The internet technologies have made dramatic impacts on the traditional marketing activities over the past decade. Especially, the boom of social media technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and so on in recent years, which are fundamentally revolutionizing the ways in which people socialise and exchange information on a daily basis. The YouTube video clip “Gangnam Style” by South Korean singer, Park Jae-sang (2012) generated millions of views and made him a worldwide superstar overnight, which essentially proves that the power of social media cannot be underestimated in today’s world. The topic of how to take advantages of the social media channels when creating marketing strategies have been extensive studied by marketers and the academic communities.
This essay will examine the pros and cons of social media in the context of marketing strategy in the current rapidly changing business environment. In addition, the effects it has on the traditional marketing activities will be analysed.
Role of Social Media
It is widely recognised that social media plays a significant role in the construction of marketing strategy for modern businesses. It offers a fast and innovative channel for the distribution of marketing messages on a global basis, and mostly importantly, with minimum cost.
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010, p. 62) defined social media as “social media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”. As the definition suggests that the content, in other words, the actual meaningful marketing messages are no longer well designed promotion campaigns created by the firms but that generated by the users, the consumers based on their understanding and experience with the brand. One of the most influential factors relating to brand building is to understand the customers’ minds (De Chernatony L. & McDonald M., 2003). It is argued that marketing strategy has been greatly shifted from product centric to customer centric, which is proven to be especially effective on the long term basis. The pervasive nature of social media enables consumers to share and exchange their authentic and original opinions without the boundaries of distance and availability. For instance, the foundation of Facebook is mainly focused on information sharing as well as features built specifically to enhance its reachability.
On the other hand, companies also benefit greatly of this pervasiveness. Social media allows the collection of instantaneous customer feedbacks and customer insights. One of the objectives of marketing strategy is to establish a social bond with the targeted customers, encouraging them to participate as much as possible in the marketing activities in order to expand their customer base and eventually build customer loyalty towards the brand. Consequently, the various social media portals provide the businesses a very cost efficient way to stay linked with their consumers. In addition, the positive comments and postings of the brand can be leveraged as a more persuasive and honest marketing messages relative to their own advertising oriented ones.
Since the rapid and widespread development of social media technologies, diverse range of social media forms have been emerged and can be adopted by marketers in many different manners. As a matter of fact, all of the Advertising Age Top 100 Advertisers have created Facebook pages for their brands (Lipsman et al., 2012). A well designed video campaign can be placed on Youtube to raise customer awareness. In the case of long established and well-known brands, it can be considered as an innovative means to keep their customers informed and delivering the message that we are doing well and continuously exploring the state-of-art technologies. A relatively traditional blog page...