Internet Technology Marketing and Security
Social media has become a central point of communication and connection in many business entities. The number of social media communication blogs is increasing at a higher rate. Many organizations have been able to embrace the new tools of communication. This paper examines some of the benefits and disadvantages of using social media in businesses. It also examines some of the businesses that have successful used the social media to market their products and the future impacts of social media on businesses.
Reasons for Popularity of the Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has gained ground among many business entities in the recent years. One of the companies that have shown success in use of the social media to market the products is Pepsi in its Pepsi Refresh project. There are other companies that have succeeded in this area.
Social media has been help in building communities. The social media help the organizations to reach out to the customers and share information to strengthen the community (Qualman, 2011). The organization that uses social media is able to create a deeper dialogue with the potential customers through the various blogs such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube among others. This enables the organization to be in a position to build a network of customers as they are able to access the features of the organizational product through the online means (Qualman, 2011).
Social media provide a platform for the organization showcase their products to the customers in a more informal way. The company is able to highlight to the customer what it offers to the market and what makes the organization’s products better than the other key players in the market or industry. Social media such as LinkedIn, Yahoo Answer and others provide the organization with a platform to have interactive sessions with the customers (Qualman, 2011). Companies are able to directly engage in responding to the customer questions to provide immediate feedback. The customers are able seek and get information that will enable them to have confidence when making their purchase decisions.
Social media marketing has received a wide acceptance among the corporate organization because it provides a cheap means of marketing the products (Qualman, 2011). It has the capacity to go beyond the targeted audience at extremely low costs as compared to other traditional media marketing. The information about the company and its products is able to spread at a very fast speed. With the increase number of social media users, it is the best platform for the organizations to reach out to their customers without incurring significant costs (Qualman, 2011). The benefits are much more compared to other marketing media.
Advantages and the Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs
Many business entrepreneur use the social media to market their products because of some benefits that accrue to the business. Such benefits will accrue to the organization when it uses social media effectively (Business Link, 2012). However, these entrepreneurs should also be aware of the some of the disadvantages of using social media as a platform for marketing.
Effective use of social media for marketing will grab the attention of the potential customers and increase the visibility of the product or brand. The company has to relay the relevant content of the products so that may appeal to the potential customers. Through the social media, the company can institute an immediate response to the developments that have taken place in the industry. The social media marketing is also relatively cheaper compared to other traditional marketing and promotional activities. The activities of the social media such as sharing of information enable the organization to reach a large number of potential customers at no cost. Social media also forms a good platform for the customer service provision. They enable the organization to provide the customers with immediate feedback. The sales are also likely to improve since the company is able to reach out to the consumers through new channels (Business Link, 2012).
Marking through social media also has its challenges. The organizations that use social media marketing may find it difficult to deal with issues such as negative feedback since some feedback may have to be made public (Business Link, 2012). For instance, sharing a bad experience with the company’s brand on the company’s social network profile can adversely affect the brand image.
The other challenge that companies face when using the social media is the measurement of the results. The business may not be able to track some of the marketing and promotional activities so that they may be in a position the results of such activities. Social media does not offer the standards of measure on which their performance can be measured. Tracking the results may be difficult and the result may not be easily compared to the costs incurred. It will be difficult for the company to quantify the return on investment and the value of one channel over other channels (Business Link, 2012).
The management of a social media account may sometimes be time consuming. For a social media campaign to be successful, the organization has to ensure that there is constant interaction with the customers on the ground. Therefore, many business entrepreneurs have to set aside time and resources that will ensure that the company is able post engaging information, ideas and tips and respond the customers or followers comments (Business Link, 2012). In cases where the company is not able to conduct constant interaction with the customers, it would suffer reputation damage.
Assessment of Social Media Marketing on Customer Insight at Pepsi
The Pepsi two layer social media market had great impact on customer insight. The campaign that the company conducted was able to generate unprecedented user interaction (Stanford GSB, n.d). A large number of people were able to to submit their ideas through the social media accounts such as Refresh Project Facebook account or page among others. The company was able to connect more consumers with its brand. For instance, it was able to connect the with more than 3 million Facebook users that liked its fan page by posting on the users News Feeds (Stanford GSB, n.d). Social media interaction with the potential customers helped the company to generate a greater brand for a large number of people.
Pepsi managers believe that the project is likely to pay off in the future despite its underperformance in 2010 when the project was launched. The company intends to make the project more effective by making improvements in the areas such as response to the customers complains. The company has continued to use the social media to reach out to the consumers by allowing them to vote their favorite products. This helps the company to determine the strengths of each brand of product that trade in the market. Pepsi has used the social media to drive its marketing at the point of sale. This has been done through launching of a social vending machine that enables the consumers to easily interact with the brand through a touch screen (Stanford GSB, n.d). The social vending machine even allows the consumer to send drinks to third parties such as friends who are notified through a personalized text message.
Companies that have Used Social Media to their Advantage
Ford has been one of the companies that have used the social media to establish its brand. Ford has done the best job when it comes to using social media to regain ground with the consumers. The company was able to achieve what normally cost auto marketers millions to achieve through social media for only $5 million (Seoblog, 2012). The company was able to create brand recognition among the customers. The company has been able to market different products through social media. One of the products that the company has used social media to market is new 2012 Ford Fusion (Seoblog, 2012).
The company was able to integrate the social media efforts. This has been done through pulling together of various social media channels such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Flicker among others. Their social media allow its users to choose the kind of content that they want to use or view. The company makes use of many social media sites to perform different activities such as uploading photos and sharing of documents among others.
Ford has been using the social media to launch new product, showcase features of a particular item or provide useful data (Seoblog, 2012). They have been able to use applications such as custom app to promote new product such as 2013 Ford Fusion. This gives the users an impression of how the use of the car will be in real life situation. Many consumers are able to join the products whose promotional strategies have been conducted through the social media. Through the social media the company has been able to provide the entertainment through integrating the videos with adverting of various products. A good example of the product that the company has been able to provide entertainment that is integrated with advertising is the new Ford Focus (Seoblog, 2012). These videos provide a good source of entertainment for the customers.
How Best Buy has Used Social Media Marketing for Success
Best Buy is one of the companies that have utilized the social media marketing programs to increase its customer base. It has been branded at the forefront of social media and has adapted to the new form of communication to the customers. It has been using various social media tools such as blogs, social networking, forums and video to build its brand awareness among different consumer segments (Bullas, 2010). They have also helped in keeping consumers updated about the new products that are available in the market and any other relevant information such as feedback. The company has been able to effectively manage their customer relations.
Best Buy has used to the social media to facilitate communication or interaction among its staff and consumers. They has been able to implement programs such as Geek Squad Forums and Best Buy Community that facilitate the exchange of idea, information, opinions and tip with one another so that they are able to move in the same direction as an organization (Bullas, 2010). It has established an electronic suggestion box that known as Best Buy Loop Marketplace that enables the employee to put across their suggestions. It has also managed to put in place a MySpace Community site called Blueshirt Nation which enable the employees have a continuous connection through their emails, short message services and the web (Bullas, 2010). This has enabled the employees to share important information that enable them to improve performance.
Besides the internal social media channels that are meant to help employees to coordinate the tasks and share essential information, the company also has external social media channels that help the organization to connect with its customers and other stakeholders. The company uses different blogs such as Twitter and Facebook among other social media. It has been able to use Twitter to provide customer service and announce special programs or offers that are available. They have also encouraged their employees to spread the Best Buy brand and have been able to use several Twitter accounts to provide customer service (Bullas, 2010).
The company has also used facebook to provide a range of contents of their products. It has been able to attract over 1 million followers or fans on Twitter who are able to share different positive comments about the company to build its brand and reputation among the diverse customers (Bullas, 2010). They are able to interact with their fans through the facebook fan page. Best Buy has also established innovative Facebook tabs that are used to search for products; ask for gifts from facebook friends and provide links to some of its other initiatives (Bullas, 2010).
Impact of Social Media on Business in the Future
The impact of social media is expected to be great on the business in the next one decade. The social media is expected to evolve as many consumers embrace digital media for communication and conducting various transactions. The customers are becoming deeply engaged in carrying learning about various products to the social or digital media (Barrett, 2012). They use multiple channels to ask questions about products give feedback and share information that is available.
Companies are expected to grow exponentially as result of the growth of the social media use in the business. The more channels that will accelerate social communication among the businesses and their customers are likely to accelerate at a higher rate. It is argued that it is those businesses that are able to adapt and cater for the connected consumers will be able to remain in the business in future (Barrett, 2012). Some companies that are not able to adapt are likely to become extinct.
The use of social media is likely to grow in the view at the workplace and even the organizations that have been resistant will have to embrace the social media use among their employees for ease of communication and coordination.
Social media plays a very crucial role in the today’ business. Many businesses have embraced the social media as away of communicating and connecting with the customers. There are several companies that have improved in their performance through the use of social media. Social media is expected to play a greater role and many businesses are expected to adapt to the use of social media. Those companies that will not be able to adapt to the new technology are likely to become extinct.
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Bullas, J. (2010 May 26). How Best Buy Energized 170,000 Employees with Social Media. Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/05/26/how-best-buy-energized-170000-employees-with-social-media/
Business Link. (2012). Online Business Networking and Social Networking: Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Social Media. Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1081912566&type=RESOURCES
Qualman, E. (2011). Socionormics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. 2nd Edition. Hoboken, N.J. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Seoblog. (2012 Sep 1). What We Can Learn from Ford’s Social Media Campaigns. Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://www.seoblog.co.za/social-media/what-we-can-learn-from-fords-social-media-campaigns/
Stanford GSB. (n.d.). The Pepsi Refresh Project: Social Minded, Social Media on a New Scale. Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/aaker/pages/documents/PepsiRefreshProjectCase2011.pdf