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Critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing.
Social media, which started as a way to connect with people, has evolved to be one of the most powerful marketing channels. It is a tool which can be used efficiently to expand the businesses at a very fast rate. However, using it without proper knowledge can result in negative publicity of the brands leading to detrimental results. On the one hand, Social Media Marketing is probably the most effective channel to make people aware about your product, but on the other hand, it has its own repercussions if not planned and executed well (Dabrowski & Schivinski, 2014). Unlike other means of communication, in social media, there is generally no control over the speed with which the information is spread (Bija & Raluca, 2014). This can be beneficial at times, but if one negative feedback or comment goes viral; the results can be devastating. In this report, an attempt has been made to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of one of the most important marketing tools – social media marketing.
In any business, cost reduction plays an important role in strengthening the bottom line of a company. Social Media Marketing is an excellent way to do it. Using a free social media channel is easy, but it is vulnerable to cyber threats. A one-time investment in a digital marketing team could be a good idea (Gaber & Wright, 2014). But this is very small as compared to the traditional advertising channels.
Awareness is probably the most important element for the success of a marketing plan (Gaber & Wright, 2014). Social media helps in targeting a larger audience from across the world. In addition, it also helps in building a personalized and authentic relationship with the customers. The buying patterns can be analyzed, and appropriate deals and offers can be given to them. The various social media channels Facebook, Twitter and YouTube help in creating fan pages and communities. The followers gained through them are more loyal than the ones gained offline. The studies show that around 91% of the retail brands that use two or more social media channel had a much higher conversion rate as compared to their counterparts (Despande, 2014). The prime reason for this is the personal touch that this channel provides. The advertisements and promotional campaigns can be used to target customers by connecting with their emotions.
In the present generation of big data, it is beneficial to have a system from which it can be gathered easily and effectively. Social media analytics helps in gaining insights with respect to each and every advertisement (Dabrowski & Schivinski, 2014). It tells how many people are being targeted and how many get interested in it by using various parameters like click-through rate. The comments of the target audience can be used to find out the sentiment of the people towards a brand and how they react to the competitors’ products (Minazzi, 2015). This information then can be used to improve the existing campaigns. Social media also helps in providing better customer service by speeding up the process of issue resolution. One classic example is that of Walmart, which started using SMM in 2012 in order to streamline its operations and reduce the overall price of the products (Despande, 2014).