Jack Bridson

Social Media

How is Social Media challenging traditional notions of Advertising and Marketing in the contexts of Technology, Culture and Commerce?

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Social Media sites are web pages where people interact as they wish, discussing and sharing information about each other and their lives, using a multimedia mix of personal words, pictures, videos and audio. Within this cyber world, there are no strict rules about what we are, and what we are not allowed to produce, we are making it up as we go along and experiencing this change daily within our lives, whether it be involving our own technologies that we operate, how we behave when buying or selling and even the way we communicate with each other. It’s all moving rapidly and challenging our previous perceptions of traditional Advertising and Marketing Strategies we are all so used to. In this paper, I will explore the revolution occurring in all these important aspects of modern living, and how we are dealing with it. In terms of Electronic Commerce (eCommerce), the whole process of buying everything on the High Street is still in transition with the online market place, for example, some women go to the actual shops to find the dress or shoes they like, so they try them on, decide they like them and order them online because the general rule is that it will be cheaper online. Electronic Commerce is the buying and selling of product or service over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on such technologies as mobile commerce with smart phones, tablet and computers, eCommerce continues its double-digit growth year after year, because sales are shifting away from stores and because online shoppers are less sensitive to bad economic conditions than the average consumer. Despite the continued growth of the channel, online retailers face several challenges with growth; Online stores are widely perceived as a second choice for shoppers, as most consumers still prefer to try on or feel their product’s. Online retail is becoming increasingly seasonal, meaning that there is no steady stream of purchasing online all year round, and the calendar is littered with peaks and troughs around occasions such as Christmas.

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When looking at Social Media challenging the market of commerce, there are 6 C’s to be understood: Content – Finding your basic need as a company to engage with customers, through social content via Social Media, specifically Twitter and Facebook. Commerce – Being able to achieve customers' needs in an arrangement by Social Media presence, in a conversation, typically online retailers adopt these tactics. Conversation – A conversation between two parties will surface a need that could be achieved, providing a potential market between brands and their customers. The challenge is for brands to be able to tap into those conversations provide a service to repair the potential problem. Context – Social Media is able to track real-world events and this is primarily being enabled by mobile devices, such as ‘Checking In’ on Foursquare at your favorite restaurant, for example. This is a vital element to Social Commerce where the data is now available to brands wishing to provide products and services to consumers. Community – Treating your audience as a community with the objective of building continuous relationships by providing visible value. Facebook leads this particular market. Connection – The new online networks are defining and documenting the relationships between people, Following on Twitter, Adding friends on Facebook and Linking on LinkedIn. The scope of those relationships and the interactions between individuals are a basis for the actions of Social Commerce. When using this structure, brands wishing to go beyond the notions of Social Media and move to true 'Social Commerce' must follow these six required areas. They have become mandatory within the industry, obviously with slight variations, most Social Media sites follow this rule to connect with their demographic on more personal levels, and are rewarded with a potential brand loyalty for going the extra distance.
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There is an interesting argument of what came first; The technology that lead the revolution of the Social Media age? Or the advances made in Social Media software that drove the production of more portable and easily available devices such as smart phones and tablets to carry out the needs of these advanced social websites. This has happened just in the last 5-10 years, which makes the prospects for the future staggering, how mobile networks can develop this quickly since the release of the first iPhone in June 2007, which was the first real attempt at the hand held computer idea, this mini technical revolution has turned out to be one of the biggest in the last decade, allowing the internet in the palm of your hand opened the doors to a different venture for these young Social Media site looking for a purpose, where people wanted to be using them. Devices, like tablets have also exploded onto the mobile marketing scene in a big way. Besides the internet access and video viewing capabilities, it has all helped in the mass use of mobile technology and advancement. They allow businesses to promote with multi-media, like images, audio and video which can be very effective at getting consumers’ attention. Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, to give attention to the more engaging applications, where the audience was invited to share information and have conversations this way. The evolution of the mobile phone has been extremely dramatic, mobile technology is the largest drive behind the low cost advertising, as compared to other advertising media such as print and television. Just a couple of decades ago most everyone relied on land lines and radios, then later radio phones were developed. Now, mobile phones are many peoples main choice of communication abandoning their land line altogether. This has lead to an huge advanced in smartphones and the multitude of applications to go with them. Facebook was the first on the scene with this new technology, knowing that the iPhone was about to be released, they set to create a new way in which we communicate.

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Twitter is a great place for conversations to take place, any company, large or small will have a Twitter feed nowadays, it’s extremely cheap to use, the only money spent on it, is the time taken to produce and update these pages. It allows conversations between enormous companies with any other Twitter user. Example; Tweeting a post about how “I have awful #02 phone reception in #Falmouth”, the hashtag is automatically filed into a feed where 02 will have a team employed to respond and resolve my issue immediately, but they obviously cannot reply to all. This really helps when making it personal between franchises and the public for the potential loyalty to the brand in the future. Since the early days of the Technology in Social Media, larger brands have adapted their strategies in their marketing and decided that this is the way to reach their specific audiences online, whether it be through your Facebook page where you have ‘liked’ another page, it will be stored in your computers cookies. A cookie is a tiny little file that's stored on your computer. It contains the address of the Web site and codes that your browser sends back to the Web site each time you visit a page there. This means that if you have bought anything online through Facebook, it will remember the information and you will be sent advertisements on the side of your page from the company you have purchased through, in the hope you will buy more commodities from them in the future. This year has seen the widely unpopular introduction of Sponsored links on Facebook and Promoted pages on Twitter, this is where companies pay large amounts of money to be included in the publics newsfeed with promotional posts, again this is very specifically engineered at a target audience, so a 20 year old man will not be receiving adverts for summer dresses etc. Social networking site have had issues in the past about actually making money for their business’ because all accounts are free to use by anybody, i believe these new online strategies will lead to further expansion by brands in Social Media.

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There have been countless possibilities created by the introduction of Social Media in our culture, we have now gained the power to connect with pretty much whoever we please, whenever we please, and been given the tools to do it with, such as ‘Liking’ or ‘Retweeting’ we have been given control, we also believe that we could effect change with a vote, e-mail or blog post. I believe we have also driving a change in the way we are thinking, now enjoying the various and differing states of mind which was not necessarily intended and was probably secondary effect of the change. We are having conversations in unique ways with unique access to other people and forces who can help to make a change.  We are also increasing the information we choose to show ourselves. The beauty of Social Networking is that every everybody has a voice and they can choose to do whatever they please with it, that freedom of open contributions has lead to information on the internet becoming more authentic with forums and thousands of discussions happening on various different sites, which could relieve us of the junk we usually find. Our creativity and inspiration can be unleashed to everyone through sites such as Pinterest which has redefined the digital portfolio, pinning your own articles or repining others, to form a group of relevant pieces of work in an easy format, where we can now find sourced information, sharing our own knowledge, wisdom and real world experiences through Youtube mainly where you can find anything from hairstyle tips to changing the tyre’s on your car. We are given the option to support others online, which is an obb cultural concept, through ‘Liking’, ‘retweeting’ and ‘thumbs up’ on Youtube which can push information to go viral if it’s popular enough. I know that we are now paying closer attention to the small details of our family and friend’s lives, enjoy their photos, and share with a whole group of people. We talk about joys and issue that we face, and receive support when we need it, through other’s comments, leading people to connecting and be exposed to both loose and varied point’s of view.
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We are challenging the existing state of mind, creating things, building things and connecting with each other, which can effect important issues, changing the world little by little. A few years ago politics was flipped on its cultural head by Barack Obama’s world famous Presidential campaign. The campaign was a huge Social Media milestone because it began a new connection among candidates and their supporters. Since the introduction of Social Media, an immense number of individuals had a new kind of active and direct role in Obama’s campaign, he set to create a centralized database, as a way of targeting specific groups easily, this would ultimately determine the line between wise and poor marketing. Bringing technology back into the situation, mobile applications that were created for the campaign were a great way for Obama supporters to engage with the campaign, it enabled him to connect with his audience anytime, anywhere, giving the latest news on the bid, via SMS text message or via an iPhone app, over 1 million people signed up it. This campaign alone challenged its traditional background in Technology, Culture and Commerce, it illustrated a massive, meaningful impact that Social Media can have on getting people engaged and involved. It wasn’t just a campaign, it was a movement that made politics accessible through Social Media people were already using every day. It changed the face of political campaign forever, but even more so, it made getting involved as easy as opening up an internet browser and creating an online profile. Social media is an inexpensive way to promote business’ website’s and to keep new and existing customers chatting about their business, most using some of the most popular social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn — to help drive customers to their business’. This is the way business is shifting, people will get their information whenever they want to, and business’ will communicate with their target demographics easily with targeting strategies, changing the audiences previous brand perceptions and allow the brand to converse with their targeted demographic.
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With all this considered, the world of Technology, Culture and Commerce have all categorically been changed for the better, very rapidly. Strategy is at the center of today’s dynamic and fluid social marketing mix and has lead all forms of this revolution to converge at the same stages of development, for example the development of the iPhone and social apps were all within months of each other, everything has come together in a powerful way that influences most people’s lives every day, and it has definitely challenged previous notions of print, television and radio advertising in the context of depth in the targeted demographics and the availability of information now. We have to remember advertising is expensive, and because Social Media opens up new opportunities for us to get our communications out to our audiences, I think traditional advertising will continue to fade in comparison to a new age of marketing with Social Media. To sum up, I believe we have remembered that advertising is an art, made up of ideas that can move and persuade people. Technology has been hugely useful but it cannot come up with those ideas for you. Only people can make that change.

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Bibliography

KEEN, Andrew [June 15, 2012] ‘Is Social Media Hurting our Culture?‘ http://www.barackobama.com EMRSON, Melinda [October 8, 2012] ‘http://succeedasyourownboss.com/10/2012/6-cs-ofsocial-media-marketing-for-small-business/’ BROOKINS, Miranda [2012] Demand MediaThe Advantages of Using Social Media Marketing

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