Social Media and its Effects on Marketing Today
By Ryan Gumb
Social media has become a regular part of everyday life for countless individuals around the world. When we wake up in the morning the first thing that we do is grab our phones to check our social media accounts. In fact, for many of us, the time spent sleeping is the longest period of time we go without checking our social media accounts. It is an undeniable fact that social media has made its way into our society in a variety of different aspects. One of the greatest ways that it has impacted society can be found in modern marketing and advertising.
Prior to the emergence and subsequent boom of social media, the faces of marketing and advertising were very different. What is now known as “traditional media,” was referred to simply as “media.” Television and radio ads, as well as print ads in newspapers and magazines, were often the direction that marketers opted to go in. Often times, press releases would need to be drafted and submitted to news publishers in order to get the word out about whatever it was that was being promoted. With the emergence of the internet, digital advertising began to blossom. Buying ad space on websites became commonplace, whether it be through side banners, videos, pop-ups, or even via blogs. While all of these methods of marketing and advertising still exist to this day, they have become less prevalent in the wake of social media marketing.
Social media has allowed companies to connect more directly with their customer base than ever before. Customers now have a tool at their disposal that will allow them to directly contact a company that they plan to do business with, allowing for customer service to take place at a rapid, and sometimes instantaneous pace. Social media also provides companies with an opportunity to promote themselves in a very cost effective manner. It may cost money to pay a social media manager or to run paid ads, but social media is still cheaper than many of the other methods of advertising that had previously been more popular.
Some companies even opt to utilize services such as Sendible and Hootsuite which allow them to streamline and queue social media posts in advance. Social media has also brought forth the emergence of “influencers.” Influencers are individuals with significant followings on social media who partner with brands in order to promote their products or services. They essentially act as thought leaders, influencing their followers to patronize the brands that they are working with. Many companies have found success by making use of social media influencers, and this has provided them with another method that they can utilize to connect with potential customers.
Additionally, social media gives companies an opportunity to establish a brand personality for themselves. Wendy’s is a prime example of this brand personality development. Wendy’s is famous for their Twitter account, which is snarky and sarcastic, often times making witty comments back at people who reach out to them on the platform. Often times, they will even throw a friendly jab at some of their biggest competitors, such as McDonalds and Burger King. This tongue-in-cheek approach has worked very well for Wendy’s, but brands must be careful, as social media can lead to offensive conversations and ruin the reputation of the company. The minute that something is put on the internet, especially on social media, it is there forever, and many companies have experienced severe backlash for things that they posted online.
In conclusion, social media has completely changed the landscape of the world of advertising and marketing. Brands now have direct access to customers, and customers now have direct access to brands. While this may mean that it is easier than ever to reach a customer base, it is not necessarily a completely positive thing, as brands are more under the microscope than ever before, and must now make sure that everything they say and do is being perceived positively by the general public. The use of targeted social media ads, influencers, and positive direct customer interaction can establish strong reputations and personas for companies who would have had a hard time growing a few years ago.