Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an addition to personal, small business, corporate, and non-profit organizations’ integrated marketing communications plans. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Integrated marketing communications is a multifaceted, orchestrated marketing and advertising practice organizations follow to connect with their target markets. Integrated marketing communications coordinates promotional elements: advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing and sales promotion. Increasingly, viral marketing campaigns are also grouped into integrated marketing communications. In the traditional marketing communications model, the content, frequency, timing, and medium of communications by the organization is in collaboration with an external agent, i.e. advertising agencies, marketing research firms and public relations firms. However, the growth of social media has impacted the way organizations communicate. With the emergence of Web 2.0, the internet provides a set of tools that allow people to build social and business connections, share information and collaborate on projects online.
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate 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. Hence, this form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media.
Social media has become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brand awareness and often, improved customer service. Additionally, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns. With emergence of channels like Twitter, the barrier to entry in social media is greatly reduced.