Social media marketing can be defined as the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most of these platforms have built-in data analytics tools, which enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Corporations address a range of stakeholders through social media marketing, including current and potential customers, current and prospective employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public. On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the organization of a marketing campaign, governance, setting the scope (e.g., more active or passive use) and the establishment of a firm’s desired social media “culture” and “tone”.
To use social media effectively, firms should learn to allow customers and Internet users to post user-generated content (e.g., online comments, product reviews, etc.), also known as ” earned media,” rather than use marketer-prepared advertising copy. While often associated with companies, as of 2016, a range of not-for-profit organizations and government organizations are engaging in social media marketing.
How it helps in business
Just under half the world’s population is currently on the Internet. Roughly 75% of those people are on social media and ¾ of those folks have social media profile on their mobile phones. Mobile phone usage is beneficial for social media marketing because mobile phones have social networking capabilities, allowing individuals quick web browsing and access to social networking sites. Mobile phones have grown at a rapid rate, fundamentally altering the path-to-purchase process by allowing consumers to quickly obtain pricing and product information in real time and allowing companies to remind and update their followers constantly. Many companies are now putting QR (Quick Response) codes along with products for individuals to access the company website or online services with their smartphones. Retailers use QR codes to facilitate consumer interaction with brands by linking the system to brand sites, promotions, product information, or any other mobile-enabled content. Also, Real-time bidding use in the mobile advertising industry is high and rising because of its value for on-the-go web browsing. Mobile devices and the internet also influence the way consumers interact with media and has many further implications for TV ratings, advertising, mobile commerce and more. Mobile media consumption such as portable audio streaming or mobile video are on the rise – in the United States, more than 100 million users are projected to access online video content via mobile device. Mobile video revenue consists of pay-per-view downloads, advertising, and subscriptions. As of 2013, worldwide mobile phone Internet user penetration was 73.4%. In 2017, figures suggest that more than 90% of Internet users will access online content through their phones.
There are two basic strategies for using social media as marketing tools:
Social media can be a useful source of market information and a way to hear customer perspectives. Blogs, content communities, and forums are platforms where individuals share their reviews and recommendations for brands, products, and services.
Social media can be used not only as public relations and direct marketing tools but also as communication channels targeting particular audiences with social media influencers and social media personalities and as useful customer engagement tools.
Facebook and LinkedIn are part of the leading social media platforms where users can hyper-target their ads. Hyper-targeting makes not only use of public profile information but also information users submit but hide from others. There are numerous examples of firms initiating some form of online dialog with the public to foster relations with customers. According to Constantinides, Lorenzo and Gómez Borja (2008) “Business executives like Jonathan Swartz, President and CEO of Sun Microsystems, Steve Jobs CEO of Apple Computers, and McDonalds Vice President Bob Langert post regularly in their CEO blogs, encouraging customers to interact and freely express their feelings, ideas, suggestions, or remarks about their postings, the company or its products”.