Social media

Social networking websites allow individuals to interact with one another and build relationships. When companies join the social channels, consumers can interact with them. That interaction feels personal to users because of their previous experiences with social networking site interactions.

Social networking sites and blogs allow individual followers to “retweet” or “repost” comments made by the product being promoted. By repeating the message, all of the users connections are able to see the message, therefore reaching more people. Social networking sites act as word of mouth. Because the information about the product is being put out there and is getting repeated, more traffic is brought to the product/company.

Through social networking sites, companies can interact with individual followers. This personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers. Also, by choosing whom to follow on these sites, products can reach a very narrow target audience.

Social networking sites also include a vast amount of information about what products and services prospective clients might be interested in. Through the use of new Semantic Analysis technologies, marketers can detect buying signals, such as content shared by people and questions posted online. Understanding of buying signals can help sales people target relevant prospects and marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.

Mobile phones

Mobile phone usage has also become beneficial for social media marketing. Today, many cell phones have social networking capabilities: individuals are notified of any happenings on social networking sites through their cell phones, in real-time. This constant connection to social networking sites means products and companies can constantly remind and update followers about their capabilities, uses, importance, etc. Because cell phones are connected to social networking sites, advertisements are always in sight. Also many companies are now putting QR codes along with products for individuals to access the company website or online services with their smart-phones.

Engagement

In the context of the social web, engagement means that customers and stakeholders are participants rather than viewers. Social media in business allows anyone and everyone to express and share an opinion or an idea somewhere along the business’s path to market. Each participating customer becomes part of the marketing department, as other customers read their comments or reviews. The engagement process is then fundamental to successful social media marketing.[9]

The bulk

Twitter

Twitter allows companies to promote their products on an individual level. The use of a product can be explained in short messages that followers are more likely to read. These messages appear on followers’ home pages. Messages can link to the product’s website, Facebook profile, photos, videos, etc. This link provides followers the opportunity to spend more time interacting with the product online. This interaction can create a loyal connection between product and individual and can also lead to larger advertising opportunities. Twitter promotes a product in real-time and brings customers in.

Twitter usage

  • 271 million monthly active users
  • 500 million Tweets are sent per day
  • 78% of Twitter active users are on mobile
  • 77% of accounts are outside the U.S.
  • Twitter supports 35+ languages
  • Vine: More than 40 million users

Company facts

  • 3,300 employees in offices around the world
  • 50% of employees are engineers
  • Incorporated April 19, 2007
  • At Twitter HQ we consume 1,440 hard boiled eggs weekly.
  • They also drink 585 gallons of coffee per week.

Facebook

Facebook profiles are far more detailed than Twitter accounts. They allow a product to provide videos, photos, and longer descriptions. Videos can show when a product can be used as well as how to use it. These also can include testimonials as other followers can comment on the product pages for others to see. Facebook can link back to the product’s Twitter page as well as send out event reminders. Facebook promotes a product in real-time and brings customers in.

As marketers see more value in social media marketing, advertisers continue to increase sequential ad spend in social by 25%. Strategies to extend the reach with Sponsored Stories and acquire new fans with Facebook ads contribute to an uptick in spending across the site. The study attributes 84% of “engagement” or clicks to Likes that link back to Facebook advertising. Today, brands increase fan counts on average of 9% monthly, increasing their fan base by two-times the amount annually.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location based social networking website, where users can check into locations via their smartphones. Foursquare allows businesses to create a page or create a new/claim an existing venue.[18] A good marketing strategy for businesses to increase footfall or retain loyal customers includes offering incentives such as discounts or free food/beverages for people checking into their location or special privileges for the mayor of that location.

Google+

Google+, in addition to providing the profiles and features of Facebook, is also able to integrate with the Google search engine. Other Google products are also integrated, such as Google Adwords and Google Maps. With the development of Google Personalized Search and other location-based search services, Google+ allows for targeted advertising methods, navigation services, and other forms of location-based marketing and promotion.

Instagram

Instagram is a free photo and video-sharing program and social network that was launched in October 2010. The service enables users to take a photo or video, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it with other Instagram users they are connected to on the social network as well as on a variety of social networking services. Instagram debuted as a photo sharing network but implemented support for video on June 2013. As of June 2013, Instagram had 130 million monthly active users.

Blogs

Everyday there are more reasons for companies to use blogging platforms for their social media repertoire. Platforms like LinkedIn creates an environment for companies and clients to connect online. Companies that recognize the need for information, originality, and accessibility employ blogs to make their products popular and unique, and ultimately reach out to consumers who are privy to social media.

Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products or services. The longer description can include reasoning and uses. It can also include testimonials and can link to and from Facebook, Twitter and many social network and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotional techniques for keeping customers. Other promotional uses are acquiring followers and subscribers and direct them to your social network pages.

In a similar fashion, online communities benefit businesses because the online communities enable the businesses to reach the clients of other businesses using the platform. These online environments can be accessed by virtually anyone; therefore consumers are invited to be a part of the creative process. To allow firms to measure their standing in the corporate world, Glassdoor is a site where employees can place evaluations of their companies.

Some businesses opt out of integrating social media platforms into their traditional marketing regimen because their employees dislike such isolated online environments. There are also specific corporate standards that apply when interacting online.[23] Other corporations fear that the general public have too much power over how their marketing is perceived, due to the accessibility of Internet-retrieved information. To ensure having the advantage in a business-consumer relationship, businesses have to be aware of four key assets that consumers maintain: information, involvement, community, and control.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a professional business-related networking site, allows companies to create professional profiles for themselves as well as their business to network and meet others.[26] Through the use of widgets, members can promote their various social networking activities, such as Twitter stream or blog entries of their product pages, onto their LinkedIn profile page.[27] LinkedIn provides its members the opportunity to generate sales leads and business partners.[28] Members can use “Company Pages” similar to Facebook pages to create an area that will allow business owners to promote their products or services and be able to interact with their customers.[29][30] Due to spread of spam mail sent to job seeker, leading companies prefer to use LinkedIn for employee’s recruitment instead using different job portals. Additionally, companies have voiced a preference for the amount of information that can be gleaned from LinkedIn profile, versus a limited email.

Yelp

Yelp consists of a comprehensive online index of business profiles. Businesses are searchable by location, similar to Yellow Pages. The website is operational in seven different countries, including the United States and Canada. Business account holders are allowed to create, share, and edit business profiles. They may post information such as the business location, contact information, pictures, and service information. The website further allows individuals to write, post reviews about businesses and rate them on a five-point scale. Messaging and talk features are further made available for general members of the website, serving to guide thoughts and opinions.

YouTube

YouTube is another popular avenue; advertisements are done in a way to suit the target audience. The type of language used in the commercials and the ideas used to promote the product reflect the audience’s style and taste.

Also, the ads on this platform are usually in sync with the content of the video requested, this is another advantage YouTube brings for advertisers. Certain ads are presented with certain videos since the content is relevant. Promotional opportunities such as sponsoring a video is also possible on YouTube, “for example, a user who searches for a YouTube video on dog training may be presented with a sponsored video from a dog toy company in results along with other videos.”Youtube also enable publishers to earn money through Youtube Partner Program.

Delicious & Digg

Delicious and Digg are also popular social marketing sites used insocial media promotion. They are heavily used by the social media marketers to promote their websites due to their ability to share links.

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