What Is Social Media Marketing ?

  • Introduction

Social media is a group of internet based applications which include weblogs, social blogs, micro blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, videos, rating and social bookmarking etcetera. It assists organisations to create and exchange the generated information/content in order to have collaboration with their buyers (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). These messages are liked and shared by the online users in their respective communities. Users on social media can also create personalized messages themselves and can share these messages in addition to the information from brand-related sources (Matthee, 2011; Statista, 2015).

Increasing adoption of internet and interaction of individuals on internet has reduced the traditional communication strategies. The internet and the use of social media, such as YouTube, facebook, LinkedIn etc., have greatly influenced the interaction between the producers of goods and/or services and their users (Christodoulides and Jevons, 2011; Christodoulides, 2009). Social media has been helping the industry not only in acquisition of customers but in their retention as well. This has resulted in creation of positive word of mouth (WOM) communication (Kietzmann, 2013), and WOM has been considered as the future of social media marketing communication (Yaakop et al, 2013).

Traditional methods of communications were adopted in the past by placing messages (communication) in television, newspapers, magazines etc. with the hope that the users would respond positively. Now a days, frequent interaction of consumers happens on the social media, and it prompts the organisations to change/modify their communications strategies (marketing capability) in order to induce a positive influence. This has been mainly due to the fact that consumers share information after proper evaluation and it depends on their choice also (Smithee, 2011). The viewership and/or readership, as well as traditional advertisements, have also been reduced mainly due to the advent of computer networks. Therefore, social media benefits the organisations by converting consumers into marketers and referrals (advertisers). These converted marketers generate and edit as well as share information about the company products and service offerings. This not only attracts the attention of potential users but encourages them to share it with their social networks (Akar and Topcu, 2011).

The exploration and utilisation of social media has been helping organisations to develop and maintain business strategies such as business intelligence, promotions, customer relations etc (Castronovo and Huang, 2012). In this regard Constantinides et al., 2010, argued that the growth of internet and the availability of information that is shared on social media is considered most reliable than information that is directly delivered by the organisations to the consumers. Therefore, many marketers have been carrying out their business activities such as sales services, CRM, marketing research etc. through social media. Business organisations are realising the need to adopt social media in their strategies with a special emphasis on improving their business performance (Chan & Guillet, 2011). Consumers now have various orientations towards purchase decisions. In today's fierce competitive marketing scenario, organisations are participating actively on social media more often than not (Stelzner, 2014).

  • Objective and Methodology

Considering the growing importance of social media, it was decided to analyse the developments in the marketing strategies adopted by organisations and to understand the influence of the social media on their performance. The primary objective of the present study was to review the existing literature devoted to social media and its exploitation by the firms in the marketing strategies. Such review of adoption and effects of social media was conducted on the basis of content analysis. The organisational and customer focused studies were analysed to arrive at the conclusions.

Social media is a group of internet based applications which include weblogs, social blogs, micro blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, videos, rating and social bookmarking etcetera. It assists organisations to create and exchange the generated information/content in order to have collaboration with their buyers (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). These messages are liked and shared by the online users in their respective communities. Users on social media can also create personalized messages themselves and can share these messages in addition to the information from brand-related sources (Matthee, 2011; Statista, 2015).

Increasing adoption of internet and interaction of individuals on internet has reduced the traditional communication strategies. The internet and the use of social media, such as YouTube, facebook, LinkedIn etc., have greatly influenced the interaction between the producers of goods and/or services and their users (Christodoulides and Jevons, 2011; Christodoulides, 2009). Social media has been helping the industry not only in acquisition of customers but in their retention as well. This has resulted in creation of positive word of mouth (WOM) communication (Kietzmann, 2013), and WOM has been considered as the future of social media marketing communication (Yaakop et al, 2013).

Traditional methods of communications were adopted in the past by placing messages (communication) in television, newspapers, magazines etc. with the hope that the users would respond positively. Now a days, frequent interaction of consumers happens on the social media, and it prompts the organisations to change/modify their communications strategies (marketing capability) in order to induce a positive influence. This has been mainly due to the fact that consumers share information after proper evaluation and it depends on their choice also (Smithee, 2011). The viewership and/or readership, as well as traditional advertisements, have also been reduced mainly due to the advent of computer networks. Therefore, social media benefits the organisations by converting consumers into marketers and referrals (advertisers). These converted marketers generate and edit as well as share information about the company products and service offerings. This not only attracts the attention of potential users but encourages them to share it with their social networks (Akar and Topcu, 2011).

The exploration and utilisation of social media has been helping organisations to develop and maintain business strategies such as business intelligence, promotions, customer relations etc (Castronovo and Huang, 2012). In this regard Constantinides et al., 2010, argued that the growth of internet and the availability of information that is shared on social media is considered most reliable than information that is directly delivered by the organisations to the consumers. Therefore, many marketers have been carrying out their business activities such as sales services, CRM, marketing research etc. through social media. Business organisations are realising the need to adopt social media in their strategies with a special emphasis on improving their business performance (Chan & Guillet, 2011). Consumers now have various orientations towards purchase decisions. In today's fierce competitive marketing scenario, organisations are participating actively on social media more often than not (Stelzner, 2014).

  • Objective and Methodology

Considering the growing importance of social media, it was decided to analyse the developments in the marketing strategies adopted by organisations and to understand the influence of the social media on their performance. The primary objective of the present study was to review the existing literature devoted to social media and its exploitation by the firms in the marketing strategies. Such review of adoption and effects of social media was conducted on the basis of content analysis. The organisational and customer focused studies were analysed to arrive at the conclusions.

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