The social media has emerged as the new-age channel that marketers use to sell products and services. Online and social media have taken the place of print, TV and radio as effective mediums to disseminate advertisement messages to an ever-increasing customer base. Why has the social media become an effective tool to support marketing activities?
Social media gives you the illusion that it is free. It costs nothing to install WhatsApp or Facebook, which give users the illusion that such services are free of cost. Most users ignore the cost involved in maintaining these services. The cost of smartphones, Internet, electricity and storage are often ignored by users when they decide to get on social media. On the other hand, some services associated with social media have also become cheaper over the years. For example, connectivity and storage charges have been going down, encouraging users from even remote places to adopt social media in all walks of their lives. Easy availability and ubiquitous nature is a significant marketing potential of social media.
Technology companies have spurred the spread of social media in recent years. Social media would not have been so popular had they not been adapted for mobile devices. Modern devices are getting smarter and smaller, making even desktops and laptops obsolete. Smartphones have developed into all-in-one devices that can serve professional and personal needs of customers. Powerful chips prompted the production of powerful machines capable of surpassing the performance of an average desktop or laptop. By combining superior computing power with mobility, cell phone companies developed apps that are always available and can accompany customers even into their sleep! Small form-factor devices have made social media the ‘go-to’ app to remain well connected. This has become a strong point for social media as a marketing tool.
One of the most distinguishing aspects of social media is its informality, which has, in turn, made it more democratic. More people have been able to identify with it. While the print media catered to the needs of the well-informed and articulate customers, social media does not have any such pretensions. For that particulate reason, one might find households that do not subscribe to newspapers or magazines, but can hardly find people who are not subscribers of social media content. The ability to publish one’s thoughts and concerns on an open forum is one of the powers of social media that has sustained customers over the years. Social media provides marketers with a significant client base that they can tap.
Social media can to collect and disseminate local content quickly than other media. While most print and TV news focus on national or international events, social media is full of content relevant to where one is living. The ability to create groups has helped localisation.
Localisation has also allowed marketing companies to dish out advertisements specific to communities. Many campaigns that need to be tweaked to adhere to local sentiments can be easily dispersed through social media.
The Social media is not a strictly-controlled channel. Lack of strict censorship has significantly improved loyalty as users constantly log on to the network to update content or to get updated about latest events. Users often attach significant emotional attachment to content on social media. Marketers can use this aspect of social media to push their services.
Interactivity is a significant strength of social media. Users can interact with content of various kinds and also react with likes, dislikes or comments. They can also use to express their opinion. This level of interactivity allows marketing firms to gauge responses to their ads. They can thus regularly update their services to keep customers happy.