Social media sites have gained prominence over the last two decades as a communication tool for sharing ideas, information, career interests, and so on. Many people are now shifting from broadcast media as sources of information. A research conducted by Saravanakumar, & SuganthaLakshmi (2012) revealed that about 2 billion people around the globe use social media. It is worthy to note that it is the desire of all businesses to make profits. To achieve this, they need to market their products so as to have high sales volume. One way to achieve this is to use social media for promoting and marketing of the business's products. Typically, effectively utilizing social media for marketing remains a huge challenge for most business owners. This paper discusses ways in which a business person can market and promote his or her business on social media.
Purpose and Scope of Research
The research focused on finding out the world population that uses social media platforms. The research also focused on determining how various target markets by age use social media. It particularly focused on how many people use social media to do a product search. The research further focused on finding out if at all social media influence people's decision making as far as buying products is concerned. It is important to note that relevant journal articles were majorly used. These journals were published within the last five years and contained information regarding internet users and online marketing. Other than the journals, books and websites were also used. The books used were published within the last five years and contained relevant pieces of information about social media and marketing of businesses.
Saravanakumar, M., & SuganthaLakshmi (2012) observe that there has been the meteoric growth of social media sites leading to enhanced globalization. Social media stimulates openness as well as participation in business matters. Statista (2018) summarizes the social media use for the past 8 years as shown in figure 1 below.
Figure 1 showing social media users in the world between 2010 and 2017
According to Heymann-Reder (2012), most companies and businesses use social media to promote and market their brands. A research conducted by Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi (2012) reveals that of all the available social media tools, commonly used sites for marketing include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogs. Figure 2 below summarizes this finding.
Figure 2 showing most commonly sued social media sites for marketing
To effectively use social media, Luo and Zhang (2013) suggest that businesses should consider social media sites to target customers, create a buzz, and learn from customers. To create a buzz in the market, it is imperative to use social media influencers to promote a business's products. This should be done even before the products of the business are brought to the market. As a matter of fact, social media influencers such as celebrities have a large following in terms of fans. Normally, fans literary copy the lifestyles of their celebrities (De Vries, Gensler, & Leeflang, 2012). Thus, if the business uses these celebrities, it will have an immense benefit as the celebrities will create a buzz in social media for business products. Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi (2012) acknowledge that a company that effectively created a buzz was the Ford Company which made the Fiesta model to realize significant sales volume.
To learn from customers, Shaikh et al. (2016) suggest that businesses should use social media platforms to collect the necessary customer insights regarding its products. It should post questions in its social media regarding customer experience in using their products. The insights they get from their customers regarding their product will provide a framework that the company will use to improve it's the quality of its products as well as its operation to gain a competitive corporate advantage, thus productivity and profitability. One company that has been successful in using social media to learn from customers is PepsiCo Inc. (Saravanakumar & SuganthaLakshmi, 2012).
Lastly, in order to considerably market the business products, Stelzner (2014) asserts that using social media to target customers is essential. Social media sites are exclusive components that customers use to make their purchasing decisions. For instance, the millennials, people born between 1984 and 1996, extensively use social media sites. This generation is energetic and has moderate purchasing power. Businesses need to understand when customers ponder for a given brand and their tastes and preferences. The business should use this to their advantage and target customers so as to increase their clientele base for productivity.
Generally, literature from already existing books and journals give detailed information regarding social media use among the population of the world and how businesses can capitalize on these sites to market and promote their products. The use of social media has created a global village in which people freely interact as well as broadening the clientele for the business. However, some businesses are unable to effectively utilize social media as a good marketing tool due to their inability to determine the best way to discern product information to online users. Most internet users do not like reading long articles and pieces of information on social media. Thus, in order to effectively promote its products, business should make their ads on social media brief and to the point.
De Vries, L., Gensler, S., & Leeflang, P. S. (2012). The popularity of brand posts on brand fan pages: An investigation of the effects of social media marketing. Journal of interactive marketing, 26(2), 83-91.Heymann-Reder, D. (2012). Social media marketing. Addison-Wesley Verlag.
Luo, X., & Zhang, J. (2013). How do consumer buzz and traffic in social media marketing predict the value of the firm?. Journal of Management Information Systems, 30(2), 213-238.
Saravanakumar, M., & SuganthaLakshmi, T. (2012). Social media marketing. Life Science Journal, 9(4), 4444-4451.Shaikh, N., Siddiqui, M. E., Vasatkar, K., Jagtap, Y., & Sankpal, L. J. (2016). Social media marketing. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, 3(6), 870-872.
Statista (2018). The number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions). Retrieved from www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/Stelzner, M. (2014). 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Social media examiner, 1-52.
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