Digital marketing incorporates various techniques and tactics to promote products and services and reach out to consumers through digital channels. Social media has become one of the most important digital marketing channels as it allows for consumers to exchange information and give feedback about a product or service. Companies may also distribute information about their products and services without relying on a distributor typical of traditional marketing practices (Yasmin, Tasneem, & Fatema, 2015). The extensive growth and usage of social media has allowed for brands to increasingly become closer to consumers’ every day life.
Social media has brought many advantages to digital marketing. Companies are able to keep their customer base up to date with new and upcoming products, gather ideas and feedback from online purchases, and offer incentives to consumers through special and limited sales on their products or services. Customers also take advantage of the benefits digital marketing has found in social media by simply engaging on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through their phones, tablets, and computers.
As the consumption of social media continues to grow, companies must gather quantitative data to provide a quality customer experience. Consumers are gravitating towards content on the basis of simplicity, integration, and convenience (Berman, Batino, & Feldman, 2011). Finding the most opportunistic social media platform that delivers company information and allows for direct communications, captures loyalty and develops relationships, and enhances the customer experience will successfully drive a company’s digital marketing effectiveness and success.
RQ: Which social media site is most effective and successful in digital marketing? (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram)
RQ: Why is one social media site more effective and successful than the other?
Facebook, a popular social media site, provides an online environment for businesses to market their products and services and deliver information that encourages friend to friend and group communications through liking, commenting, and sharing capabilities. In a study analyzing business campaigns on Facebook involving advertising, surveys, applications, and videos, most brand campaigns were found to use megaphone (information provided through advertisements and videos) and magnet strategies (creating an environment for interaction through surveys). Companies were found to disregard following the communications between customers (Bekoglu & Onayh, 2016).
Among the different tools used for marketing on Facebook, advertisements were preferred over videos, and the involvement in surveys remained relatively low, most likely due to the lack of incentive or reward. The utilization of applications followed in low usage rates resulting from difficulties in creating attractive and user friendly applications (Bekoglu & Onayh, 2016).
Though Facebook offers opportunities to lower marketing costs while effectively allowing companies to engage in direct communications and targeting of demographics, users are rarely logging in with the intentions of buying products. According to a study of Generation Y Facebook users, only 19% of users checked an ad, and 39% of users never checked ads at all, despite 62% of users accessing a brand’s Facebook page and community, and 48% of them joining a community where sales, promotions, and releases are announced. (Ramsaran & Fowder, 2013).
RQ: Why are users less likely to view or engage in advertisements when browsing facebook?
Containing over 320 million users, Twitter has become a dominant platform in social media marketing (Misirlis & Vlachopoulou, 2018). In a qualitative study done by Fischer and Reuber (2011), twelve entrepreneurs that adopted Twitter as a marketing tool were interviewed and analyzed. The entrepreneurs involved in the study believed Twitter offered more wide-scale exposure than its Facebook counterpart. The social media channel also had the advantage of being able to broadcast information automatically to Facebook by simply linking accounts, cutting on the commitment of needing to be active on both social media sites. Interactions through tweets, or brief messages, and retweets, simply reposting what another person has said, offered entrepreneurs a new dynamic way of communicating with customers and creating new opportunities and marketing strategies.
Twitter allows companies to perform basic functions such as branding, sale promotion, and customer service. Dissatisfied customers and negative feedback could be addressed from the increased and instantaneous communications between company and consumer (Fischer & Reuber, 2011). The ability of one-to-one and one-to-many communications have made Twitter usage a viable marketing strategy for businesses to push relevant information and redirect customers to their websites to further promote their brand and products (Burton & Soboleva, 2011). However, businesses that utilize Twitter as a marketing tool must understand what trends are popular, what their customers deem acceptable and desirable, and find ways that build and maintain a trusting relationship (Fischer & Reuber, 2011).
RQ: Does increased and instantaneous interactions influence users to purchase a company’s products or service more than other social media sites?
RQ: Are consumers likely to stay loyal to a brand with these interactions?
Created as an application for mobile phones, Instagram was designed as a visual based, easy to use platform where users can snap photos and videos then share with minimal conversation, while still sharing similarities to other social media sites like the ability to like, comment, and promote content with hashtags. Instagram’s effectiveness to create links between a specific word to a photo or video allows for companies to direct users towards their page by including hashtags into advertisements of their products and services (Walley & Koshy, 2014).
Instagram provided businesses yet another social media marketing tool. An article published by BBC News (2012) states that a large amount of brands are including Instagram as part of their marketing strategy. Sharing a picture or video with editing and filtering capabilities has helped reduce costs in branding, while still effectively advertising said product or service. Companies can gather feedback and interact with customers through the comment section to deliver a favorable customer experience as well (Huey & Yazdanifard, 2014).
In a study conducted by Bergstrom and Backman (2013), it was found that consumers look to gather information about a company, give positive feedback, and are attracted to interesting or entertaining content offered by a company’s Instagram page. For businesses to market their brand successfully, however, they must adapt and target their desired demographic in a way that engages and peaks interest of current and potential followers. Users were motivated more by the quality of the content related to a brand, and felt a sense of belongingness to the brand’s community when a company posted content that specifically targeted their customers (Bergstrom & Backman, 2013).