Social Media and E-Personalization as Essential Business Tools: A Case Study

Social Media and E-Personalization as Essential Business Tools: A Case Study

Amber A. Smith-Ditizio (Texas Women's University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch150
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Introduction

Importance of Social Media

There is a global information revolution fundamentally changing the methods that people communicate to each other. This communication revolution is being fueled by the exponential growth of people needing to gather and share personal and consumer information via social media (Keramati & Behmanesh, 2010; Kim & Tadisina, 2010; Marthandan & Tang, 2010; Shukai, Chaudhari, & Dash, 2010; Sundarambal, Dhivya, & Anbalagan, 2010). The Internet is well-recognized as an asset to the execution of business tasks including communication and commerce. However, it also creates a climate in which users can access an infinite variety of distractions, from videos on YouTube to personal online banking and social networking. From a more positive perspective, numerous researchers (Blake, Neuendorf, & Valdiserri, 2005; Bourlakis, Papagiannidis, & Fox, 2008; Brynjolfsson & Smith, 2000; Fiorito, Gable, & Conseur, 2010; Smith, 2008, 2011) have examined the roles of retail consumers and e-personalization through the lens of technological advances in sharing how such consumers gather and communicate with each other in making their ultimate purchase decisions. Some authors (Smith, Smith, Gopalakrishna-Remani, & Offodile, 2012; Smith, Synowka, Clark, & Smith, 2012) have examined the various uses of knowledge-technology and its impact on e-personalization techniques on consumer behavior patterns. Much of this research have pointed to the dependency of the retail world on relying on large-scaled data warehousing of its customers’ profiles. Such electronic marketing techniques as personalized permission e-mail and recommendation services, via relatively sophisticated algorithms, should continue to help retailers determine the products/services that might be of greatest interest to particular targeted customer segment. The basic purpose of this chapter is to explore these interrelationships associated with social media e-personalization and the roles that social media helps define such data gathering activities in enhancing customer satisfaction.

The rise of social media has its foundations with the acceptance of Facebook and MySpace and has evolved into many other forms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Originally these websites provided people with the ability to keep in touch over time, despite distance and otherwise stay connected to their social world. As the number of users rose (i.e., Facebook surpassed 500 million in 2010) it became apparent that this was not just a passing fad. The acceptance of social media has extreme staying power and continues to provide businesses with an innovative and unique way to connect to its consumers with the world of e-commerce and m-commerce.

Typically, many social media sites are plagued with an overabundance of ads. Some new social networking offerings are being offered that has no ads, but they are in their infant stage. Social media is an essential tool in the business world, and most management understands that if one wants to gain a strategic advantage in this new marketing arena, social media platforms are required. Social media platforms uniquely provide an opportunity for all firms, large and small. Social media is cheap and effective and allows the marketer to focus its marketing on potential customers rather than mass distributing it. Facebook provides the opportunity to focus marketing campaigns based around key words like addresses or perhaps a person’s interests. Nikon, Inc. would advertise to people with an interest in photography, for example, but this narrowing down to a specific target market used to require millions of dollars of research. Though the e-personalization of social media, firms can simply add a keyword to the form it fills with its advertisement submission and pay only pennies each time it is shown. This makes it possible for practically anyone to initialize a strategic marketing campaign.

Social media allows for a quick and effective connection with its consumers. The use of message boards is ubiquitous and many firms have even installed them on their own corporate website via appropriate search engine protocols. These features allow for instant feedback from consumers about a new product or service and allow the firm to adapt quickly to complaints or inconsistencies. This instant feedback provides a wealth of information and makes it possible for a firm to mold itself into the perfect business in the eyes of the consumer (Smith, 2012; Stafford, Stafford, & Schkade, 2004; Wu, Wang, & Tsai, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Personalized Recommendation Services: These services actually suggest certain merchandise to consumers, based on past purchases, website pages viewed, and survey information that the user may have provided in the past.

Social media: Social media often refers to the use Internet-based technologies that allow for convenient and interactive communication and dialogue among users. It is through this advance in the popularity and accessibility of the Internet that social media has grown and thrived.

Cyberdeviance: A general term that describes an employee’s voluntary use of the company’s Internet access during working hours for non-work related purposes. Such distractive practices may be related to loss of productivity or gains in employee job satisfaction.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM is a software driven process that allows companies to find solutions to customize their products and service offerings for their customers via social listening, enhanced sales, marketing, and customer services.

E-Personalization: This term basically can be defined as the customization via electronic means to increase customers’ satisfaction on the purchase of goods and services. It is the general process of tailoring consumers’ preferences via large data collection to match individual needs to their purchasing characteristics.

Personalized Permission E-Mail: This technique allows a retail or other online company to contact a consumer, with the consumer’s permission, via e-mail with merchandise recommendations that are targeted directly to that consumer based on previous shopping patterns. It allows customers to have direct access to merchandise via targeted e-mails.

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