Even above having a traditional website under a single domain name, social media gives companies a public voice and interactive presence online. Through social media, marketers are presented with cost-effective ways to promote their company’s products or services, communicate company events, build or tap into online communities, and invite consumers to participate in some of the company’s decision-making processes by providing feedback through likes, retweets, polls, or comments. Social media can also help word of mouth about a company, whether positive or negative, to spread more quickly.
When most people think of social media, they primarily think of popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. Three main platforms, however, have been identified for social media use:
1. Online communities and forums
2. Blogs – individual blogs and blog networks
3. Social networks – like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
Online communities and forums allow consumers and company members to communicate with the company and each other through postings, text messaging, and chat discussions.
Blogs are regularly updated online journals or diaries that bring together people with common interests. Individual blogs are mostly designed for personal friends and families, while blog networks are often designed to reach and influence a vast audience.
Since their meteoric rise, social networks have become an important and influential force in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing. The top five most popular social networking sites according to their estimated unique monthly visitors as reported by eBizMBA Rank are Facebook (1,500,000,000), YouTube (1,499,000,000), Twitter (400,000,000), Instagram (275,000,000), and LinkedIn (250,000,000).
The Warc Prize for Social Strategy is a competition that asks marketers to demonstrate how effectively they had used social media in their marketing efforts. Gian Fulgoni, co-founder and chairman emeritus of comScore, Inc. and one of the 2015 Warc Prize judges, said he was struck by the creative use of social media and the positive impact it had on many business results. From his judging experience, he came up with five dimensions detailing how social media marketing can benefit companies. These “Five S’s of Social Marketing,” as documented in the Journal of Advertising Research