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Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. The resulting electronic word of mouth (eWoM) refers to any statement consumers share via the Internet (e.g., web sites, social networks, instant messages, news feeds) about an event, product, service, brand or company. When the underlying message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself, this form of marketing results in earned media rather than paid media.

Purposes and Tactics of Social Media Marketing

One of the main purposes in employing Social Media in marketing is as a communications tool that makes the companies accessible to those interested in their product and make them visible to those who have no knowledge of their products. These companies use social media to create buzz, learn from and target customers. It's the only form of marketing that can finger consumers at each and every stage of the consumer decision journey. Marketing through social media has other benefits as well. Of the top 10 factors that correlate with a strong Google organic search, seven are social media dependent. This means that if brands are less or non active on social media, they tend to show up less on Google searches. While platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ have a larger amount of monthly users, The visual media sharing based mobile platforms however, garner a higher interaction rate in comparison and have registered the fastest growth and have changed the ways in which consumers engage with brand content. Instagram has an interaction rate of 1.46% with an average of 130 million users monthly as opposed to Twitter which has a .03% interaction rate with an average of 210 million monthly users. Unlike traditional media that are often cost-prohibitive to many companies, a social media strategy does not require astronomical budgeting. To this end, companies make use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in order to reach audiences much wider than through the use of traditional print/TV/radio advertisements alone at a fraction of the cost, as most social networking sites can be used at no cost. This has changed the ways that companies approach interact with customers, as a substantial percentage of consumer interactions are now being carried out over online platforms with much higher visibility. Customers can now post reviews of products and services, rate customer service and ask questions or voice concerns directly to companies through social media platforms. Thus social media marketing is also used by businesses in order to build relationships of trust with consumers. To this aim, companies may also hire personnel to specifically handle these social media interactions, who usually report under the title of Online community managers. Handling these interactions in a satisfactory manner can result in an increase of consumer trust. To both this aim and to fix the public's perception of a company, 3 steps are taken in order to address consumer concerns, identifying the extent of the social chatter, engaging the influencers to help, and developing a proportional response.

Twitter

Twitter allows companies to promote their products in short messages limited to 140 characters which appear on followers’ home pages. Messages can link to the product’s website, Facebook profile, photos, videos, etc.

Facebook

Facebook pages are far more detailed than Twitter accounts. They allow a product to provide videos, photos, and longer descriptions, and testimonials as other followers can comment on the product pages for others to see. Facebook can link back to the product’s Twitter page as well as send out event reminders. A study from 2011 attributed 84% of "engagement" or clicks to Likes that link back to Facebook advertising.

Decline in organic reach

In 2014, Social@Ogilvy, a division of the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, published a white paper titled "Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach," analyzing Facebook's widely observed restriction of content published from businesses' and brands' Pages. The "Zero" refers to the projected percentage of any given Page's followers who are able to see posts from that Page in their personal News Feeds. The paper's author observes that adjustments in Facebook algorithms have reduced organic reach for non-paying business pages (that have at least 500,000 "Likes") from 16 percent in 2012 down to 2 percent in February 2014.

Google+

Google+, in addition to providing pages and some features of Facebook, is also able to integrate with the Google search engine. Other Google products are also integrated, such as Google Adwords and Google Maps. With the development of Google Personalized Search and other location-based search services, Google+ allows for targeted advertising methods, navigation services, and other forms of location-based marketing and promotion.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a professional business-related networking site, allows companies to create professional profiles for themselves as well as their business to network and meet others. Through the use of widgets, members can promote their various social networking activities, such as Twitter stream or blog entries of their product pages, onto their LinkedIn profile page.LinkedIn provides its members the opportunity to generate sales leads and business partners. Members can use “Company Pages” similar to Facebook pages to create an area that will allow business owners to promote their products or services and be able to interact with their customers. Due to spread of spam mail sent to job seeker, leading companies prefer to use LinkedIn for employee's recruitment instead using different job portals. Additionally, companies have voiced a preference for the amount of information that can be gleaned from LinkedIn profile, versus a limited email.

Yelp

Yelp consists of a comprehensive online index of business profiles. Businesses are searchable by location, similar to Yellow Pages. The website is operational in seven different countries, including the United States and Canada. Business account holders are allowed to create, share, and edit business profiles. They may post information such as the business location, contact information, pictures, and service information. The website further allows individuals to write, post reviews about businesses and rate them on a five-point scale. Messaging and talk features are further made available for general members of the website, serving to guide thoughts and opinions.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location based social networking website, where users can check into locations via their smartphones. Foursquare allows businesses to create a page or create a new/claim an existing venue. A good marketing strategy for businesses to increase footfall or retain loyal customers includes offering incentives such as discounts or free food/beverages for people checking into their location or special privileges for the mayor of that location.

Instagram

In May 2014, Instagram had over 200 million users. The user engagement rate of Instagram was 15 times higher than of Facebook and 25 times higher than that of Twitter. According to Scott Galloway, the founder of L2 and a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, latest studies estimate that 93 percent of prestige brands have an active presence on Instagram and include it in their marketing mix. When it comes to brands and businesses, Instagram's goal is to help companies to reach their respective audiences through captivating imagery in a rich, visual environment. Moreover, Instagram provides a platform where user and company can communicate publicly and directly, making itself an ideal platform for companies to connect with their current and potential customers. Many brands are now heavily using this mobile app to boost their visual marketing strategy. Instagram can be used to gain the necessary momentum needed to capture the attention of the market segment that has an interest in the product offering or services.As Instagram is supported by Apple and android system, it can be easily accessed by smart phone users. Moreover, it can be accessed by Internet as well. Thus, the marketers see it as a potential platform to expand their brands exposure to the public, especially the younger target group. On top of this, marketers do not only use social media for traditional Internet advertising, but they also encourage users to create attention for a certain brand. This generally create an opportunity for greater brand exposure. Furthermore, marketers are also using the platform to drive social shopping and inspire people to collect and share pictures of their favorite products. Many big names have already jumped on board: Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Marc Jacobs, Red Bull are a few examples of multinationals that adopted the mobile photo app early. Instagram has proven itself a powerful platform for marketers to reach their customers and prospects through sharing pictures and brief messages. According to a study by Simply Measured, 71 percent of the world’s largest brands are now using Instagram as a marketing channel. For companies, Instagram can be used as a tool to connect and communicate with current and potential customers. The company can present a more personal picture of their brand, and by doing so the company conveys a better and true picture of itself. The idea of Instagram pictures lies on on-the-go, a sense that the event is happening right now, and that adds another layer to the personal and accurate picture of the company. Another option Instagram provides the opportunity for companies to reflect a true picture of the brand through the perspective of the customers, for instance, using the user-generated contents thought the hashtags encouragement. Other than the filters and hashtags functions, the Instagram’s 15-second videos and the recently added ability to send private messages between users have opened new opportunities for brands to connect with customers in a new extent, further promoting effective marketing on Instagram.

YouTube

YouTube is another popular avenue; advertisements are done in a way to suit the target audience. The type of language used in the commercials and the ideas used to promote the product reflect the audience's style and taste. Also, the ads on this platform are usually in sync with the content of the video requested, this is another advantage YouTube brings for advertisers. Certain ads are presented with certain videos since the content is relevant. Promotional opportunities such as sponsoring a video is also possible on YouTube, "for example, a user who searches for a YouTube video on dog training may be presented with a sponsored video from a dog toy company in results along with other videos." YouTube also enable publishers to earn money through its YouTube Partner Program.

Delicious, Digg and Reddit

Delicious, Digg and Reddit are popular social bookmarking sites used in social media promotion. They are heavily used by the social media marketers to promote their websites due to their ability to share links.

Blogs

Platforms like LinkedIn create an environment for companies and clients to connect online. Companies that recognize the need for information, originality, and accessibility employ blogs to make their products popular and unique, and ultimately reach out to consumers who are privy to social media. Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products or services, can include testimonials and can link to and from other social network and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotional techniques for keeping customers, and also for acquiring followers and subscribers who can then be directed to social network pages. Online communities can enable a business to reach the clients of other businesses using the platform. To allow firms to measure their standing in the corporate world, sites like Glassdoor enable employees to place evaluations of their companies. Some businesses opt out of integrating social media platforms into their traditional marketing regimen. There are also specific corporate standards that apply when interacting online. To maintain an advantage in a business-consumer relationship, businesses have to be aware of four key assets that consumers maintain: information, involvement, community, and control.

Tumblr

Tumblr first launched ad products on May 29, 2012. Rather than relying on simple banner ads, Tumblr requires advertisers to create a Tumblr blog so the content of those blogs can be featured through the site. In one year, four native ad formats were created on web and mobile, and had more than 100 brands advertising on Tumblr with 500 cumulative sponsored posts.

Ad Formats

  • Sponsored Mobile Post – Advertisements (Advertisers’ blog posts) will show up on user’s Dashboard when the user is on a mobile device such as smartphones and tablets, allowing them to like, reblog, and share the sponsored post.
  • Sponsored Web Post – “Largest in-stream ad unit on the web” that catches the users’ attention when looking at their Dashboard through their computer or laptop. It also allows the viewers to like, reblog, and share it.
  • Sponsored Radar – Radar picks up exceptional posts from the whole Tumblr community based on their originality and creativity. It is placed on the right side next to the Dashboard, and it typically earns 120 million daily impressions. Sponsored radar allows advertisers to place their posts there to have an opportunity to earn new followers, Reblogs, and Likes.
  • Sponsored Spotlight – Spotlight is a directory of some of the popular blogs throughout the community and a place where users can find new blogs to follow. Advertisers can choose one category out of fifty categories that they can have their blog listed on there. These posts can be one or more of the following: images, photo sets, animated GIFs, video, audio, and text posts. For the users to differentiate the promoted posts to the regular users’ posts, the promoted posts have a dollar symbol on the corner. On May 6, 2014 Tumblr announced customization and theming on mobile apps for brands to advertise.

Advertising Campaign on Tumblr

  • Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University:Created a tumblr account, MUGrumblr, saying that the account is maintained by a ‘Monstropolis transplant’ and ‘self-diagnosed coffee addict’ who is currently a sophomore at Monsters University. A “student” from Monsters University uploaded memes, animated GIFs, and Instagram-like photos that are related to the movie.
  • Apple’s iPhone 5c: Created a tumblr page, labeling it “Every color has a story” with the website name: “ISee5c”. As soon as you visit the website, the page is covered with different colors representing the iPhone 5c phone colors and case colors. When you click on one of the colored section, a 15 second video plays a song and “showcases the dots featured on the rear of the iPhone 5c official cases and on the iOS 7 dynamic wallpapers...”, concluding with words that are related to the video’s theme.

Why Tumblr is Used for Advertising

One of the reasons why Tumblr is appealing to companies is because of how much people use Tumblr.

  • There are currently 190.1 million blogs (As of June, 2014)
  • 300 million unique monthly visitors (Basically 15% of all internet users)
  • Available in 13 languages.