Technology is continuing to change our lives in myriads of ways that we can’t even imagine. One of the most potent demonstrations of technology today is the social media. People say that this is the greatest single shift in consumer behaviour ever since man came out of the barter system and began to use money. Or is it?
The advantages of social media are numerous:
- It is very cheap. When you compare social media advertising spends to spend on prime time television shows, this is a major pro for social media.
- Social media is the only marketing platform that allows you the engage in a two way communication with your consumers. Unlike, television or newspaper advertising, you can deeply engage with your consumers in social media.
- The results of social media are more measurable compared to traditional media. For example, you will get almost instant feedback and you can make course corrections if your strategy is not working.
Some of the drawbacks of social media advertising when compared to traditional advertising could be:
- It shows quick results. For example, the number of eyeballs you can get by advertising on the IPL final or maybe the Super bowl in the United States cannot easily be matched on the social media.
- Social media advertising is primarily engagement. The people need to be engaged with in a continuous fashion in order for social media to be effective. However, the engagement disseminates quickly. On the other hand, a good print or film media is more permanent.
- Social media is more high risk high gain. The possibilities of things going wrong in social media are high and the chances of consumers exhibiting herd behaviour can be both beneficial and deadly for the organization.
Word of mouth is considered the oldest yet most effective form in the integrated marketing mix. 92 percent of people rely on recommendations of their peers to decide on their purchases. The problem with word of mouth is that it can take some time for the news to spread about a new product or service. Social media is taking how the word of mouth propagates to the next level. Social media can be considered word of mouth in the fast lane. Millions of people are members of sites like Facebook and Twitter. The potential reach of the content is massive and extremely fast. This is one medium in which one doesn’t need to think about boundaries as the reach is practically universal.
Traditional media has been an important element has been an important element in the marketing mix ever since the dawn of advertising. It is trusted among consumers and is considered and proven to be a valuable tool for businesses and organisations. The problem is consumers are looking for the fastest and most interactive ways to get information about products they are interested in. At the same time, businesses are looking to measure exactly what their ROI is on the marketing media they use in their overall strategy.
Social media marketing provides a solution to this problem. It is a fast, engaging and interactive way for consumers to learn about products and services. Social media can also give businesses data-driven analytics about who is viewing their content and what customer opinions are for a relatively small investment.