The relevance of Different Types of Social Media to Marketing
Different types of social media platforms are used in marketing. They include personal/social networks, e-commerce, online reviews, social publishing, discussion forums, media-sharing networks, and bookmarking sites (Brown 23). Each of the aforementioned types has a distinct role to play marketing. Personal/social/relationship networks are the most important in marketing and include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In marketing, social networks offer companies the opportunity to connect to their customers on a personal level (Brown 29). For example, they can use the media to promote new products and answer questions from users. Media-sharing networks include YouTube and Vimeo. They involve the sharing of media such as videos and pictures. In marketing, companies can use them to share videos and pictures of their products, events, and promotions. Online reviews involve the sharing of information among users regarding certain products, services, or places (Evans and Cothrel 41). In marketing, online reviews help businesses to know the views of users regarding their products and services. In marketing, discussion forums facilitate the distribution of information relevant to a discussion about a certain product or service. Social publishing platforms (blogs and microblogs) can be used for content marketing, increasing business awareness, and carve a niche in a certain market (Evans and Cothrel 47). Bookmarking sites can be used to showcase specific content regarding certain products and services. Finally, e-commerce allows businesses to showcase their products and services to users (Zarrella 58). Besides, it allows them to sell their products and compete with other companies.
Key Benefits of Social Media to Marketing
The use of social media for marketing among businesses has been on the rise in the past two decades. The use of social media for marketing enables businesses to reach more customers, improve the value of their brands, and compete effectively with other businesses in specific markets (Evans 63). Customers use social media to interact with brands of their choice (“Business in GCC Increasingly Using Social Media” par. 4). In that regard, having a strong social media presence is important for business success. Social media facilitates the achievement of marketing communication and branding goals because it involves the sharing of content that increases business awareness (Brown 54). For instance, businesses share videos and images of their products to promote them and strengthen their brand. Social media has several benefits to marketing. They include increasing website traffic, raising brand awareness, improving communication and interactions with customers, and creating a positive brand identity (Evans 71). Also, social media marketing facilitates business growth and brand enhancement.
Other benefits include more brand authority, higher conversion rates, improved brand loyalty, improved search engine rankings, increased brand awareness, and better consumer satisfaction (Zarrella 60). Marketing through social media allows businesses to save money because it is a cost-efficient advertising strategy. Signing up and creating a profile on social networking sites is free. Therefore, financial constraints are not an obstacle. On the other hand, paid promotions are cheaper compared to other marketing strategies. Cost-effectiveness increases the return on investment with regard to using social media for marketing (Zarrella 68). Finally, one of the most invaluable advantages of social media is marketplace insight that allows a business to understand the needs and preferences of its customers (“Business in GCC Increasingly Using Social Media” par. 9). Talking to customers directly and monitoring their activities supplies critical information on understanding certain industries (Evans 71). Businesses can see the types of products and services that excite customers and as a result, increase supply.
Differences Introduced by Social Media Compared to Existing Marketing Communication Models
Social media has introduced several differences in comparison with existing marketing communication models. First, social media facilitates direct communication and interaction between businesses and consumers (Blakeman 34). Businesses engage with their customers through a two-way relationship. This creates an open system that facilitates the collection of feedback regarding customer experiences and their level of satisfaction with certain products and services. Traditional marketing methods offer a closed system that is a one-way relationship, which is non-reciprocal. Second, social media offers measurable results that businesses can use to make changes, spot trends, and re-align their marketing strategies (Blakeman 35). On the contrary, traditional marketing tactics offer results that are hard to measure. Third, social media uses informal language that increases its reach (Evans 46). Different age groups have different language variations. For example, to reach out to young people, businesses can result in using slang and other language variations used by the millennials. In contrast, traditional marketing uses formal language and is ineffective in reaching out to different generations or age groups. Fourth, social media allows businesses to create and disseminate information in real-time (Blakeman 41). A customer gets a response within a short time. Traditional marketing methods disseminate pre-produced information that does not reflect a business’s stand at the moment of dissemination. Finally, social media introduces the active involvement of the parties involved. Businesses engage with consumers directly through various platforms. Traditional marketing methods involve passive involvement because consumers cannot respond to content disseminated by businesses (Evans 74). It is a one-way conversation that does not involve engagement in real-time.
“Business in GCC Increasingly Using Social Media for Marketing Objectives: Marmore Report.” Gulf Marketing Review, Web.
Blakeman, Robyn. Nontraditional Media in Marketing and Advertising. SAGE Publications, 2013.
Brown, Eileen. Working the Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. BCS, The Chartered Institute, 2012.
Evans, Dave, and Joe Cothrel. Social Customer Experience: Engage and Retain Customers through Social Media. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Evans, Dave. Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
Zarrella, Dan. The Social Media Marketing Book. O’Reilly Media, 2009.