BY : FESTUS OPPONG K. ASANTE.
Over the past decade, there have been revolutionary changes in marketing; advertising and promotion, said changes have been mostly driven by breakthroughs in technology that have led to the dramatic growth of communication through the internet. Social media is one such example of internet media. Social media involves the use of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other such content. Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Snap chat, LinkedIn, YouTube amongst others make up the many social media platforms that can be found in today’s world. Due to its interactive nature, the internet, most especially social media sites provide a perfect avenue for marketers to promote their products, services or ideas to either trader or to the ultimate consumer through the following.
First, marketers can use the internet, especially social media to increase brand loyalty and increase consumer sensitivity to promotional deals. Social media like Facebook and twitter allows for marketers to advertise their products and services. It provides customers with exposure towards products .Marketers provide promotional deals like sweepstakes, online coupons and online contests that help a brand increase loyalty and consumers sensitivity towards their product.
Also, Social media can be used by marketers to increase brand awareness .Social media users can always recommend to their social circles the quality about a brand. For example, a marketer can introduce to their followers on social media about their brand. Their consumers can intern share the said information to their own circles based on the incentives offered by marketer’s .This can be a good marketing boost for brand image and increase the growing number of people interested in the brand.
Thirdly, Social media sites have features that can help marketers achieve their aims of targeting a specific market. Social media sites like Facebook offer marketers a variety of audiences of different demography. Be it traders or consumers .For example Coca cola can design online contest for consumers or design incentive packages that attracts traders.
Moreover, there are growing social signals that marketers can take advantage of in order to establish their brands. Social signals can significantly boost your search engine optimization efforts. The more people in the social media community share, like, recommend and talk about your business , the more search engines find the company’s website relevant thereby increasing the chances of the firms WebPages acquiring a higher position to the search engine results page. Social media gives this opportunity to a form (marketers).
Despite the varied ways social media can be used by marketers to achieve their sales promotional objectives, there are some negative impacts that can be gotten.
To begin with, there are products that do not have an online audience. Product designed for the older generations like those born before the millennial age. This is because they are not accustomed to recent technological breakthrough of which the internet and in effect the social media sites are part of. Thus to organize a sale promotion tailored with the internet in mind for them will not necessarily yield the intended results.
Again, there is a chance that the reactions, likes etc. People and traders are likely to like and share because friends and family ask them. Hence, measuring the impact of promotional sales on the internet lacks reliability.
Also, there is the danger in moving brands online because of possibilities of reducing brand equity. When establishing a social media presence, there is a risk in case the site happens to be poor in terms of performance, structure or information content. It is easy then for a brand to lose the little name it has made for itself because of bad internet, especially the social media presence. Social media can thus, be likened to a ‘double edged sword’ which can cut both ways, that is it can build and destroy a brands reputation at the same time. The interactive nature of the internet, especially social media, than not only is beneficial for the establishment of a brand but also pose risks for the brand. Social media can either make or break a brand . an Example of which is when Netflix during the month of July 2011, announced they would raise the subscription plan of their most popular by 60%. This created uproar and within a short span of time, their stock plummeted substantially. This is an illustration of the power the internet can have on a brand.
In conclusion , the internet especially social media provides the perfect platform to increase brand loyalty and consumer sensitivity , creates and promotes brand awareness , help marketers in fragmenting their consumer market and finally it growing social signals helps a firm establish it brand. Sales promotion can again impact the marketer negatively; online sales promotion may not be ideal for some products, the unreliability of the internet (especially social media reactions), there is a danger of reducing brand equity and finally running the risk of destroying one’s brand reputation.