The rapidly changing business has brought about a drastic change in the use of media in the promotion mix of companies. Internet networking has opened doors for smarter, cost effective and easier communication in business. Businesses are trying to find innovative ways to use this as a competitive advantage over the others. This study reveals the ways in which social media is used by the companies, how it influences the consumer in expressing their dissatisfaction and an explanation of consumer behaviour online with the theory of planned behaviour.
A NEW REVOLUTION…
Social media can be characterised as: “online applications, platforms and media which aim to facilitate interactions, collaborations and the sharing of content” (Power to the people – social media tracker wave 3, 2008)
Since the entry of various Social Media’s, Customers have come back into the core of the business. This has come as a game changer and helped the marketers develop strategies to build a more intimate relationship with their customers. It encourages customers to involve themselves more with the brands. This integration of the outbound marketing and the inbound marketing helps companies develop a more cost effective strategy, which will provide important data for the betterment of the organisation and acts as a fuel, driving the organisation forward with its precious customers loyal to it. (Zook, 2011) CEO’s and managers are looking for answers to what exactly investing on Social media can do to their business. They are trying to calculate the ROI in social media. Most of the manager’s still think that social media is just another marketing vehicle as they look for proof in figures. But they might be absolutely mistaken as, social media’s effects can be more qualitative than quantitative. That is why the big talk about effects of social media as a new marketing tool continues. (fodor, 2010) Since the widespread of networking through internet and social media like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter et al. Word of mouth has taken a new avatar in this modern day. The qualitative impact of it is huge in terms of building a brand image, customer loyalty, development of new products while considering the customers views. 10 Years ago building a brand would take years of hard work, now it only takes the right integration of Social media into the company’s marketing mix to achieve that in an year. Companies like Facebook and Starbucks are great examples for this. (htt2)
SOCIAL MEDIA TO THE COMPANY AND TO THE CUSTOMERS
Involvement of companies in social media as a new tool for public relations opens a whole new forum for two way communication between the customer and the provider. Companies are investing on a more active and customer friendly websites and social network forums. There are cases of companies using social media to achieve great success like Amazon and companies which have fallen of the track due to bad usage of Social media like Intel. Unlike before the customers do not have to take the pain of going through a long procedure for them to express their dissatisfaction and wait for the suitable actions from the companies to solve their problems. The digital era has made it quick and convenient for them to do it. The control over social media favours the customers and not the organisations. There has been a shift of power. As companies are recently using the social media to communicate with the customers through opening blogs, forum discussions and updating profiles, customers are developing a feeling of being an influencer to the company. The active participation of the customers are being monitored by the companies to develop products to satisfy their customers and also predict any future problems coming their way. This way both parties are in gain. As the scope of social media is concerned, it provides a huge avenue for the companies to promote their products and reach the customers who are generally difficult to reach...
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