Social media and marketing

Social-Media-MarketingMarketing your company, product or even yourself through social media has become an increasingly popular phenomenon between everything from big companies to small local grocery stores. Social media for marketing purposes can be used for three different things: One is to keep your costumers updated on your brand, as an easy and quick way of sharing information about new products or special offers. Second, it can be used to create a deeper understanding of your costumer base and build a strong relationship with them and use their social networks to spread the word about your brand. Third, it can be used to build a strong brand Ethos and brand Pathos. But how can this then be achieved?

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Quantitative marketing models

Allan L. Montgomery wrote in 2001 (pre the Facebook and twitter era), that the Quantitative models often used in regular marketing can be adjusted to predict the online behaviour of the potential costumer. This is done, as the name of the model suggests, by analysing the enormous quantities of data that websites can gather in different ways about their visitors, such as: age, gender, interests etc. This kind of information is “critical to identifying, differentiating, and interacting with customers”(1). This knowledge allows the individual consumer to be in centre and make the companies avoid marketing designed for a homogeneous mass, allowing for an interactive marketing to take place instead (2).  This is something that companies such as Google and Facebook have taken in consideration by using algorithms based on the data that the consumer has already provided them with. Allowing them to market the commercials that will be of the most interest for the individual user of their service.

word-of-mouth

Word-of-Mouth

By using social media in marketing the individual consumers own social network can be used, something that allows for the use of WOM (word-of-mouth). The appeal of this method is its’ faster speed and lower cost than regular marketing. WOM also has the potential to overcome the increasing consumer resistance to regular advertisements (3). Instead of a screaming TV commercial or an annoying sales person, the marketing takes place from the word of a friend or acquaintance, someone whose opinion the consumer trusts and are interested in. Researchers have studied the use of WOM within social networks and how the number of new people using networking sites and communities were related to them being referred to the site by someone within their own social network. Communities online often rely on user-generated content and new members creates this new content, something that works as a motivation for the user who spreads the word about the site they want to gain more content in it.  (4) This can often be seen in Facebook were companies sometimes even have competitions where users can win prices if they invite friends, or share the companies Facebook page in their own friends news feeds.

Consumers are highly integrated with each other, and people belonging to the same group of a social networks makes it possible to use diffusion effect as part of the marketing strategy (5). One example of this is the success of Hotmail, with the simple “Get your free e-mail at Hotmail” hyperlink included at the end of every email, turning each email into an advertisement and every recipient a potential costumer. The emails spread through social networks of friends and companies and made Hotmail a virtual success story (6). This sounds amazing, doesn’t it? However as with everything, this does also have it’s dark side: the spread of information may not always be of the positive kind and it can in fact damage a company: leading to bad marketing rather than good. It’s important to remember that “the 21st century’s Internet-based society has allowed global communications about corporate behaviors to be readily accessible to the world’s consumers.” [7]. So it’s not only you who can share the information that you want about your company or product, so can the consumers. Just as easy as you can share information on Facebook about your latest product, so can your consumers share pictures of the people creating it under less than fair conditions. So be aware of what you do, and how you present yourself, because in this era of fast spreading information through social media you can never know what information will be spread, and by whom.

References:  

  1. L. Montgomery, A. 2001. Applying Quantitative Marketing Techniques to the Internet. Interfaces. 31(2), 90-108.
  2. Ibid;. pp. 90-91
  3. Trustov, M., E. Bucklin, R &, Pauwell, K. 2009. Effects of Word-of-Mouth Versus Traditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site.  Journal of Marketing, 73(5), 90-102. pp.
  4. Ibid;. pp. 92-93
  5. L. Montgomery, A. 2001. Applying Quantitative Marketing Techniques to the Internet. Interfaces. 31(2), 90-108.
  6. Ibid;. pp. 92
  7. Chong, C.T., Eldomiaty T.I. & Kim, S.W. 2007. Consumer Trust, Social Marketing and Ethics of Welfare Exchange. Journal of Business Ethics, 74(1),17-23.
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