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Social media has become a necessary part of a marketing strategy for most companies, as indicated by success stories of corporate accounts. Social networks and similar platforms allow a company to interact much more closely with potential customers and engage them, which would be more difficult with traditional one-way methods. However, the unique environment that characterizes social media also makes a different approach than the one employed in conventional advertising necessary.
Traits and Approaches
The primary difference between traditional media and social networks lies in the degree of information control a company possesses. Small incidents that would be possible to conceal from the public can quickly attract large amounts of attention on the Internet, and the ability to freely copy data means that the evidence is nearly impossible to remove, and attempts to do so will likely inspire further backlash. As such, social media has its advantages and risks, which should be considered when formulating a strategy.
Representation on a personal level is a consumer engagement strategy that has achieved a considerable degree of success on social networks. Mangold and Faulds recommend that companies provide information freely, perform attention stunts, provide exclusivity, design products with customers in mind, support their causes, and use the power of stories (363-364). They also state that the advent of social media advertising does not mean companies should stop advertising traditionally.
Social media is now a vital part of many successful marketing campaigns, and numerous companies now maintain accounts designed to interact with customers and promote their product. However, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the environment where the advertising campaign occurs. Social media are a promising area for marketers, but only if they investigate the field and introduce appropriate strategies and attitudes.
Mangold, W. Glynn, and David J. Faulds. “Social Media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotion Mix.” Business Horizons, vol. 52, 2009, pp. 357-365.