There is no doubt that in the century of information technologies and internet resources, social media are playing an important role in people’s lives. The users have become highly dependent on online communication and virtual reality.
The social networks have turned into a tool for improving personal communication and entertainment. Moreover, there is a growing trend of using social media networks for business purposes. The companies start using social media platforms for reaching target audiences, introducing their products or services, and receiving the feedback from the customers. Consequently, social media have become an important tool for the e-commerce marketing as it gives an access to a huge amount of data. We aim to analyze the peculiarities and the effectiveness of different types of modern social media platforms.
Social Media Description and Opportunities in Business
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, social media consist of the “forms of electronic communication through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, n.d.). Generally, social media allow people to keep the contact, to share emotions, and to post the photos of their life. Consequently, business entities started noticing that social media contain a huge amount of information about the target market. In fact, the users make about 500 million tweets, share approximately 4.5 billion likes on Facebook, and upload 95 million photos to Instagram per day (Copp, 2016). Thus, it has become much easier to study clients’ behavior according to their likes, dislikes, interests, and comments on the social media platforms.
It is also essential to evaluate the usage of social media networks for informative purpose. Nowadays, every company has an official group on several social media platforms. They have the same purpose as an official website. However, a page on social media is less formal. In addition, the content can be shared fast, easily, and effectively (Copp, 2016). For example, the updates and news can be found in an official group of the company. Moreover, the customers have an opportunity to leave a feedback about products or services there. As a result, social media networks raise awareness about the brand and increase customers’ loyalty.
Another important value of social media networks for business is advertising opportunities. Obviously, the core financial benefit for the social media owners is a possibility to create a constant presence in the life of the clients. For example, they bombard an audience with a constellation of offers and adverts on the side bars of social media networks (Copp, 2016). In addition, the content is filtered according to the interests and the search queries on the social media. Nowadays, the effectiveness of such campaigns can be tracked through the number of clicks on an advertisement.
Additionally, social media networks for business give an opportunity for building relationships. The companies can directly address the target audience, cooperate with the possible partners, maintain the loyal customers, and even reduce the competitors. The live communication provides an effective interaction between the parties where the companies aim to increase the number of interested clients. As a result, successful public relations can be developed with the social media networks in an effective and fast way which brings various advantages to online development and recognition of the companies.
Peculiarities of Advertisement in Social Media
Due to the fact that the cooperation between business entities and social media networks is widespread, it is important to understand that there are plenty of online platforms that have different characteristics and reach distinct groups. Consequently, this cooperation can vary tremendously. Moreover, it is important to emphasize the fact that the companies take into account the characteristics of target audience so that they can create attractive and unique content.
One of the peculiarities of social media is that they focus on different social and age groups. For example, young people and students prefer to use Instagram and to surf YouTube for the entertainment. It means that the advertisement that targets this age group should be posted on these social media platforms. On the contrary, businessmen and people of the middle age are mostly using Twitter and Facebook. Therefore, the message that targets this social segment should be sent through these platforms. In addition, another criterion that is important for the social media advertisement is the geography of the target audience. For example, English-speaking countries predominantly use Facebook and MySpace. On the contrary, the countries of the former Soviet Union give the preference to Vkontakte and Odnoklasniki. Thus, in spite of the fact that the social media advertisement campaigns are not complicated, it is important to take into account the peculiarities of the external environment and the characteristics of the target audience.
Types of Social Media that Can be Used in Marketing
Judging from the number of active users, the most popular social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram. In order to achieve success in the e-commerce marketing, it is important to view the peculiarities and the possibilities each particular social media network.
Facebook is the most popular global social network nowadays. It has approximately 1.60 billion monthly active users all over the world (Copp, 2016). In addition, it takes the second place on messaging popularity on the globe. Consequently, the companies that are willing to develop the cooperation through this particular social media network have to create an informative communication page about products and services. It will give an opportunity to reach a large number of customers all over the world and to inform them about the necessary data of the company. In fact, every modern company launches its pages on Facebook in order to approach the highest number of online users.
Twitter is the social media in the form of a microblog that the users are running to express their concerns or to describe their daily adventures (Copp, 2016). With the help of Twitter, they share their thoughts and opinions with other users. Twitter, provides the most effective way to develop public relations. Due to the fact that the majority of the customers post their personal thoughts on their accounts, it is beneficial for a business to have the positive feedback posted about their company by a reliable contributor. Thus, Twitter is a service of quick cooperation where the companies can increase the public relations with the help of famous people or bloggers that are followed by many people.
On the contrary to other social media networks, LinkedIn is considered to be a professional media platform (Copp, 2016). It was created for building business relations. This social media network boosts business development. It can be used for searching business partners, suppliers, workers, or auditors. In spite of the fact that LinkedIn does not target the customers, it is still very effective for the business prosperity. The companies have an opportunity to attract valuable human resources and to represent effectively their companies on the financial market. Moreover, LinkedIn remains one of the cheapest means of solving the problems of finance and lack of professional human resources.
YouTube is a video-sharing network that unites the users interested in exchanging video content. The customers upload, view, and rate the videos. In order to track all the updates, they subscribe to favorite channels. While the users are watching the latest shows or are listening to the favorite songs, a business can target them with the hidden advertisements of products and services. The direct attention might not be brought to a product and its competitive advantages. However, it is extremely common to influence an audience subconsciously. Moreover, the companies attract the customers with the help of popular video bloggers who share their direct experience and give credible comments regarding a certain brand. Finally, the companies are trying to accompany the most popular videos with the advertisements of their products in an attempt to be viewed by a large number of people.
Instagram is a service which allows the users to exchange both photo and video content. The users can also share their thoughts on every post. Instagram is considered to be the fastest-developing social media platform (Wagner, 2015). Its rapid growth has attracted the attention of business. Many companies have the pages on the service where they can share the process of their work. In addition, the companies try to develop the relations with famous Instagram bloggers who may recommend certain products to their numerous followers. Due to the fact the bloggers are often regarded as a reliable source, the advertisements on Instagram become very effective.
Social media have become important in personal life. In addition, online networks have a positive effect on business entities as well. Modern marketing problems can be resolved with social media platforms. Namely, the companies can create an awareness campaign, implement online commerce, launch promotion campaigns, communicate directly with the customers, and develop loyalty. The key strengths are easy access and small expenses. Before using any social media networks, a professional team should analyze the peculiarities of a service, its audience, and main purpose. The best option is to focus on the advantages of every online social network and to interweave the accounts creating interesting content.