What is Social Media Marketing ?Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic orattention through social media sites.Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create contentthat attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their socialnetworks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumablyresonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, asopposed to the brand or company itself. Hence, this form of marketing is drivenby word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media.Social media has become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone withinternet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brandawareness and often, improved customer service. Additionally, social mediaserves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implementmarketing campaigns.
Social media outlets/platforms AvailableSocial networking websites and blogsSocial networking websites allow individuals to interact with one another andbuild relationships. When products or companies join those sites, people caninteract with the product or company. That interaction feels personal to usersbecause of their previous experiences with social networking site interactions.Social networking sites and blogs allow individual followers to “re-tweet” or“repost” comments made by the product being promoted. By repeating themessage, all of the users connections are able to see the message, thereforereaching more people. Social networking sites act as word of mouth. Because the information aboutthe product is being put out there and is getting repeated, more traffic isbrought to the product/company.
Cell Phones Because cell phones are connected to social networking sites, advertisements are alwaysin sight. Also many companies are now putting QR codes along with products forindividuals to access the company website or online services with their smart-phones.EngagementIn the context of the social web, engagement means that customers and stakeholdersare participants rather than viewers. Social media in business allows anyone andeveryone to express and share an opinion or idea somewhere along the business’s path tomarket. Each participating customer becomes part of the marketing department, as othercustomers read their comments or reviews. The engagement process is then fundamentalto successful social media marketing
FoursquareFoursquare is a location based social networking website, where users cancheck into locations via their smart phones. Foursquare allows businesses tocreate a page or create a new/claim an existing venue. A good marketingstrategy for businesses to increase footfall or retain loyal customers includeoffering incentives like discounts or free food/beverages for people checkinginto their location or special privileges for the mayor of that location .
BLOGS (COMPANY)Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products orservices. The longer description can include reasoning and uses. It can includetestimonials and can link to and from Facebook, Twitter and many socialnetwork and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotionaltechniques for keeping customers. Other promotional uses are acquiringfollowers and subscribers and direct them to your social network pages.To allow firms to measure their standing in the corporate world, Glassdoor is asite where employees can place evaluations of their companies.
YouTubeYouTube is another popular avenue; advertisements are done in a way to suit the targetaudience. The type of language used in the commercials and the ideas used to promote theproduct reflect the audiences 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 withcertain videos since the content is relevant. Promotional opportunities such as sponsoring avideo is also possible on YouTube. YouTube is also known for its viral nature that eventuallyallow marketers to promote their product for free.
Campaigns2008 Presidential ElectionThe 2008 presidential campaign had a huge presence on social networking sites. BarackObama, a Democratic candidate for US President used Twitter and Facebook todifferentiate his campaign. His social networking site profile pages were constantlybeing updated and interacting with followers. The use of social networking sites gaveBarack Obama’s campaign access to e-mail addresses, as posted on social networkingsite profile pages. This allowed the Democratic Party to launch e-mail campaigns askingfor votes and campaign donations.Kony 2012A short film released on March 5, 2012, by humanitarian group Invisible Children, Inc.This 29 minute video aimed at making Joseph Kony, an International Criminal Courtfugitive, famous worldwide in order to have support for his arrest by December 2012;the time when the campaign ends. The video went viral within the first six days afterits launch, reaching 100 million views on both Youtube and Vimeo. According toresearch done by Visible Measures, the Kony2012 short film became the fastest growingvideo campaign, and most viral video, to reach 100 million views in 6 days.
Marketing techniquesTargeting, COBRAs, and eWOMSocial media marketing involves the use of social networks, COBRAs and eWOM tosuccessfully advertise online. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter provideadvertisers with information about the likes and dislikes of their consumers.TargetingThis technique is crucial, as it provides the businesses with a “target audience” Withsocial networks, information relevant to the user’s likes is available to businesses; whothen advertise accordingly.
COBRAsConsumer’s online brand related activities (COBRAs) is another method used byadvertisers to promote their products. Activities such as uploading a picture of your “newConverse sneakers to Facebook ” is an example of a COBRA.eWOM Another technique for social media marketing is electronic word of mouth (eWOM).Electronic recommendations and appraisals are a convenient manner to have a productpromoted via “consumer-to-consumer interactions ”. An example of eWOM would be anonline hotel review;the hotel company can have two possible outcomes based on theirservice. A good service would result in a positive review which gets the hotel freeadvertisement via social media, however a poor service will result in a negative consumerreview which can potentially ruin the companys reputation.
Social media marketing toolsBesides research tools, various companies provide specializedplatforms and tools for social media marketing:Social media measurementSocial network aggregationSocial bookmarkingSocial analyticsAutomationSocial mediaBlog marketingValidation
Implications on traditional advertisingMinimising useTraditional advertising techniques include print and television advertising. The Internethad already overtaken television as the largest advertising market.Websites often include banner or pop-up ads. Social networking sites don’t always haveads. In exchange, products have entire pages and are able to interact with users.Television commercials often end with a spokesperson asking viewers to check out theproduct website for more information. Print ads are also starting to include barcodes onthem. These barcodes can be scanned by cell phones and computers, sending viewers tothe product website. Advertising is beginning to move viewers from the traditional outletsto the electronic ones.
LeaksSocial networking sites allow those leaks to go viral, and be seen by many users morequickly. Time difference is also a problem facing traditional advertisers. When socialevents occur and are broadcast on television, there is often a time delay between airingson the east coast and west coast of the United States.Social networking sites have become a hub of comment and interaction concerning theevent. This allows individuals watching the event on the west coast (time-delayed) toknow the outcome before it airs. The 2011 Grammy Awards highlighted this problem.Viewers on the west coast learned who won different awards based on comments madeon social networking sites by individuals watching live on the east coast.Since viewers knew who won already, many tuned out and ratings were lower. All theadvertisement and promotion put into the event was lost because viewers didn’t have areason to watch.
Social media marketing mishaps A flash poll done on 1225 IT executives from 33 countries revealed thatsocial media mishaps caused organizations a combined $4.3 million indamages in 2010.YouTube video of a Dominos Pizza employee doing unspeakable things topizza ingredients, which went viral on the internet.A Twitter hashtag posted by McDonalds in 2012 attracting attention due tonumerous complaints and negative events customers experienced at thechain store.And a 2011 tweet posted by a Chrysler Group employee that no one inDetroit knows how to drive.
Google AnalyticsGoogle Alerts. Google Alerts are free email updates from Google search results aboutany topic you’re interested in tracking. For example, I track, among other alerts, thenames of our competitors, the name of our company, and certain other terms I believeare important to my business. Anytime Google adds something to its index that mentionsmy company or the other terms I’m tracking, I receive an immediate email notificationwith a link to that item.Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that provides detailedand very useful information about your website traffic and the effectiveness of yourmarketing efforts. You can run social media campaigns, you can attach tracking tags tothose campaigns so that we can properly monitor them in Google Analytics. This isimportant because without such data it will be nearly impossible for you to evaluate thesuccess of your social media marketing efforts. But analytics are important for anotherreason: they’ll tell you which sites are sending traffic to your site.
Leverage Combinations of Social Media ToolsOne of the best ways for small businesses to leverage social media marketing is to usevarious social networks in combination with each other.Suggestions :Connect your Twitter account to Facebook so that your tweets will appear in yourpublic updates on Facebook. This will let you leverage your time on Twitter to also updateyour Facebook fans.Connect your LinkedIn profile to your WordPress blog. LinkedIn allows you topublish, in your profile, synopses of the most recent blog posts on your blog. Thisapplication will automatically update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent blogposts.Integrate Twitter tools into your blog. Use the Tweet Meme rewet button on yourblogs to make it easier for users to tweet about the blog posts. Also use the Share This toolto enable readers to quickly share content on multiple social networks.
ConclusionHence Social Media Marketing is the need of the Hour & it’s a veryvibrant Tool for all the Sectors for business organisations all overthe globe.