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  • 1. Social Media in Marketing – Assignment 2<br />What is social media?<br />Due to Brake and Safko (2010, 3) social media is simply “the media we use to be social”. It is an umbrella term for “tools that are available for you to connect with others”. <br />The first term ‘social’ describes the need to interact and connect with others which everybody instinctually has, no matter what gender, age or education. “We have a need to be around and included in groups of similar like-minded people with whom we can feel at home and comfortable sharing our thoughts, ideas, and experiences.” The second part of the combined word is ‘media’ and stands for the tools we use to make these connections with other people. The media enables us to communicate with family, friends but also strangers from all over the world. There are different media technologies and of course, technology has changed trough times: As natives thousands of years ago used drums or bells to communicate with each other, we nowadays have inventions like audio, video, photographs, mobile phones, text messaging and emailing. (Brake & Safko 2010, 4.)<br />That theory is supported by Hansen, Shneiderman and Smith (2011, 12) who state that “social media refers to a set of online tools which support social interactions between users”. Furthermore they mention the importance of differentiation between “more traditional media such as television and books” which only deliver information and different contents to the population without giving the opportunity to actually create and share content by users as it is the case with social media. As an example they cited an article saying that social media is about “transforming monologue (one-to-many) into dialog (many-to-many)”. <br />What kind of elements does it include?<br />Social media contains services like email, discussion forums, blogs/ weblogs, micro blogs (e.g. twitter), texting, chat, social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace), wikis (e.g. Wikipedia), photo and video sharing sites (e.g. Youtube, Flickr), review sites, RSS feeds, web- apps, and multiplayer gaming communities. (Hansen, Shneiderman & Smith 2011, 12; Internationaler UNESCO Bildungsserver)<br />What are the main advantages and disadvantages in using social media in marketing?<br />“You can use the technologies effectively to reach out and connect with other humans, create a relationship, build trust, and be there when the people in those relationships are ready to purchase our product offering.” (Brake & Safko 2010, 4.)<br />Like almost everything in our lives, also social media has two different sites. It does not always bring only advantages with it. That is why we want to consider the problems and challenges attached to it as well. But let´s just start with the opportunities social media brings along when it comes to marketing: <br />One big advantage is of course the possibility of free advertisement and promotion. Furthermore it can be used as a communication and distribution channel inside a company. Nokia, for instance, updates their almost 70.000 employees via internal wikis on project status and uses them also to trade ideas. Some companies even use social media like social networks for marketing research or to support the creation of brand communities as trough social networks, for example, an extremely wide range of people can be reached. (Kaplan & Haenlein 2007, 62-64.)<br />A heavy disadvantage of social media in marketing would be the impossibility of controlling: Nowadays everyone can post whatever he or she wants and that is visible for the whole wide world. The information consumers and customers share at internet platforms about companies can hardly be controlled by them. On the one hand that gives other customers a reliable and honest source of information because it is not manipulated by the company itself. On the other hand, it can be a huge harm for the company if dissatisfied customers or employees write negatively about their company on social media like social networks, blogs or other platforms (virtual complaints). (Haenlein & Kaplan 2007, 60-64.)<br />What are the main principles in social media use in marketing?<br />Due to Peck (2009) there are 6 main principles in social media use in marketing: listen, engage, enable, share, reward and participate.<br />The first important rule is always listen to your audience because they have the power to judge you, write about you, comment your actions and make their opinion about you public. To find out how they behave, what are their wants and needs, what preferences they have and what they do not like at all – it is all about them – even in social media. <br />Make people pay attention and care about what you are doing, creating and posting online. Try to make them interested in your website´s content and engage your customers to build relationships with your company. <br />Enable people who are already talking about your company to share your content with their family and friends on various websites in order to letting them become part of your company. They will get the feeling of actually joint- owning your brand and they will build a special relationship to your company. Word of mouth will always play one of the biggest roles when it comes to marketing.<br />You should share videos, articles, pictures or links that are in any way interesting (funny, thrilling, fascinating…). It will tighten the relationship with the company´s customers.<br />People who interact with the company, which means spending time with it, should be rewarded from time to time (e.g. by receiving special discounts).<br />Companies should not only talk at their customers, they should rather talk to them. A company who actively participate in conversations instead of just posting their products telling how great they are, found the right way to success with help if social media.<br />(Peck 2009.)<br />Sources<br />Brake, D. K. & Safko, L. 2010. The Social Media Bible. John Wiley & Sons Inc. New Jersey.<br />Haenlein, M. & Kaplan, A. M. 2007. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. ESCP Europe. Paris.<br />Hansen, D., Shneiderman, B. & Smith, M. A. 2011. analyzing social media networks with nodeXL. Insights from a connected world. Morgan Kaufmann. United States of America.<br />Peck, J. 2009. Social Media, Sports, Marketing and More by Jason Peck: 6 Principles of Social Media Marketing. URL: http://www.jasonfpeck.com/2009/04/02/6-principles-of-social-media-marketing/.Quoted: 13.9.2011<br />Internationaler UNESCO Bildungsserver für Demokratie-, Friedens- und Menschenrechtserziehung: Elemente des Web 2.0. URL:http://www.dadalos-d.org/web20/elemente_web_20.htm. Quoted: 12.9.2011.<br />