Over the years communication has evolved into a revolutionary platform, through the invention and development of Internet. The Internet has evolved from a means to facilitate data, to a platform of public communication through social media. Social media has opened up a plethora of opportunities for businesses to advertise, promote and market themselves to customers. This research paper discusses how social media has changed the scope of the traditional customer relationship marketing in today’s business world.
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Since the beginning of time, communication has always played a major role in normal day-to-day activity. Communication has evolved and gone through significant changes through out the years and has shifted the way humans interact with each other. Through new technologies and inventions such s the Internet, communication has grown significantly from the traditional face-to-face interaction.
The Internet has revolutionized everyday human interaction and communication through incorporating social media. Social media has impacted every aspect of human interaction from personal lives to the business world.
The business world however, has especially been impacted by the application of social media. As social media continues to grow as a marketing tool, Many companies have incorporated social media into their daily business activity for brand awareness, target market reach, business expansion and customer interaction. However, since companies have incorporated social media marketing, traditional customer relationship marketing is decreasing because companies are relying heavily on social media marketing. What Social Media Is
Social media is a means or forum in which individuals, groups, or organizations interact and share information, thoughts or ideas. Adam J. Mills defines social media as “ Internet and web-based technology platforms designed to encourage social interaction between individuals, groups and organizations.” (Mills, 2012). Social media has become increasingly popular because of its ability to serve as away to connect with others in the world that may or not be in the same region. Mills goes on to say that, “ Social media are
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
part of the phenomenon known as ‘Web.2.0’. Web 2.0 is best understood as the result of the evolution of technology and application form the proverbial early days of the internet where communications were largely one-way and the Internet was used as a source of information retrieval.” (Mills, 2012). Social media consist of many tools and platforms where individuals and organizations interact. These tools play a major role in the existence and stability of the social media network. Social Media Tools and Their Functions
Social media tools are those elements that are used by the public, organization or businesses and little or no cost to communicate or network. One of the top social media tools today is Facebook. According to Emily Raush who quoted “Top 10 Websites” “Facebook is the number one most visited, taking up 10 percent of all Internet visits. It is also by far the most widely consumer-used social media site.” (Raush, 2011).
Facebook is a social media tool that everybody in all age groups and in all backgrounds are familiar with. Facebook has created ways in which users can create profiles and interest groups that cater to an individual or organizations needs and motives. Facebook users can exchange messages, receive notifications, add friends and subscribe to areas of interest.
Another social media tool is Twitter, which is a micro blogging site that “allows users to send out real-time updates to followers for a quick and easy read.” (Raush, 2011). Twitter consists largely of opinion sharing and short messages. Twitter is a forum where individuals follow people or companies of interest to send or read what others are
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
saying about any given subject. This forum can be used through a desktop or mobile device. YouTube is another social media marketing tool that has become very popular over the years. “ YouTube is currently one of the biggest search engines being used today. YouTube is a video-sharing website that is primarily updated by subscribed users who upload videos. Individuals, subscribed or unsubscribed, have the ability to watch videos, like them and comment on their thoughts of the videos. Social Media in the Business World
Since the development of these various social media tools, companies have used they’re development and growth to gain competitive advantage in the markets. Companies use social media tools to market their brand and interact with their target market. One of the primary reasons businesses utilize social media to market is because social media marketing reduces the cost of advertising. With forums such as Facebook, companies have the opportunity to create a profile for their product or service and inform their target market about what they are all about and the benefits of their product with out having to spend a dime. Social media marketing is one of the most cost effective ways for a company to gain exposure and advertise a company.
Social media also creates spreadability or exposure for a company among consumers. Mills states “spreadability refers to the ease with which a campaign flows across social networks.” (Mills, 2012). The ability for a brand or company to spread through social media tools such as Twitter and YouTube, give the company leverage and helps the business get their name out without much effort. The ability for the companies IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
name to get out can be through word of mouth on these social media tools, where customers share videos or share their opinions of how the product or service worked for them. “ Since people are most interested in what their friends have to say about something, a friend’s review of a company can go along way in helping generate exposure for that business” (Raush, 2011).
Social media marketing can also promotes brand engagement. Companies can engage their target market by creating interest groups for their product or service. By utilizing social media tools like Facebook, business can set up an interest group specifically catered to their brand and consumers can interact by liking the group, commenting on the company profile and making suggestions and sharing the content with others to expand the companies reach. Donna Hoffman and Marek Fodor of the MIT Sloan Management Review state that “ highly engaged social media campaigns involve user-generated content on the part of the consumer, reinforcing loyalty to the brand and making the customer more likely to commit additional effort to support the brand in the future.” (Hoffman and Fodor, 2010).
Brand engagement also creates a way for companies to know what is that a consumer wants and needs. Interest groups can contribute to the marketing research efforts of the business. As stated by Hoffman and Fodor “social media can improve the efficiency of market research efforts when, for example, marketers set up online prediction markets to crowd source new ideas or mine online forums that allow customers to comment on product concepts and offer improvements for existing products.” (Hoffman and Fodor, 2010).
Social media marketing has revolutionized the way that businesses utilize social media tools to expand and grow their business. However social media has affected and negatively impacted customer relationship marketing. Social Media Marketing vs. Customer Relationship Marketing
Over the years customer relationship marketing has played a major part in the growth of any business. Customer relationship marketing is what most business are all about. Customer relationship marketing is where businesses learn their customer’s needs, build customer loyalty and trust. Companies now rely so heavily on social media marketing that, they have neglected and forgotten the importance of customer relationship marketing.
The problem with social media marketing is that the public primarily controls the content. Companies might find themselves trying to defend their brand based on what individuals have said to discredit that business. Customer relationship marketing is important in this aspect because business can have that one-on–one interaction with their, customers to ensure that the customer has the experience for themselves, and is not going based on the opinions of others. The businesses have the opportunity to build trust between themselves and the customer if customer relationship marketing is retained.
Trust is an important part of a relationship between customers and businesses. Sometimes social media marketing can impede that trust because the opinion of others can impact and or form the mind of potential customers and could in turn shorten the intended reach of a customer. Social media marketing can also become over bearing and create a situation with customer where the customer feels like the company is being intrusive or annoying. Social media marketing also strikes concern because as Jack Yan discussed in IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
his article, sometimes, social media tools can bee unreliable. Yan stated that Twitter, which is much harder to patrol and easier to manipulate, has its share of fake accounts with programs adding followers and tweeting fake messages.” (Yan, 2011). Conclusion
Social media marketing is a great way for businesses to market their brand and get awareness out there about their product or service. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have hand a tremendous impact on the advertising and growth of companies. Social media tools have allowed consumers to engage in the advancement of brands in that customers can suggest improvement or give their opinion on a brand.
However, because social media has evolved, customer relationship marketing has been impacted. Businesses rely heavily on social media marketing and in turn are leaving their brands and reputations in the hands of those who can alter their customer brand and market strategy. Social media is constantly growing and in turn social media marketing will continue to grow and revolutionize. Social media, if used correctly, can create the tools necessary for a company or business to have a competitive advantage and create stronger brand equity.
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Hoffman, D. L., & Fodor, M. (2010). Can you measure the roi of your social media
marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(1), 41-49.
Mills, A. J. (2012). Virality in social media: The spin framework. Journal of Public
Affairs, doi: 10.1002/pa.1418
Raush, E. R. (2011). Social media: Revolutionizing the business world. (Unpublished
master’s thesis, Liberty University), Available from Berkeley Electronic Press.
http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1267&context=honors Yan, J. (2011). Social media in branding: Fulfilling a need. Journal of Brand
Management, 18(9), 688-696. doi: 10.1057