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Social Media Marketing Essay

2433 words - 10 pages

In recent times, marketing has been looking to the internet as an as of yet improperly utilized tool. More and more businesses are becoming interested in the use of social media not only to market, but also to gain a better connection with their consumers. What is the reason for this? What advantages do social media hold that businesses are beginning to find value in? Perhaps it is the ease of access, or the relatively low cost compared to traditional marketing avenues.
What kind of value can be found in social media? It is exceedingly popular among teenagers and young adults, and has a good userbase of adults as well. This by itself is a strength; a huge number of people use social media ...view middle of the document...

All of these aspects: mobile potential, free membership, and a social setting allow for companies to get a message out easily, and gives it a potential to go viral.
On top of these, one of the biggest advantages is an ability for a company to interact with consumers at a large scale, in a way that can be seen by many. For example, Taco Bell has been known to use the social media giant Facebook in order to promote new products, or take polls on existing meals. The surveys and polls are not face-to-face, and they do not reflect poorly on a cashier or location, so people feel more able to express themselves, allowing for some very honest input. The page also allows the company to express and reinforce its brand’s personality, with posts such as “Friends are temporary, Taco Bell is forever”, and “‘Like’ this if you wish you could marry Taco Bell”, each with over 25,000 likes. By creating these posts, Taco Bell is creating a laid back, almost silly persona, and people may even begin to look forward to seeing what zany post Taco Bell is going to make next. This can be achieved to an extent through television and magazine advertisements, but not at the same level. With either of those mediums, the intended audience has to be there at the exact right time in order to experience it, and it can be a very expensive marketing route. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media mediums, a post can be created in a matter of seconds, for virtually no cost. Due to the low cost, it allows companies to create a more long-term marketing presence, without shelling out large amounts of money in exchange.
However, there are some downsides to using social media in this way. As previously mentioned, social media creates a discourse between company and consumer. While this can be a good thing, it can also become a vehicle for consumers to vent their anger at a company, bringing a multitude of poor experiences to light. For example, in 2012 McDonald’s launched a short-lived Twitter campaign to improve the way in which they are viewed. The plan included using a hashtag labeled “McDstories”, in which people were supposed to type up a short experience they had in McDonald’s that was happy and heartfelt. While there were some positive responses, it was largely negative. Responses ranged from mildly unsettling to stomach-turning. The campaign was closed down in a matter of hours, but the damage was done, and the tweets can easily be reposted by users that saved them. According to Kashmir Hill of Forbes, McDonald’s had paid for the privilege of having their hashtag promoted on the Twitter homepage, but they quickly realized this wasn’t helping their brand. The Los Angeles Times reports that they pulled the campaign within two hours. But they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control (or stop). The #McDStories hashtag is still gathering steam, according to data from Tendistic” (#McDStories: When A Hashtag Becomes A Bashtag). This is only one example...

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