Social media’s exponential growth has made it obvious that relying solely on your business website is now an act of the past. Quite simply, you can no longer rely only on this channel, as you will not reach enough of your target audience to stay relevant in your industry. “Your digital store front extends to social media marketing sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn” (9 Reasons Social Media Marketing, 2015).
It is clear that social media is an innovation that comes with many challenges, as well as opportunities. In an article written by Kaplan and Haenlein in 2010, they go into detail discussing the different challenges and opportunities involving social media. The two authors state that social media is:
“A group of internet-based applications that builds on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.”
It is completely fair to suggest that the creation of the Web 2.0 has given individuals and also organizations the chance to enhance engagement and interaction between one another. The implementation of user generated content has given social media the competitive advantage of traditional marketing. Social media has given a voice to customers and the opportunity for organizations to respond, react and adjust their ways of doing business based on customer feedback.
The first important point made in the article is the countless platforms of social media websites that organizations have the ability to participate in. However, organizations should only explore the platforms that will effectively communicate goals and essentially reach your target market (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Secondly, the authors make a point of inviting companies to allow better access to social media applications. Although many organizations block these applications, a compromise could be that a set number of staff be responsible for the social media approach while other members could take part as “occasional participants” (Newton, 2014).
Kaplan and Haenlein evaluate social media primarily on two different aspects. They analyze media according to their media richness (i.e. their capability to reproduce information) and the degree of social presence they allow for (see the table below).
(Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010)
The problem with this method, is the generalization of the claims made by the two authors. For example, social networking sites are categorized as “medium” in the media richness and self-presentation category. However, when you look at different complexity of social networking sites such as Facebook and consider the variety of interactions including chatting, tagging photos, participating in groups, (de)friending, commenting, etc.) (Kemper, 2013). Evaluating social media requires taking a deeper look into the aspects of social media and its ability to engage people. Although Kaplan & Haenlein list the types of social media quite accurately in comparison to 2016 marketing terms, I believe the evaluation of this tool is in need of modification.
Organizations should follow these simple tricks to social media once they select the best suited channel to target their customers.
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! the challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68. doi:http://dx.doi.org.libezproxy.nait.ca/10.1016/j.bushor.2009.09.003
Kemper, J. (2013). ‘Users of the World, Unite!’; a step in the right direction?. Retrieved from http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2013/10/11/users-of-the-world-unite-a-step-in-the-right-direction/
Newton, P. (2014). The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. IntelligentHQ. Retrieved from http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/the-challenges-and-opportunities-of-social-media/