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Social Media, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Abstract

Social media has become a very important tool when designing and implementing strategic and tactical marketing plans.  The use of social media to present purchasing opportunities to target audiences is ever increasing as many different companies are striving for opportunities to be in front of consumers.  Constant and instantaneous information flow has become available at the touch of a button with the use of wireless communication and increased abilities and functionalities of smart phones.  Access to Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of other social media outlets is as easy as flicking a finger across the screen of a smartphone and marketing managers want their products to be seen just as easy.  With the combination of the product teams and social media outlets there is a rare combination of tailored product marketing and social media exposure by both companies.  The user experience of both the product and social media tool is a shared responsibility among both parties.  The boundaries of the access are not only bound by the service areas of the information but also cross boundaries in the legal sense as well.  These types of exposure are shared by both parties and both must follow the state and federal regulations when purchases and consumer interactions take place.

Social Media Outlet

Social media is an expansion of how consumers communicate and has become, in some instances, the main vessel of communication between consumers themselves and the company providing the product.  With the social media giant Facebook, each person that logs onto the site experiences multiple different facets of the tool.  Their primary objective for gaining access to the site may be interactions with friends or colleagues but as soon as they log in they also are provided with opportunities from other companies to experience their product’s advertising.  The goal of the marketing agencies is to ensure their product is seen, viewed and experienced by the consumer through the interaction on the social media site, in this case Facebook.

On Facebook there are many different opportunities to create a connection with the consumer.  The first level of advertisement is the experience of other “friends” on the site to provide links, approvals or other information regarding the product.  This form of sharing allows a connection between friends with similar interests to share on common grounds.  The marketing companies will also create their own fan pages that would house offers, information or other details about the product and allow Facebook patrons to “like” their pages in order to show their interests in the product.  This provides a different strategy and relationship between the social media tool and the product because the two products become synonymous with one another and in order to reach the product page you would access it through the Facebook portal.  Although Facebook may or may not have a direct connection with the products or services being offered they do share a common ground and in essence become one in the same.  There could be an argument that the pages and opinions on Facebook do not represent the beliefs and values of Facebook but there have been instances where Facebook has withdrawn or limited content on their website.  This alone shows the importance of the connection between the social media outlet and the product that is being provided.

Facebook provides a direct link between products expressed interest in a product or service and the consumer.  This interest shows the popularity of a particular product or service among certain consumer markets and also provides vital data to the product’s marketing team to tailor and design strategic engagement around the product’s design and purpose.  This immediate and lasting feedback is not provided through traditional marketing strategies such as radio, newspaper and television advertisements.  This direct link between products and consumers provides many opportunities for success but also allows for potential risks in relationship management and consumer experiences (Flynn, 2012).

4 P’s and Components of Risk Mitigation

There are four components of marketing that promotes the products and services of a specific company include product, price, places and promotion.  The product must be show a definite benefit or fulfill a specific need of the consumer.  This definition of the product will show the consumer a definite value and fulfill a need.  It is the responsibility of the marketing manager to develop the plan on how to deliver the benefits of the product in a seamless and non-intrusive manner.  In social media this is accomplished in a multitude of ways.  With instant feedback and data mining tools, social media and tailor the consumer experience by only providing certain product advertisements based on the interests of the consumer.  For example, if on Facebook the user has joined multiple events for running and also likes products such as Nike and Garmin, the product advertisement delivery would tailor around an active lifestyle and promote other races or athletic equipment.

The price of the product is important regarding competitive products but it must also be relative to the ability to fulfill the need.  The question is based on how much the consumer is willing to pay to fulfill a need, eliminate a burden or reduce a risk.  This price will show an intrusive value to the consumer for both the product and the value of filling a specific need. The objective is to build an experience that promotes the value which translates directly to the price.  The perception of value becomes the reality of the price the consumer is willing to pay.

The place is one of the main opportunities of advertising on a social media outlet.  The place is instantly achieved when a user logs in and sees the advertisements on the screen in which they interact.  Ad placement within Facebook takes on multiple levels of interaction.  There is the pull of the advertisement when a consumer “likes” a product’s page and there is the push of the advertisement when a consumer engages in other areas of Facebook and similar products receive that information and directs their marketing engagements toward the consumer.  This placement will be received on the basis of the likes and interests of the consumer which in turn decreases the brunt of the advertisement onslaught in media.

This type of push and pull advertisement ties into the overall promotion of the item.  The consumer is interacting with the product’s advertisement without actively engaging in the advertisement unless they choose to (Kerpen, 2011).  The promotion of the advertisement is to seamlessly flow from the Facebook interactions into the promotional aspects of the product or service without causing a disturbance in the social media activity.  This is accomplished by creating an event tighter bond between the social media outlet like Facebook and the products which advertise on their site.  These bond increases the risk each shares during the consumer experience.

Mitigating the risk involved in doing business is done by identifying the risks and adjusting the product’s marketing plan based on the aversion or acceptance of risks.  The risks involved in each of the areas can come in many forms.  In regard to the product, there may be direct competitors illustrating the same benefits of their good or service at the same instant as each other.  This is a direct head to head competition and could become a loss of opportunity if the advertisement or marketing scheme does not fit well with the consumer experience on Facebook.

The price and place both share a risk in that a direct comparison between products is available instantaneously.  The placement of the advertisement is side by side with a competitor or could have a conflicting benefit based on the consumer’s social media profile.  The company’s ethical compass and foundation could be a direct conflict with another sponsor on the page.  While this is a risk it could be mitigated by tailoring their advertisements to the target audience they want to purchase their product.  The price is a reflection of value and if there is a direct price discrepancy between similar products the marketing tool must show the benefit immediately or fall victim to a lost opportunity.

Dispute Resolution

There are multiple methods for resolution for disputes between consumers and the business advertising on the social media site.  The social media outlet may not want to be part of the resolution effort but they have a vested interest in the outcome of the dispute.  The consumer arrived at the product’s site via Facebook or other social media network and because of the relationship between Facebook and the product the consumer had the experience they encountered.  The most opportune event would involve the direct interaction between the consumer and the product’s company (Peppers & Rogers 2011).  While this type of interaction is optimal there are also opportunities for resolution through the same media outlet that brought the two parties together in the first place.  On the Facebook many companies how sites dedicated to their products.  The consumer can post their desires on the social network page and receive not only a public forum but also a public response.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease and in the case of Facebook the comments provide a highly public wheel to squeak.

Government Interactions

The lines of business regarding state and federal jurisdictions are crossed once the consumer logs onto Facebook.  The availability of products or services across the globe is just as available as from the corner store around the block.  This availability provides a unique set of circumstances.

The judicial, legislative and executive branches all present cases for controlling, monitoring and enforcing parameters around consumer interactions across state lines but each have their own responsibility in those areas.  The same aspects of checks and balances among the three branches play into the responsibilities regarding social media and consumer interactions.

Since consumer transactions on social media can occur across state lines, determine how the federal government can best control these transactions.  The legislative branch can effectuate the most impact initially based on the ability to implement and integrate laws and regulations governing the interactions and transactions that occur on the internet and through social media outlets.  While it will be upheld and instituted by the other branches of government the first step comes through the implementation of the appropriate laws, governance and policies surrounding consumer actions through social media.

Relationship Management

As discussed throughout this essay the roles and relationship between the social media outlet and the product become synonymous with each other in the fact that the experience by the consumer is influenced concurrently by the social media site and the product using the site to advertise.  This is due in part by the ability to tailor the interests of the consumer to specific advertising and marketing ploys as well as the marketing team building highly enjoyable and seamless advertisements into the social media outlet.  Facebook provides the instantaneous interaction between consumers and products that is customized to the user and engrosses the user in an experience on demand.  The agency relationship between Facebook and their product sponsors is based on the fact that Facebook is providing the custom advertisement to the consumer and acts on part of the product to provide that consumer’s experience.  Facebook is in essence acting on behalf of the product due to the high integrated relationship between Facebook, the product and the consumer.

References

Flynn, F. N. (2012). The social media handbook . San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Kerpen, D. (2011). Likeable social media: How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on facebook (& other social networks). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Peppers, D., & Rogers, M. (2011). Managing customer relationships, a strategic framework. (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Wiley.

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