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In recent years there has been a tremendous increase in the growth and popularity of social media networks. A significant majority of people with access to the Internet are active participants in these sites. There is growing evidence that users of social networking sites now include people of various age groups with a significant number of active users 40 years or older with women outnumbering men in popular sites such as Facebook. With the world in the midst of a social media revolution, it is more than obvious that social media like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace, Skype etc., are used extensively for the purpose of communication. One of the most important advantages of the use of social media is the online sharing of knowledge and information among the different groups of people. This virtual explosion in social media has naturally attracted the attention of marketers and there has been a continuous effort to leverage the reach and access of social networks for brand promotion in terms of actual sales and customer service. Global companies have recognized social media marketing as a potential marketing platform, utilized them with innovations to power their advertising campaign with social media marketing. This paper discusses about the concepts of social media and social media marketing and role played by it for Brand Promotions.
Keywords – Communication, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networks.
The term Social Media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. Social media takes on many different forms including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. With the world in the midst of a social media revolution, it is more than obvious that social media like facebook, twitter, orkut, myspace, skype etc., are used extensively for the purpose of communication. This form of communication can be with a person or a group of persons. Today most of the people specially the youngsters are hooked on to the different social media for keeping in contact with their peers. Social media is media for social interaction as a superset beyond social communication. There are pros and cons to the use of social media. One most important advantage is the online sharing of knowledge and information among the different groups of people. This online sharing of information also promotes the increase in the communication skills among the people especially among the learners/students of educational institutions. There is also a flip side to the use of social media tools. Sometimes, such tools are misused by people which leads to interference into one‘s privacy. Such instances can lead to dangerous proportions keeping in view the ethical aspect of the use of such media. The social media tools have virtually bought people close to one another specially those living in far off places. However, these days it has been witnessed that most of the business houses also engage in social networking while promoting their products and services. Very often, the head honchos of the business groups tries to maintain a healthy relationship with their valued customers. Social networking sites are now seen as a promising means of publicity. Social media as a medium of promotion contributes, through its immediacy, to a healthy and direct relation between brands and their public in an online environment. This immediacy offers the public the ability to be present, to communicate, to influence and retain a stronger position towards brands. In addition to using social platforms to monitor conversations about their industry, competitors, and products, companies are increasingly reaching out to their customers via the social Web to communicate messages about what they have to offer. Blog posts and tweets enable businesses to create communities, offer immediate feedback or assistance, and promote their products and services.
- Communication: It refers to imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
- Social Media: They are computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.
- Social Media Marketing: It is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.
- Social Networks: It refers to a network of social interactions and personal relationships or a dedicated website or other application which enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc.
Review of Literature
- SisiraNeti,in her research paper, “Social Media and its Role in Marketing” (2011), states that social media conversation is no longer considered a Web 2.0 fad it is taking place in homes, small businesses and corporate boardrooms, and extending its reach into the nonprofit, education and health sectors. From feeling excitement, novelty, bewilderment, and overwhelmed, a growing number of people now speak of social media as simply another channel or tactic. Blogging can have a very positive effect on your Company’s branding & growth.
- SimonaVinerean, IulianaCetina, Luigi Dumitrescu, in their research pepr, “The Effects of Social Media Marketing on Online Consumer Behavior”(2013), states that today, any marketer or business owner understands the importance of internet marketing. Marketing a business on the web implies leveraging social media to create a lot of buzz in relation to a brand. Social media platforms offer immense possibilities for fostering relationships with consumers in an online environment. Their study suggests different approaches for online marketers and managers looking to invest in advertising on social networking sites and hence improve their ads performance regarding clicking the advert and generating positive reactions towards it.
- T. Andrew Yang, Dan J. Kim, and Vishal Dhalwani, in their research paper, “Social Networking as a New Trend in e-Marketing”, found thatmost of the existing online businesses use hybrid revenue models, and almost all social networks websites use the advertising, subscription, and/or affiliate models. Most online social networks provide free services to the users without charging any use fees. The major source of revenue comes from online advertisements and affiliate programs, and (to a much lesser extent) subscription.
- VivekBajpai, Dr. Sanjay Pandey, Mrs. ShwetaShriwas, in their research paper “Social Media Marketing: Strategies & its Impact”(2012), states thatSocial platforms each have an ecosystem of their own. Creating a basic social media presence is easy enough, getting the community to actually do something is more difficult. Make sure your site is included in local business directories in order to help ensure that consumers find you when they need you. Customizing messages across sites help the message spread but it keeps users from receiving multiple identical communications. By giving exclusive coupons to your social community, you’re rewarding and reminding them that you are not only a brand to engage with, but also to buy from. Taking advantage of these strategies can help you build your community, make your marketing more effective, and incentivize buying.
- To study the role of Social Media Marketing in promoting Brands.
- To analyse the benefits of Social Media Marketing.
- To find out the consumer satisfaction regarding social media marketing
The study is based on secondary data. Relevant data are availed from various sources of information such as Research Papers, Books,and websites etc.
Limitations of the Study
- The study is undertaken by the use of secondary data collected by other sources which may have some deficiencies.
- Due to the limitation of length of the paper, the researcher was unable to develop a detail insight into the topic.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
The meaning of the term ‘social media’ can be derived from two words which constitute it. Mediagenerally refers to advertising and the communication of ideas or information throughpublications/channels. Social implies the interaction of individuals within a group or community.Taken together, social media simply refers to communication/publication platforms which aregenerated and sustained by the interpersonal interaction of individuals through the specificmedium or tool. Wikipedia has a general definition of the term: Social Media is thedemocratization of information, transforming people from content readers into contentpublishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted inconversations between authors, people, and peers. Social media uses the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner.Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards,weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, and video.
There are somebenefits of social media that are important to businesses, they include:
- Cost reduction by decreasing staff time.
- Increase of probability of revenue generation.
- Share their expertise and knowledge.
- Tap into the wisdom of their consumers.
- Enables customers helping customers.
- Engages prospects through customer evangelism.
It also helps in;
- Generating exposure to businesses.
- Increasing traffic/subscribers.
- Building new business partnerships.
- Rise in search engine rankings.
- Generating qualified leads due to better lead generation efforts.
- Selling more products and services.
- Reduction in overall marketing expenses.
Thus the benefits of social media include: brand reach and awareness, consumer interactions through transactions, referrals and reputation management.
Some Social Media Platforms for Marketing
Facebook was launched in 2004 and have millions of active users including users having access through mobile devices. An average Facebook user is estimated to have at least 130 friends and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. There are more than 70 languages available on the site. Its main use is to establish and maintain relationships in work related situations, in political affiliations or just among friends and families. Facebook has become the most powerful tool for marketing today. In April 2011, the company launched a new service for marketers and interested creative agencies which is a form of online platform/portal that allows marketers and creative design agencies to build brand promotions on Facebook. Facebook is now a direct competitor of Google in online advertising and this new service has made it possible for companies such as Financial Times and ABC News to create dynamic commercial graphics or advertisement.
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that same year in July. Unlike Facebook where one can have friends to share different things, with twitter one has to get connected to the latest information on what they find interesting. One has to find the public stream that interests them and follow in the conversations. Each tweet is 140 characters in length. One can still follow the tweets regardless of whether they do not tweet at all, and also there is no limit as to how many tweets one can send within a given day.Through Twitter businesses now share their information or news faster to a large audience online following the company, and from a strategic stand point, this has helped companies that uses Twitter to position their brands and also gather business insight through feedback to boost their market intelligence in order to accurately target customers with relevant services and products or enhance business relationships. Twitter has helped lift brands, enhance customer relationship marketing and also improved direct sales by reaching out directly to the engaged audience on the platform.
YouTube was created in February 2005 as a video sharing website on which users can upload, view and share videos as an informative and inspirational to others across the globe. The company uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content. YouTube acts as a platform for distributing contents by creators and advertisers as well. Over 3 billion videos are viewed every day and there are more than 400 million views per day on mobile devices. It is estimated that more than 800 million people visit YouTube every month to watch and share contents. Just as the adage goes a picture is worth a thousand words, pictures have an impact in creating an image in the mind of a person. This has given YouTube a competitive advantage in online marketing; all in all more businesses are now using YouTube for their marketing advertising campaigns. Various companieswith outstanding video campaigns have had their breakthroughs in this form of brand marketing, especially when the videos have gone viral. Most of these viral successes can be attributed to expertise and creativity of the brand marketer to entertain the audience hence making the public share the videos with others.
Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products or services. The longer description can include reasoning and uses. It can include testimonials and can link to and from Facebook, Twitter and many social network and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotional techniques for keeping customers. Other promotional uses are acquiring followers and subscribers and direct them to your social network pages.
Social Media Marketing Campaigns
The last few years have been fantastic in the Indian Social Media landscape. The growth was not just seen in the usage of Social Networking sites, there was a massive interest shown by a lot of Indian brands on this platform. Some brands have managed to develop highly successful and creative campaigns in order to more fully engage the customer with the brand. A good example of a creative campaign is the one devised by the Oreo brand. Each week, the site randomly selects photographs of a few of its fans and advertises them on its home page. As well, the site announces a ‘Fan of the Week’ on its status update. By promoting its ‘fans’ on its website, the brand seeks to develop a closer rapport with its customers5. As an excellent social media marketer, the brand not only listens but also acts on what it hears from its target audience. Given below is the list of few brands that has successfully promoted their brands through Social Media;
Online Digital Wallet and Marketplace Paytm have launched many successful campaigns. ‘Seal of Trust’ and ‘PaytmKaro’ were successful. The concept of cash backs, partnering with all the operators, brands and dedicated 24×7 Customer Support gave it a great push ahead of other rivals.
Cashvenger, digital mascot of ICICI’s ‘Live Without Cash, campaign, and the protagonist who teaches youth about the benefits of Debit and Credit Cards. The campaign for focused on six plans for youth to go online and cashless with the help of credit and debit cards. It also included a series of digital creative images posted on social media.
A smart advertisement campaign launched by Fevikwik when the sentiments of Indians were all time high during an India-Pakistan fixture. The ‘TodoNahiJodo’ campaign though not done on a larger scale, still managed to be talked about campaign during the period
Tata Motor’s hatchback Bolt was launched in a very unique influencer based campaign. Four social media influencers with huge following competed in a reality based event. The influencers needed to get a digital bolt key to their locked glass cubicles by creating maximum digital buzz. The winner took home the new bolt and his followers won prizes too.
Vogue, a leading magazine brand teamed up with Bollywood’s popular face DeepikaPadukone for a social media awareness campaign. Vogue’s ‘My Choice’ and ‘Vogue Empower’ speaks about Women’s choice for equality. A two minute short film featuring Deepika and HomiAdajania created massive following and received words of appreciation from Amitabh Bachchan.
Social Media, today, is among the ‘best opportunities available’ to a brand for connecting withprospective consumers. Social media is the medium to socialize. These new media win the trustof consumers by connecting with them at a deeper level. Social media marketing is the newmantra for several brands since early last year. Marketers are taking note of many differentsocial media opportunities and beginning to implement new social initiatives at a higher ratethan ever before. Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become moresophisticated. One cannot afford to have no presence on the social channels if the competitor ismaking waves with its products and services.It is probably the only marketing platform that encourages fool proof communication andaccountability among sellers as well as consumers. Indian as well as Global companies have recognized SocialMedia Marketing as a potential marketing platform, utilized them with innovations to power their advertising campaign. Thus it is high time that every business adopts social media and takes it seriously.
- Assaad, W., Gómez, J.M., “Social Network in marketing (Social Media Marketing) opportunities and Risks”, International Journal of Managing Public Sector Information and Communication Technologies (IJMPICT), Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2012.
- Bajpai, V., Pandey, S., Shriwas, S., “Social Media Marketing: Strategies & Its Impact”, IRJC International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research Vol.1 Issue 7, July 2012.
- Neti, S., “Social Media and its Role in Marketing”, International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems, Vol. 1, Issue 2, July 2011.
- Odhiambo, C.A.,“Social Media as a Tool of Marketing and Creating Brand Awareness”, Research Paper, University Of Applied Sciences, 2011.
- Vinerean,S., Cetina,I.,Dumitrescu, L.,“The Effects of Social Media Marketing on Online Consumer Behavior”, International Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 8, Issue. 14, 2013.
- Yang,T.A., Kim,D.J., Dhalwani,V., “Social Networking as a New Trend in e-Marketing” Research Paper.