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Social Media as a Platform to Businesses and Consumers.
Facebook, twitter and other social media networks are great avenues for businesses to connect withconsumers. Social media networks enable companies to market themselves in a fast and easy way tomillions of users internationally. It is an inexpensive and accessible tool for all to publish or accessinformation. Social media provides interactive communication environments with added opportunitiessuch as enhancing customer relationships. People are able to express their opinions, ask questions andreceive answers, and most importantly they can explain their views and argue their points.Traditionally, marketing was carried out through different mediums such as magazines, televisionadvertisements and radio. These mediums can be described as one-to-many advertisements,essentially advertising but not giving the consumer the ability to offer their opinion and reviews onthe brand, good or service. Social media has changed marketing as we once knew it, it has suppliedpeople with a place to voice their opinions and learn from others experiences. “Social media is nolonger a trend for marketers; it is a reality” (Williamson, 2010). “Social media is an inevitable channelfor customer support (Jacobs, 2009). Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are thesecond most popular online marketing format at 55% shows the findings of the 2011 Irish DigitalMarketing Sentiment Survey.It is also true to say that companies have been forced to cut their budgets in almost all departmentswithin the company’s make-up during the economic downturn. Yet the marketing department still hadthe task of reaching out to as many customers as possible in order to keep their heads above water.Luckily, at the time of the recession, social media was just after exploding into almost everybody’slives. This offered businesses a cost effective avenue to market their brand, product or serviceeffectively.Consumers growing use of these social media networks is changing how businesses marketthemselves dramatically and it is even affecting their innovations. They are seeking out what theconsumers really want through these sites in the hope of coming across something that would makethem a huge success among consumers, 71% of companies considered customers as a “critical” sourceof new ideas.Companies are becoming more and more transparent to their consumers through use of social medianetworks; it is thought that is better for the whole truth to be out in the open, warts and all, rather thanthe consumer coming across the hidden truths of the company. The consumer can after all determine