Role of Social Media in Achieving Advertising Objectives
Anish Kumar (Date: 17.05.2016)
Over the last years, the social media, also known as web 2.0, has been known as one of biggest revolution in internet world, which has affected the individual’s life as well (Smith, 2009; Dijck & Poell, 2013; Kocak & Oyman, 2012). Besides many available definition, the Mayfield (2008) denotes the social media as new kinds of online media, with having certain characteristics, as openness, community, participation, connectedness and conversation. From a holistic view, the social media is not only social networks, but has many forms, such as, microblogging, forums, wikis, blogs and content communities. Additionally, the collaborative projects, virtual social worlds and virtual game worlds has been found as forms of social media (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Talking above the famous social media platforms, the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, MySpace along with Instagram, which is also emerging rapidly (Smith, 2009). According to Kocak & Oyman (2012) the biggest attraction for social media user is that it allows the users to share material, opinions and experiences such as, text, insights, videos, photos and perception.
The growing popularity of social media advertising has sought the interest of scholars and researchers to find the link between social media advertising and consumer behaviour. According to Chan-Olmsted, Cho, & Lee (2013) the different users of social media perceive it differently, as their perception is largely affected by usage, age and gender. Although, this research didn’t separated the business users and individual users and also didn’t include the purpose or goal of users from social media. However, talking particularly about businesses, the importance of social media for businesses can be well observed through rapid growth of businesses over social media networks, espceially brands.
According to Dijck & Poell (2013) the penetration of social media has deeply influenced the individuals and institutions in terms of the way they interact, professional routines and also institutional structures. The scholarly research and live market examples provide so much evidences about how social media work for companies. Mangold & Faulds (2009) have denoted the social media as “hybrid element of promotional mix”, which allows not only the companies to connect and interact with their customers but also allows the customers to talk with other customers of same company. According to Chu (2011) the virality function of social media enables the marketers to send their advertising and promotions with the help of social media networks. However, for reaching to customers, it is important that the customers should have subscribed to social media pages of company, because the fan page members are likely to respond to advertising that those of non-fan members.
Specific about consumer behaviour, the social media advertising works for companies in many ways. Hutter et al., (2013) and Meenaghan (1995) have found the positive impact of consumer engagement and interaction on Facebook (social media) on consumer purchase intentions, brand awareness and word of mouth. However, the Hutter et al.’s research has observed the social media marketing in car sector, which might be different in shoe market. According to Chu & Kim (2011) the social media advertising works for company as promotional mix, which leads the consumers to generate positive electonic word of mouth (eWOM). However, the positive eWOM is greatly affected by informative contents, consumer norms and consumer trust. Similarly, there are empirical evidence available, which confirm the positive impact of social media advertising on consumer brand loyalty (Laroche, Habibi, & Richard, 2013). However, the brand loyalty of consumers is also influenced by many factors such as, consumer trust on brand and relationship with brand.
Besides the significant benefits, the use of social media as a marketing and promotion has also brought challenges for businesses. Mangold & Faulds (2009) has claimed that the use of social media marketing has reduced the marketer’s control over contents, frequency and timing of social media based conversation among consumers. Because, in traditional marketing communications, the marketers had control on consumer interactions, which is now beyond the control of marketers. This has made it difficult for marketers to track the consumer expereinces, needs and opinions about company’s products and services. This could be mainly because of nature of social media platforums, more number of social media networks and control by other parties such as social media owners.
Another challenge of social media is profitability. According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2010) the marketing executives and decision makers are identifying the ways to make profitable use of social media. This shows that the social media advertising has been entered into third phase, after passing introduction and growth phases. This can be also due to increasing competition among companies or ineffectiveness of social media advertising campigns, which led the marketers to not spending blindly, but also care about profitability. In this situation, the marketers should try to identify the real profitable customers among the non-profitable customers and non-customers and then target them sepeartely.
Hanna, Rohm, & Critenden (2011) have indicated towards three key issues, which are affecting the social media advertising performance of companies. First, the marketers are using social media advertising as stand alone elements rather than part of its total integrated marketing communication strategy, which leads the managers to ineffectiveness use of social media advertising along with loss of money and efforts. Second, the marketers know very well that they need to be active on social media networks through advertising campaigns, but they don’t know how to do it effectively, especially they don’t know on which social media the customer is getting online and how to create effective contents for targeting them. Third, while putting efforts into social media advertising campaigns, the marketers are facing challenge in measuring the performance of social media advertising, as they have less control over insights and performance.
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