor, which was sponsored by Pepsi (PepsiCo, 2012). Social media marketing is a platform that is very dependent on user-generated content and input.
It’s popularity is increased by reviews, comments, and Just inputs in general by any using, or following that particular page. This influence has measurable effect on a consumer’s decision to purchase a product, especially in the technology/information age of today. Pepsi has taken advantage of this by creating a new digital dashboard on their website that read them, and add comments when wanted (Newswire, 2012). Data aggregation is another aspect that Pepsi uses social media marketing for.
Unlike the traditional ways of advertising in the past, social media provides a wide range of statistics on its seers, including: age, demographics, gender, interests, and even reactions. Pepsi then takes this consumer data and refines it in order to adjust its consumer engagement model to attract more consumers, and in turn, more data (Daniels, 2010). Pepsi also takes of social media’s concept of inbound marketing. Pepsi has recognized that that the days of ‘push’ marketing is coming to an end and that today’s consumer wants to be listened to.
They want a direct channel of communication with the brand so that they can share their opinions and experiences, at the same time as getting news and updates on the latest ventures. Pepsi has over 17 million followers on Faceable alone that agree with this concept (Pepsi Faceable, 2013). Pepsi has also taken their Faceable involvement to a whole new level with their social media driven vending machine. This vending machine doesn’t take cash like a traditional vending machine, but instead a consumer pays with Faceable ‘likes’.
The consumer simply logs onto Faceable using the vending machine’s touchstones, ‘likes’ Pepsi, and gets a free beverage (MEG, 2013). No other company in the world currently allows consumers to get free products on site simply by Joining a social media network. Just another reason why Pepsi is leading the way in social media marketing. Businesses Utilizing Social Media With Pepsi successfully integrating social media into its marketing campaign and flourishing from it, other companies are following in Pepsin’s footsteps and trying their hand in the social media marketing game.
Two of these companies are Marital Home Builders and Ford Motor Company. Marital Home Builders is a Canadian based home builder who in the past has relied heavily on realtors to advertise and sell their properties (Marital, 2012). Marital has learned to embrace social media however, and as been able to create a direct-to-consumer strategy in which they are no longer reliant on using the realtors as middle-men. They have developed content creation focusing on consumer blobbing that allows potential homemakers to let them know exactly what they want from a builder.
This has resulted in about eighty-six percent of their entire sales coming directly from the consumer (Profiteered, 2011). Once someone decides to purchase a home with Marital, they will also have a Faceable page created for their home, which is updated with pictures along with the status of heir build regularly. Another company that has put social media marketing on the forefront is Ford Motor Company. Ford has begun using a new marketing technique called ‘The Ford Story.
This new feature allows consumers to post their past, and current, experiences with Ford Motor Company on this website, and allows millions of others to read about these experiences before looking at current model vehicles for sale. It even places these posts at the very top of the website so that new subscribers get the consumer’s opinions before they get the rest of Ford marketing (Ford, 2013). Consumers could also sign up for a Ford Social account which then links directly with their Faceable account so that their friend, family, and coworkers can also share their thoughts on the car company.
Ford also has a ‘Great New Ideas’ section where consumers can submit thoughts on what Ford should create, or incorporate, for next latest pictures of upcoming Ford models (Profiteered, 2011). These two companies, Marital Home Builders and Ford Motor Company, are Just two in a growing army of social media marketers. Years to Come As the millennium generation moves in to take over the role as the largest nonuser generation, businesses are going to have to get involved with the way of communicating these consumers respond to. That happens to be social media.
So what is involved in keeping up with social media marketing? To start, companies are going to need to hire people are that not only specialize in marketing, but marketing over social media. In some cases, depending on their goals, they may need to dedicate an entire team to the effort. This doesn’t Just include people but also funds. Companies will also need to start looking at the different possibilities that social media can offer. Pepsi decided to give away free beverages if people liked them, others might want to look into doing the same.
With the capability of social media to project one individual’s experience around the globe, companies will also need to be more transparent. If they make a mistake and try to cover it up, chances are that it won’t get covered up by the millions in social media. Conclusion Over the past decade, social media has changed the way people communicate with others, and has also changed the way in which businesses interact with its current customers, as well as their potential customers. Companies like Twitter and Faceable have adapted a once personal social media platform, to business in a way that no one could have predicted.
Social media went from a simple broadcasting platform, to a sophisticated network of connections that can either make or break a business. This will only continue to advance in the future and companies will have to decide whether to spend their time and money in social media, or in other marketing ventures. Social media usage went up 38 percent from 2011 to 2012, and is estimated to climb another 50 percent by the end of 2013 (Knight, 2013). If companies do not get on board with this growing consumer base, they will be left behind by companies like Pepsi, Ford, and Marital Homebuilders.