Table of Contents
Social media plays a crucial role in promoting the multinational corporate firms across the globe and increase brand visibility in the market (Vinerean et al., 2013, p.66). Social media marketing deals with the use of social platforms by an organization to promote their goods and services. Most of the social media tools have created their own data access tools that provide the firm with wider opportunities to engage with the customers on a social networking platform (Labrecque, 2014, p. 140). These tools help in sharing and creating contents that are viewed by the customers and help them in accessing the ways through which marketing and branding goals of the firm can be achieved along with the provision of communicating with a wide variety of customers. Organizations connects with various stakeholders, through which their products and services can be promoted on a wider scale. To access the utilization of social media, a firm must analyse the ways through which effective planning for social media marketing can be achieved (Tsimonis & Dimitriadis, 2014, p. 340). They must formulate strategies that would lead to the generation of brand development for the firm and help them in acquiring competitive advantage among the other firms.
The aim of the study is to understand the transition phase where the organisations focus on social media marketing rather than traditional marketing. Through this paper, it is possible to recognise the positive contributions of social media in the business where the corporate firms try to retain long-term customers worldwide. On the other hand, the discussion regarding the negativities of social media is helpful for acknowledging the disadvantages of using social media in the businesses.
In the recent years, all the corporate firms try to change their marketing strategic planning to place the brands uniquely in the market. Traditionally, the organisations designed different strategies such as newspaper advertisement, television, radio, magazines and brochures for promoting their brands (Trainor et al., 2014, p.1207). Most of the organisations focus on these traditional marketing techniques for retaining the customers in long run. However, in the recent years, the customers are well concerned about technology and latest mobile application for gathering news and information. In such a technical era, the number of internet users is increasing exponentially across the globe (Vinerean et al., 2013, p.66). It further influences the entrepreneurs of small and medium sized firms as well as multinational corporations for changing the strategy of traditional marketing and adopting new tactics of social media marketing for successful customer retention (Peters, et al., 2013, p. 290).
The organisations implement the strategy of online marketing for attracting more audiences in the market. The main strategies of social media marketing are such as Facebook, Twitter, Blog, YouTube, Google+, etc., through which the organisations convey their message to the audiences. The brands try to upload different post in Facebook for attracting clients that are more corporate across the globe (Malthouse et al., 2013, p.274). Moreover, uploading videos through YouTube as well as developing effective content in Twitter and Blogs are also effective strategic planning of the multinational corporate firms for promoting their products and services at effective market. Developing effective search engine optimisation is also another important strategy for attracting global clients for the organisation (Trainor, et al., 2014, p.1206).
In addition to such provisions, several other techniques are incorporated by the organization that adhered to online advertisement, electronic word of mouth, online chat groups, bloggings and micro bloggings. These techniques help the firms to get associated with the online sites that provided a direct link to the website of the referred organization by posting their online advertisements (Malthouse et al., 2013, p.276). The techniques of social marketing provide an opportunity for the firm to uphold the goods to the customers through extensive planning and application of strategies. The organization can use any of the following mentioned techniques that would focus on attracting more customers (Aral, Dellarocas & Godes, 2013, p. 10). Feedbacks from the customers and customer’s queries help in developing the products as per the needs of the consumers. Such modifications are in accordance with the tastes and preferences of the consumers, hence, provide better opportunity to raise the demand for the products (Laroche, Habibi, & Richard, 2013, p. 78). Moreover, attractive video or image of the products and services is also another effective planning of the firms for attracting more clients. The transition phase from traditional marketing strategies to social media marketing strategies is helpful for all the firms, where the main objective is to attract more audiences worldwide. The organisations try to utilise the transition phase for attracting the customers and run the businesses sustainably in long run (Rauniar et al., 2014, p. 14).
Positive impacts of social media
Social media marketing strategies provide a scope to all the multinational corporations as well as small and medium sized entrepreneurs to promote their products and services in the international market. Social media leads to the enhancement of marketing strategies of a firm, in a number of ways, which could be listed as follow:
- Association of brand awareness and brand visibility among the consumers – Through the marketing strategies, the organisations try to provide all the relevant information regarding the brand values, product specifications and price of the products. Through providing all the relevant information of the products, the organisations try to promote the goods in the international market (Ashley & Tuten, 2015, p. 25). The social media strategy is therefore been ficial for all the firms to improve brand visibility in the international market where the customers can access all the information and news regarding a particular brand. Providing knowledge to the consumers regarding a particular brand helps the customers to attain information regarding the product, thereby maintaining brand awareness in the market.
- Building customer engagement – social media marketing strategy is useful for improving engagement with the customers by building strong relationship with them. One of the most vital goals for the firms is to attain customer loyalty. Engaging with the customs through social media, providing them with necessary information regarding the products and services and giving them necessary feedbacks, helps the firm in analysing ways through which it could strengthen the engagement with the customers. Enhanced customer engagement helps the firm in analysing ways through which customer acquisition could be experienced by the firm, the customer loyalty of the new customers could be achieved along with customer retention of the old ones can be analysed. High visibility further helps to build strong corporate relationship with the customers, which is necessary for retaining old as well as new customers (Trainor et al., 2014, p.1204). Additionally, as social media is a platform of two-way communication, the sales representatives can directly interact with the customers. This is been ficial for understanding the actual needs and preferences of the customers and it provides a scope to the firms to transport the right products to the right customers (Ashley & Tuten, 2015, p. 25).
- Cost effective technique – social media marketing is considered as one of the most cost efficient aspect of analysing marketing strategies for a firm (Tiago & Veríssimo, 2014, p.705). Setting up of websites and signing up a profile in a special networking sites incurs certain amount of costs that are considered as negligible while being compared with the costs incurred through other forms of marketing strategies analysed by the firm. Through a single promotional activity, vast amount of customers could be reached in a global platform. Different customer segments could be accessed by the firm, thereby getting the opportunity of promoting their products on a larger scale. Application of such cost effective methods of carrying on the promotional activities of the firm helps them in acquiring better return on investments. This thereby raises the profit margin of the organization and invests the money in other aspects related to operating the business (Vinerean et al., 2013, p.66).
- Networking – Networking is considered as a valuable aspect for the companies, which thereby receive the advantage of exchanging ideas with like-minded people and gain knowledge regarding the likes and dislikes of the customers. Social media is a platform where people from different background, cultures and habits engage with each other. It is one of the best platforms for the organization to communicate with the customers and attain knowledge regarding their preferences and needs (Rapp et al., 2013, p. 548). Using online networking sites, the organization has the opportunity of enhancing their goods according to the needs of the customers. It provides them with the ability to modify their products and services thereby socially market their products through the process of electronic word of mouth (E-WOM). E-WOM provides an opportunity to the firms to promote their product and services through the customers (Hennig-Thurau, Hofacker, & Bloching, 2013, p. 239). These customers gain knowledge from the firms and spread the news of certain differential specification, which the products consists of, thereby raising the demand for the products and acquiring more customers.
- Search engine discoverability – The ranking of the website of a particular organization in multiple search engines helps in analysing the impact of social network on the firm. As more people acknowledge the brand and gain knowledge regarding the products and services of the firm, the visibility of the firms in search engines increases. Such form of marketing is knows as search engine discoverability (Habibi, Laroche & Richard, 2014, p. 85). This practise makes it easier for the customers to find out the products that they are actively looking for. Search engine optimisation is one of the simple techniques, if marketing the products and services of the firm through the aspect of discoverability. The organizations induce attractive attributes and elements of their website and thereby improve the optimization of their search engines. This helps them in securing higher ranks and hence, when the customers search related keywords, the websites of the particular organization with high ranks are usually shown, thereby raising their ability to attract the customers in a better manner (Habibi, Laroche & Richard, 2014, p. 80).
- Brand development – Social media provides the opportunity for the firm to enhance the ability to connect with the customers on a personal level. This helps the organization in developing its brand by being associated with various customers on a bigger platform. Firms can use social media for improving their brand image in front of the consumers. Implementation of extensive strategies for brand development helps the firms in upgrading their standards to acquire more customers towards their products. Customer feedbacks and query-solving services enhances the ability of the firm in improving and modifying their products (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2016, p. 195). Hence, publicity of the firm is done at much lower costs where customer loyalty and customer acquisition become two of the most important aspects for the firm. Social media provides a prospect for the firm to select the appropriate support and network for it that enhances its image and provides it with comparative advantage, thereby acquiring development of the brand.
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Negative impacts of social media
Social media strategy is helpful for the organisations for retaining old as well as new customers by promoting the organisational products and services at effective market. Though social media is been crucial for the firms for successful customer retention, it has some disadvantages for which the brand reputation and customer loyalty can be hampered. Some of the negative impacts of social media marketing could be listed below, as follows:
- Risk Of Hacking – In the recent years, the number of hackers in the industry is rising rapidly, which adversely affects the copyright of the firms. The hackers are paid higher for searching internal information of other businesses (Malthouse et al., 2013, p.275). The hackers try to provide authentic internal information to the firms so that the company can develop new innovative ideas for gaining high competitive advantage. Hacking also leads to the leakage of several personal information regarding the customers. This leads to a great loss incurred by the firms along with the loss in customer’s trust towards the brand, leading to a considerable fall in the demand trend faced by the firm.
- Risk of negative comments – Handling negative feedback of the customers is another issue for which the firms face difficulties in managing social media strategic planning. The customers sometime provide negative feedback, which further demotivates other consumers in developing effective purchase decision of buying the product from a particular company. Inappropriate timing is another negative factor where the sales representatives fail to provide 24*7 services to the customers, which further raises the issues of dissatisfaction of the customers (Trainor et al., 2014, p.1205).
- Time consuming – social media is considered as a time consuming process used by the firms for promoting their products and services. The organization needs to incorporate several strategies that would attract the customers towards their profiles or online advertisements. Moreover, monitoring the comments and responding to the queries of the customer needs the company representative to stay online 24*7. The commitment towards time about social media marketing is quite crucial for the organization (Malthouse, et al., 2013, p. 277). With the insufficiency of proving enough time to the marketing strategies online, there are high chances of losing the customers who had been associated to the firm.
- Risk of marketing shift – Social media offers many breaks for the firms to engage with the customers to maintain large platform, for promoting their products and helps in changing the nature of the organization’s communication technique, thereby favouring personal engagement and graphic contents over traditional methods of marketing. Yet, firms those who are majorly based on the traditional methods of marketing their products and services have to imply a transitional shift of the ways in which further promotions for their products can be done. It is not necessary that the organization is successful in analysing the ways, through which a transition from the traditional marketing to social media marketing is achieved by the firm. At certain level, it is seen that the firms have to employ better strategies and efficient management that would help them in analysing such facilities of social media (Laroche, Habibi, & Richard, 2013, p.160). Any form of inefficiency in such strategies of marketing shift would lead the firm to limit its gains.
- Less control on shared content – Two of the most defining attributes of social media are opportunity for interaction of multiple users and single piece of content. These interactions provide an opportunity for the firm to attain likes and comments. These contents are further broadcasted to the followed and the actual contacts of the firm, hence, they can provide greater reach with their remarks. As the organization does not have any form of control on its contents, misleading comments and illegal sharing of the contents might lead to negative marketing for the firm. This dampens the effect of social media marketing, which would have generated better customer acknowledgement and rise in the market share for the firm (Peters, et al., 2013, p. 294). Moreover, it further leads to negative image framed along with reduction in the revenues earned by the organization.
- High level of competition – Social media marketing is a common way of promoting the products and services of the firm in today’s world. Most of the firms have acquired ways, in which such productive analysis of marketing their products through social media could be performed. This thereby provides opportunities for the customers to avail better varieties of products. A single firm has to deal with a wide variety of competition in marketing. Achievement of customer loyalty is considered as quite difficult for an organization as the customers are able to explore wide variety of firms promoting their services (Rapp et al., 2013, p. 550). As the customers are provided with better and new varieties, they do not maintain loyalty with a particular firm. Hence, social media makes the firms to face the risk of high competition level.
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The strategy of social media marketing is advantageous for retaining long-term customers and enhancing business performance in the market. Promotional operations of the firm through social media help in availing better opportunities by providing bigger platform to market the products and services. The activities in social media are helpful for all the businesses to improve engagement with the customers through which it is possible to strengthen the customer base of the organisation through brand development, networking and search engine discoverability, which will be crucial for running the businesses successfully in long run. On the other side, there are some negative impacts of social media marketing such as high number of hackers, fraud cases, managing negative feedback, leakage of information, uses more time for marketing the products, risk of marketing shift, security issues about shared contents and high competition level. It is necessary for all the corporate firms to resolve the existing issues and utilise social media marketing strategies for enjoying its been fits and securing future sustainable development of the businesses. In this regard, the organisations need to maintain transparency and accountability as well as copyright for resolving the issue of information leakage.
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