Advantages of Social Media in Business - Essay Sample

Date:  2021-07-05 06:31:14
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Social media has immense business benefits. Some of these benefits include improved brand trust and loyalty, decreased marketing costs, improved customer insights, and enhanced customer experiences, and social interaction. The advantages of social media in business are explained below.

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Improved brand trust and loyalty. The need to build and maintain brand trust and loyalty have been the major themes of research in the marketing field for centuries. Marketers have employed a wide range of strategies to maintain as well as enhance brand trust and loyalty of their core clients. The contemporary means of doing this is through social media marketing. Studies examining the impact of social media marketing on the loyalty of consumers have reported a positive correlation between the two variables. For instance, in Erdogmus and Cicek (2012) study aimed at identifying the influence of social media marketing on consumers brand loyalty, researchers recruited 338 participants who followed brands on social media in Turkey. Data collection was carried out using structured questionnaire, and the data was analyzed using stepwise multiple regression analysis. The findings of this study revealed that customers brand loyalty is enhanced when the brand: appears on many social media platforms, offers relevant content, share popular contents, and provides advantageous campaigns. Similarly, Barnet and Ferris (2016) study on the impact of online social media in brand-to-customer engagement and brand loyalty established that customers who have active brand engagement on social media sites, like Pinterest, have higher brand loyalty, a factor associated with positive brand experiences. In a related study, Laroche, Habibi, and Richard (2013) examined the effects of brand communities established in social media affect brand loyalty and customer-centricity found out that social media have positive benefits brand loyalty through enhance brand trust.

Decreased marketing costs. The use of social media as a marketing tool has associated with reduced marketing costs. In a study carried out by Kirtis and Karahan (2011) to investigate whether firms spend less money on social media to meet their targeting needs as compared to traditional media, the researchers found out that social media marketing lowers marketing costs. Cost reduction in social media is because the distribution part required in mass media is gotten rid of. Additionally, social media provides a great chance to reach millions of a target audience or potential customers and provided them with an opportunity to interact with the products at lower cost.

Moreover, there are little financial barriers in social media marketing compared to traditional media because most of the social networks are freely accessible. There are also no charges incurred in creating profiles and posting information in the majority of these sites. Therefore, the consumers of business products voluntarily join or follow the companys social media sites. Because of these reasons, many companies have saved millions of dollars which could have been used in traditional marketing campaigns. Companies can also run highly sophisticated social media marketing campaigns on a meager budget. Additionally, the viral nature of the social networking sites enables every individual reading a companys post to share the news about products and services to a wider network. Therefore, information about the products and services is able to reach many people within a short duration (Weinberg, 2009).

Improved customer insights. Social media marketing gives businesses opportunities to obtain valuable information about clients interests, as well as their behavior, through social listening. For instance, through comments posted on social sites, marketing representatives are able to understand what customers think of their business or their products directly. One of the key areas that are crucial to understanding customer insights is customer reviews, which are readily available for many products and services. These reviews are of great importance to both the company and the consumer. A recent study has revealed that 92% of all United States internet users read product reviews, with 46% of them being affected positively, 43% being affected negatively, and 3% not being impacted by these reviews (Roberts & Zahay, 2013). When making online purchases, consumers heavily rely on product reviews, whether negative or positive. Because of this reason, marketers regularly watch for mentions of their products and services online as well as in social media (MacInnis, Pieters, Yap, & Hoyer, 2014).

Enhanced customer experiences. Social media, like emails and phone calls, is a communication channel (Rathore & Panwar, 2016). The opportunity to interact with a client through any form of social media is a chance for a company to show its customer service level and to deepen its relationship with the customers. For instance, if a consumer complains about a product or a service on Facebook, the marketing representative can instantly address such complaints and take action to rectify the wrongs. On the other hand, if a consumer compliments, the company can appreciate them.

Social interaction. Apart from creating new forms of communication, social media has led to increased social interaction. According to Riegner (2007), people spend 25% of their time online communicating with others through social platforms, which is the same as the time they engage in online leisure and entertainment activities. Social media have been widely accepted and are currently the most prevalent Internet destinations (Burmaster, 2009). In addition to changing the frequency of peoples communication, social media has also tremendously increased the number of individuals a person can interact with, leading to new ways of influencing behaviors (Burmaster, 2009). Studies on consumer behavior have reported that people who consumers take seriously information posted online and spend more time in internet sites that offer third-party evaluations (Huang et al. 2009). Information gathered from these websites have significantly affected the purchasing decisions of the customers, even if such information are obtained from non-credible sources (Weiss et al. 2008).

Disadvantages of Social Media in Business

Social media does provide not only rich opportunities for business success but also present myriad challenges for social media marketers and businesses. Because of web transparency, information posted online are available to everyone. Consequently, there is a need for consistency in the way online marketing is planned, designed, implemented and controlled (Hart et al., 2000). Some of the drawbacks associated with social media marketing include its time-consuming nature, trademark and copyright challenges, trust, privacy, and security issues, and negative feedbacks.

Time-consuming. Social media involves intensive, interactive conversation between two individuals, the customer and a marketing representative. The two-way exchanges of information demand a lot of commitment. In the online social world, there is a shift in marketing strategies with the primary goal being the establishment of long-lasting relationships that can result in increased sales. According to Barefoot and Szabo (2010), every business which embraces online marketing must appoint individuals who are tasked with monitoring different social network platforms, answer clients questions, respond to customers comments, and publish product details the clients considers valuable. Businesses which fail to establish a vibrant team of social media marketers are likely to be outcompeted in the current online-driven marketing age. It is worth noting that social media marketing needs a lot of time investment (Barefoot & Szabo, 2010). Experimenting with a few social networking sites with the hope of achieving profitable returns is a fantasy. Any serious business organization must, therefore, take into consideration the time factor when going the social media way of marketing and evaluate whether such time commitment can meet by its organization (Barefoot & Szaboo, 2010).

Trademark and copyright challenges. When using social networks to market their products and services, it is important that business organizations protect their trademarks and copyrights (Steinman & Hawkins, 2010). An organizations brands, as well as its trademarks and copyrights, are equally important as the value of the products and services offered. The vital role played by social media in facilitating communication on a real-time basis can help the businesses in brand promotion as well as in dissemination of copyrighted goods and services, but it may also lead to abuse of intellectual property by third parties (Steinman & Hawkins, 2010). Therefore, marketers should continuously monitor the use of their intellectual property when marketing through social media networks. Specifically, both the companys social media and those of third parties should be under constant control and monitoring to make sure that individuals tasked with marketing the products do not misuse the companys intellectual property.

Trust, privacy, and security issues. The use of social platforms in marketing has also been found to have trust, privacy, and security implications. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for a business organization to be well-versed with these challenges and undertake appropriate precautionary measures to minimize the damage associated with the collection, use, and storage of personal data. According to Hoffmann et al. (1999), the most important driver of customer loyalty in social marketing is trust, a factor important in transactional security and privacy. For example, fear of online credit card fraud concerns has been the key factors some clients have limited online buying (Ratnasigham, 1998). Even though social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, have privacy policies governing the use of personal data, the perceptions that online transactions are risky, fraudulent, and unreliable are some of the reasons why prospective customers are still apprehensive of engaging in online businesses.

Negative feedbacks. In some instances, customers play the role of marketers as well as advertisers in social media where they can create both negative and positive pressures for the businesses and their products and services. The comments and feedbacks posted on online platforms are affected by the quality of a product or a service provided by the company (Roberts & Kraynak 2008). According to Ghose, Ipeirotis, and Li (2009), the feedback given by the consumers greatly influence customers choice of products and services online. One feature of social media networks that is detrimental to product promotion is negative feedback comments. Disgruntled consumers or industry competitors may post damaging videos, comments, and pictures. The marketers have little or no control over these disparaging information (Cheung, Lee, & Thadani, 2009).

References

Barefoot, D. & J. Szabo. (2010). Friends with benefits: A social media-marketing handbook. San Francisco: No Starch Press.

Barnet, K., & Ferris, S. P. (2016). Brand loyalty and online brand communities:. International Journal of Online Marketing, 6(3), 50-61. doi:10.4018/ijom.2016070104

Burmaster, A. (2009). Global faces and networked places. Retrieved from Retrieved from http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~bakos/wise/papers/wise2009-p07_ paper.pdfErdogmus, I. E., & Cicek, M. (2012). The impact of social media marketing on brand loyalty. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 1353-1360. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.1119

Ghose, A., P. Ipeirotis, and B. Li. (200...

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