Social Media Marketing describes “an interdisciplinary and cross-functional concept that uses social media (often in combination with other communications channels) to achieve organizational goals by creating value for stakeholders.
On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the management of the implementation, governance, scope (e.g. more active or passive use) and the establishment of a firm’s desired social media culture. This requires marketers to incorporate user-generated content (earned media rather than paid media) into their strategic approach.
Social networking websites are based on building virtual communities that allow consumers to express their needs, wants and values, online. Social media marketing then connects these consumers and audiences to businesses that share the same needs, wants and values.
Through social networking sites, companies can keep in touch with individual followers. This personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers. Also, by choosing whom to follow on these sites, products can reach a very narrow target audience.
Social networking sites also include much information about what products and services prospective clients might be interested in. Through the use of new semantic analysis technologies, marketers can detect buying signals, such as content shared by people and questions posted online. An understanding of buying signals can help sales people target relevant prospects and marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.
In order to integrate social networks into their marketing strategies, companies have to develop a marketing model. The model includes the following steps:
Selection of potential social networks to use;
Definition of a financial plan;
Definition of organizational structures to manage the social network in the market;
Selection of target;
Promotion of products and services;
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