Social Media Marketing Studies

Introduction

A majority of the business that is intent of creating more awareness of their products and services have embraced internet marketing as a result of the opted cost reduction and effectiveness in reaching the high number of potential customers. Accordingly, this marketing research paper intends to explore the issue of social media marketing, along with the associated benefits. The importance of effectively targeting customers has also been explored by evaluating how men and women differ in terms of their online behaviors. The importance of such internet marketing strategy as the use of search engine optimization has also been examined.

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Social media marketing

Social media marketing refers to the activity of utilizing online communities, social networks, wikis, blogs, as well as additional forms of collaborative communication using the internet, for purposes of sales, marketing, customer service, or public relations (Williamson par. 2). Some of the social marketing techniques that are quite common today include blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr. As a form of advertisement, social network marketing utilizes social network services to help marketers increase their presence on the web.

A majority of the social media marketing sites contain features that enable companies to design their own profiles. For example, it is possible for a given company to establish “pages” on say, Facebook, in which users have a chance of becoming fans of the company in question, its services, products, or even individuals. A CMO Survey that was released in 2009 has indicated that at the moment, 3.5 percent of company’s budget meant for marketing purposes gets used on the social media. In addition, it has been estimated that within a period of one year, the figure shall have increased to 6.1 percent and in another four years, it with have risen to 13.7 percent (Lake par. 3). The CMO Survey also revealed that a majority of the marketers preferred such social sites as LinkedIn and Facebook.

The whole idea about the use of social media by marketers is to first establish rapport with the target market for their products or services. Out of the ensuing rapport, it then becomes quite easier for the marketers to now share with the target market their products and services (Schumann and Thorson 153). Accordingly, the most important thing for marketers that are keen on using social media marketing is for them to first find out their target market, and the social media sites that they are most likely to use. This way, the marketer can then lay out the most ideal strategies to reach the target market. For example a marketer could be aiming at creating awareness about a new clothes label meant for teenagers and those in their twenties, using social media. In this case, the marketer would be best placed by first carrying out a survey to find out which are the social media sites that are most popular with their target market. In addition, there is also a need to ensure that the site in question has features that shall ensure that the products or services being marketed are well illustrated.

There are a number of benefits that are associated with social media marketing. Social media marketing has helped to enhance conversation and relationships, leading to improved marketing activities. In addition, social media marketing ensures that there is cultural re-mixing, and creativity. Also, social media marketers are more likely to embrace identity and passion, and potential customers are more likely to find them endearing, thereby helping to improve their business. There is also the issue of sharing, community, and connection, something that is not as pronounced in conventional marketing. Social media marketing is therefore a business approach that is quite influential, as it enables marketers to forge links with their target market, and in the process creating not just awareness of their products or services, but also high traffic levels to the sites (Schumann and Thorson 153). This is advantageous, in that it is a form of affordable promotion, in terms of the number of visitors to the advertising site. Social media marketing entertains, informs, and also helps to connect people. In other words, both the marketer and the target audience participate, and this is what entails the communal aspect of social marketing. On the other hand, just as social media marketing help a marketer to build their brand through interaction with customers, there is also a chance that should the marketing strategies that have been put in place backfire, it is highly likely that such a marketer shall also easily get a very bad reputation from the various visitors or customers to their site. Just as it is very easy for a marketer to use social media marketing to promote their products and service, it is equally easy as well for them to ruin their reputation as fast.

Men and women differ on the usage of the internet

When one is research their target market, a proper understanding of customers becomes a necessity. One of the most important lessons that online marketers need to learn is that of fully understanding their consumers. Not only do they need to be aware of what it is that the online consumers are looking for, they must also endeavor to understand the way in which these consumers use the internet. As a result, online marketers are best placed fully to grab the attention of the right target audience, and this means that they are also more likely to get the marketing message (Kwik par. 2). There is also a need to appreciate the fact that there is a difference between men’s online habits, and those of women. A 2005 study that was jointly carried out by American Life and Pew revealed striking differences across the gender divide, when it comes to their online habits. The study revealed that men make use of the internet for purposes of reading the news, making reservations or purchasing travel services, gathering information relating to sports or checking sports scores, keeping abreast of political news, taking part in such online auctions as those provided by eBay, writing of content with the intention of publishing online, buying and selling of bonds, stocks, or even mutual funds, and downloading music (Lake 4).

In 2007, results of a Forrester study indicated that men usually tend on average, to dedicate more time online, in addition to spending more time researching technical gadgets, and participating in online entertainment. On the other hand, women have been found to utilize the internet for purposes of seeking information relating to health, reading religious and spiritual information, in addition to and taking part in and accessing support group websites (Lake 4). In February 2009, Burt Media undertook a study that indicated that 62.3 percent of the women surveyed usually utilize the internet as a principal information source for those products that they could be contemplating purchasing. The study further indicated that 51.7 percent of women that took part in the study often utilize the internet as a form of staying connected with their families. On the basis of the striking differences between both men and women, there is a need for internet marketers to ensure that they put these considerations in mind when they are out to promote their products and services, if at all they intend to correctly position these to the target market (Kwik par. 6). There are several studies that concur with the statement that the usage of the internet varies across the gender divide. For example, in 2008, there were a total of four surveys that sought to evaluate online behaviors of women and men.

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One study, carried out by Nielsen Online, revealed that whereas men have a preference for video sites that are user-generated, such as YouTube, women, on the other hand, prefer spending additional time viewing video streams that entail TV shows, like the ones on offer by Hulu. Rapleaf, a company involved in social web search, released a report that showed men being increasingly more likely to utilize social networks to facilitate business activities (Lake Par. 6). On the other hand, women were found to utilize social networks for purposes of establishing personal relationships. Men have also been found to be more likely to share out their photos, writings and videos, in addition to other online creations. This is as per a study that was completed by Northwestern University. Such surveys are important for a social online marketer, because they help to reveal the trend in the market, and therefore assist these marketers to package their products and services in such a way as to appeal to the target market

Internet marketing strategy: Why is it important?

There has been an increase in the level of significance attached to internet marketing strategies, in line with the enhanced importance and growth of the Internet. A majority of the organizations that are already well established are increasingly seeking additional space to advertise their products and service online, in addition to seeking out web marketing strategies, with a view to improving the flow of traffic to organizations’ homepage (Spinxwebdesign par. 4). A company that has embraced internet marketing strategies stands a chance to strengthen its web presence, and this in effect translates into a high conversion rate. The completion of a website development should not be the end of an organization’s internet marketing strategy, since this is only a medium or instrument with which the organization in question is able to scale greater heights. It is important therefore for a company to ensure that it embraces interment marketing strategy, such as for example, ensuring that the advertisements have been placed on the relevant sites, in this case the target market and more importantly, the need to realize higher rates of conversion, in addition to gaining recognition globally.

Having in place an internet marketing strategy shall also enable the company in question to progressively monitor the performance of its website, with the intention of attaining success (Owyang par. 1). Internet marketing techniques have been found to enable organizations locate their websites’ hotspots. This is the specific place within a site that receives the highest level of traffic. This way, the revenues that normally accrue from internet marketing for an organization increase. If at all online businesses are to succeed, they must have in place practical Internet marketing strategies. Based on the developmental stage, there are a number of fundamental steps that an organization needs to take if at all it wishes to attain growth, with each of the individual steps entailing an implementation of crucial strategies. To start with, it is important that a business has in its possession a great service or product to offer to the market. Next, there is a need for such a business to establish a web site that it shall use for purposes of promoting the product or service in question (About.com par. 3).

In addition, there is a need for the business to formulate an excellent strategy, with the intention of further pushing the sale of its product or service. Each of the aforementioned steps contributes significantly to the success of a business. When an organization goes out of its way to create its own product, what this means is that the product shall be quite unique in the market, and this shall greatly enhance the chances of the company to beat the existing competition in the market.

Another strategy that a company may use to boost its online marketing once it has designed a website is the use of search engine optimization, as a strategy to help the visitors to the site navigate through easily (Schumann and Thorson 253). This strategy works by making use of certain keywords that when used by a visitor, chances of them locating the product or service that they are seeking increases. When the words and sentences in an organization’s homepage have been done successfully, it becomes quite easy now for customers and visitors to become convinced of the need to order the product or service that such a site has to offer. When a site fails to target the most appropriate keywords, the implication is that it stands chance to lose valuable customers. When bad keywords are used, this results in a low ranking of the website and by extension, the products or services that a company is out to market may not get the attention of potential customers, owing to low traffic. This translates into reduced company earnings (Design Toronto par. 4). To overcome this handicap, organizations must be able to locate the keywords that are quite popular to the service or product being marketed. In addition, website developer also needs to examine the search volumes, in relation to the keywords in question.

Based on the realization by companies that mass customization helps them develop loyal customers, a majority of the online marketers are now using this strategy by providing customers with the option of configuring the specifications of the products or services that they need. A case in point here would be the personal computer, whereby a manufacturer lets potential customers enter the specifications that they would want for the end-products, and then the organization designs it in line with these specifications (Duncan par. 4). Due to the fact that the Internet is interactive in nature, it has become increasingly easier for marketers to implement the “build-your-own” purchasing option to customers. The result of this is that the customer base becomes empowered since they are now convinced of the dedication of the company to deliver what the customer has ordered. Accordingly, customers tend to become loyal to such a company. Aside from website enriching the use of great content and design will also help to attract visitors to an organization’s customers. The demographic group of an internet marketing site reaches needs to be broadly defined, in addition to also being user-friendly. There is a need for the organization to closely monitor how effective its internet marketing strategy is because the company needs to sustain its marketing approach. Aside from site optimization, email marketing techniques is another strategy that a company could use for its Internet marketing efforts.

Conclusion

Marketing research is an important tool for the success of any business. Before carrying out any market survey, it is important for an organization to first determine the target market, so that their products and services can be positioned effectively. Thankfully, social media marketing helps marketers to connect with potential customers, and establish a relationship. A market survey will also help reveal the differences in the way men and women use the internet, and this goes a long way into helping company position their products and services. Having in place an Internet marketing strategy such as the use of search engine optimization helps an organization increase the flow of traffic to their website, in effect creating more awareness of their products and services.

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Work cited

About.com. Internet Marketing Strategy. Web.

Design Toronto Web. Importance of Internet Marketing Strategy. 2009. Web.

Duncan, Geof. Men and Women Use The Internet Differently. 2005. Web.

Kwik, Phillip. Men and women use the internet differently. 2009. Web.

Lake, Laura. Marketing Online – Men and Women Use the Internet Differently. Web.

Owyang, Jeremiah. Best and worst of social network marketing. 2008. Web.

Schumann, David, and Thorson, Esther. Internet advertising: theory and research. London: Routledge, 2007.

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Spinxwebdesign. Importance of Internet Marketing in Changing Business Perception. Web.

Williamson, Debra. Social Network Marketing: Where to Next? 2007. Web.

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