, et al., 2011). Individuals most often use social media to create and strengthen relationships and increase communication within those relationships, rather than explicitly wanting to shop for products. Those individuals are using social media sites to: a) "construct a profile within a bounded system"; b) maintain "lists of other users with whom they share connections"; and c) view and "browse" those lists of connections with others they have interacted with online (Taylor et al., et al., 2011, 259). Many users of social media do not intend to use viral platforms to think about buying products, but end up doing so subliminally. Rather, most are using such platforms to create and maintain relationships; "typical social networking sites allow a user to build and maintain a network of friends for social or professional interaction" (Marks 2009 p 5). Jim Tobin's concept of "Cocktail Party" is the analogy for social media that attaches the cocktail party routine (mingling before talking; "keeping the conversational threat going"; sharing information that "doesn't benefit you"; and sharing what you know in the context of what is being discussed) to how people interact online in social media contexts. Chat a bit, meet another person, share information, add to someone's litany of abuse in prisons, and so forth (Grangier, 2010). In fact Taylor et al.'s (2011) investigations into the reasons people use and enjoy social media reveals that merely engaging in social-networking activities "may be perceived as a means to improve one's quality of life by purposefully distracting oneself from life's ongoing challenges" (262). In other words, aside from any value that a user derives from "actual content" or from actual communication interactions with others, the act of browsing freely through a universe of ideas that are found in social media sites -- for example, the multitude of videos and story-telling scenes on YouTube can be fascinating enough to spend hours searching through for favorite wildlife topics, or sports -- may offer "welcome distractions" and can "facilitate more positive attitudes towards" social media sites (Taylor, et al., 262). Social networking is only a viable marketing strategy when it correlates with the very reasons why users sign up in the first place. Here, "anecdotal evidence indicates that social-networking advertising (SNA) can be effective when users accept it" (Taylor et al., 2011). Bombarding users with ads like they are watching an infomercial will most likely turn them off to the product being advertised, and even the very site it is being advertised on.
Moreover, many large businesses have yet to enter into the social marketing arena, which is opening up greater opportunities for SMEs to use the platform successfully, without being pushed out by larger organizations with deeper pockets. Fortune 500 companies (as of 2010) were using social media, the author discovered that "less than 50% of the entire Fortune 500 had official Twitter and Facebook accounts for their companies" (Grainger, 70). Some sixty percent of respondents to the Qualtrics online survey explained that they had a way of measuring the effectiveness of their Facebook "fan page," their Twitter account, and their YouTube account. The bad news was that the survey only had a 10% response rate, which Grainger attributes to the fact that many Fortune 500 companies "have policies against employees participating in surveys or student-led projects" (p. 72). The research shows that social marketing is quickly becoming a major platform for much more than just communication, which SMEs can take advantage of to their benefit. Thus, "organizations and businesses are just beginning to recognize and utilize the power of Web 2.0 social media" (Thackeray et al., 2008, p 340). This opens up the environment for SMEs to compete in lieu of a dominance held by larger enterprise businesses. There is much less entry barriers, essentially because there are so few companies working with these new platforms.
Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies via Social Media Platforms
Too many ads can spoil an online experience, so companies must also consider how much advertising they are doing. A balance should be struck between giving customers too much time to forget a message, and allowing customers to see a message so much they start ignoring it or they get tired of it. Everyone has a commercial or other ad they just despise, and the key is for companies to avoid that reaction as much as possible from the largest number of individuals in their target market. By helping companies and individuals better understand the value of social media for marketing, and what changes marketing in that manner require, this study can provide benefit to a large segment of the population.
Word of mouth style advertising is a possible compromise between maintaining a good balance between advertising while still promoting the social relationships that are the very foundation of social networking platforms. Word of mouth marketing "facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message or share information about a product" (Thackeray 2008 p 341). This style of marketing strategies prove much less invasive and thus potentially even more successful than the larger and more exaggerated strategies currently being employed by larger, enterprise businesses.
Social networking sites provide "easy-to-use tools for current users to invite others to join the network," which facilitates marketing strategies focusing on word of mouth (Marks, 2009, p 5). The consumer can praise the company on a Facebook post, which is then directly seen by all their friends. Spreading the word has seemed almost synonymous with online communities since their inception, and thus it can be a very successful trend for SMEs to tap into without breaking the budget (Marks, 2009). Such strategies that focus on word of mouth as a primary delivery are in tune with social marketing's low cost environment for marketing. Research shows that often times, the most effective word of mouth ad campaigns have been extremely cost effective, with price tags no where near traditional marketing strategies (Marks, 2009). Authors Colliander and Dahlen (2011) have engaged in a survey in the Journal of Advertising Research that helps point out how powerful blogs have become in the online experience. Theirs is a very well thought out comparison between the effectiveness of blogs as opposed to online magazines. Indeed, blogs and magazines "are in competition" and they are "similar enough to appeal to the same audiences and the same advertisers" (Colliander, 2011, p. 314). In their research the authors determined in this article that blogs have "superior publicity effectiveness" and that the blog readers' relationship with the blogger "is… similar to -- and as powerful as -- a word-of-mouth relationship" (314).
There are a number of successful case studies where word of mouth marketing strategies have worked in synergy with social media networks. For example, there is the successful case of Georgetown Cupcake, a small baking company. According to the research, "After being open for approximately two weeks, the business was selling 800 cupcakes a day at $2.75 each, during which time the owners did no advertising" (Thackeray et al. 2008 p 341). Most new customers had found out about the company through word of mouth online, by reading rave reviews on blogs and review sites. Thus, consumer opinions were more positive, since they were gathering trustworthy opinions from friends and family members via social networking platforms, rather than being bombarded by messages they were not sure the could trust.
The academic literature that is addressing social media can be defined as rare at its best. During those past previous years, researchers have started to take a more -?
passing look at how corporations are able to apply social media to advertising exertions, why they are coming into these digital spaces, and eventually what the consequences of this shift into the online arena.
A lot of what are obtainable emphases chiefly on how numerous features of social and online media have been able to work. On the other hand, after a more in depth review of the material and the presence of business blogs, the literature look as if to have five separate study subjects of scholarship that exist in mention to business practice of social media and how it is evaluated.
In that past few years, the Social media has certainly stepped up its game and has unquestionably becoming more and more popular and as a result of this acceptance, other customary Media have also being going through some major declines which are occurring in both business and popularity. Palmer and Lewis (2009) made the point that the main stream media channels in the past have faced numerous obstacles in recent times that have led to some form of closure with TV facing down turn in their levels of profits.
Palmer and Lewis are associating the presentation of these customary channels to the increase of social media in advertising and brand supervision. Accordingly of a hard economic environment, businesses…