Home Digital Marketing Social media is becoming increasingly important for marketing, branding, and sales

Social media is becoming increasingly important for marketing, branding, and sales


Social media is hot. More and more people are using it, and more and more companies invest in it. The Internet was used primarily during Web 1.0 for presentation, information and transaction, in the current Web 2.0 time it is mainly about (facilitating) interaction and communication between people and organizations and brands. Thanks to new tools and media such as email, SMS, chat, forum, wiki, weblog, Twitter and communities such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn, our way of communicating is changing rapidly.

Organizations must respond to the increasing demand of online social life and consumers, and customers expect that too from these organizations. Iigers can help you to increase your social life and get more costumers.

Different forms of social media

Social media is a name for a collection of media that is used for creating and sharing information and news, making contacts, communicating and profiling the individual members. Social media are merely media that are based on facilitating conversations between users.

There are different forms of social media, each with its own specific characteristics:

  • Social networks for consumers such as Instagram and Facebook
  • Social networks for business purposes such as LinkedIn
  • Social networks for entertainment such as TikTok
  • Social communities for target groups such as Nike Running and Service mothers
  • Social shopping sites such as https://www.hellofashionblog.com/
  • Social (collective) buying sites such as etsy.com
  • Social publishing sites such as YouTube and Flickr
  • Social publishing tools such as Podcast and RSS
  • Location-based services such as com
  • Review sites (customer reviews) such as TripAdvisor and Compare
  • Microblogs such as Twitter
  • Wikis such as Wikipedia and numerous hobby and company wikis
  • Chat like Google Hangouts

Different application possibilities of social media

In a general sense, social media is used to support social networks, communities, crowdsourcing, co-creation, user-generated content, social shopping, and customer reviews. Depending on the objectives, social media can be used in various areas such as public relations, marketing, sales, customer service, community building, and branding.

Marketing opportunities social media

The marketing possibilities or social media are countless. In short some options:

  • Branding: increasing range, visibility, brand awareness, and brand image
  • Market research: scanning of conversations and product ideas and tests
  • Market development: reaching new market segments and customer groups
  • Acquisition: attract new customers
  • Sales: realizing additional sales
  • Service: improve (after sales) service
  • Loyalty: strengthening customer loyalty and customer experience through closer interaction
  • Innovation: creating new ideas through customer feedback, co-creation, and user-generated content
  • Reputation management: monitoring and influencing the online brand experience
  • PR: via, for example, corporate and personal weblogs

You can use social media in different ways

Depending on the objectives, organizations can use social media in different ways. A small list of the possibilities.

  • Some companies use social media for their customer service. With special web care teams, they browse social media (communities, blogs, forums, Twitter) to help (dissatisfied) customers with complaints.
  • Social media can also be used to let customers submit, share and prioritize feedback, wishes and ideas for new products or services. Think of MyStarbucks Idea.

Social media for marketing and customer research.

  • Social media can be used to inform customers, students, citizens, and residents about new developments. Think of individual student blogs, online neighborhood platforms or concert agenda (via various media).
  • Social media can also be used for branding and advertising purposes. Think of advertising, making widgets available, influencing “opinion leaders” by distributing virals, content and other tools or by creating an own YouTube video channel.
  • Products, services, and ideas can also be sold via social media.
  • Via existing social media, existing services can also be delivered via an online channel. For example, you can answer questions via Twitter and hold a consultation and help customers complain about their services on Twitter.
  • Through social media, customers, patients, residents, tenants, students can be facilitated to exchange information, knowledge, experience and social contacts.
  • By using smart social media and actively participating in social communities, organizations can strengthen their (online) reputation. For example, several companies were popular for a while because they were present in the virtual world.
  • Also, organizations can also use social media techniques for internal purposes.

Social media marketing approach: OOPA

The ‘OOPA’ approach for social media marketing consists of four steps:

  • Orientation: first check which social media are important to you. Which media do your customers use (look at the customer profile of the ‘ideal customer’) and what could you do with it? Through a Twitter search, setting up Google Alerts or using one of the many (free) ‘buzz tools,’ you can quickly see where and what specific topics are being discussed online. Then select the most important social media.
  • Observe: register with the selected social media. Create a profile and sign up for new groups, newsletters, and messages. Then watch and listen to what is happening, what is being discussed and what topics are being considered.
  • Participate: you must focus on relevant discussions that you see coming. Answer questions from other community members, take part in discussions and ask yourself questions about how other entrepreneurs, for example, deal with specific issues.
  • Activate: engage customers and community members by asking them specific questions (research), making particular information and content available (service, loyalty) or involving them in gathering ideas (crowdsourcing) and developing new products (co-creation).

Interaction via social media has more effect than traditional advertising.

Instagram did research to measure the effects of the social network. They wanted to gain insight into both the push and pull elements of advertising via a social network. What were the results? Interaction with the brand is realized independently of the brand’s preference. Often the decision of advertisers to be active on social networks is still based on the possible reach of a campaign and less on the communication options that a social network offers. The research shows that two-thirds of Instagrammers are open to being involved in the interactive communication of a brand.

The motivation to take part in the action appears to depend mainly on the game or the activity. The brand of action only plays a marginal role here. At the moment that people actually participate in the campaign, the effects on knowledge, attitude, and behavior are enormous (pull result). For people who send the campaign (and therefore have an even more positive picture of the action), the effects are even more significant. The researchers see that likeability or relevance plays a vital role in achieving success. It is remarkable that the sender plays a less important role than expected (every brand can, therefore, be successful on a social network). If the campaign is fun or relevant to people, the brand effect is highest, and the extra reach generated by a social network is the highest.


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