Introduction to Social Media

Personal Experience with Social Media 

When I initially signed up for this class, I was a bit hesitant. I have always considered myself a “passive” participant of Social Media. While I will scroll through my Social Media apps, rarely will I post a picture on Instagram, comment on my Facebook newsfeed, or post a witty “tweet” in 140 characters or less on Twitter. In fact, sometimes the thought of posting a picture or on Facebook, instills fear- as Social Media has lately become a way to compare yourself to others (i.e. Who has the most “likes” or spent their summer in coolest location):

vacation-instagram

However, despite all the fear and hesitation, I am interested in taking this class because, over the past years, Social Media has transitioned from a method to keep in contact with friends and peers, which, as someone in their mid-late 20s, is usually just to see the latest person to become engaged, to one of the most important and fundamental marketing tactics to address consumers. It has become a method for businesses to expand their customer base and to inform customers of new products, etc.

Recently, Mobile Marketing Association Asia came out with quite an amazing fact:

There are 6.8B people on the planet. 5.1B people own a cell phone, but only 4.2B people own a toothbrush.

The implications of this fact show how influential Social Media can be: more people have cell phones than have toothbrushes. Communication/Social Media > personal hygiene. Because of how expansive the Social Media network is, it is crucial to understand and identify successful tactics and tips in this market.

Evolution:

Social Media platforms has made vast improvements and has evolved significantly over the past 1-2 decades.

Everyone probably recognizes this guy:

tom

For those of you who don’t know, this is Tom, most people’s first Social Media “friend” on MySpace. While MySpace existed and attempted to become a “first mover” in the social platform industry, Facebook beat them to the punch and grew in popularity as an exclusive group for college students, and an envy for all high school students.

However, it is important to note that the exclusivity of Facebook no longer exists. According to Statistica, Facebook currently has 1.71 billion monthly active users. The chart below indicates how the number of Facebook members has increased dramatically over the past eight years. Because of the large number of people currently on Facebook, it can be used as a platform to address the masses.

facebook-stats

In addition to Facebook and MySpace, there are a slew of other Social Media platforms, including Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and Pinterest.

social-media

Business Implications:

Because of the evolution of Social Media and its growing popularity, it has been evident how businesses leverage Social Media to help drive business, including advertisements, promotions, and customer feedback.

Advertisements:

Advertisements have increased its prevalence on Social Media platforms. For example, last semester, I had to research FabFitFun for an academic project. As part of the project, I had to look at company reviews, the company’s website, etc, over and over again. Interestingly, I started to notice that FabFitFun advertisements kept popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. As ignorant as this was, I thought it was a complete and total consequence. However, I quickly learned that Instagram has the capability to use information from your activity on Instagram and Facebook, as well as third party sites, to show ads for businesses that may be relevant for you as a consumer (see FAQ below).

instagram-ads

While this capability is great from a business standpoint, Social Media sites have started to lose its authenticity as these platforms have just become another avenue for consumers to be bombarded by advertisements. It is an interesting conversation to determine, at which point, are these sites invading consumers personal space through these advertisements placed on newsfeeds on Instagram, Facebook, and other Social Media sites.

Endorsements:

In addition to advertisements, Social Media has become a platform for celebrity endorsements and brand exposure. Recently, many celebrities have started to endorse products through their Instagram feeds. Celebrities highlight brands through their own personal accounts- which leads to increased customer base. Fans become exposed to brands because customers see brands on newsfeeds of celebrities that they love. For example, a celebrity like Selena Gomez may have upwards of 40 million followers on Twitter or Instagram, which may be priceless as it relates to an increase customer base and increased sales

selena

As popular as celebrity endorsements are, these types of advertisements are not cheap. Companies may spend more than $10,000 per tweet or Instagram picture. This may be nothing in comparison to stars like Selena Gomez, who charge $550,000 per sponsored Instagram. However, it is important to note that 4.6M people LIKED her photo- an action on the sole part of the consumer. Endorsements through Instagram, according to Euromonitor, have become a way for celebrities to become “spokespersons and models for a product.” Large companies, such as Nike, utilize these endorsements as an “integral part of their marketing strategies.” However, because celebrities’ statuses can change rapidly or public’s perception of celebrities may change, companies take a risk through these celebrity endorsements.

Sources:

  1. http://blog.euromonitor.com/2014/05/the-power-of-celebrity-part-1-types-of-celebrity-marketing.html
  2. http://www.attn.com/stories/10066/how-celebrity-instagram-endorsement-regulations-work

Feedback

Another benefit of Social Media and businesses is the ability for customers to provide feedback on products directly, not to mention immediately, to a consumer brands. For example, see below how airlines utilize Twitter as an outlet for customer complaints, etc:

 airlines

What I hope to gain from class:

As I have mentioned earlier in this post, I would not consider myself an active participant of Social Media platforms. It is evident in today’s society that these technologies are used in a way that helps aid business processes. The appropriate use of Social Media and skills and acumen related to these platforms are invaluable in today’s business world. They are instrumental to help improve brand exposure and increase market share. My hopes for this class are to understand ways to succinctly market through Social Media channels. Because Social Media is all about time and instant gratification, I hope to gain the necessary skills to address consumer wants/needs in ways that are quick, effective, and to the point. These skills will be necessary to help market my own self as an MBA Candidate as I search for career post-graduation.

 

4 comments

  1. dabettervetter · ·

    Hi, spulde13! I found your first blog to be extremely insightful! I especially related to your talk of advertisements. I have had a similar experience with working in the advertising world and then feeling stalked by my job! I know that some companies use something called “Dark Posting” where they identify users like us who may be interested in their products based on our internet footprint. They even can go as far as tracking what you put into a shopping cart online and if you do not purchase it, they will have advertisements for that exact product pop up on another site to attempt to convince you to change your mind. The internet knows everything about us and our preferences, tendencies, and habits. How creepy!

  2. What a great post. I think you’ll be pleased with what you learn in this class. Honestly, I’m not even a very active user of social media in my own personal life, but I do appreciate its opportunity to change how business is done (even in educational institutions). I look forward to hear your reflections on the journey through this course.

  3. kdphilippi18 · ·

    I really enjoyed reading your post – you had a number of really interesting facts! It is crazy to think that more people have cell phones than toothbrushes! That is both astounding and disappointing at the same time. What is really concerning is that technology has become the priority over a basic human need like dental hygiene. Additionally, I agree with your point about how influential social media has become in business. It is a great tool for brands to be able to communicate effectively with their consumers and better understand their needs, but it needs to be done in the right way so they don’t come off as inauthentic – which is very difficult to do!

  4. cattybradley · ·

    Great post – I completely agree about how prevalent targeted advertising is (and how sometimes you aren’t actually the target they are trying to reach!). Businesses are really leveraging all the consumer information produced by users interactions on social media sites. I hope in this class we can further discuss the implications of this and how it is changing advertising.

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