What is Social Media?
"While social media is not the silver bullet that some pundits claim it to be, it is an extremelyimportant and relatively low cost touch point that has a direct impact on sales and positive word of mouth" (Mendelsohn, 2010 as cited in Renfrow, 2010, p. 9).Social media has many platforms, drawing in customers into a virtual environment. Failing to securecustomers attention on such platforms leads to a failure in business opportunities for companies whopromote their products and services online. It is important that such social media platform(s) are usedin the right way as to create value for proposed customers. Social media is cost-effective.
TV, radio, directories, and newspapers were the traditional form of media, however moving with thetimes SMS messages became popular, now with the astonishing increase in the use of the internet,social media has improved from strength to strength, which captures the attention of individuals in amore personal and interactive way.The way companies are marketing their brand awareness is changing, as companies are trying to adaptto the ever changing habits and attitudes of their market.T.V advertising revenues have decreased in recent years, (Goan, 2001
) describes that „we now face amajor shortfall of £7m in advertising revenue‟. The reasons for this decline are services such as T.V
player and Sky+ provided by services companies allowing customers to fast forward through theadverts. Therefore, companies must focus on where to capture
attention, which is now onsocial media platforms.Social media can have many platforms, creating new opportunities for consumers to purchase online,and allows companies to showcase their products and services in new forms. These can include videosharing websites like YouTube, social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo, and the newphenomenon Facebook. It can also take form as chat rooms, blogs and instant messengers. Word-of-mouth is also a platform of social media. Word-of-mouth is highly effective as people tend to rely onthe words of others, being family members, friends, or complete strangers they meet on the street, andcan also take place on line which will have great influence over their purchase decisions.With the advancements in technology today, more and more people are joining forces on the web toagree, disagree and discuss the features, benefits, value and the trust of products and services. Thiscould be beneficial or not so beneficial for businesses who are trying to retain their loyal customers orobtain new customers. Businesses are finding it difficult to pin-point exactly what it is that satisfiesand keeps their customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter, MySpace andYouTube are all bases on which people from around the world splurge their thoughts andrecommendations. Businesses that wish to succeed are those that will let brands according to
Hipperson (2010, p.262) „become an integral part of those communities
while constantly listening,
learning, innovating & connecting‟.
For companies to become more effective they have to connect with their customers on a morepersonal level and interact with them, with the hope of leading to greater brand loyalty and awareness.Creating new, bold, individual, and creative forms of advertising and delivering them online can
increase the awareness of a company‟s product, generate bigger online communities and result in new
and existing customers purchasing your product or service.