Growing popularity of social media

Statement: “Emanating from the growing popularity of social media, consumers expect companies to be present on popular social media channels. As a consequence, companies can no longer maintain customer interactions solely by way of traditional channels.”

The overall statement is true. Traditional media is different from social media.  Traditional media is considered outbound via mailers, television, and cold calling, where social media is considered inbound, with SEO, social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and blogs (Boysen, 2012). Social media allows for relationship building through engagement and interaction, and can be easily measured compared to the expensive, short-term results and harder to measure traditional media (Boysen, 2012; Wollan, Smith, & Zhou, 2010). One great thing about a company’s adoption of social media is collecting, auditing and analyzing social, engagement, and influence data (Li, 2010).  This data analysis allows the company to see which products/services and which campaigns were the most effective in not only obtaining views across different social media platforms but conversion rates from views to purchasing of products/services (Boysen, 2012; Wollan et al., 2010).

Social media allows for consumers to have a more interactive way to get information from an existing company about a product/service (Boysen, 2012; Li, 2010; Wollan et al. 2010).  If consumers like or dislike the product/service enough, they would be willing for free to spread the word about the product/service through their social network. (Li, 2010). Essentially consumers are willing to call out the triumphs and disappointments of a company. Thus, social media potentially has a huge reaching or alienating of new consumers, through this concept of spreading content via word of mouth, which is a very effective way of marketing.  Word of mouth is so effective that 92% of recommendations are followed through on when they come from friends (Boysen, 2012). Social media is built on the connecting friends to each other, and companies should use that concept to their advantage, to enhance gains and mitigate losses.

Finally, a social media campaign strategy and execution is significantly more inexpensive and has a higher return on investment than traditional media (Boysen, 2012).  Companies should move forward to developing a social media strategy and should execute that strategy, to take advantage of the word of mouth phenomena that is relatively low cost compared to traditional media.  The strategy should be considered a living document because social media changes evolve with time and have dependencies to the evolution of popular social platforms (Cohen, 2011; Solis, 2010).  That is how the Red Cross of America is treating social media as they have updated their social media strategy in just a few years (Li, 2010; American Red Cross, 2012).  In 2015, TD Bank had amassed 550K Facebook likes, by having faster response time on their posts than their competitors (1.25 hours response time compared ~5 hours with their competitors), showcasing their financial education campaign (#financialeducation), and having a plan for responding to negative situations & comments (Crosman, 2015). TD Bank couldn’t accomplish this without having a strategic social media plan.