The task of making a product or service popular, even among its target audiences, is quite difficult due to the presence of competition, absence of awareness about the new product, and the overall tendency to approach the process of purchasing carefully. Receiving impartial information about the quality of the product or service used to be a rather challenging objective; however, with the rise in the development of digital media, sharing experiences about the use of specific products has become excessively easy.
Specifically, the role of social media in business and marketing has grown exponentially, allowing companies to target a broader spectrum of audiences. Typically defined as “the use of web-based and mobile technologies/applications for social interaction,” social media has shaped business interactions significantly (Uitz, 2012, p. 3). Moreover, social media has become the repository of essential information about the product or service in question, including its origin, essential substitutes, and the proper use of the said product or service.
By acknowledging the role of social media in the creation of a product or service brand and establishing an effective marketing strategy, a company can ensure that its marketing approach meets established goals and that its services and products are popular within the target community. Specifically, this paper looks at some of the most noticeable and important effects that social media may have on a company’s approach to marketing, as well as the impact that social networks have on a firm’s business performance, in general.
Effects on Marketing
Reaching the Target Audience
Social media gives companies the power to reach out to their target audiences directly and communicate with them uninhibitedly. Indeed, the rise in the level of access to specific audiences increases tremendously once a company enters the realm of social media. Due to the phenomenon of connectivity and the active promotion of data sharing in the social network context, the specified type of media will not only make a plethora of information readily available to an organization but also lead to the company gaining much more visibility in the social media context (Reczek, 2018). As a result, a firm has a chance to implement a marketing strategy that will make it popular in the selected market.
In fact, research demonstrates that the extent of customer satisfaction is in direct correlation with the efficacy of marketing, among other things. Specifically, the study by Nunan et al. (2018) indicates that the active focus on using visual elements, most of which have a universal meaning and, therefore, do not need a massive rethinking of their symbolism for the marketing of the target product, allows increasing sales and attracting new customers quite well. In fact, research proves that the integration of social networks into the management of marketing tasks will allow fostering not only brand recognition and loyalty but also brand love in the target demographic (Nunan et al., 2018).
Specifically, the tools in question will allow making a brand self-expressive, thus increasing its appeal and broadening the range of customers that may find it attractive (Nunan et al., 2018). Consequently, the integration of social media marketing as a part of the digital marketing process into the management of the needs of customers worldwide should be considered a necessity for the target organization.
In fact, given the plethora of positive outcomes that social media has on marketing and business development, it is advised to integrate the principal elements of social media marketing into every promotion campaign. Thus, the company will ensure that its approach toward product or service promotion encompasses every possible target audience and is made as publicly available as possible. Moreover, the incorporation of social media marketing into the range of an organization’s techniques will allow firms to increase their competitive advantage by raising the efficacy of communication with customers and utilizing their feedback in a way that will prompt positive changes in their design.
As a result, the business strategy of companies that adopt social media marketing is likely to be altered in a way that aligns the company’s goals with the principles of the digital economy (Gautam & Sharma, 2017). Consequently, a firm will not experience the challenges that are traditionally associated with transitioning to the digital realm of managing the business strategy and the marketing framework. Moreover, a company is likely to gain significant flexibility in the choice of cool for communicating the company’s values and objectives to the target demographic. As a result, organizations will be capable of using social media to their advantage.
Increasing Website Traffic
As a result of the increased brand exposure, the company’s website traffic is also expected to rise. In turn, the described effects will cause the organization to become more popular within the web search engine algorithm, improving the company’s overall visibility. Indeed, due to the intricate nature of most web search engines, primarily Google, a company is unlikely to be listed in the top search results unless extra efforts are applied to increase the visibility of the site. For instance, the development of SEO texts containing the keywords that will propel a company tone of the first pages in the Google Search result will help in addressing the problem of visibility (Kanuri et al., 2018).
However, in addition to the described technique, a firm may use social media to receive an extra boost and become even more noticeable in the search range. Although the specified approach is unlikely to make a company land in the first top ten search results, it will secure its place at one of the major positions, thus increasing the opportunity for the organization to be seen.
Namely, the use of social media marketing will help to recruit new customers from the specified social networks. By sharing links to the company’s website, customers will encourage their friends to click on the specified link, thus boosting the levels of the website traffic stupendously. As a result, the site will become much more easily visible for people when they perform a Google search. However, it is worth paying closer attention to the fact that most new customers are likely to come from the specified social media only.
According to the research conducted in 2017 by Trueger et al. (2017, p. 184), the use of social media for marketing suggests that the bulk of new customers will constitute the users of the said media: “Twitter sharing of AIPs increased the number of page views that came from Twitter but did not increase the overall number of page views.” Therefore, in order to embrace an even greater audience, the organization will have to implement a marketing strategy that will allow it to target two or more social networks at once. Thus, the extent of variation within the ranks of the organization’s customers will remain high.
Increase in Brand Loyalty
With the increase in the extent and efficacy of the dialogue between the firm and its target customers, the level of loyalty to the brand is likely to rise in the latter. Studies show that the impression of transparency, that social media create, particularly, the opportunity to discuss openly the issues associated with a specific brand ad receive instant responses from the company’s representatives, contributes to a steep increase in trust (Ismail, 2017).
Moreover, the fact that the company remains exposed to discussions and that it’s every action is immediately visible on social media leads to adding one more layer to trust toward the brand and its quality (Ismail, 2017). In turn, the rise in trust leads to brand value co-creation and the development of the brand community, suggesting customer involvement in the progress of the brand (Coelho et al., 2018). As a result, people will be more inclined to purchase the product to the development of which they have indirectly contributed.
In turn, improved customer service is explained by the massive reach that social networks have. As Laksamana (2018, p. 15) notices, “The overload of information on the internet has been a challenge for connecting and engaging with consumers. Therefore, for a positive impact on the brand, the communication efforts must be interactive, customized and yet entertaining.” In turn, social media provides an opportunity for tailoring the experience that customers have with a brand online to be as unique and customized as possible, which is why the integration of social media into the marketing processes implies an instant increase in brand loyalty among the target audiences.
In addition, social media as the means of receiving direct information about the first-hand experience of buyers with the company’s products will allow enhancing the efficacy of the customer service. Namely, providing prompt responses to the difficulties that people may have with the company’s products, addressing specific disadvantages, offering free consultations, and generally expanding the extent of support that buyers may receive from the organization’s representatives affects the quality of customer service significantly. In turn, the use of social media will allow making every query and complaint made by buyers visible to the company’s support team. The resulting increase in the extent of the firm’s reach and the range of assistance that it can offer to its audience. As a result, the extent of the buyers’ loyalty to the company and its brand increases, affecting the brand image, recognition, and overall marketing efficacy positively.
Effects on Business
Increase in Profits Due to a Higher Brand Value
Since the value of the brand will increase due to the rise in customer loyalty and the quality of service, an organization may expect an improvement in the profit margins. Therefore, the introduction of social media into the firm’s business strategy, particularly into its framework for communicating with its customers and other stakeholders, must be considered a necessity.
Improvement in Competition Due to a Well-Defined Brand Image
Once a brand image is crafted with due diligence, care, and innovativeness, a company can use social media to jumpstart its promotion process and the development of the brand presence in the target market with the help of social media. Since social networks provide a vast array of options for sharing information and reactions to it, the use of the specified tool to raise awareness about the brand is doubtlessly crucial. With the boost in awareness rates, a company will receive a rapid increase in the competitive advantage of its product.
Increase in Sales Due to Improved Customer Retention Rates
Another effect that the use of social media has on the development and application of the company’s business strategy and overall performance, the rise in sales and the significantly improved customer retention rates deserve to be addressed. The specified phenomenon is in causal relationships with the variable of social media. Namely, the extent and intensity of a company attempting to integrate its actions into the social media context define the rate of visibility that the company receives in the future.
The described standpoint has led to multiple misconceptions and misunderstandings, as well as a rather negative effect overall. Specifically, as the case at hand has indicated, the inclusion of the described approach suggests that every action of the company will not only become instantly visible to millions of people on social media but also will be widely discussed, with multiple myths and misconceptions being born in the process. Since the described process is extraordinarily difficult to control, an organization may need to be wary about the implications of being fully open on social media and allowing its processes to turn entirely transparent.
At the same time, one might assert that the presence of an additional factor of transparency enhances the competitive advantage of an organization. Specifically, the fact that a company is being fully open about its actions and refuses to be discreet about the steps that it takes in its decision-making may imply that the organization has nothing to hide from its buyers (van Asperen et al., 2018). As a result, the extent of credibility that a company can deserve in the digital context will increase exponentially.
Improvement in Communication Due to Direct Contact with Buyers
Apart from creating a perfect environment for immediate sharing of information, emotions, and experience, social networks also open a massive gateway to direct communication with buyers. As a result, the quality of the dialogue will rise, helping a company to address some of the visible concerns raised by its customers. Therefore, the further continuation of the company-customer dialogue results in the organization gaining the ability to interpret, analyze, and predict key trends in the levels and the specificity of demand within a target environment (Charoensukmongkol & Sasatanun, 2017). The described outcome indicates that the integration of social media into the management of a company’s business strategy, as well as its marketing framework, leads to massive improvements in a company’s performance and sales.
Negative Effects: Every Mistake Is Always Visible
However, despite its multiple positive effects, social media may also have detrimental outcomes on a company’s performance and the perception of its brand once the management of operation and communication spins out of control. Due to the inability to control the information introduced and discussed by participants on social media, every failure and mistake made by an organization will become instantly visible. In case of ethical misconduct or a similar problem, an organization may face the threat of being boycotted on social media (Hesselmann et al., 2017). Therefore, when utilizing social networks as the means of managing marketing and customer communication, an organization must ensure that its decision-making is based on purely ethical principles.
The incorporation of special media in the present-day economic setting has allowed organizations to ensure that their products are well-known and that the marketing framework has met its landmark. Moreover, the use of social media is central to maintaining public relations, namely, the conversation with the target audience. As a result, a company can locate the presence of dissatisfaction with a product and address it by updating it accordingly.
Moreover, using social media is extremely helpful in the drastic scenarios that require a timely product recall. At the same time, it is important not to overlook the negative effects that social media may imply for companies. Specifically, every mistake or misstep that a company makes will inevitably and immediately be made public on social media, which puts an onus on an organization to adopt a highly ethical stance and make decisions very carefully.
Overall, organizations must evaluate the extent of their influence within the social media discourse and the overall weight that it has in the specified environment in order to improve their performance consistently and gain new customers or, at the very least, social media followers regularly. Moreover, while it is generally advised that the organization should avoid making mistakes that affect its public image and the quality of its end products and services, the presence of social media makes it possible to issue a statement that helps to clarify the emerging problem and ensure that the target stakeholders are not affected.
Therefore, the significance of social media for business and marketing must not be underrated. Instead, it must be recognized and used actively to increase an organization’s influence and build its competitive advantage and organizational capital.
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