Social Media Marketing: An Aid to Business Growth or A Curse?

Social Media marketing refers to the use of social media to complement an organization’s integrated marketing strategy. With the internet wave there was a new channel for firms to communicate with customers but the advent of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, LinkedIn etc has increased both the potential reach and impact that marketing campaigns can have on customers. In every marketing campaign the customers are the target but one critical difference in the case of social media campaigns is that customers are not only the target but also the medium through which the campaign propagates.

A new study by IDG Research Services,  reveals that 95 percent of all consumers use at least one social media platform. Of those surveyed by IDG, 53 percent of respondents said the most effective way to market to them is to answer their questions on social media platforms.

The power of social media is it forces necessary change.           

Erik Qualman

Social media is see-saw between striking a balance between Customers is afraid of losing personal data and money or having their privacy invaded. Consumers want relevance, they want pleasant surprises and they want their lives to be made easier.Social media marketing is important in business prospective because of 2 main reasons:

1. Branding:

When you think of a brand first thought that comes to our mind is about quality of the brand some people may even think of high cost of the brand.

These things come to our mind because they have created a brand. The more number of people know about you the bigger brand you are. The same applies to social media marketing as well. The more buzz you are able to generate the better you are for creating your presence on the internet.

2. Traffic:

Your social media marketing strategy should be good enough to direct traffic to your website. You can use search engines like Google, Bing etc to generate direct traffic to your website or we have paid advertisements on YouTube, Facebook, Google etc which can divert traffic to our website. Traffic is important. The more people visit your site the more popular you become!

 Social Media has improved social interaction dynamics, but it has also attracted undesirable elements. The social media elements that generate business opportunity for companies to extend their brands are often the same elements that have created IT-related risk. This can create marketplace confusion because of multiple messages and different audiences, policies and practices. Employees involved in social media, inadvertently leaking sensitive company information or Criminal hackers “re-engineering” confidential information — log-ins and passwords, Employee misuse of social applications while at work, Hacked, faked or compromised corporate or executive Twitter or Facebook fan page or individual accounts.

More platforms create more access for viruses, malware, cross-site scripting and phishing damage to a brand or company reputation from negative, embarrassing or even incriminating employee or customer posts, the list goes on!

 Because the spread of social media has been so fast and furious, a variety of defination and perspectives have been hastily developed to help companies understand how to

manage social media strategies. The leading companies recognize that effective social media governance should be enterprise-wide and holistic.

An effective governance strategy should be:

Cross-divisional and interdisciplinary ­

• Transparent for all stakeholders

• Inclusive of integrated training, education and awareness with data analysis, data loss prevention tools and end-user safeguards including password protections and plug-in prohibitions.

Effective social media strategy and governance consists of an overall social media assessment, a clear social media strategy, consistent social media policies, an awareness program and professional social media monitoring. If these are well designed, and successfully meshed with data loss prevention, data analysis and end-user protection, the resulting governance enables organizations to leverage their use broadly, helping to lower risk and protect the brand. By bringing clarity and consistency into the otherwise uncoordinated use of social media, an effective governance model will help the organization and its employees gain valuable insights into customer perceptions of an organization’s goods, services and brand. Thus, armed with these insights, employees — and even customers — can help strengthen the brand — internally or externally.

The author is currently in the final year of  MBA specializing in Marketing at Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy .' Piyushree Nagrale (4 Posts)

The author is currently in the final year of MBA programme specializing in Marketing at Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy.