The most exciting thing to happen to market and promotion is the increasing use of online technology to promote brands, particularly social media. Social media has changed the way that marketers can communicate with their brands from mass messages to intimate conversation.
In fact, social media is many things to different people, though most people think of it as digital technology. However social media can also be defined relative to traditional advertising like television and magazines in that traditional marketing media offers a mass media method of interacting with consumers, while social-media-advertising offers more one-to-one ways to meet consumers.
Social media tools and platforms like social networks, blogs, microblogs, and media sharing sites, which can be accessed through a growing number of devices such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and netbooks.
Hence social media has more sophisticated method of measuring how marketer’s meet and interact with consumers than traditional advertising.
What is social media?
Any tools or service that uses the Internet to facilitate conversation.
In other words, social media is an online platform that refers to the means of interaction among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in different communities like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
What are the objectives of social media?
The main objectives of social media are following :-
- Listen and learn.
- Build relationships and awareness.
- Promote products and services.
- Build relationships and awareness.
- Manage your reputation.
- Improve customer service.
Listen and learn
Monitor what is being said about the brand and competitors, and glean insight about audiences. Use online tools and do research to implement the social media practices. If you have established a listening strategy, this objective should already be accomplished.
Build relationships and awareness
Open dialogues with stakeholders by giving them compelling content across a variety of media. Engage in conversations, and answer customers questions candidly. This will both increase the Web tariff and boost your search engine ranking.
Promotes products and services
The clearest path to increasing the bottom line using social media is to get customers talking about products and services, which ultimately translates into sales.
Manage your reputation
Develop and improve the brand’s reputation by responding to comments and criticism that appear on blogs and forums. Additionally, organizations can position themselves as helpful and benevolent by participating in other forums and discussions.
Improve customer service
Customer comments about products and services will not always be positive. Use social media to search out displeased customers. So you can engage them directly in order to solve their service issues.
Evaluation and Measurement of Social Media
There are three areas of measurements :
- Social media measurement.
- Public relations measurement.
1. Social media measurement :
To determine the ROI of each tool, ever-changing metrics are being used. Social media measurement determines, for example, the conversation rate of a Facebook friend. Tools include Google Analytics, Social Mention, Twinfluence, Twitalyzer, and Klout, among others.
2. Public relations measurement
Since many modern public relations campaigns entail social media, public relations measurement exists to calculate the impact of social media on press coverage and other elements of public relations. Tools include DIY Dashboard, Tealium, and Vocus, which quantizes information such as share of voice relative to competitors, stories by location, and sentiment analysis for each press hit.
Social media tools
- Consumer and corporate generated content.
- Social media and mobile technology.
1.Consumer and corporate generated content
A number of tools and platforms can be employed as a part of an organization’s social media strategy.
- Social networks.
- Media creation and sharing sites.
- Social news sites.
- Location-based social networking sites.
- Review sites.
- Virtual worlds and online gaming.
Blog is a publicly accessible web page that functions as an interactive journal, whereby readers can post comments on the author’s entries. Some experts believe that every company should have a blog that speaks to current and potential customers, not as consumers but as people.
Blogs can be divided into two broad categories:
- Corporate or professional blogs.
- Non-corporate or personal blogs.
Corporate blogs are sponsored by a company or one of its brands and are maintained by one or more of the company’s employees. They disseminate marketing controlled information and are effective platforms for developing through leadership, fostering better relationships with stakeholders, maximizing search engine optimization, attracting new customers, stories about brands, and providing an active forum for testing new ideas.
Blogs are designed to be updated daily, corporate blogs are dynamic and highly flexible, giving marketers the opportunity to adapt their message more frequently than any other communication channel.
For example: Cleartrip blog, the official blog of cleartrip.com (http://cleartrip blog.com) offers information to its customers about its products and services and new features. Infosys uses its blog to educate and spread awareness about the flat world (http://www.infosysblogs.com).
Those blogs are independent and not associated with the marketing efforts of any particular company or brand. Because these blogs contain information not controlled by marketers they are perceived to be more authentic than corporate blogs.
For example: Mother bloggers are women bloggers who review children’s products and discuss family-related topics on their personal blogs, use non-corporate blogs. The goals of mother blogs are to share parenting tips and experience and become part of the community.
Microblogs are blogs with strict post length limits. Twitter, the most popular microblogging platform, requires that posts to be more than 140 characters in length. However, there are several other platforms, including Jaiku, Tumblr, Plurk, and of course, Facebook status updates.
Twitter has gained global popularity and is now used as a communication and research tool by individuals and brands around the world.
Recently, Twitter has changed its interface to visuals like video and photos and has added new products to try to monetize the site. It has also developed promoted tweets, which are ads that appear in search results and user feeds both on Twitter.com and third-party clients that access the service, such as TweetDeck, Twhirl, TwitterBerry, and Tweetie.
Twitter has proven effective for disseminating breaking news, promoting longer blog posts and campaigns, sharing links, announcing events, and promotion sales. Research has found that when operated correctly, corporate Twitter accounts are well respected and well received.
For instance: Dell was successful in generating sales worth Rs 29.25 crore through its promotion on Twitter. About 15lakh users get tweets from Dell and have direct interactions with the company. Following the success of Dell on Twitter, Sony’s European division too launched a campaign on Twitter, giving an opportunity to the customers to customize a sony via laptop and get a 10 percent discount on the final price. The limited period offer was exceptionally successful, generating sales of over Rs 7.5 crore.
Social networks sites allow individuals to connect or network with friends, peers, and business associates. Connections may be made around shared interests, shared environments or personal relationships. Depending on the site, connected individuals may be able to send each other messages, track each other’s activity, see each other’s personal information, share multimedia, or comment on each other’s blogs and microblog posts.
Depending on its goals, there are several social networks that a marketing team might engage as part of its social media strategy there are:
It is the largest and fastest-growing networking site. While individual Facebook users create profiles, brands, organizations and nonprofit causes operate as pages. By maintaining a popular Facebook page, a brand not only increases its social media presence, but it also helps to optimize search engine results. Pages often include photo and video albums, brand information, and links to external sites. Thus Facebook is an extremely important platform for social marketers.
It is geared towards professionals and businesses who use it to recruit professional and niche networks like Instagram, Pinterest and SoundCloud cater to specialized markets. There is a niche social network for just about every demographic and interest.
While all social networking sites are different, some marketing sites are different, some marketing goals can be accomplished on any such site. Given the right strategy, increasing awareness, targeting audiences, promoting products, highlighting expertise and leadership, attracting event participants, performing research, and new business are attainable marketing goals on any social network.
LinkedIn is used primarily by professionals who wish to build their personal brands online and businesses who are recruiting employees and freelancers.
4.Media sharing sites
It allows users to upload and distribute multimedia content like videos and photos. Sites such as YouTube and Flicker are particularly useful to a brand’s social marketing strategies because they add a vibrant interactive channel on which to disseminate content.
Today organizations can tell compelling brand stories through videos, photos, and audio. Video creation and distribution have also gained popularity among marketer’s because of video’s rich ability to tell stories.
One of the media sharing sites is YouTube
The highest-trafficked video-based web site and the sixth highest-trafficked site overall, it allows users to upload and stream their videos to an enthusiastic and active community. YouTube is not only large in terms of visitors, but it also attracts a diverse base of users age and gender demographics are remarkably balanced.
Many entertainment companies and movie marketers have used YouTube as a showcase for new products, special and movie trailers.
For example: Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation, purchased ad space on the YouTube home page in 15 countries to promote the Avatar movie trailer. Sony music released the video of the song Kolaveri Di on YouTube, which soon became a phenomenal hit and spread like a wildfire on the internet.
5.Social news sites
Users post news stories and multimedia for the community to vote on Crowd-sourced communities such as Reddit, Digg, and Yahoo! Buzz.
On other sites, users links with short, descriptive tags. Users can search the site’s database of links by specific tags or can add their own tags to other links. In this way, tags serve as the foundation for information gathering and sharing on social book marketing sites. For examples of social bookmarking sites in India are Hotklix.Com and Rambhai.Com.
6.Location-based social networking sites
Considered by many to be the next big thing in social marketing, location sites can be an important tool on every marketer’s radar. Essentially, location-based social networking sites combine the fun of social networking with the utility of location-based GPS technology. Users earn badges and special statuses based on their number of visits to particular locations.
For example, Facebook added places to capitalise on this location-based technology, which allows people to “check-in” and share their location with their online friends. It will be interesting to see how the use of this technology grows over time.
Individuals tend to trust other people’s opinions when it comes to purchasing. According to Neilson Media Research, more than 70 percent of consumers said that they trusted online consumer’s opinions. This percentage is much higher than that of consumers who trust traditional advertising.
Based on the early work of Amazon and eBay to integrate user opinions into product and seller pages, countless Web sites allowing users to voice their opinions have sprung up across every segment of the internet market. Review sites allow consumers to post, read, rate, and comment on opinions regarding all kinds of products and services.
For example, On Burrp, users scrutinize local restaurants, gyms, salons, and other businesses, each of which has a detailed profile page. By giving marketers the opportunity to respond to their customers directly and put their businesses in a positive light, review sites certainly serve as useful tools for local and national businesses.
8.Virtual Worlds and Online Gaming
Virtual worlds and online gaming present additional opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers. Several businesses such as ITC’s bingo, Garnier, and Perk have developed advergames to have direct customer engagement.
In fact, film production houses use online gaming for promoting films. Several films like Mission Impossible, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Ra. One, and Don 2 have used online gaming tools for connecting with movie-goers.
Social media and mobile technology
While much of the excitement in social media has been based on websites and new technology uses, much of the growth lies in new platforms. These platforms include a multitude of smartphones like iPhone and BlackBerry as well as netbooks and iPads. The major implications of new platforms mean consumers can access popular Web sites like Facebook, Mashable, Twitter, and Foursquare from their various platforms.
Mobile and Smartphone Technology
More than 25percent of the world’s population and more than 50 percent of the population own a mobile phone. It is no surprise then that the mobile platform is such an effective marketing tool, especially when targeting a younger audience.
In 2007 fair and lovely designed a mobile advertising campaign, promoted via Reliance Mobile, for its annual scholarship program for girls and generated close to 50,000 leads.
The mobile marketing response rate is higher than that of traditional media types like print and broadcast advertisement.
Some common mobile marketing tools include :
- SMS (Short message service): 160 character text messages sent to and from cell phones.
- MMS (multimedia messaging service): Similar to SMS but allows the attachment of images, videos, ringtones, and other multimedia to text messages.
- Mobile ads: Visual advertisements integrated into text messages, applications, and mobile Websites.
- Smartphone apps: Software designed specifically for mobile and tablet devices. These apps include software to turn phones into scanners for various types of barcodes including QR codes.
The first-ever mobile game used for brand promotion was the Thums up Everest challenge. The game required the player to guide the anchor of the game in rock climbing, amidst various challenges. Thumbs up had always been associated with the proposition of thrill and adventure and were very popular among youth. The mobile game resonated well with this core proposition of soft drinks.