Social Media Marketing
This Chapter reviews Social Media Marketing (SMM), the process of promoting products/services and endorsing corporate brands online through various social media channels. Most consumers use search engines, brand websites and mobile applications to determine product quality, value and availability. SMM enables firms to engage consumers directly through Social Media Platforms (SMP), providing immediate access to brand information. Using SMPs provide businesses with real-time consumer information, generating valuable insights around customer preferences and probable responses. This access supports corporate decision-making and strategy formulation. SMM increases brand recognition among modern consumers, making it easier for new consumers to find the company concerned through a generic online product/service search.
The key differences between SMM and traditional marketing approaches are explored. SMM provides businesses with much more current data that can track the impact of promotional campaigns. The metrics obtained allow advertising and promotion campaigns to be quickly amended to improve their effectiveness. SMM is also able to generate a more personal brand experience for consumers and as a result, customers feel more valued and appreciated by the business concerned, particularly as many interactions are conducted in ‘real time’. The adverse effects of SMM are also highlighted, noting how it is easier for consumers to share negative opinions which will be disseminated quickly across SMPs.
The Chapter outlines core SMM theories such as the Social Graphics Framework, the Social Feedback Loop and Social Exchange Theory. This sets the scene for an exploration of the methods and concepts that can be applied in taking forward SMM. Search Engine Optimisation, Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, Pay-per-Click and Online Social Networks are outlined indicating how they can be used to improve the impact and effectiveness of marketing efforts. Current trends are also explored, noting the importance of mobile optimisation to reflect how modern consumers access online content and the move away from more traditional computer-based approaches. The need for businesses to optimise their websites for mobile usage, designing user-friendly sites that provide quality experiences to users irrespective of the device they are using is emphasised. This, in turn, supports a discussion around applications enhancement (such as improved web-page loading times) and the emerging preference for conducting voice-enabled searches.
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The way in which live video streaming can enables businesses to humanise brands through a range of SMPs is also considered.
Given the nature and speed of innovation in this area, the Chapter closes with a forward-look at emerging developments in the field of SMM. The way in which Sematic Web (or Web 3.0) will enable internet users to obtain information faster and more easily is outlined, noting that it will enable users to conduct more intuitive and interactive searches. Ubiquitous computing or pervasive computing is also highlighted, examining how next generation technology will support computer and internet access from a wide range of devices. This ‘internet of things’ will employ advanced frameworks to connect devices and businesses will therefore need to develop tailored applications to support these more intensive and immediate interactions between customers and brands.
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