Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy (Great Lakes Institute of Management, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6064-7.ch011
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This chapter talks about how social media can be used as a marketing tool. Right from describing the various forms of social media, it touches upon the different methods by which social media are engaged with by a marketer. The tasks of creating awareness, generating interest, encouraging action, resulting in purchase, and doing brand advocacy are all covered. There is also a section on how the marketer can evaluate the effectiveness of these social media options both in comparison with traditional media as well as in isolation.
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Social media is used to refer to those media that use web based and mobile technology to use communication into an interactive dialogue. (Dewing, 2012) Also called ‘consumer generated media’ the objective here is to combine technology in a social forum to make it user friendly for the public. The biggest advantage here is to offer a two way interactive medium unlike the traditional media which is one way.

The exponential growth of social media in the last few years is indisputable. The medium has altered the way in which people communicate with one another and even do business with each other. Its true value is still being explored and it is growing by leaps and bounds. The mainstream way of doing marketing is undergoing a discontinuous change thanks to this social medium.

Figure 1.

Social media aspects

Source: (Wasserman, n.d.)

The above figure describes the various aspects of social media. Starting from ‘Know your customer’- which talks about understanding who is your target profile, moving onto Setting a target for the social media such as reaching so many customers or call to action, then executing a plan that takes into account different platforms and formats and finally monitoring if the results are as per expectations, ‘social media’ has come a long way.

Compared to this, traditional medium like television or print no longer have the same impact. For decades marketers have been struggling to increase the ‘interactivity’ factor in communication with the audience i.e. conventional media like Television or Radio talk to consumers in a single direction without taking inputs from them or seeking to even understand if there is adequate comprehension from the other side so that the message can be modified real time. In most cases, feedback used to come in much later that any meaningful change was almost impossible before the campaign finishes. There are also other issues like fixed costs of production that is looming large in traditional medium and takes away a significant portion of the total ad budget. Airing costs in these media is also becoming prohibitive – so much so that companies are looking for cheaper alternatives.

Consumer’s comfort with internet and digital medium has also contributed to the growing popularity of the social medium. The broadband penetration in the country has been increasing, thanks to the Government initiatives as well some easy to use hardware that is making this transition easier. From business point of view also, this trend is catching up. Though the shift to making it the solo medium of marketing has not taken place, the spends in this medium is clearly on the rise.

Of course adoption of social media is not easy. There are barriers to be overcome on many fronts. Organizationally, technologically, financially and so on and so forth. There is a lot of learning to do and that is not easy. Some functions take to it more easily than others. And some others have been traditionally more familiar with social media in certain forms. For example, Human Resources department has been using on line tools for personnel selection, psychometric testing etc. But using social media for reaching out to consumers and persuading them to buy products services is a challenge that many companies are struggling with.


Social Media As A Marketing Platform

According to Web 2.0, social media is a pool of information which is designed to be interactive. Social media marketing is an activity where marketing and promotions takes place through various social media platforms. Usually a marketing plan comprise of both traditional and new media.

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