In 1997, the first recognizable social media platform, named Six Degrees, was established. The platform made it possible for people to develop a profile and make friends. By 1999, social blogging sites had begun to emerge, which made it possible for individuals to form connections with other users on the same platform from all over the world. Social media platforms have continued to increase over the years and are now not only used for personal but also for business purposes. The advancement of technology, as well as the internet, has made it easier for people to communicate across the world. Organizations now rely on social media platforms to reach their target audiences and form and maintain relationships with them on these platforms.
Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Registering as a user on social media platforms is free and easy, thus allowing many people to be on them. An individual from any part of the world can open a social media page as long as he or she has internet and internet-enabled devices (Evans, 2010). The fact that anyone can have access to these social media platforms is an advantage to organizations since they can reach their target audiences on them. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube among others, allow individuals to befriend others by either following them or sending friend requests. An organization that looks to utilize these platforms as its marketing tool will have to create pages that their target audiences can follow. Being visible to the target audience allows the organizations to sell their agenda to their target audience (Zarrella, 2010). Therefore, social media platforms have made it easier for marketing organizations to connect with their target audience.
Social media platforms allow corporations to develop strong media presence through their interactions with clients online. Unlike in traditional forms of marketing in which organizations would create adverts to run on television, radio, or in print and not get feedback from their target audiences, on social media platforms, organizations can get feedback on their campaigns in real-time (Geho&Dangelo, 2012). The target audience can respond to any form of marketing by commenting or reacting to them. Organizations build strong media presence by listening to their clients’ feedback. Additionally, organizations’ interaction with clients on these online platforms can determine if the marketing campaign is going to succeed or fail. Organizations utilize social media platforms not only to send information out but also build brand loyalty (Geho & Dangelo, 2012). However, the films have to be in constant communication with the client to lead the target audience to develop a sense of belonging in the company since their queries and comments are taken into consideration. Organizations are now able to have control over their brands and even their clients since social media platforms have made it possible for them to be aware of what their clients’ needs and how to ensure that they meet these needs.
Social media platforms can be utilized to gain new clients as well as the formation of new business partnerships. Every day, people from across the world are joining different social media platforms, and organizations can tap into these new audiences by also being on these social media platforms (Evans, 2010). After learning what their target audiences require from them, corporations can then place their adverts on different social media pages encouraging new clients to enlist to their services. The fact that social media platforms allow everyone who desires an account to have one implies that there will always be new clients for enterprises to target. Therefore, organizations relying on these social media platforms can gain new clients if they can craft media campaigns that appeal to their target audiences.
Social media platforms can be a good marketing tool when a business is able to choose the right social media platform to utilize, which they can do if they understand their target audience. A company should look at the different social media platforms available and decide on which best works for it. As Zarrella notes, not all social media platforms can deliver the same results, so one has to utilize the one that a large part of their target audience uses (Zarrella, 2010). For example, if an organization is targeting the youths, it should use a social media platform that is mostly utilized by that audience. Therefore, they have to understand their target market before they can decide on what social media platform to utilize. Organizations do find that they do need to utilize more than one social media platform to reach their target audience. However, they have to pick only those that they believe will help them to develop a connection and relationship with their clients. Besides, the marketing team has to be available to be in constant communication with their clients through the chosen platforms.
Compared to traditional forms of marketing, social media platforms are affordable. Developing and marketing adverts for traditional platforms such as television, radio, and print is costly. Organizations not only have to employ people to come up with the media campaigns but also to pay these platforms to run their adverts (Bashar, Ahmad &Wasiq, 2012). Nevertheless, social media platforms are affordable in that organizations do not have to pay these platforms to market their products. Furthermore, only a few people are involved in the development of the marketing campaigns since they already have an idea of what their target audiences want from them. Additionally, as opposed to traditional forms of marketing, social media platforms allow companies to learn about the mistakes they make in their marketing strategy and improve on it (Bashar, Ahmad &Wasiq, 2012). Social media platforms give organizations and individuals an opportunity to learn and become better in their marketing strategies.
Social media platforms allow marketers to focus on their target audience, unlike traditional platforms on which the message is received by a wider group, which might not be interested in a product. Since organizations and individuals are already aware of the message they want to send across and the target audience, they focus their resources and content development only on these parties (Bashar, Ahmad &Wasiq, 2012). In other words, the marketing strategies are meant to hyper-target the audience that is most likely to be in need of their products and their services. Companies ability to reach their target audiences through a narrowed message showcases their intelligence. Therefore, social media platforms can help individuals and organizations develop marketing campaigns that are only structured to their target audiences.
When using social media platforms as marketing a marketing tool, organizations need to ensure that they can renew their strategies often. While social media platforms allow individuals to share information constantly, the target audiences are also usually looking for something new and different. Organizations should realize that without being innovative and creative, it would be difficult for them to rely on these platforms to market their products and services (Zarrella, 2010). The constant sharing of information has made it easier for individuals to view and access it; thus, it has become challenging for organizations and individuals to develop new marketing techniques. Each marketing strategy that an organization utilizes should be captivating and lead people to react. A marketing strategy is deemed successful either if the target audience shares the media campaign on their social media platforms, or there are many positive comments about the social media campaign. Therefore, while social media platforms have become strong marketing tools in the recent past, they also require individuals and campaigns to constantly rethink their marketing strategy and develop content that is likely to appeal to their target audience.
Social media platforms can help organizations to improve their ranking in search engine optimization since engines utilize social media platforms as a factor when determining how to rank an organization. Individuals select a result which appears high in the search engine and that is the reason why organizations strive to appear high in search engine results. Corporations that have a big following and receive favorable feedback from their clients have a higher chance of ranking higher than institutions that do not have a strong social media presence (Geho&Dangelo, 2012). Therefore, when social media platforms are used as marketing tools, they can help businesses to be visible to individuals who search for them over the internet.
One of the main characteristics of social media platforms and the users is their fast-moving nature, which makes it necessary for those looking to utilize them as marketing tools evolve and adapt to their changing nature. Unlike in the past, where the constant posting of messages and uploading pictures made it possible for organizations to have a wide target audience on social media platforms, many users on social media platforms are looking to connect with organizations which are innovative and can address their curiosity (Zarrella, 2010). Moreover, the organizations need to ensure that they stand out from their competition, and this means taking time to see what their competitors are doing and how they are faring. Public social media pages are accessible to everyone, which means that corporations can use them to gather information about other firms quickly and affordably. Companies must ensure that they do not neglect the information they receive from their audiences if they are looking to succeed. Therefore, while social media platforms are affordable and effective marketing tools, people looking to utilize them should ensure that they evolve as quickly as their target audiences.
Organizations and individuals are utilizing social media as a marketing tool since it is affordable, reliable, and utilized by many of their target audiences. Unlike traditional forms of media utilized in marketing strategies that lead organizations to incur costs when developing and marketing their products and services, social media is affordable since registering and using these sites is free. Moreover, social media platforms allow organizations to gather feedback on their marketing strategies, thus helping them identify areas in which their target audiences are interested.
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Evans, D. (2010). Social media marketing: The next generation of business engagement. Indianapolis, Ind: Wiley Pub.
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Zarrella, D. (2010). The social media marketing book. Beijing: O’Reilly.
Geho, P. R., &Dangelo, J. (2012).The evolution of social media as a marketing tool for entrepreneurs.The Entrepreneurial Executive, 17, 61.
Bashar, A., Ahmad, I., &Wasiq, M. (2012). Effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool: An empirical study. International Journal of Marketing, Financial Services & Management Research, 1(11), 88-99.
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