Social Media basically refers to the usage of web-based and mobile technologies to convert communication into an interactive dialogue between users online or between the consumer and the company/brand.
It can take different forms such as through magazines, Internet forums, web blogs , micro blogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. ‘Social Media Marketing’ basically is ‘the interactive dialogue’ between customers and brands, whereby they can directly communicate with each other. This ‘new-age’ technology has grown by leaps and bounds over a mere span of a few years and has broken most barriers of communication making the world a much more global one whereby any company/person can connect with another via social media sites.
With technological advancements and the Smartphone Revolution people have become internet savvy, and it has empowered them to not only create, participate, and share content on the Web but also to have meaningful conversations with people across the globe at any given point of time- thereby breaking communication barriers. Social Media has induced a sense of constant engagement between people not only through our old methods of interaction- Google talk, yahoo messenger, and MSN messenger, but it has taken a giant leap ahead whereby the internet is now not just a luxury in one’s life but more of a necessity paving way for other social media methods- Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Message Boards, RSS feeds, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, online chats, etc. It is a very useful tool for increasing the company’s profits and fetching more and more business.
Social networking through the various social media sites has grown like a viral effect with the rapid growth and usage of smartphones which facilitate Facebook, twitter, you tube and other networking sites. Browsing the internet through the cell phone has replaced the need for old-fashioned computers and new technological devices- I- touch, I-Pad, and tablets have made social media marketing an easy, convenient yet fun method of engagement.
One can log into their favourite networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, you tube, and sharing sites like Digg, social forums and review sites easily and quickly and have information at one’s disposal. Social media has created a virtual world for the individual through sites like YouTube, Second Life, Podcasts, Facebook, etc. This has in turned changed the culture making it more individualistic. Social Media Marketing has thus created the individual into a Digital Activist. The individual is no longer a passive consumer of products and services and seeks a dialogue with companies/brand product. Social Media Marketing has thus helped tremendously in personal branding of the individual as well as in boosting a company/brand’s presence online. It not only bridges the communication gap between the consumer and the business but also makes the business more accessible to the consumer thereby making the consumer more aware of the business/ its products, etc. Social Media Marketing for businesses is not merely about having their presence on the social media platforms like twitter, face book, or LinkedIn- but it is also about understanding the social interaction patterns/behavior, people engagement, online brand reputation and also managing the consumer’s expectations to build long-term relationships with the company/business and engage in online conversations with people who are interested in the product/brand/ service. Social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter allow individuals to interact with one another and build a relationship with the company. When companies or brands join these sites people can thus directly interact with the company or brand thereby creating a very personal interaction. Through these conversations and interactions with individual followers, a sense of loyalty can be instilled into the followers and potential customers.
This helps the business to create a strong foundation which ultimately will contribute to long lasting success.
What do you think? Is Social Media Marketing the next generation of business engagement?