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Influence of Social Media Websites on Promotion of Products and Services among the Users: An Empirical Study

G. P. Ranjitha* Ganapati B. Sinnoor**

ABSTRACT Social media today is growing at an explosive rate where it has become a phrase on each and every street, penetrated even into semi urban and rural areas too. No wonder it is the cheapest source of connectivity, information and channel for promotion. The companies have realized the very requisite of their existence on social media websites. But to what extent is it really making sense or reaching the need with which the companies are being. As one size does not fit everybody, it is not the only platform where all the marketing entities feel that it is the best channel of promotion. No doubt the companies get a true, direct, one to one interaction with the customers. But are the users really on social networking sites for these activities if so, what are those areas of products and service promotions? Or are they for something else? If it is for something else then what are they? This paper aims at finding the existence of a significant relationship between the usage pattern of users of social media sites such as mainly face book, and their influence on brand preferences towards products and services. Key words: E-marketing, Social Media, Online Advertising, IMC, Reverse Ranking. Introduction With the growing importance of internet day to day urban life, social media has gained rapid acceptance in the minds of youth. Most of the companies ensure to have their presence felt on social media websites to attract large number of potential customers. Social Media is a popular mode for social communication. The 21st century uses social media networking in their day to day life. In the busy urban life, people dont have time to meet or even call up their near and dear ones. Social media helps to bridge this gap. Millions of youngsters use social media websites to search their friends online and communicate with them, chat, share information, videos and photos. People seek to meet new people through social media, who share common interests and aspirations. Visiting a social networking site has become a habit for most youth, one which they cannot easily give up. This growing importance of social media has translated into its increasing use in marketing also. In todays competitive world, brands are fighting for space in the minds of consumers. Though the traditional modes of advertising and marketing like television, print media and outdoor media still contribute to a major chunk of the advertising budget, they cannot be solely relied upon to ensure reach to the target audience. Because today marketers are going for integrated marketing communication rather than fragmented communication. Using social
*MBA Second Semester, School of Business Studies, Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga-Karnataka **Assistant Professor of Management, School of Business Studies, Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga-Karnataka

media like blogs and networking sites for marketing of products is fast increasing its importance. Social media marketing is the latest fad and here to stay. With sites like Face book, Orkut, LinkedIn, Twitter, You tube, etc. attracts more than 5 million users every day. Having a presence on these sites is a must for all marketing organizations. Besides attracting a large number of prospective customers, the cost of social media for advertising is comparatively much lower than the other mass media options. Hence it is a value for money proposition. Social media websites help generate interest in the brand and also to build trust in the company. This goes a long way in the brand building exercise. Besides, one can reach the relevant target audience and avoid clutter. It helps the company stay in constant touch with its customers, know their preferences and upgrade their products and services accordingly. It gives them enough room to receive prompt feedback from them. It thus leads to one to one interaction, leading to customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer spreads positive word of mouth for the brand and thus enhances the brand equity. All in all, it helps a company increase awareness of its brand, generate leads, build its customer base, improve sales and market share. If planned and executed properly, social media becomes a very cost effective mode of online promotions. Literature Survey: 1. Influence of Social Media Marketing on Brand Choice Behaviour among Youth in India: An Empirical Study; Bernadette DSilva, Roshni Bhuptani, Sweta Menon,K.G and Stephen DSilva. This paper gives an overall idea about the behavior of youth in India towards the brand choice and comes out with a positive conclusion in terms of relationship with the social media and marketing activities. It has concentrated only on the youth and urban areas of India. 2. Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay; Sitaram Asur, Bernardo A. Huberman and Gabor. This paper enlightens the reader with the current trends of social media websites and gives a very systematic, statistical and mathematical approach towards the topic. It also concentrates on the youth segment of the place and has come out positively with their hypothesis and its proof. 3. Measure for Measure: by Chitra Narayan, Business Line-Brand Line, analyses the measurement of visitors to social medias by Nielson and comScore. It gives the industry experts opinion about the effectiveness of the social media. And this article concludes "with Well, there's no end to the numbers game, it seems. 4. The Faceook Farmer: by Harish Bijoor, Business Line-Brand Line, he says social networking sites hold immense potential for a range of applications. These applications need not necessarily be for urban educated folk alone. The opportunity is ripe for the rural farmer as well. And he continues and says farmers can use social media to empower themselves with information on their crops and weather as well as trends, practices and pricing from around the world, cutting out middlemen and retaining larger margins for their produce. Social networks can give agriculturists a real-time feel of the market, prices, customers et al.

Research Methodology: Research Objective: 1. The basic objective of the research is to understand the usage pattern of social media among various age groups and professionals. 2. The study also explores the preference of the people regarding various social media web sites. Data Collection: Primary data was collected through tracking the accounts of people on facebook and their relative existence in other social media websites. Secondary data was collected from various sources viz... news papers, magazines, books, online journals, etc. Sample size: 1. Based on age a. Each category of sample size 30 b. 4 categories: 15-20 years, 20-30 years, 30-40 years, above 40 years c. Total sample size of 120 face book accounts 2. Based on Profession a. Each category of sample size 30 b. 12 categories: students, scientists, academicians, musicians, dancers, doctors, engineers, fashion designers, media people, artists, business men/ entrepreneurs and actors/actress. c. Total sample size of 360 face book accounts 3. Duration of communication tracking: 1 month Research Method: This research is basically focused on the understanding the usage pattern of people and their preference towards various social media websites. An exploratory and descriptive research design is followed. The research method used is Communication Tracking of face book users accounts for one month. Findings and Analysis: Hypothesis: H1: There is no significant relationship between the usage pattern and preference of brands on social media websites. H2: There is a significant relationship between the usage pattern and preference of brands on social media websites.

Data Interpretation 1. Based on most frequent/ preferred activity on the social media i.e Facebook by reverse ranking method 10: most preferred/ frequent activity 1: least preferred/ frequent activity Based on Age group( in years) Reverse ranking from 1-10 15-20 20-30 30-40 >40 10 9 1 8 4 7 6 2 5 3 10 9 4 7 3 5 6 8 2 1 7 5 2 9 1 3 8 6 4 10 5 2 1 8 4 3 7 9 6 10

Sl. No 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10


Weighted average 8 6.25 2 8 3 4.5 6.75 6.25 4.25 6

Sharing photos and videos, chatting, games Discuss about Movies, media and songs Products/services/ advertisements/ Social awareness Health and hospitality Fashion/ trend Tourism Politics/current affairs Education/ academics Connectivity

From the above observation we can see that there is no significant relationship between the usage pattern of people on social media websites and the preference of brands. The most frequent and preferred activities are sharing photos, videos, chatting and gaming. But services like media, movies, tourism and social awareness are ranked higher relative to other activities. So, film industry has a great source of promotion channel by which word of mouth, buzz marketing is versatile. Tourism and social awareness are the aspects which have a great potential for their promotion on social media websites if it is utilized in a prominent way.

From the weighted average, we can see that, service oriented brands are more preferred than other product oriented brands where activities 1 and 4 has greater preference followed by tourism, media, movies etc., and education sector is least preferred.

2. Distribution of users on Facebook on various activities on preferences with respect to their profession
sl . N o 1 Variables Based on Designation/ Profession of the people Reverse ranking from 1-10 Stud ent Sharing photos and videos, chatting, games Discuss about Movies, media and songs Products/s ervices/ advertisem ents/ Social awareness Health and hospitality Fashion/ trend Tourism Politics/cur rent affairs Education/ academics Connectivit y Engin eers Doct ors Arti sts Me dia Academ icians Music ians Dan cers Busines smen Actors/a ctress Scien tists Weig hted avera ge








4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0

7 4 5 6 2 3 8

6 3 10 8 4 1 2

8 6 7 5 1 10 2

8 4 7 6 3 1 5

8 2 6 5 9 1 3

7 3 1 6 9 10 5

5 1 8 7 4 3 6

5 3 8 6 4 2 7

9 3 4 8 6 1 5

5 2 8 7 4 3 6

8 5 1 4 3 10 9

6.3 3 5.4 5.6 4 3.75 4.8

From the above data distribution, we can infer that profession influences the usage pattern of social media websites. Sharing of photos, videos, chatting and gaming is a

most preferred activity in the segment of students, engineers and other trend oriented professionals. The preferences of activity with products/ advertisements/ services are more predominant with businessmen, scientists and to some extent with engineers. The sectors of tourism, media, and social awareness are more dynamic in their existence on social media websites than other activities. The weighted average again depicts the predominance of activity 1 and 2, where other service oriented brands viz., social awareness, media, tourism capture the share. Thus services have a great platform to build upon their integrated marketing communication with a platform of social media websites.

3. Comparative analysis of usage of various social media websites by people Through the Primary and secondary data sources vizbrand line, research papers and data monitor the existence of users on Facebook is more predominant than other websites such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.

45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE TWITTER


The existence of users is greatly spread on Facebook and LinkedIn compared to other social media sites viz.., YouTube and Twitter. Conclusion: Results from the analysis indicate that social media is a very important tool for networking among youngsters. Youth are increasingly using these websites to stay connected with their friends and family. These websites also help in building professional contacts and provides the user with various networking applications that makes them hooked on to these social media websites. Unique features of social media websites like Facebook, Twitter etc., have created huge impetus on the communication platform. Social media is also used as a marketing tool in

creating social awareness, for media word of mouth, buzz marketing, tourism, and fashion trends. Social media is the cheapest medium for seeking and spreading information. Hence it is widely used by majority of users for service oriented aspects, where word of mouth, opinion plays a major role. There is an increasing trend among youngsters to buy products online through these websites. Marketers have realized the importance of social media website as an essential component of integrated marketing communications. Every company aims to have their presence felt on these websites for the sheer reach to the target customers. Companies with their promotional strategies advertise their brands on social media websites so as to influence the brand preference among the youth. In recent times it has become a street phrase to be on social media sites, social marketing etc., but As we could infer from the findings that, social media is not the only platform for marketing. One size does not fit everyone. Service oriented brands are more existent and versatile in achieving their marketing communication than other products promotions. Social media does not suit for all kind of promotions, but very much gels up for services. But it is not able to actually realize the core reason of marketing. It can actually encourage constant interaction with the customers, gaining an insight on their likes and preferences and problems associated with the product. This helps the companies to take corrective measures in a timely manner and modify their products as per the customer needs. It can be used as a growing platform for launching new products. This ultimately can lead to higher sales and helps in increasing the market share. Thus these factors can prove to be useful to the media websites to attract maximum users for joining their sites. .REFERENCES: 1] Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay Sitaram Asur, Bernardo A. Huberman Gabor Szabo Social Computing Lab HP Labs Palo Alto, California, USA Chunyan Wang Dept. of Applied Physics Stanford University California, USA 2] How Marketers Should Use The Internet & Social Media For Promotion AER Comments At The FDA Hearing Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence Rohit Bhargava, SVP 13, 2009 3] Influence of Social Media Marketing on Brand Choice Behaviour among Youth in India: An Empirical Study Bernadette DSilva Roshni Bhuptani Sweta Menon K.G. Mittal Institute of Management & Research Stephen DSilva Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies 4] 5] 6]

7] 8] 9] 10] Measure for Measure: Chitra Narayan, Business Line, Feb 12, 2012 11] The Facebook Farmer: Harish Bijoor; 12] Too many social Contacts? : R Dinakaran, March 5 2012 13] Blame Social Networking for falling employee productivity: T E Raja Simhan, March 14 2012 14] Social media outcry over Facebook blackout. March 13 2012 15] Travel and Hospitality sector ramps up Social media marketing: Niveditha Ganguly, March 19