Social Media (SM) can be a great marketing platform. SM is the use of a web-based profile that can be shared with other individuals that we have something in common with. This can create an online list of contacts and interests (Boyd&Ellison). As highlighted by Chaffeyy (2008) marketers can use social media as a tool to listen to customers opinions on their business and use this to ‘shape their actions accordingly’.
Businesses can create online profiles/pages in order to create awareness of their company or brand and create two way communication with the customer. This platform can also be used alongside or to highlight other campaigns. For example Skittles now has the biggest UK fan base of any other brand on Facebook. Techniques used to gain this status included innovative ideas such as the ‘Facebook status updater’ and collaboration with running campaigns such as the re-launch of the brand in the UK. Creating activity and buzz using social media. Read all about Skittles here.
The benefits of SM:
Brand awareness - Demonstrated by Skittles boosting awareness on Facebook, which can lead to increase in sales
Increased/Manageable communication with customers - It can be an amazing crisis management tool as people can see the problem brought up by the customer and the solution provided by the business, giving swift customer response (Jobber 2010) * Communication with Key influencers: demonstrated by Alter, a small clothes shop that used twitter to communicate with people in the fashion industry
Brand reputation - Social media presence not only keeps a business up to date, it also gives personality to the business; giving customers something to relate to. For personality just take a look at Bodyform’s response to a customer message on Facebook, a brilliant way of getting the brand name out there!
Negative comments impacting reputation - Negative comments can happen. The Missguided Facebook page has many complaints about missing items or problems on the website, for all Missguided customers to see.
Isolating certain customers - High volume of promotion on SM can leave many customers feeling left behind. No business wants to isolate customers, with lack of knowledge being a huge barrier to SM in the older generation (Econsultancy 2009).
Social Media campaigns backfired - Think carefully before a campaign! Many can backfire, like McDonalds #McDStories hashtag turning into people trading stories about McDonalds disasters.
Social media can be a great marketing or promotional tool, the key is knowing how to use it. SM can be a new channel to difficult to reach markets, especially since there is a sense of communication rather than being directly marketed to. Some companies find it can be a negative place to engage with customers. However, with SM on the rise with or without business, presence on social media is giving any business a chance to respond to inevitable discussions online. New opportunities continue to open up in SM as people turn away from computers to mobile, Social Media seems to be the way to go.