Monthly Archives: March 2015

Social Media: A constraint or useful tool for marketers?

Social media has exploded as a category of online discourse where people create content, share, bookmark and network at a prodigious rate. Examples include Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Twitter and JISC listservs on the academic side. Because of its ease of use, speed and reach, social media is fast changing the public discourse in society and setting trends and agendas in topics that range from the environment and politics to technology and the entertainment industry (Asur Et al, 2010) This literature review looks at Social media’s impact on marketing, It will look at the impact on businesses and customers, It will then take into account positive and negative implications of using social media from a business point of view compared to more convention methods of marketing. The media landscape has undergone an immense transformation over the past decade (Mangold and Faulds, 2009) Social media, i.e. social networks or microblogs, are increasingly replacing traditional media, and the buzz about these new marketing opportunities seems unlimited (Trusov et al, 2009) This literature review critically reviews many different journals and theory’s based on social media and will draw a conclusion based on these many different sources.

Emerald (2012) discusses how social media is changing the status quo of how business’s interact and deal with customers, This journal goes on to talk about how social media is replacing conventional methods of reaching on to customers such as classified ads and newspapers for example, It then goes on to say that the internet has been with us a while but it is constantly evolving and presenting flow of new opportunities and challenges. Williamson (2011) Would agree with this however she doesn’t think that you cannot simple count the number of likes and followers to measure your business success as a marketer, Marketers would consider return on investment a suitable way of measure your social media success. According to a study conducted by Nielsen (2009a), 70 percent of internet users trust the evaluations of consumers themselves through social media, This means that for marketers that they in theory wouldn’t need to explain their promotion’s or what their business is stating, The majority of people will just believe what’s posted on social media. In 2008 companies invested more than 1.54Billion dollars for the implementation and support of social media communications, This would seem to suggest that more and more businesses are moving with the times to embed social media in their businesses, For marketers there is no printing, paper, postage or mailing costs. By dedicating one person to social media marketing you will reach thousands and could potentially reach hundreds of thousands, Its not the size of business that matters but the speed (Kattan 2012). But it’d not just about moving away from traditional methods and cost saving, social media impacts how they can really engage with customers, (Trusov et all (2009) discusses how the advantages of word of mouth is dying out because of social media, but you need to us WOM in order to establish you reputation and interest in social media so if WOM is become less and less used surely social media should also start to decline? The simple answer is no because as soon as you have even a little interest in a social media campaign that’s the ignition to what could be an explosion of people checking out you business but like Kattan (2012) mentioned earlier it doesn’t matter about the size of the business but the speed that it grows and uses its social media to full effect. Moving away from traditional methods will be a certain shock to a business that has very little or no online presence (Emerald, 2012). Businesses need to decide in advice are they going to se social media on a national or international scale, Who are they trying to target and what sort of social media techniques will that business use in order to interact with its customers (Rowley, 2012)

As the literature is suggesting so far is that social media is great and should be a tool every marketer, Although in terms of building one-to-one relationships Social media is not all that great at that, Joseph Sexsmith is a independent strategy advisor to marketers and Robert Angel who specializes in understanding customers as individuals, say that There are risks is simply just using social media to capture your customers, and that social media is a “promotion-skewed business process” messages sent to the mass market rather than conversations to build one-to-one relationships would be a big constraint to marketing in the mass markets. But then you have to ask the question do you need to personally engage with the customer using social media Well according to Carolyn Heller Baird and Gautam Parasnis (2011) getting close to customers using social media is a top priority for CEO’s said the IMB 2010 CEO study, most customers do not engage with social media simple to feel connected It is apparent that customers are pragmatic. To be successful with social media there needs to be a tangible value for customers in return so that there feel the attention from then business and they are being targeted on a personal level. In a nut shell businesses use social media to save themselves money and free up time for more important tasks, in short social media marketing equals sales (Kattan 2012). He then regards real time customer information at a key advantage for social media and sure you could get that kind of o information face to face but say that person is the other side of the world, social media allows marketers to bridge that distance gap and build moral with that customer’s needs.

Carolyn Heller Baird Gautam Parasnis, (2011) talk about the explosion of social media in recent years and how businesses feel the pressure to interact with it’s customers, it then goes on talk about the change extent of this explosion such as when twitter was launched in 2006 more than 10 billion tweets were sent by the end of July, and by February 2010 there was already 240million visitors to the social site, Clearly this is where the shift in marketing is occurring more and more people are moving online to do their day to day things such as browsing football scores, shopping or reading the newspapers, However the article then goes on to discuss how using social media as channel for customer engagement would raise some interesting challenges for customer relationship marketing (CRM) I mean typically a shop keep of a store would build moral with his or hers customers and tend to their needs with the products that they need/want. Now Carolyn Heller Baird Gautam Parasnis, (2011) Talk about how businesses are no longer in control of that relationship when it comes to Social media. Emerald (2012) would suggest more of the same by saying “By dedicating one person to social media marketing, you will reach thousands and could potentially hundreds of thousands of customers who are waiting to hear more about your brand, Although that mind be true for increase sales and interest within your business how is that 1 person going to be able to know each and everyone of their customers on a personal level? From a customer point of view they don’t have to doing nothing, customers shouldn’t need to change their daily habits whilst using social media Rowley, (2005). According to Rowley, (2005) Loyalty schemes are a good way to engage with your customers and understand what they want from your business, the Tesco club card is perhaps one of the most popular but there as hundreds she mentions such as Airmails, American express and Marriot to name but a few, The article discuss how business will look at the loyal of its customer and what transactions they are making through their business to then target them with what the business think’s the customers wants. Hennig-Thurau et al (2010) Would agree with Rowley as their journal also talks about the change in new media and how the social media has changed how business interact with its customers, The journal also mentions how business get real time information from its customers, Entries made by a consumer in forums, blogs and social communities can be tracked by other consumers as well as companies Hennig-Thurau et al (2010) Although business gain a lot out of CRM on social media there is also a downside as Hennig-Thurau (2010) goes on to discuss, Dave Carroll did a YouTube video expressing how bad United airlines is after he his guitar was broke during his flight the song “united breaks guitars” even went viral and even hit the music charts in the US, another example mention in this journal is the incident in 2009 involving 2 employee’s uploaded a Video on YouTube (coincidentally) showing themselves doing indecent things too a pizza and then selling it.  The Journal mentions how not only did this damage Domino’s brand reputation but there revenue also dropped for that year. The issue was resolved by domino’s later break to social media (twitter and Facebook) reassuring customers that there pizzas are great and we are still a good brand. Electronic word of mouth (EWOM) was the method used to resolve the issue as it social media allows businesses to interact in real time and reach a vast audience. So overall what these journals have talked about is even though business can use social media to engage and interact with its customers in real time, It can also have a downside where if the business doesn’t satisfy that customers’ needs to the extent that they wanted, Then that customer will break straight out to social media to express their views.

A high level of satisfaction achieved when customer expectations are exceeded and emotions become highly positive has been described as not just satisfaction but delight (Oliver et al., 1997). When a customer receives great customer service from a business on social media customers feel delight and they are more likely to use that very same business in the future, Customers engage on social media using the customer engagement cycle and it goes as follows Connection, Interaction, satisfaction, Retention, Commitment, Advocacy, And finally engagement, C.M. Sashi, (2012) Reports that customers on social media go through different stages until they completely engage with that business. Building customer engagement in both business and consumer markets requires adaptation of the marketing mix to take advantage of new technologies and tools to better understand and serve customers. Social media provide the opportunity to connect with customers using richer media with greater reach (see, e.g. Thackeray et al., 2008) Thackeray at el talks about how web 2.0 has allowed businesses to directly interact with its customers in 3 different ways, To Increase product awareness, to persuade people to purchase their product or service, To remind people that the product or service exists (Kotler & Keller, 2007) Web 2.0 just to summarise is the second generation on internet based applications such as social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and WordPress. If a business uses social media to get to know the customer on a personal level then in impact on that customer is profound if they execute service correctly, Harrison-walker (2001) would certainly agree with Kotler & Keller as he says that delighted customer are prone to communicate there delight to the people with who they are connected in social networks. In other words if business deliver what the customers expects and go the extra mile then the perception is that the delight customer will take it upon themselves to express the service that they have received from that business. Kattan (2012) as mentioned before that social media is free and saves businesses time as social media is a direct real time tool that marketers can use to reach potential or previous customers. Zeng et al (2010) reports how Businesses have Analytics to look at what people are most browsing on their site or what they are clicking and what they’re not clicking, This means that they can alter how they market and change the things on their site or promotions with just aren’t working out (See Diakopoulos et al 2010) Social media analytics are useful for spotting trends in society  this means that businesses could potentially predict the future with the trends that see are emerging in the present they can take that information and then plan for the future. Although a lot of journals talk about the positive implications for using social media like most things in life there are negative implications to using social media. Social media isn’t great at being personal to individual customers unless taking the time out to interact with them single handily Hennig-Thurau et al (2010). Hennig-Thurau then talks about how social media is not like traditional methods of marketing such as TV, Radio and newspaper where demographics are in play, Social media is very broad and it will reach a vast audience but the implication is you can’t directly target someone who you think might be interest until they make the first move such as a transaction or page like. Carolyn Heller Baird Gautam Parasnis, (2011) would agree that social media lacks a level of personal interaction and that business need to carefully plan out how they are going to build upon CRM on social media. Organizations need to carefully consider how they can create a social media experience that is unique to their brand, offers customer value and exploits the power of the social community Carolyn Heller Baird Gautam Parasnis, (2011).

From the Literature that I have extensively reviewed it is evident that Social media is a very good tool to reach new potential customers in this dynamic marketing category, Social media is very powerful in the fact that a business can operate fully online and have such an influence in how a customer shops and browses the internet. When compared with more tradition methods of marketing, social media does lack a little bit of a personal feeling but this is not something that businesses have considered integrating into social media, Businesses can personally message people and deal with them in real time, then there is the use of technology that lets businesses identify what a customer would want from their business by using the analytics tool, businesses can accurately work out the kinds of people are  interacting with the business and know more personal information like, Location, name, and interests this is because of the web 2.0 applications which give businesses more access to more customer information. This means that they have online demographics build-up of the customer and can specifically target them with ads and social media marketing to try and engage with that customer, The negative implication of social media that came up consistently in the journal articles was the lack of CRM being used in social media, however as mentioned it is still something that can be implemented in social media but just takes time to do and of course time is money in business.

References

Asur, S., & Huberman, B. A. (2010, August). Predicting the future with social media. In Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology (WI-IAT), 2010 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on (Vol. 1, pp. 492-499). IEEE.

Manfred BruhnVerena SchoenmuellerDaniela B. Schäfer, (2012) “Are social media replacing traditional media in terms of brand equity creation?, Management Research Review, Vol. 35 Iss: 9, pp.770 – 790

Emerald (2012) “New media needs new marketing: Social networking challenges traditional methods”, Strategic Direction, Vol. 28 Iss: 6, pp.24 – 27

Kattan, 0 (2012) Social media 101: An intro for businesses Avaliable from: http://sandstormdigital.com/2012/10/29/social-media-101-intro-guide-for-businesses/ [Accessed 23/03/2015

Carolyn Heller Baird Gautam Parasnis, (2011),”From social media to social customer relationship management”, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 Iss 5 pp. 30 – 37 Available from : http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/10878571111161507

Manfred Bruhn Verena Schoenmueller Daniela B. Schäfer, (2012),”Are social media replacing traditional media in terms of brand equity creation?”, Management Research Review, Vol. 35 Iss 9 pp. 770 – 790

Jennifer Rowley, (2005) “Building brand webs: Customer relationship management through the Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 33 Iss: 3, pp.194 – 206

Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Edward C. Malthouse , Christian Friege , Sonja Gensler , Lara Lobschat , Arvind Rangaswamy, and Bernd Skiera (2010) The Impact of New Media on Customer Relationships Available from http://jsr.sagepub.com/content/13/3/311.full.pdf+html

Eric Gilbert and Karrie Karahalios (2009) Predicting Tie Strength With Social Media, Proceedings of SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 211-220.

Asur, S.; Huberman, B.A., “Predicting the Future with Social Media,” Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology (WI-IAT), 2010 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on , vol.1, no., pp.492,499, Aug. 31 2010-Sept. 3 2010 [Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5616710&isnumber=5614551]

Daniel Zeng; Hsinchun Chen; Lusch, R.; Shu-Hsing Li, “Social Media Analytics and Intelligence,” Intelligent Systems, IEEE , vol.25, no.6, pp.13,16, Nov.-Dec. 2010 [Available from;  http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5678581&isnumber=5678575]

Diakopoulos, Nicholas, Mor Naaman, and Funda Kivran-Swaine. “Diamonds in the rough: Social media visual analytics for journalistic inquiry.” Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST), 2010 IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 2010. Available from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=5652922

Rosemary Thackeray, Brad L. Neiger, Carl L. Hanson and James F. McKenzie (2009) Enhancing Promotional Strategies Within Social Marketing Programs: Use of Web 2.0 Social Media Available from: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/chaston/Chaston%20Web%20readings%20chapters%201-12/Chapter%209%20-%2031%20Thackeray%20et%20al..pdf

Josepth Sexsmith and Robert angel (2009) Social networking  The View from The C-Suite [Available from; http://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/social-networking-the-view-from-the-c-suite/

C.M. Sashi, (2012),”Customer engagement, buyer-seller relationships, and social media”, Management Decision, Vol. 50 Iss 2 pp. 253 – 272 Available from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/00251741211203551

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