Good Report About Social Media As A Marketing Tool
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Within the last several years, social media has taken front and center as the number one way to market one’s business. Never before have businesses been able to market their products and services on a multitude of platforms that reach a broader audience. Depending on the product or service, businesses elect to use the social media platform(s) that is going to garner the largest results.
It is no secret that the internet has become a staple in the everyday lives of society. It gives opportunities for interacting with anyone, anywhere in the world. “Social media denotes a
set of services allowing for developing social conversations and interactions over the
internet or in a mobile situation” (Erragcha & Romdhane, 2014). It would stand to reason that businesses have had no choice but jump on the proverbial social media marketing bandwagon.
Society has evolved as one of instantaneous gratification and immediate answers. In this fast-paced world, being able to provide one or both can often make all the difference in whether a business is able to compete. Without a doubt, social media marketing is “influencing the way consumers buy products and services” (Geho & Dangelo, 2012).
A primary advantage to social media marketing is the endless opportunities it presents both businesses and consumers. It works by “targeting specific customers and engaging them with something that is direct, memorable and meaningful to them” (Hersant, 2011). Businesses are given unending opportunities to stretch their creative genes in an effort to appeal to consumers. It also provides consumers alternatives that oftentimes are not seen or met through traditional retail means. Social media marketing permits businesses the option to recreate and rebrand their products and services with ease to consistently be relevant in an ever-changing market.
Consumers use the web more frequently for purchasing products and services. The ease and convenience of shopping online 24/7, from anywhere in the world, and having products delivered to one’s door, has created mass appeal in a world that wants everything now. Online shopping has become an attractive alternative for consumers who prefer not to fight crowds during peak retail seasons. Additionally, the increase in domestic crimes at shopping malls and venues has also become a deterrent.
One of the biggest leaders in social media marketing is that of the real estate industry. Business marketing start-up, N-play, reported that “200,000 real estate agents have now joined the Real Estate Agent Directory on Facebook since its launch in October 2011” (N-play, 2013). N-play provides a directory for real estate agents that connects them to consumers on Facebook. It is interesting to note how social media marketing connects businesses and consumers but serves the same purpose for connecting businesses to one another. The networking avenues are endless.
Some of the most popular social media marketing platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, to name a few. Each provides businesses with various creative ways to promote their products and services. Yet, each platform serves a different purpose. The one common denominator among all is the ability to network businesses and consumers in a myriad of ways.
Facebook entrepreneur and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, created the social media platform while still in college. The concept was to help keep he and his college mates connected. Before long, the module took on a life of its own that has grown to a base of over well over 1.23 billion users today. Facebook is used primarily for businesses wanting to promote their brand. It enables companies to create a business page by selecting a category that best represents their brand and they invite consumers to like the page. This type of social media marketing allows companies to create an exclusive online community that for customers and prospective consumers. On their page, businesses can update in real-time with status posts, pictures, and video to provide consumers with instant access to inside information about upcoming promotional events, sales, and tips. Consumers are able to ask questions, provide feedback, and offer suggestions and interact with company representatives.
Twitter is equally an effective social media marketing tool for businesses. Businesses can promote their brand in 140 characters or less. It is a concise way to get their message across. They can follow prospective clients and vice versa. “The goal of Twitter is building relationships” (Schneider, Jackson & Baum, 2010). Businesses use this tool to pique interest and may include a link that will redirect them to their website, Facebook page, or any other social media platform they want to drive traffic to.
Music artists have proven that Twitter is not just for businesses alone. Twitter is used more frequently than any other platform because it is a fast, interactive way to connect with fans. It gives artists the ability to promote upcoming and last minute gigs, with venue details, to their followers. In turn, fans retweet the message to their followers. Fans are also instrumental in helping to promote unsigned artists to the masses. Many unknown artists have gotten huge breaks simply because their fans worked tirelessly promoting them to radio stations, record companies, and music industry leaders via tweeting and retweeting artist content.
Instagram is a visual social media marketing tool that enables users to upload a picture in real-time with a caption describing it. Like Twitter, users can follow one another, like and comment on content. Instagram recently incorporated the option of uploading videos to its platform. Videos are 15 seconds in length, giving users a snippet. This platform is also being utilized by music artists because of its concise way of connecting with their fans. It is perhaps the second largest social media marketing tool artists use next to Twitter.
Pinterest is similar to Instagram in that it gives users a visual experience. Perhaps no social media platform utilizes visual marketing like Pinterest does. “According to Pinterest, 47 percent of U.S. shoppers made a purchase based on a Pinterest recommendation” (Coon, 2014). It provides a snapshot of a product or service without giving away too much information. It sparks spontaneous decision-making. Users pin things they like to a virtual bulletin board. Groupings can be created to organize their findings. In turn, what is pinned is linked directly to a website or other social media platform where users can find out more information.
LinkedIn was designed with the business professional in mind. This social media platform connects business professionals, businesses, and those seeking employment. Its networking capability is “an excellent resource to expand your network and pinpoint prospects” (Affluent Marketing, n.d.). It offers an advanced search function unmatched by other social media platforms. Users can search to find out if other users in their network are connected to someone that might closely fit their personal profile. It is an excellent resource for prospecting potential clients that otherwise might not be found.
With the explosion of social media, it is difficult to recall a time when marketing was utilized through traditional means. The possibilities of networking and connecting to one another has evolved beyond the confines of that which was once a mere pipedream. Network marketing via social media has become the proverbial rabbit hole. Consumers can easily search for their favorite products and services and discover new ones along the way. With everything being so linked, consumers can spend countless hours surfing the web even if they did not intend to. Pinterest users claim when they arrive at the site and start pinning, it keeps them there for hours. Perhaps this was the ultimate marketing outcome Pinterest developers hoped to achieve. Facebook and Twitter has seen enormous growth and traffic from old and new users alike. There is no doubt once social media becomes part of a consumer’s world, it is not something that can be that easy to escape from.
Affluent Marketing and LinkedIn. (2010, June 17). Registered Rep [Online Exclusive]. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA229192416&v=2.1&u=vic_liberty&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&asid=99938e790e89b87ef8118bb3331591f9
Coon, J. (2014). Virtual billboard: using pinterest in social media marketing. Utah Business, 28(7), 46. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA377696023&v=2.1&u=vic_liberty&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&asid=01a284b9fae0a33403bb30ac08c73788
Erragcha, N., & Romdhane, R. (2014). Social networks as marketing tools. Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 19(1), 1-12. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1536015837?accountid=12085
Geho, P. R., & Dangelo, J. (2012). The evolution of social media as a marketing tool for entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurial Executive, 17, 61-68. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1037409443?accountid=12085
Hersant, K. (2011). 9 Best practices of social media marketing. Software World, 42(6), 21+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA271324962&v=2.1&u=vic_liberty&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&asid=c2ba173d972dffce09931426570b3a96
N-play. (2013). 200,000 real estate agents solidify facebook as social media's leading marketing tool. Marketing Weekly News, 78. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1416152322?accountid=12085
Schneider, A., D.P.M., Jackson, R., & Baum, N., M.D. (2010). Social media networking: Facebook and twitter. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : MPM, 26(3), 156-7. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/821455830?accountid=12085
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