Social Media in the Business World
There are 2.65 billion social media users globally, and of these 95% of people aged 18-34 follow a brand on social media. My generation has grown up in a society where we turn to social media to tell us what’s going on in the news, what products we should buy, and what our friends and family are used to. Because of the large presence of technology in our society, hyper attention has also popped up. What is hyper attention you might ask? “Hyper attention is characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information stream” (Hayles, 2007). In fact, social media has become such a big part of our society that we don’t even realize how big of a presence it has, the Scientific American Magazine states, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life” (Weiser, 1991). It seems that any company you can think of has a social media account that you can follow to get news on their new products, specials, and updates within the country. This new advertising strategy has not only taken over the marketing world by storm, but it makes me think: Is social media in the marketing world more effective than the older marketing tools? This post will talk about how social media works in the marketing world, if social media tactics are actually more successful than non-digital tactics, and if companies that aren’t using social media are struggling. This may not seem like that important of a topic to some people, but personally I believe that because social media has such a huge presence in our society, we need to be fully aware of the impact it is having on our businesses.
Lets first look at a definition of social media given in a journal from the University of Rhode Island. It states, “Web 2.0: a term that describes a new way in which end users use the World Wide Web, a place where content is continuously altered by all operators in a sharing and collaborative way” (Paquette, 2013). A Huffington post article titled, “How social media has changed the way that we engage customers” gives great insight into how social media has taken over the marketing world. As I had stated in the paragraph above, the article states, “While it’s easy to take social media for granted, we shouldn’t forget the many benefits that these platforms afford us.” (Johansson, 2017). As a college student, my main relationship with social media has taken the form of personal accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Facebook has grown to be a huge social media platform, in fact an article by Pop Culture Intersections states, “One of the most popular social media sites, Facebook, has 1.4 billion users around the world, nearly a fifth of the world’s population, thus helping us to better understand, learn, and share information instantaneously making the world look like a small village” (Amedie, 2015) For me, and most of my friends, these platforms are being used to communicate with each other, keep up to date on news, and simply for entertainment. However, I don’t think that we realize (1) how influenced we are by what we see on social media sites and (2) how social media platforms aren’t just for fun, but can help grow a business. In August, if you would’ve asked me what I wanted to do after graduation, I would have given you the same answer I’ve been giving people for three and a half years, “I just want to get a job.” Simple answer, yes, but at a time when I had no idea what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, this seemed like the only answer. However, after spending the past semester as a social media intern, I have discovered that it is where my passion is. I enjoy helping businesses understand how to utilize social media to grow their business, and its ever-changing style keeps the line of work exciting. So, like in my own life, social media is taking over our society. Let’s get back to the Huffington Post article. The article discusses three ways that social media has influenced the marketing world. These three ways are:
Better insights: This is the idea that the technology surrounding social media as a marketing tool has made it possible for us to get loads of data, that would otherwise take tons of man hours to collect. For example, at the restaurant I work I am I charge of social media. Just the other day we were looking at these insights to help us understand how to target our customer. According to social media, our customer base is 70% female between ages 18-35. This simple statistic, that would’ve take us hours to get to, was collected with a press of a button, and because of this we can alter our marketing strategy to this group of people.
Bypassing gatekeepers: Gatekeeping is the idea that “someone always stood between the brand and the customer” (Johansson, 2017). Social media has brought down this barrier and allowed for brands to be more responsive and efficient.
Organic campaigns: This is the idea of a “word to mouth” approach. In other words, businesses can get their name out there without a lot of money (before you factor in paid advertisements and boosting posts).
This is just a few of the benefits that social media has on marketing, and it is my opinion that over the years the benefits will just increase as technology grows.
With the increase of social media in the marketing world, it is important for us to analyze if it’s any better than a traditional marketing strategy. The International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems states two major benefits to social media in business which are:
“1. Cost Reduction by decreasing staff time
2. Increase of probability of revenue generation” (Neti, 2011)
In addition, an article by AdWeek sates, “Social media has rapidly integrated itself into our everyday lives, both personal and professional, and it’s perhaps had no greater impact than on the world of marketing, with consumer brands seeing enormous benefits and changes” (Bennett, 2012). So, there you have it, that’s the answer, right? Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this article goes on to discuss social media marketing vs. traditional marketing and I think we owe it to ourselves to hear what they must say before we decide to agree. The number one reason why social media has been said to be a more beneficial marketing tool is because of one thing: MONEY! Social media as marketing technique is infinitely cheaper than traditional marketing. As the AdWeek article states, “You can reach 1,000 people for a fraction of the cost of using social media than you can through television, billboards, or even email” (Bennett, 2012). Sure, there’s paid advertisements on social media platforms now, but the reality is that these ads are way cheaper, then say, a billboard ad. But don’t get too excited, we all like to save money but let’s give traditional marketing a chance. AdWeek says, “Social media campaigns can be time consuming and the impact can disseminate very quickly, whereas traditional marketing campaigns, certainly in television, can produce short term results that have greater tangibility” (Bennett, 2012). I know what you’re thinking, “How long could it possibly take for someone to post a picture on Instagram?” The fact of the matter is that it’s a lot more complicated than that, creating original content that is unique for every social media platform (in regards to a certain audience for each) and posting it at a certain time/day that will get you results takes a lot of work. Alright it’s time to decide…. Is social media marketing better than traditional marketing techniques that have been aiding businesses for decades? My answer is: yes. Social media has and will continue to revolutionize the way marketing is done, and the way we as consumers are engaged with our favorite businesses. You can’t stand in the way of progress, and this is where we are moving as a society. I’m not saying you can’t have a successful business without using social media in your marketing strategy, but I do think it can be extremely beneficial for your company if you do.
Let me share a few statistics at you:
Online adults (ages 18-34) are most likely to follow a brand via social networking. (95%)
71% of consumers who have had a good social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook
Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Statistics brought to you by: Deamgrow (Hainla, 2017)
Now comes the million-dollar question: Are companies that aren’t using social media for marketing purposes falling behind? The answer to this question is completely based on your relationship with social media. However, as someone that has been a part of the social media marketing world for the past five months, I will say that I have seen growth within a company just from the addition of this platform. So, no, maybe they’re not falling behind, but they’re certainly not moving forward.
Sean Gardner states, “Social media is not just an activity, it is an investment of valuable time and resources” (Stec, 2014). While most of us have seen, social media has a form of engagement with friends and just a form of entertainment, is it so much more. It is unfortunate that quotes such as, “Teens’ mental model of their audience is often inaccurate, but not because teens are naïve or stupid. When people are chatting and sharing photos with friends via social media, it’s often hard to remember that viewers who aren’t commenting might also be watching” have made social media something to be afraid of (Boyd, 2014). I hope after reading this post that you will (1) better understand how social media can improve your business and (2) not just see social media has a fun tool for the younger generation. Take advantage of these platforms, and grow your business!
Works Cited (Other)
21 Social Media Marketing Statistics You Need to Know in 2017. (2017, November 20). Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.dreamgrow.com/21-social-media-marketing-statistics/
Bennett, S. (2012, July 13). Marketing 101 - Social Media vs Traditional Media [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://www.adweek.com/digital/social-vs-traditional-media-marketing/
Johansson, A. (2016, May 10). How Social Media Has Changed The Way That We Engage Consumers. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-johansson/how-social-media-has-chang...
Stec, C. (n.d.). 5 Quotes That Explain How Effective Social Media Marketing Works. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/5-quotes-that-explain-how-effective-socia...
Works Cited (Academic):
Amedie , J. (2015). The Impact of Social Media on Society . Pop Culture Intersections . Retrieved November 30, 2017.
Paquette, H. (2013). Social Media as a Marketing Tool: A Literature Review . Major Papers by Master of Science Students . Retrieved November 30, 2017.
Neti, S. (2011). Social Media and Its Role in Marketing . International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems , 1(2). Retrieved November 30, 2017.