The 21st century has witnessed a unique evolution of communication after the internet era, which is almost revolutionary. The resulting reshape of the manner in which individuals access information and correspond almost demands relocation to the central interface of all this-social media. Any successful organization produces and from then it has to walk and talk with the client. Social media is offering this service for businesses that approach the market through this concept. In the eyes of a business person or entrepreneur, advertising is the cornerstone of success of any business enterprise. It determines if the client will be impressed by the product outcome. Due to the need to succeed in business, companies have invested highly on communication and technology in advertising.
In the recent past, there have been many social networks over the internet. Although people take the word social network to have a close association with the web and new technologies, social networks have been in existence for a long time now. They were in operation even when the web was not in existence (Picard, 2011). Best examples of social networks include 2go, Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, My space, Friendster, StudiVz, Heyspace and LinkedIn. Companies rely on the media and social networks in many aspects. Many companies now use modern advertising that focuses on providing information to consumers.
Technology supports the functionality of social networks. Using social media services requires basic technical skills of operating a computer and surfing the web (Waters, 2010). This has led to the use of social networks where many people go to the internet to seek information, make friends and entertain themselves. Blogs and discussion forums have been in existence for a long time now (Zarrella, 2009). Although, citizens use blogs and forums basically for entertainment purposes, companies realize there is business value when they monitor blogs and forums. This will enable companies gauge consumer opinions and preferences.
Zarrella (2009) defines a social network as a network where people connect with offline and online friends. Social networks are a hot topic for marketers because they present a number of opportunities for interacting with customers through fan pages and groups.Before the introduction of the web, there were Bulletin Board Systems. These were internet forums that allowed groups of users to log onto a computer network and interact with one other. The users relied on phone lines and extremely slow modems to make the connection. They could upload and download software and data, exchange messages and read announcements. Bulletin Board Services emerged in the 1970s. Hobbyists and corporate systems operators operated Bulletin Board Systems, and hosted users in their machines. These Bulletins covered a range of topics and interest areas that included games, politics and dating.
In the 1990s the World Wide Web arrived, and the usage of Bulletin Board Services declined. Online service providers took over. Internet forums of people with matching interests accessed digital meeting places for discussions of a range of topics. The modern era of social networks began in 2002 with the introduction of Fraudster site. Several employees from Intermix Media, a marketing company, launched MySpace in 2003. In the same year, Mark Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard University’s private dorm ID database and created Face mash. The site let students to compare two ID photos to select the most attractive one. Soon after, Zuckerberg established Facebook, a social network that began as an exclusive site for Harvard students. Later, it allowed other colleges to join, and in 2006, anyone with an email could join. Excellent examples of modern services providing access to groups are Google and Yahoo. Nowadays social media have advanced their services to users to offer a range of services. These services include social networking, social bookmarking, photo sharing, video sharing, voice networking and product and service reviews. They include Facebook and Heyspace among others.
A social network is an online platform, service, or site that aims at establishing and reflecting societal relations among persons with same interests or activities. Social networks mostly operate under the web. They have means of interactions between individuals to share events, activities, ideas and interests within networks. Some social networks allow instant messaging whereby persons send messages and receive feedback immediately. Online community services are social networks. A network society is society where micro-electronic based information and communication technologies power its networks (Hoffmann, 2011). A social network is a group of interacting people with relationships amongst themselves.
It has never been easy or cheap to develop global campaigns with promotional messages that can reach consumers all around the world. The internet has made all versions of advertisements to be only a few strokes away. Therefore, the ability to access segment ethnic groups may not be as accessible as it was in the past (Wood & Solomon, 2009). Online social communities have grown drastically across the globe. This has led to changes in the world of communication. Many forms of social interaction have moved online leading to evolution of personal forms of communication in the online world. This has led to the start up of interactions between individuals with others and organizations. Corporations and marketers in have also capitalized on these trends to influence business operations and design marketing strategies. They do this by advertising their products and services online and getting customer feedback via social networks.
Most CEOs, Entrepreneurs and business owners want people to pay attention to their company. Similarly, advertisers, PR people, marketers and sales people want to generate attention (Scott, 2010). Companies can earn attention online by creating something interesting and publishing it online for free. This can be on a blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter stream or a You Tube video. Social media allows many-to-many communication. Social media has broken the barriers for entry in that anybody may blog for free at present. An example of people who have used social media is Guy Kawasaki. Kawasaki is a venture capitalist and IT industry pundit. He uses Twitter to keep people in touch with what he is doing and to market some of his ideas (Poynter, 2010). Businesses and marketing people have used blogs as a research tool. A researcher who wants comprehensive data defines a specific topic and recruits participants to blog about the topic during the course of the project. This aids in collecting qualitative information.
Social media has been a place to conduct market research. It has also become a place for market researchers to network and share ideas. They also look for jobs and simply have fun using social media. They form new and dynamic groups of friends and followers because they are active users of social networks. In Facebook, market researchers make friends and use their status to talk about research topics. They also join specialist research groups. The marketers use their research findings to design marketing strategies and change business operations. Professionals use professional networks such as LinkedIn to form contacts, to engage in market research groups and to get information about job issues.
The role of advertising is bringing buyers and sellers together. This role has become faster and more efficient than ever before. This is possible through the internet which has revolutionized every aspect of life. Profit making and non profit seeking organizations make use of the internet to provide customers with the goods and services they want when they want to buy them. In most cases, people use social media to market their products. Surveys suggest that the web is the best medium for new product information (Kurtz, 2012). Using social media businesses can post their catalogues, print advertisements and organize trade shows. In fact, social networks allow vendors, retailers and consumers to exchange vital information. People get some of their news and information from blogs unlike traditional media.
Social networks like Tagged allows one promote his/her business in a number of creative ways. It allows one to create and customize banners for advertisement purposes (Rosenberg & Hall, 2009). Separately, Burberry is a firm that operates in four regions. The regions are Europe, America, Asia and Emerging Markets. The heads of adverting departments in those regions are responsible for developing a plan based on the company’s marketing strategy, appropriate for their region (Smith & Milligan, 2011). The social media site allows customers to upload images of them wearing their trench coat and to comment on the snaps they see there. The firm uses its iconic trench coat in every way to excite, entice and entertain its consumers. This is a platform for the company to introduce its brand to young people by entertaining them. Most companies use immersive digital technology to allow customers manipulate its images and products online.
Business firms use social networks such as Facebook, and others to organize discussion groups online. The discussion groups involve employees of firms. For business firms to sustain their competitiveness, they need to target new customers accurately and seek to retain the existing clients. Firms use online social networks to hyper target customers from precious audience segments. They then tailor and custom campaigns with powerful personal and social relevance while prospecting for new contacts from extra clients. In the past, firms used other media such as television and print to advertise and acquire new customers. They also carried one on one campaigns to market themselves. With the current trend of online social media, firms can only make use of social network relationships to convert users into customers. Some firms also use social media to train their staff. Staff can follow the proceedings of the training from wherever they are. Organizations also advertise job vacancies and look for services such as consultancy, travel and insurance via social media.
In spite of the ways that businesses make use of social media to improve their operations and develop superior marketing strategies, their lack of privacy is a critical problem. Most firms target on social media users who are online. They then direct adverts towards such users without seeking consent from them. User information that business firms use in advancing their operations upon logging onto social media is like stealing of information. Therefore, a person who is a target of adverts lacks privacy. S/he needs to give consent before businesses direct advertisements to her/him. Equally, using data that firms find online is not privacy (Malik, 2008).
Source: John Swartz, Social Networking Sites Going Global, February 2008.
Companies advertise through social media to reach many people. It is therefore a gateway to opportunities mainland China. International agencies dominate the advertising market . These agencies initiate, manage and implement advertising campaigns. Some big multinational agencies provide services such as sales promotion, internet advertising services and public relations. They use social media, especially internet advertising in doing this. The young generation has a craze for luxurious life. They like getting involved in shopping hence they use social networks to get information about available products and their prices. Online media is a new choice for media planning. Advertisers have increasingly adopted the online concept into their media schedule. This is because of the fact that more than half of all households had personal computers and many of these people used the internet by 1998. Today’s youth and those in their early twenties have grown internet savvy. They flock in social networks such as Second Life, MySpace, and Facebook. Traditional domestic methods of advertising face challenges from international methods. The young people do not buy items because they see advertisements, but because others tell them to buy online. Traditional marketers had trouble reaching such youth in the past. They are now trying to make use of blogs. Marketers have found the need to try to experiment with a variety of configurations of their strategies. Such configurations include social networks, and the strategies of marketing are price, product and promotion.
Some advertising agents have been able to target and control messages most effectively. This is possible because social networks provide reliable user details. Advertisers target adverts to individual profiles by use of behavior information that the individual provides while social networking. Unfortunately, this has led to fraught with privacy problems. The problems of privacy are legal, social or both. It is evident that interactive characteristics of social networks remove control from the hands of the advertisers. Traditionally, advertising agents had control over determination of the message they wanted consumers to get from adverts. This was because traditional methods of advertising did not allow interaction and communication amongst consumers. Communication in advertising was between the advertiser and the audience only. Nowadays, network users communicate amongst themselves through social media about advertisements. They criticize, ridicule and praise the advertisements.
More than 70% of businesses in the world are now active on social media. Businesses in the markets are now competing ahead of those firms that do not embrace social media. Use of social media by most firms has shown that these firms have superior competitive advantages over others in mature markets. Other firms lack alternatives, and have to use interactive social network channels. They are under pressure to adopt social networks within their enterprises. However, some of the managers do not believe that social networks are beneficial to their firms. They felt that going social would influence their organization’s performance for productive gains. Most of those managers from organizations with an active social media program attested that they had personally measured organizational benefits from social media.
The emergence of social media has posed a significant challenge to strategies in the world. Companies use social media to carry out market research. This trend is increasing among Business Firms because of the availability of many ways of contacting people and gaining insight into their lives. Social networks have also led to growing of awareness. Traditional market research has failed to keep up with the needs of business to produce fast and actionable insights. Many forms of social interaction have moved online leading to evolution of personal forms of communication in the online world. This has led to the start up of interactions between individuals with others and organizations. Corporations and marketers have also capitalized on these trends to influence business operations and design marketing strategies. They do this by advertising their products and services online and getting customer feedback via social networks. This puts the firms at the fore front of competition.
Organizations should invest in social media. Making use of social networks will enable business firms gain attention from users. By creating blogs and fan pages, social networkers shift their attention to the businesses. Business firms should not overspend on traditional advertising and sales methods. They should channel considerable funds to investing in social media. Power and control in businesses is shifting increasingly from the company to the social networks that surround it. Given this shift, companies need to pay extra attention to the social networks, understand network dynamics and how to influence them to work with networks. Companies that fail to do this will lose control. Companies may never have the control they had previously in their new positions as network nodes. Superior understanding of the relationships that surround firms can enable them gain superior knowledge. They will also gain extra control over social networks that will define their future. Managers should look at relationships between customers and not their characteristics and segments. This is because customers interact with others over the social networks.
Currently, the world has experienced high level of companies’ diversification as multinationals try to spread production risks to different parts of the world. This has mainly been led by increasing rate of globalization which has led to opening up of boundaries and liberalization of the global markets. In addition, it has led to efficient flow of information an aspect that has made it possible for a company to operate different companies in different parts of the world in a decentralized form of leadership. This has resulted to high level of advertising as each company is trying to segment and position their products in the minds of the target customers. Currently, there are new methods of advertising such as use of audio media e.g. radio, print media e.g. magazines and newspaper, internet etc. The most recent advertising channel is socio media such as Face book and YouTube. Nevertheless, advertising requires high level of competence in order for the advert to have an impact on consumer behavior. In order to impact.on the consumption behavior of the market, the management has to come up with appropriate strategies that will take care of customer interests and desires an aspect that will convince target consumers to shift towards the product.
Most firms target social media users while they are online. They then direct adverts towards such social networkers without seeking consent from them. The firms use information from social networkers to advance their operations. This is equivalent of stealing information. Therefore, a social networker who is a target of adverts lacks privacy. S/he needs to give consent before businesses direct advertisements to her/him. Equally, using online data by firms without seeking consent is not privacy. The threat of cyber terrorism is real and exists in varying degrees. For instance, the development of IT and the internet provides numerous opportunities for theft to take place in areas such as intellectual property and online banks. In addition, the internet is a viable ground for committing unscrupulous crimes such as fraud and extortion. Through the use of internet, cyber terrorist develop codes that enable access to vital information, thus making it easy for them to hack into people’s personal and intellectual property
Hiring via social media concentrates on quantity. Giving quality the first priority by firms is vital to the success of businesses. They should monitor and manage their reputation before engaging in the process. This is because information can spread very fast through this media, and have a considerable impact on the candidates’ attraction (Charnock, 2011). The importance of using social media in hiring by firms is that it provides a variety of candidates. Recruiters have a large number of candidates to make a choice. They can use other social networkers who know potential candidates.