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Social Media

Social Media

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Amanda Gillen. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann M. Torres in the category of Business & Economics
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Amanda Gillen. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann M. Torres in the category of Business & Economics

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/08/2014

 
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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
 
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the success or downfall of a company. Businesses have been encouraged to pay more attention toFacebook, Twitter and other social networks. (Pritchard, 2011).Businesses must adapt to these changes in marketing by being proactive and dedicated to managingand promoting themselves through such media. Already it can be seen that on posters and magazineadvertisements many businesses are promoting their social presence. They offer contact details suchas a phone number and email address but also their Facebook and Twitter information. An example of this would be Central Park, a major nightclub in Galway. On their Facebook page they have listings of all the upcoming social events, photos, fan members and wall posts.Social media can be described as a never ending conversation; it is always changing on a daily, evenhourly basis. It is paramount that businesses manage their homepage as social media can be bothnegative and positive, a company’s reputation can be ruined in a matter of seconds. Amazon check reviews constantly in order to keep their reputation at such a high standard and eBay seek a highapproval rating. By being consistent with replies to customers it enables them to gain control of theirreputation and ensure that consumers are content. For example, a girl lost her student identity card onenight and wrote on Central Park’s wall on Facebook asking if they could help her out, she left thecomment at 2:57pm on Friday and Central Park replied within the hour.
 
Central Park GalwayShauna Call 565976 [Monday – Friday between 10 and 4.30]Ask to speak to lost and found and they will be happy to help>>Friday at 3:49pm
 
LostCardGirlthank u :) >>Friday at 4:13pmYouTube is another form of social media for companies to promote their brands and often one that isoverlooked when thinking about social media networks. YouTube conducts via video and peopleleave their comments and ratings below. Businesses have begun utilising this tool more recently as itoffers a visual of the product and how it can be used. An example of one company using YouTubethat comes to mind would be Dove. Dove has started a new campaign for real beauty. YouTubeenabled Dove to create an advertisement at a relatively low cost but with maximum impact. Links canbe added to Facebook pages and followers can add it to their homepage so maximum marketpenetration is achieved.
 
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Google AdWords can also hugely benefit companies online. Google are offering a service tocompanies looking to advertise through the network and find potential consumers by only chargingfor advertising that is clicked on by an interested party. This allows companies with smaller budgetsto get noticed at minimal cost. Facebook and the other social networking site all have the low budgetbenefit to offer. They are able to create a brand buzz and reach out to a far greater market at a fractionof the cost. Marketers of firms can promote their brand, product or service and interact with potentialconsumers.Consumers have been given control by social media, it has enabled them to pull the reigns of businesses that previously developed a product, marketed it and produced it. Businesses have come tothe realisation, thanks to social media, that the consumer needs to be impressed by the product.Businesses can no-longer force a message upon a consumer, they must now listen and understand theconsumer, it is after all the consumer who is ultimately going to purchase the product or service. Theconsumer has the opportunity to either make or break the company’s product success by simplyleaving a comment.Increasingly customers are looking to the online components made available to them through socialmedia networks. They use these sites to help them make their purchasing decisions; they can considerand evaluate views and experiences of other consumers who they can relate to. “Branding in theDigital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places,” is an article wrote by DavidEdelman. In this article he looks at the new consumer decision making process and takes into accountthe online components that influence their decisions. He recognises the digital channels and socialnetworks that offer discussion forums where consumers can contribute their opinions. Consumersdecision making is changing, Edelman refers to what he calls the ‘loyalty loop’. This is whereconsumers engage in a dialogue with the brand and other consumers. They can offer their opinionsand experiences which can influence the perceptions of others and these dialogues can be sharedthrough social networking sites (Hawley, 2011).It has been noted that consumers “tend to trust more user-generated messages such as peerrecommendations or consumer reviews, on social media than messages from traditional mass media”(Chung & Austria,2010). Social media is having a massive input into how consumers are thinkingabout and making their purchasing decisions, a potential consumer need only go online and type in theproduct name to find a list of reviews on the brand, product or service. TripAdvisor.com is a blogcreated by people who offer their experiences of trips, events and tourist attractions. They give hotelreviews and offer their photos so people thinking of going on the same trip can get the honest picture.They offer tips and advice on how other readers can ensure that their own experience will be perfect.Consumers trust consumers. Businesses must rise to the opportunity and keep track of their online

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