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Social media as marketing tool


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I am a social media user, but that's about it. I have no background in social media marketing world, so I felt I need to set up a context. I started my research by defining the term "social media" from several books, online journals and websites. I found that social media is a democratic means of communication where people can create and share the content with other people. Connect and share is the key, and people with common interest often form communities. It uses “wisdom of the crowds” where information is collected by collaborating knowledge of the members. After that, I began to look on why more and more companies are having their marketing channel moved (or extended) to social media network. Apparently, this happens because marketers are aware of the benefit of social media marketing, such as generating more business exposure, increased traffic to their company’s website and improved search rankings. The fact that people are more often to go online than reading newspaper or watching TV also drives the companies to use social media as their marketing tool. In the end, I tried to formulate the best way for companies to do a social media marketing campaign. The best practice is to plan the marketing strategy from the start with comprehensive use of printed and broadcast advertising media with the social media and invest time in building trust and relationship with their audiences.

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Social media as marketing tool

  2. 2. ABSTRACTNowadays, people are more likely to spend their time online in social media websites. Social media is a democratic meansof communication where people can create and share the content with other people. Connect and share is the key, andpeople with common interest often form communities. It uses “wisdom of the crowds” where information is collected bycollaborating knowledge of the members. In 2011, it is recorded that the top social media sites are Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, YouTube, Hi5, and blogs. These sites open to a new channel of marketing, which is social media marketing.Social media marketing is a way of generating word-of-mouth or viral advertising on the internet, that relies on peopletelling other people about they think about a product or a service. People are more likely to believe a recommendationfrom a friend instead of taking into account a formal advertising from the company. There is a tendency that more andmore companies are integrating social media into their marketing strategy. This happens because marketers are awareof the benefit of social media marketing, such as generating more business exposure, increased traffic to their com-pany’s website and improved search rankings. The fact that people are more often to go online than reading newspaperor watching TV also drives the companies to use social media as their marketing tool. Even so, they would have to beprepared to work in long-term, because engaging the customers and building trust cannot be achieved in such a shorttime. The best practice is to plan the marketing strategy from the start with comprehensive use of printed and broadcastadvertising media with the social media.
  3. 3. FRED REFERENCESWord-of-mouth, viral marketing, niche communities, blog, microblogging, friend, follower, forum, message board, weblog,wiki, podcast, search engine, trafficKEYWORDSSocial media, online marketing
  4. 4. What is Social Media?Ever since Tim Berners-Lee invented it, the internet has evolved greatly. Once a channel for a simple exchange of hypertext, it has become a virtual realm where one can find practically the world in it. There are websites; places where peo-ple can go and see things, collecting information. There are e-mails, which acted as a digital home address. In the lastdecade, a new breed of virtual arena is growing. People are spending their time in certain sites that enable them to seeother people and interact with them. These sites are known as social media network. What is exactly this social medianetwork? Agresta & Bough, 2011 Merriam-Webster online dictionary For the companies’ (or brands) perspective, social Social media is forms of electronic com- media is the democratisation of people’s ability munication (as websites for social net- to create and use communication channels, while working and microblogging) through which the marketing agencies see that as a fundamental users create online communities to share shift in communicating with the world; a medium information, ideas, personal messages, where people get to create content and post it on- and other content (as videos). line to share it with other people that is considered as “friend” or “follower”.
  5. 5. Orsini, 2009 Weber, 2007 Merrily Orsini cited Dave Evans’ (2008) Social networks is member-based online definition of social media as follows: communities that enable users to link to one another based on common interests. “Social media is the democratisation of informa- He argues that social networks on the web tion, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a emerge because people recognise a hu- broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, man need for connections despite they are rooted in conversations between anchors, people and peers. Social media uses the “wisdom of the being physically separated and are trying crowds” to connect information in a collabora- to find it the best way they can. People tive manner. Social media can take many forms, including Internet forums, message boards, we- like to belong to certain communities, and blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. (Evans, since social networks is mainly user-gen- 2008, p. 33)”. erated content rather than professionals- or experts-generated contents, people can She emphasises three characteristics of really share to each other. social media: facilitates a two-way inter- action, collaborative, and democratic.Illustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  6. 6. Barefoot and Szabo, 2010 Even though the advancement of technology helps the development of social media, it was not why it became popular. It is the human nature that drives people in creating and building online communities, and further on, invites participation from the users. There are five fundamental things of social media: 1. Democracy »» communication is being revolutionised, the “one-to-many” information system is now shifting to citizen journalism, collaborative communications, and the growing power of alterna- tive online media sources. 2. Community »» common interest is what brings people together. 3. Collaboration »» in many occasions, people bring the very best of themselves to a project, whether raising money online to help fight cancer or making research available for free to anyone who needs it, indicating trust and good faith formed in the digital world. 4. Scope »» the internet is infinite, and since most social media tools are free (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter), there is no barrier to enter, participate and share. 5. Authenticity »» genuine and transparent information can inspire honest communication. We can conclude that social media is a democratic means of communication where people can create and share the content with other people.Illustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  7. 7. Examples of Popular Social Media SitesThe Daily News Sri Lanka in June 2011 Discovery News listed Facebook as Apparently, marketers are aware ofsta-ted that Facebook has more than the number one in their Top 10 So- this preference in using social me-700 million subscribers worldwide, cial Networking Sites, followed by dia sites. In Social Media Examiner’sjokingly claim it as the third biggest Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Hi5 new study in 2011, it is recorded thatcountry after China and India. in the second, third, fourth and fifth Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs place. were the top four social media tools used by marketers. 1 2 12 1 2 3 4 3 5 4 3Illustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  8. 8. What is Social Media Marketing?Considering the amount of people spending their time online accessing social media websites, marketers are now seesocial media as a new channel of marketing. The term “social media marketing” has beginning to be familiar. Let uslook several descriptions from various sources as follows to explore about social media marketing. Wikipedia Barefoot and Szabo, 2010 Social media marketing is a process of Social media marketing is a viral marketing acti- gaining website traffic or attention through vity using social media channels to promote the social media sites, focusing on efforts to company and its products. Viral marketing relies create content that attracts attention and on how people would tell other people what they encourages readers to share it with their think about a product. social networks.Illustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  9. 9. T National Driller trade journal article T Buzz Technologies Inc article Social media marketing is a way of gen- Social media marketing is the process of erating word-of-mouth advertising on the promoting site or business through social internet, which apparently is quite similar media channels. It is a powerful strategy to offline word-of-mouth advertising. En- that will get the companies links, attention gaging with online communities, building and traffic from the internet users. Getting relationships and providing others with the links are useful in increasing the website’s expertise and assistance are the things rank in the search engine. The more popu- a business should do so people would lar a business in the social media world, feel attached and spread the word about the larger the links they got in terms of the business. Because recommendations numbers. Furthermore, the more links in come from trusted friends, people are the social media websites, the more likely more likely to believe them, as opposed to for people to come to the business’ web- listening to paid advertising. site and thus increasing traffic to it, From the definitions above, it is clear that social media marketing is a process of promoting a site or business through social media, aiming people to be interested and spread the content of the cam- paign with their networks.Illustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  10. 10. Why is there a move in marketing activity from traditionaland broadcast media to social media?There is a trend in the recent years that companies are shifting their marketing activities from media such as newspaper,magazines and broadcast channel to the social media. Jack Loechner in his research brief of Social Media MarketingMaturing (2011) refers to a study in 2011 by Social Media Examiner, prepared by Michael A. Stelzner, that indicates socialmedia has gone mainstream; representing an unprecedented marketing opportunity for businesses that can bypass themiddlemen and engages companies directly with customers. Back in 2009, businesses were hesitant about social media,but in 2011 companies are rapidly responding to new social media opportunities. The findings are as follows: of marketers plan on increasing their 77% use of YouTube and video marketing, 90% of marketers indicate 70% of marketers want to learn that social media is more about important for their Facebook businessIllustration by Nastiti Mayawulan
  11. 11. The advantages of social media marketing according to the marketers are: Generating more 88% business exposure 72% Increasing traffic 62% Improving search rankingsOne of the reasons the companies are now considering social media as an important channel is because the consu-mers are most likely spend their time going online rather than watching television or reading newspapers and magazines(Agresta & Bough, 2011). A survey of consumer digital media and entertainment habits conducted by IBM in 2007 foundthat more people, particularly young people, are spending less time watching television and listening to the radio andmore time online. Furthermore, social media usually have various communities where people with the same interests aregrouped together. This common thing that they have makes them a specified target demographics (Barefoot & Szabo,2010), which from the marketing point of view, will make a lot more sense to be explored because the campaign can gostraight to the intended end users. Niche communities are great target to promote a very specific item or service.In terms of cost, social media marketing can be less costly than conventional forms of marketing because it costs farless to create a company page on Facebook, upload a video on YouTube or write a blog on free blogging sites (Tariq &Wahid, 2011). If a business sets their marketing in social media, it would benefit from the direct interaction with its cus-tomers since they will get views from them. In several occasions, problems will raised and solved by a diverse customerbase, creating a good channel for future ideas to be developed for the business.
  12. 12. What the companies have to do in using social media asmarketing toolWhen companies decide to use social media as one of the marketing channel, they should bear in their mind that socialmedia is different than printing and broadcast media. In social media, people would only respond to a brand or a mar-keting campaign if they have a good impression on it. Integrity and transparency cannot be achieved in short time. Towin costumers’ respect, companies will have to do it the same way as before: through fair dealing (Orsini, 2009). Eventhough setting up a social media account is free, the real cost they will spend on is time. Engaging the customers, ma-king conversations, building communities and nurturing them will take some time, but it is important to form a long-termrelationship as a foundation of trust.In order to position a brand in a certain community, it is advised to do the following actions (Lima, 2010):1. Commit »» Social media marketing requires the commitment of time, resources and personnel to drive the mecha- nics of the process.2. Connect »» Find and connect with the target audience/s, find the right platform in which they usually use to com- municate and share things.3. Comprehend »» By actively listening to the customers, the company will gain real insight into people’s true and often undelivered needs, the reasons why they have these needs, the costs they incur by not having these needs met, and how they would benefit if these issues, problems, concerns and desires were adequately met.
  13. 13. 4. Care »» Marketing is about serving people and their needs. People who care for their clients and customers would get a positive feedback.5. Communicate »» Do not treat the social media as a place to intensely promote the product. Engaging with the custo- mers, providing expertise and answering questions are better to be done in maintaining the relationship. Communicate intellegently and generously.6. Control »» Monitor how the brand, business and messages are being perceived by the audience using various tools such as Google Analytics, Trackur and Radian.7. Conquer »» provide solutions that deliver a memorable and satisfying experience, so that the customers will be willingly shared the experience with their communities.The best practice is to integrate social media with the other marketing channels such as printed and broadcast media. Asan example, the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, New Jersey, aimed at getting more poeple to go to their hotel bar. Theyused social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out online; then they ran local paper and magazineadvertisements, which amplified these online messages (Agresta & Bough, 2011).
  14. 14. ConclusionSocial media is a new form of communication that comes from human need to connect, where people can create contentand share to other people that they consider in their scope of friendship. It is democratic, community-based, collabora-tive, and limitless. The platform opens to a new kind of social media marketing, which is social media marketing. Thistype of marketing are very similar to the traditional word-of-mouth marketing, except it is done online. The more peopleshare and recommends something, the more it goes viral. Companies are shifting towards social media marketing becausepeople tend to spend their time online more than reading newspapers or watching TV. Various communities are formedin social media website, and for marketing poin of view, this is a narrowed target group. Having a specific target groupcan be good since the campaign can be addressed directly to the intended market. On the economical side, marketingin social media costs less than running a print ad or a TV commercial. Nevertheless, the lack of money spent is com-pensated by the amount of time the company has to dedicate in their social media sites, because it involves engagingthe customers and building their trust. Integration between social media and other marketing channels is important,since each media can complement each other. With good strategy, the company can have a comprehensive marketingcampaign to spread their brand, products or services.
  15. 15. REFERENCESAgresta, S., & Bough, B. B. (2011). Perspectives on Social Media Marketing. Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Books 24x7: 45&rowid=18Barefoot, D., & Szabo, J. (2010). Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Books 24x7: id=544868710&noteMenuToggle=0&leftMenuState=1Buzz Social Media Marketing. (2009, February 4). Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Pro Quest:, D., & Scholars, R. (2010, Apr). Social media marketing. Retrieved April 6, 2012, from Informit:;dn=611311502653046;res=IELHEALoechner, J. (2011, April 27). Social Media Marketing Maturing [Research Brief]. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Factiva: &napc=S&sa_from=Merriam-Webster logo [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2012, from en/thumb/3/32/Merriam-Webster_logo.svg/220px-Merriam-Webster_logo.svg.pngMerriam-Webster, Inc. (2012). Social media. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: http://
  16. 16. Orsini, M. (2009, September 1). Social media: how home health care agencies can join the chorus of empowered voices, doi: 10.1177/1084822309343871. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Sage Journals:, L., & Brake, D. K. (2009). The social media bible : tactics, tools, and strategies for business success. Re- trieved April 4, 2012, from EBL - E-books Corporation: (S(jewoa1qd4wubbgj004wvtzlj))/Reader.aspx?p=433737&o=109&u=e%2ft4r%2b793%2fjoxdkTeHLanQ%3d %3d&t=1333494108&h=7A83919823577FCA982ABCB3BE091E3AD36F57B4&s=5585616&ut=412&pg=1&r=i mg&c=-1&pat=n#Social media marketing. (2011, June 14). Retrieved April 5, 2012, from ProQuest Library: Media Marketing Basics. (2011, March). Retrieved April 5, 2012, from National Driller - ProQuest Library: http://, J. (n.d.). Top 10 social networking sites. Retrieved April 5, 2012, from Discovery News: http://news.discovery. com/tech/top-ten-social-networking-sites.htmlTariq, M., & Wahid, F. (2011, May). Assessing effectiveness of Social Media and Traditional Marketing Approaches in terms of cost and target segment coverage. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research In Business vol 3 No.1: fulltext?accountid=14543Weber, L. (2007). Marketing to the social web: how digital customer communities build your business. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Wigmo, J., & Wikström, E. (2010). Social Media Marketing: What role can social media play as a marketing tool? Retrieved April 5, 2012, from logo[Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2012, from Logopedia: es/5/53/Wikipedia-logo-en-big.png
  17. 17. POSSIBLE FUTURE INVESTIGATIONSSocial media marketing in Indonesia: how the companies take advantage of the growing Indonesian Facebook and Twit-ter users, how social media can be a channel for designers and artist to market themselves.QUESTIONS & ANSWERSQuestion 1: I often see advertisement at the right column of my Facebook page. Is that what you called social mediamarketing?Answer: Putting online advertisement in a social media site is not social media marketing. The key is long-term relation-ship with the customers. A good relationship always works two ways. So if a book publisher company wants to incor-porate social media as its marketing tool, it can set up a Facebook fan page and/or a Twitter account as a first step,Next step is to engage. Here, it should not only promote their books, but also asks feedback from the readers. They can
  18. 18. do it as simple as tweeting a question like “Have you read [this book] from [this author]? What do you think of it?” orsomething that is completely unrelated to their product, such as “Long weekend is coming! What do you plan for yourholiday?”. They can also post quizzes on their Facebook page. Things like these will invite people to participate andcomment, and the publisher can reply to them as well, creating an intimate communication. Doing this in long-term willbuild the publisher’s image and customer’s trust which in return resulting a strong brand image. Only then you can saythat is a social media marketing.Question 2: Facebook and Twitter are currently become the most favourite social media worldwide. Should companieshave both accounts in order to promote themselves?Answer: It is true that both platforms are the most popular ones right now, but it really depends on the nature of yourbusiness. If you are in F&B (Food & Beverages) business, you can use Facebook and Twitter to post photos of your foodand drinks, attracting people with the appearance of it. But if you have a software product or a do-it-yourself furniture,it would more make sense if you open a YouTube account, so you can post how-to videos to people. It is better to havemore than one channel of social media to be able to amplify the wave of your marketing activity.Question 3: My company managed to form a community of customers, but it does not turn out exactly what we wereexpecting. Some people other than the intended target group are also in it, so the focus of the community is a bit off.What can we do?Answer: Bear in mind that social media is a democratic place. You cannot tell people to do what you want them to do.Instead, you have to serve their needs in order to be engaged with them. If your community is somewhat different thanwhat you planned before, do not appalled by it. Go with the flow. Seek the reason behind it, why those people are evenin the community. They might have certain needs that you do not expect before but you can fulfill. It might changed theinitial goal, but that is the beauty of social media: democratisation of information and communication. Make adjustmentand deliver things to them better than what they are expecting. Trust will be gained, and you might received the effectof viral marketing more than you can imagine.
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