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Social Media Marketing or Social network advertising, also social media targeting, is a group of terms that are used to describe forms of online advertising/digital marketing that focus on social networking services. One of the major benefits of this type of advertising is that advertisers can take advantage of the users’ demographic information and target their ads appropriately.
Social media targeting combines current targeting options (such as geotargeting, behavioral targeting, socio-psychographic targeting, etc.), to make detailed target group identification possible. With social media targeting, advertisements are distributed to users based on information gathered from target group profiles.
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service .
Twitter allows companies to promote their products in short messages known as tweets limited to 280 characters which appear on followers’ Home timelines. Tweets can contain text, Hashtag, photo, video, Animated GIF, Emoji, or links to the product’s website and other social media profiles, etc. Twitter is also used by companies to provide customer service. Some companies make support available 24/7 and answer promptly, thus improving brand loyalty and appreciation.
Facebook pages are far more detailed than Twitter accounts. They allow a product to provide videos, photos, longer descriptions, and testimonials where followers can comment on the product pages for others to see. Facebook can link back to the product’s Twitter page, as well as send out event reminders. As of May 2015, 93% of businesses marketers use Facebook to promote their brand. A study from 2011 attributed 84% of “engagement” or clicks and likes that link back to Facebook advertising. By 2014, Facebook had restricted the content published from business and brand pages. Adjustments in Facebook algorithms have reduced the audience for non-paying business pages (that have at least 500,000 “Likes”) from 16% in 2012 down to 2% in February 2014.
LinkedIn, a professional business-related networking site, allows companies to create professional profiles for themselves as well as their business to network and meet others. Through the use of widgets, members can promote their various social networking activities, such as Twitter stream or blog entries of their product pages, onto their LinkedIn profile page. LinkedIn provides its members the opportunity to generate sales leads and business partners. Members can use “Company Pages” similar to Facebook pages to create an area that will allow business owners to promote their products or services and be able to interact with their customers.
WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Joining Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp continues to operate as a separate app with a laser focus on building a messaging service that works fast and reliably anywhere in the world. Started as an alternative to SMS, WhatsApp now supports sending and receiving a variety of media including text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls. WhatsApp messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party including WhatsApp can read or listen to them. WhatsApp has a customer base of 1 billion people in over 180 countries. It is used to send personalised promotional messages to individual customers. It has plenty of advantages over SMS that includes ability to track how Message Broadcast Performs using blue tick option in WhatsApp. It allows sending messages to Do Not Disturb (DND) customers. WhatsApp is also used to send a series of bulk messages to their targeted customers using broadcast option. Companies started using this to a large extent because it is a cost-effective promotional option and quick to spread a message. As of 2019, WhatsApp still not allow businesses to place ads in their app.
In May 2014, Instagram had over 200 million users. The user engagement rate of Instagram was 15 times higher than of Facebook and 25 times higher than that of Twitter. According to Scott Galloway, the founder of L2 and a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, latest studies estimate that 93% of prestige brands have an active presence on Instagram and include it in their marketing mix. When it comes to brands and businesses, Instagram’s goal is to help companies to reach their respective audiences through captivating imagery in a rich, visual environment. Moreover, Instagram provides a platform where user and company can communicate publicly and directly, making itself an ideal platform for companies to connect with their current and potential customers.
YouTube is another popular avenue; advertisements are done in a way to suit the target audience. The type of language used in the commercials and the ideas used to promote the product reflect the audience’s style and taste. Also, the ads on this platform are usually in sync with the content of the video requested, this is another advantage YouTube brings for advertisers. Certain ads are presented with certain videos since the content is relevant. Promotional opportunities such as sponsoring a video is also possible on YouTube, “for example, a user who searches for a YouTube video on dog training may be presented with a sponsored video from a dog toy company in results along with other videos.” YouTube also enable publishers to earn money through its YouTube Partner Program. Companies can pay YouTube for a special “channel” which promotes the companies products or services.