Internet-based Essay Example
Internet-based Essay Example

Internet-based Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2589 words)
  • Published: January 17, 2018
  • Type: Case Study
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In the past, online social media was limited and this hindered global communication. However, in recent times, social media has gained immense popularity for various activities such as discussions, creating content, sharing information, bookmarking and networking. It allows people to showcase themselves and their products to different communities and interested individuals (Roberts & Cranky 2008).

Social media is a term used to describe various applications that enable users to participate in activities like "tagging" and "blogging." The content created through social media serves as an innovative online source of information. Users generate, share, and utilize this content with the intention of informing others about products, brands, services, and issues (Axing & Greeter 2010). Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are some well-known examples of social media platforms.


Social media has become influential in various fields, including the environment, politics, technology, and the entertainment industry due to its convenience, speed, and wide reach. The self-promoting nature of social media platforms enables users to easily share content and make it go viral, which makes it an appealing tool for businesses aiming to market their products and services (Axing & Greeter 2010). According to Nielsen's State of the Media: Social Media reports from 2011, social media users have become avid online shoppers with a 70% engagement rate in online shopping (Nielsen, 2011).

By utilizing online websites and sitting in front of a computer screen, consumers can easily obtain their desired items. However, social media marketing has both positive and negative effects on consumers and marketers. It provides convenient access to information but also exposes individuals to risks and cyber crimes due to the lack of monitoring and control.

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In the forthcoming chapters, we will further explore the advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing. According to Watson et al. (2002) cited by Sheet and Sahara (2005), businesses are actively investigating how social media can effectively promote their products and services to potential as well as existing customers. To gain a better understanding of the benefits associated with social media marketing, there are five key advantages that contribute to success in this realm. The main advantage emphasized by Weinberg is the cost-related aspect of social media marketing.

The financial obstacles for social media marketing are relatively low in comparison to other methods. Most social media platforms can be accessed and used for free, allowing businesses to create profiles and share information without cost. This is a significant advantage compared to traditional marketing campaigns that can be extremely costly. Even for business purposes, many social media tools are available for free. With a limited budget, businesses can still run highly effective social media marketing campaigns. The benefit of being able to reach your intended market without significant financial investment is substantial, as the audience willingly joins or follows you to receive your information.

Utilizing pay-per-click criteria is crucial for targeting the appropriate audience. The viral nature of social media enables information to rapidly spread among networks, reaching a large number of individuals in a short time period (Weinberg, 2009). With the advent of new media, social interaction has increased as people spend significant amounts of time online engaging in communication activities like emails, IM chat, and social networks (Reigned, 2007). Social networking sites have gained immense popularity and have brought about changes in the frequency

and recipients of online communication while also influencing new behaviors (Burgomaster, 2009) as cited by Hill ; Moran (2011).

Consumer behavior studies indicate that people value and rely on online advice and information, particularly from websites that offer third-party evaluations (Hung et al. 2009). These studies also suggest that such information can directly influence purchasing decisions, even when it comes from purely virtual sources (Add et al. 2006; Weiss et al. 2008, cited by Waffle, 2011). The benefits of using new media, such as increased reputation and anticipated reciprocity, are closely tied to the social interaction aspects of these platforms (O'clock 1999; Arthur et al. 2006, cited by Waffle, 2011).

According to Setter (1992, cited by Ronald P. Hill and Nora Moran, 2011), unlike watching TV or listening to the radio, new media allows consumers to actively engage with the content. This interactivity refers to the level of user participation in modifying the form and content of a mediated environment in real time (Setter, 1992).

Interactivity plays a significant role in new media technologies, offering more opportunities to access information and empowering users to have greater control and involvement with social media content (Fire et al. 2005 cited in Hill & Moran, 2011). The level of interactivity varies depending on the context. In the context of online social networking, interactivity refers to the user-centered interaction with machines, messages, or other users, with a focus on the experiential aspect of the networking process (Lie & Shrub 2002 cited in Hill & Moran, 2011).

Interactivity can range from simple actions like filling out forms or clicking links, to more complex tasks like developing online content (Meringues, 2007). According

to studies cited by Hill & Moran (2011), higher levels of interactivity are associated with increased involvement (Buck, 2003), more positive attitudes towards websites (Kilimanjaro & Sundae, 2003; Hill & Moran, 2011), and higher perceived source credibility (Fog, 2003; Hill & Moran, 2011).

This user interactivity allows consumers to engage in personal social networking by choosing the content, timing, and communication act. Certain social media applications empower consumers, allowing them to take active control and interact in a two-way manner. Active control occurs within a social networking context and involves attention and participation from all involved parties, including individual users, networked groups or communities. Furthermore, social media allows marketers to target audiences and consumers based on users' personal interests and the preferences of their friends.

By listing country music as an interest on a social networking site, users can expect to see targeted ads related to country music concerts and artists. Additionally, these ads may also showcase the country artists that their friends like, creating a personal connection. This "smart" marketing allows marketers to effectively reach those who have a genuine interest in their offerings. Social networking also goes beyond traditional advertising by utilizing word of mouth to promote products. For instance, Hotmail used viral marketing by adding a hyperlinked advertisement for their free e-mail service at the bottom of every outgoing message, leveraging the implicit advocacy of their users and targeting their social connections. It is worth noting that traditional marketing methods may not resonate with specific consumer segments (Hill, Provost ; Violin's, 2006; Montgomery, 2001).

According to Hill, Provost & Violin's (2006), some consumers find value in appearing cutting edge or "in the

know," and therefore find satisfaction in promoting new and exciting products. Customer service is also a crucial aspect of social media marketing (Helmsmen, 2000). Occasionally, website designers may need to include some complexity in the architecture of a website. Hence, it is important to have a well-planned customer service system in place. Including links to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and online preventatives can assist customers during the selection or buying process.

According to Commons et al. (2001), it is important for marketers to not only offer online assistance but also consider providing a toll-free phone number for customers. This is because many customers find it more convenient to call a company for assistance. Additionally, Commons et al. (2001) emphasize that order fulfillment and rapid delivery systems are equally crucial for developing e-loyalty. A well-planned logistics system that ensures a fast delivery after the checkout process plays a significant role in enhancing customer satisfaction and fostering loyal behavior.

The logistics system should provide various delivery options, such as parcel services like Fed and UPS. Additionally, customers should have the choice to pick up products in physical stores for a more personal experience (Commons et al., 2001). A major disadvantage of online shopping is the inability for customers to physically interact with products before buying, leading them to feel uncertain about their purchase.

To reduce this insecurity, social media marketers should provide well-known brands with good product quality and guarantees (Commons et al., 2001). However, the online environment also presents disadvantages, including complications and challenges for the social media marketing process. The transparency of the web makes online information accessible to all audiences, emphasizing the importance

of consistency in planning, design, implementation, and control of online marketing communication (Hart et al., 2000).

Social media marketing has several disadvantages that should be taken into account, including the need to invest a significant amount of time in building long-term relationships and potentially increasing sales. It is crucial for someone to monitor each network, address comments and questions, and share valuable product information (Barefoot & Saab, 2010). Businesses without a dedicated service for managing these social networks may struggle to compete effectively. The most critical factor to consider is that social media marketing requires a substantial time commitment (Barefoot & Saab, 2010).

To gain significant returns from social media, companies cannot just experiment with a few resources and expect success. They need to comprehend the time commitment involved and determine if it's feasible for their operation (Barefoot & Sabot, 2010). Furthermore, when utilizing social media for brand and product promotion, it is essential for companies to safeguard their trademarks and copyrights (Statesman & Hawkins, 2010).

The value of a company's products or services often matches the worth of their brands and intellectual property. The use of social media allows companies to promote their brands and share copyrighted material quickly. However, it also increases the risk of third-party misuse of trademarks and copyrights (Statesman ; Hawkins, 2010). Therefore, marketers need to constantly monitor the usage of their trademarks and copyrights when utilizing social media, regardless if it is through external platforms or the company's own channels.

To protect their intellectual property, organizations must monitor both their own social media channels and third-party platforms. It is vital to closely observe the content shared on these outlets

to prevent any unauthorized use. Many internet tracking and screening services are accessible for monitoring a company's trademarks and copyrights on external websites. This involves inspecting social media platforms for profiles or usernames that bear a close resemblance to the company's name or brands (Statesman & Hawkins, 2010).

According to Statesman and Hawkins (2010), impersonating a business can harm the brand and reputation of a company if not addressed. Monitoring such activities can also indicate the success of a business. To prevent this, companies should reserve user names on social media platforms that are similar to their trade names and marks. Additionally, companies should establish terms and conditions for their social media outlets, which include guidelines for proper use of their intellectual property or third-party intellectual property (Statesman & Hawkins, 2010).

According to Statesman & Hawkins (2010), it is recommended that marketers create guidelines to prevent trademark and copyright infringement as well as impersonation in social media marketing campaigns. The authors also raise concerns regarding trust, privacy, and data security in the context of using social media for brand promotion. Hence, companies should be mindful of these issues and implement measures to mitigate potential legal risks related to the handling of personal data.

The importance of trust, specifically in terms of transactional security and privacy, is crucial in creating customer loyalty towards social media marketers (Hoffmann et al., 1999). A study has shown that customers have refrained from engaging in extensive online purchases due to various reasons (Arrhythmias, 1998). Furthermore, concerns regarding privacy have caused significant damage to the brand image of certain social media marketing companies, resulting in public relations troubles (Advertising Age, 2000).

Social media platforms like Faceable and Twitter have their own privacy policies that regulate the use of consumer data and third-party conduct regarding personal information. Marketers using third-party social media platforms should ensure that their campaigns do not promote activities that violate the privacy policies set by these platforms. Additionally, marketers should also comply with these policies themselves.

Companies managing their own blogs or other social media platforms must establish thorough policies indicating their data collection, use, and storage practices. These policies should also outline the responsibility of third parties in maintaining privacy and data security (Statesman & Hawkins, 2010). Trust, an essential element in online purchasing behavior, is closely linked to security. In the online realm, consumers do not have the ability to physically sense or interact with products.

According to Statesman & Hawkins (2010), not being able to look into the salesperson's eyes eliminates certain ways of developing trust on the Internet. The presence of brand trust reduces uncertainty and is a key factor in building customer loyalty. Therefore, it is evident that loyalty, including brand trust, can counter some of the negative perceptions about the Internet, such as it being an unsafe and untrustworthy marketplace.

The lingering perceptions hinder potential customers from engaging in online business. To establish trust, a "third party approval" is utilized (Commons et al. 2001). In recent times, users have been actively interacting and exchanging information, thoughts, and opinions on the Internet. Furthermore, new online methods for generating content, communication, and collaboration have emerged.

User-generated content (UGC) is essential for marketing strategies on social networking sites and other social media platforms (Folio & Tan, 2009). For example, users

on platforms like ICC have various ways to express their opinions such as hoots, videos, bedposts, ratings, reviews, articles, and blobs (Folio & Tan, 2009). ICC serves as a powerful marketing tool by enabling users to share videos, photos, and messages within their network.

Additionally, user-generated content holds substantial credibility among consumers if it is created by individuals or shared within a social circle. Nevertheless, including such content in marketing strategies can expose companies to potential legal risks due to the involvement of participants who can rate the content. However, marketers can mitigate these risks by implementing specific measures when utilizing social media platforms to promote user-generated content (Commons et al. 2001). V.

Negative feedback on social media can have a significant impact on companies and their products/services. User-generated content, such as consumer reviews, images, and tags, not only provides valuable information for online shoppers but also influences the perception of a company. The rapid increase in user-generated content due to Web 2.0 technologies has greatly affected electronic commerce. However, one drawback is that users can post negative responses that harm marketing campaigns. Marketers have limited control over these occurrences when unhappy customers or industry competitors post disparaging content. Nevertheless, addressing negative feedback promptly and effectively is crucial in neutralizing its impact on the company's reputation and customer perception.

In conclusion, social media plays an essential role for marketers, advertisers, and online content creators as it has the potential to reach anyone with an Internet connection. It profoundly affects all areas of the Internet and transforms how people engage with it. A study conducted by Universal McCann in 2008 supports these claims. Furthermore, the rise

of social media has transformed consumers into active participants who both create and consume content rather than passively consuming it.

Social media applications or tools such as Blooms, micro-blobbing applications like Twitter, social networking sites like Facebook, forums, and video and photo sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr enable communication. Incorporating social media into marketing strategies can be beneficial for companies, especially marketers. This study focuses on identifying the advantages and disadvantages of online genealogy in terms of social media marketing.

Social media functions as a modern tool for marketers, who utilize different techniques to connect with their target audience. This platform offers both benefits and drawbacks for businesses, leading many companies to struggle with how to effectively use it. Frequently, business owners and marketers lack a complete understanding of the risks and challenges involved. Additionally, due to the newness of this field, it is difficult to evaluate the credentials of self-proclaimed social media "experts" who offer online services. Thus, it is crucial for companies venturing into social media marketing to thoroughly research recommended approaches.

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