Social Media in China

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Introduction: According to Webster’s dictionary Social Media are “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.” The main purpose of social media as a marketing tool is to engage with consumers. Social media allows businesses to engage with consumers in ways that were never possible before. For most companies, creating a social media campaign is not the challenge. The challenge for most companies is their ability to measure effectiveness of their social media efforts. Measuring how a social media campaign translates into profits for a company is no easy feat. But there are some things companies can do to not only make their campaigns successful, but to measure the benefits of this success. The objective of this research paper is to explore how businesses can use social media as a successful marketing tool. Specifically, this paper will address how Chinese businesses can use social media as an effective marking tool. It will also explore the differences between social media in the United States and China. Social Media Platforms in the USA There are several types of social media which are used in the United States. The most commonly known are those which are considered to be “social networks.” These sites allow for individuals to make their own personal profile and connect with other individuals. Communications on these platforms come as video, messages and pictures. Facebook and MySpace are commonly used to keep in touch with friends and family. LinkedIn is a different type of social network whose primary focus is to connect business professionals with one another. Many businesses use these types of social media to share important information about the company activities with consumers. They can also use these types of tools to entice consumers to purchase products or visit their stores. These types of networks can also be used to target customers or to create a buzz about some new product or promotion going on with a specific company. Pepsi is a great example of how a company used Facebook to increase sales. “Pepsi used social networks, specifically Facebook, to gather customer insights about their DEWmocracy promotions. Their efforts lead to the creation of various varieties of their Mountain Dew brand.” By allowing the customer to decide what flavors they would like to see created, Pepsi gained great insight about the people who buy their product. Another type of social platform is what is known as a microblog. A microblog is a shorter condensed version of an actual blog. These platforms limited their users to 140 characters as opposed to regular blogs that allow users unlimited amount of characters. They are used for immediate and constant updating when things happen or even when they are happening. The purpose of the microblog is to get small bits of information to your “followers” as quickly as possible. Twitter is the most commonly known and most popular microblog in use today. With Twitter, a user can create their own account and then can elect to “follow” other users on the platform. They can choose to “follow” friends, family and even celebrities. But from a business standpoint, there is more value in Twitter than just tweeting and retweeting. According to Schmidt, “Twitter can be used as a monitoring tool to get data that marketers need to make decisions. Companies now have ability to monitor what consumers think and feel about their specific product. One tweet from a company has the potential of reaching all 140 million Twitter users” (Schmidt.6). Though the microblog is a newer type of social media platform, Twitter has seen huge success since its birth in 2006. Marketers can capitalize on this platforms’ success by utilizing it in their business’s everyday marketing strategy. Blogs are also considered to be a type of social media, though less popular...
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