How will social media pan out for businesses in the future?

Friendster was one of the first social media sites on the internet to reach over one million users, but when Facebook was launched in 2004, nobody knew it was about to change the internet. Facebook started as a Harvard only social media site, but quickly expanded into other schools and businesses and by 2006 it was available to everyone. In 2008 Facebook passed out MySpace to become the most popular social networking site in the world.  (Web Designer Depot, 2009) Since 2008, there hasn’t been a year where Facebook didn’t see a significant growth in active users. Today, Facebook has over 1550 million users  (Statistica, 2015) and continues to grow each day. This trend, to a lesser extent, is the same for other major social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

What does this mean for business? The fact that social media usage is increasing by the second means marketers will have a broader network of people to interact with. This makes it easier for small and medium sized enterprises to advertise and publicise themselves, and so it increases the importance of being an active marketer on social media.

Marketers will also have to adjust the way in which they advertise, publicise and blog in the future. Video content marketing is becoming very popular among marketers. The reason being that consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product or service, rather than read about it. Cisco have predicted that  by 2017, video content marketing will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.(Trimble, 2015) Creating successful advertisements and blogs by video is much more complex and time consuming than written ones, so it will more than likely drive up the labour cost. Nevertheless, marketers will be able to identify that video content marketing is more effective, and the cost of doing so will only be a small factor.

The use of YouTube is declining as a result of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, because they show preferential treatment towards videos hosted on their own platform. In August 2014, Facebook passed YouTube out in the number of videos viewed through desktops (King, 2015)The number of videos shared on Facebook  has increased significantly in the last two years, whereas it is declining on YouTube. This trend should signify to marketers that video sharing on Facebook may turn out to be more effective than on YouTube in the near future.

As stated in an earlier blog, Facebook have made a statement claiming that their Messenger application is merely 1% complete. They want to develop the app so an entire company can be built on it. However true this may be, I do believe that Facebook and other social medias will continue to improve the way in which businesses operate through them.

Bibliography

King, C. (2015, 01 01). 28 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2015 From the Pros. Retrieved 12 06, 2015, from socialmediaexaminer.com: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-predictions-for-2015/

 

Statistica. (2015). Leading social networks worldwide as of November 2015, ranked by number of active users. Retrieved 12 06, 2015, from statista.com: http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/

 

Trimble, C. (2015, July). Why online video is the future of content marketing. Retrieved 12 06, 2015, from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jan/14/video-content-marketing-media-online

 

Web Designer Depot. (2009). THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Retrieved 12 6, 2015, from webdesignerdepot.com: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/10/the-history-and-evolution-of-social-media/

 

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Obstacles arising from social media

Along with the benefits of social media for business, comes the cost of operating and maintaining it. Most costs of social media come from the marketing department of businesses, whereas other departments may use social media in order to bring costs down.  In 2014, marketers used, on average, 9% of their budget on social media, with an increase to 13% in 2015. It is predicted that in 2019, they will be spending somewhere around 21% of their budget on social media. (Lee, 2015)The content factory reported that “creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month”, where marketers had a minimum of two social medias. (The Content Factory, 2011) For small and medium sized enterprises this can be a big investment to make considering it may not be effective, and they may not be able to calculate their return on the investment.

Many marketers are unsure about the effectiveness of their efforts of social media. The social examiner found that only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective, and seeing that 93% of marketers are using Facebook to benefit their business, it is hard to believe that less than half are benefiting. (Stelzner, 2015) This may be demoralizing for marketers, but they do recognise the benefits that can arise from social media, as 68% of marketers said that they wanted to learn more about how to market effectively on social media.

Being able to work out the return on investment has proved problematic for marketers since social media marketing begun. Stelzner reported that a shocking 88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment (ROI) for social activities. Although it is one of the bigger problems that marketers face, they are beginning to overcome the problem, seeing as only 26% of marketers could calculate their ROI on social activities in 2013, compared to 37% and 42% in 2014 and 2015 respectively. (Stelzner, 2015)

The use of social media is continuously changing. In the beginning, social media was mainly used for advertising and publicity. Today, there are several aims of social media, such as developing loyal fans and trying to gain an insight into the marketplace.  Trying to achieve these aims through social media may be difficult for marketers who have just begun social media marketing. The way in which marketers advertise their goods and services is also changing. Video marketing is said to be the future of content marketing according to the guardian. Cisco predict that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. (Trimble, 2015) Adjusting to video content marketing is more costly and time consuming than traditional advertising, and so it is another reason for some marketers may fall behind due to a lack of resources.

Although there are many obstacles to becoming an effective social media marketer, the benefits that it brings to a business should outweigh these obstacles once it is operated effectively.

 

Bibliography

Lee, K. (2015, April). How to spend a social media budget. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from bufferapp.com: https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-marketing-budget

Stelzner, M. A. (2015, May). 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2015.pdf

The Content Factory. (2011). How much does social media marketing cost. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from contentfac.com: http://www.contentfac.com/how-much-does-social-media-marketing-cost/

Trimble, C. (2015, July 30). Why online video is the future of content marketing. Retrieved Nov 26, 2015, from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jan/14/video-content-marketing-media-online

B2B Marketing on social media

Investopedia defines B2B as a type of commerce transaction that exists between businesses. Cadbury, for example, is a manufacturer of chocolate, who sell their products to wholesalers such as Musgrave Group. B2B is concentrated solely on business conducted by two different companies, rather than a company and their consumers (B2C). Similarly to B2C marketers and businesses, social media affects the way they work today, although B2B marketers have found it harder to integrate social media into their campaign than B2C marketers.

B2B marketers are core contributors to the growth and success of their companies. It is a burdensome responsibility, which is crucial to many businesses. 73% of CEOs believe their marketers are not able to demonstrate how their strategies and campaigns lead to an increase in demand and sales. Järvinen et all found that B2B companies use social media in several ways of attracting new customers, for example, showing expertise, increasing awareness and engaging customers. (Järvinen, 2012) B2B marketers use an average of six social media to help them work more efficiently. (Kipp Bodnar, 2012)

Blogging made its way to the web in the late 1990s, and since then has had a massive impact on B2B transactions. 82% of marketers who blog daily have reported a positive return on investment for their efforts. (Hubspot, 2013) Businesses often blog on their own website, or on social media such as LinkedIn. The role of B2B blogs becomes evident when we look at how buyers search for information. Today, buyers search for important data, much of which may be found in blogs. Today, nine out of ten B2B marketers in America are using LinkedIn, but in 2014, only 42% of them  found they were using it effectively. (Content Marketing Institute, 2014)

The reason blogging has become a key element to a B2B marketer’s success, is because it helps to build relationships. Marketers must blog effectively in order to gain attractiveness from other businesses. Harris et al found experimental evidence for elements of attraction in B2B. They found that familiarity, similarity, reputation and knowledge of alternatives could all impact on a business’ attractiveness. (Lloyd C. Harris, 2003)

Video content marketing is another major tool that B2B marketers use to build brand visibility and to engage with potential customers. The report B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends found that 76% of those surveyed claimed it was a core factor in their digital marketing campaign and that 72% were using YouTube alone. 82% of B2B marketers reported a success from their video marketing campaign and 63% of them are experiencing an increase in video content spending. (Litt, 2014) After LinkedIn, larger companies, with 1000 or more employees, consider YouTube to be the most effective social media. (Content Marketing Institute, 2014)

B2B enterprises usually have a smaller customer base than B2C, but tend to have a higher selling point. Blogging and video content marketing, along with several other social medias for research, are important to B2B customers because they need access to more information, support and trust-factors to encourage a sale.

Bibliography

Content Marketing Institute. (2014). B2B Content Marketing. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from contentmarketinginstitute.com: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/B2B_Research_2014_CMI.pdf

Hubspot. (2013). 2013 State of Inbound Marketing. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from Hubspot.net: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/53/file-30889984-pdf/2013_StateofInboundMarketing_FullReport.pdf

Järvinen, J. Tollinen, A. Karjaluoto, H. & Jayawardhena, C. (2012). Digital and social media marketing usage in B2B industrial section. Marketing Management Journal .

Kipp Bodnar, J. C. (2012). The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from Google Books: https://books.google.ie/books?hl=en&lr=&id=wvDVl0uo6R8C&oi=fnd&pg=PT13&dq=b2b+social+media&ots=78VY2pi47H&sig=riLG2PrrMW8sNZl32PNEPQlHqtE&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Litt, M. (2014). The State of B2B Video Marketing: Demand Metric and Vidyard Present Benchmarks Report. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from vidyard.com: https://www.vidyard.com/blog/b2b-video-marketing-benchmark-report/

Lloyd C. Harris, e. a. (2003). Professional Interaction: Exploring the Concept of Attraction.

Marshall, C. (2014, October). 76% of B2B Marketers Use Video Content Marketing, YouTube Top Choice Retrieved November 11, 2015, from reelseo.com: http://www.reelseo.com/b2b-video-content-marketing/

Advertising and Publicity

Advertisement and publicity are two core components of marketing. Kotler describes marketing as “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires”. Most aspects of a business depends on how successful its marketing campaign is. What’s the point in having the best product or service in your industry if nobody knows about it? It would be very difficult to generate revenue and succeed without marketing, and social media enhances the ability for businesses to market their goods effectively.

Advertisement and publicity are most commonly seen on social media where marketers have access to the largest amount of active users. Advertising effectively on social media is extremely important. According to forbes, Amazon is the 13th most valuable brand in the world. Amazon is a company that operates solely online and makes B2C transactions. It is a prime example of a business that advertises effectively on social media. Amazon displays interest-based advertising on many social media sites using information you make available to the company when you interact with their sites, content, or services. Amazon use internet cookies and other technologies to learn about what advertisements potential customers have already seen, so that the potential customer is not shown the same advertisement many times. (Amazon, 2012)

As stated in a previous blog, it has been over twenty years since the first online advert was sold, and internet advertising has come a long way since then, and will only continue to grow. Facebook had one billion users active in one day for the first time ever in august (Newton, 2015), meaning one in seven people in the world were active that day, and so it comes as no surprise that a massive 93% of marketers are using Facebook to enhance their  marketing campaign, while 62% of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook activity. (Stelzner, 2015) Facebook is one of many social media’s where marketers are active. Others include Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn, where B2B marketing is dominant.

As well as advertisement, generating publicity is vital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Posting news and blogs on social media can travel far with the help of a like, share, re-tweet or favourite. Even if the news or blog contains anything negative towards the business, it can still have a neutral to positive effect. The reason being that consumers often forget about negative publicity, as long as it isn’t ongoing, so they just recognise the brand or business. (Makovsky, 2010)

Paddy Power,  in my opinion, are one of the best marketers when it comes to generating publicity. The Paddy Power marketers are regularly active on social media. Since joining twitter in 2008, Paddy Power has tweeted nearly 130,000 times, averaging over 44 tweets a day. Paddy Power’s marketers have a playfulness attitude when engaging with their followers. They make witty statements, memes and videos every day and the fans love it! Their Facebook page receives thousands of likes on nearly all of their posts everyday, generating more publicity indefinitely.

Advertising and publicity have revolutionized as a result of social media. The amount of users on social media such as Facebook has increased a substantial amount each and every year, and so it is easy to understand why 62% of marketers plan to increase their Facebook activity.

Bibliography

Amazon. (2012). Cookies & Internet Advertising. Retrieved 11 02, 2015, from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&nodeId=201149560

Makovsky, K. (2010). Can Any Good Come From Bad Publicity? Retrieved 11 03, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenmakovsky/2010/11/30/can-any-good-come-from-bad-publicity/

Newton, C. (2015). Facebook draws 1 billion users in a single day. Retrieved 11 02, 2015, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9217607/facebook-one-billion-daily-active-users

Stelzner, M. A. (2015). 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INDUSTRY REPORT. Retrieved 11 02, 2015, from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2015.pdf

Everyday uses for social media

Marketing and publicity were the first things that sprung to mind when I thought about businesses using social media, but they are only a two of many functions a business may find themselves making use of on social media.

Facebook provides a free, easy-to-use source of communication (Messenger), which may be used within working environments. Up to 50 people can be a part of one group chat where messages are instant, and the user interface is simple and efficient. Facebook’s Messenger  can be accessed through its website and its phone application, making it easy to communicate either on the go or while using a browser on a laptop or computer. Approximately two weeks ago, Facebook made a statement claiming Messenger is only one percent complete. Facebook’s ambitions for Messenger are “so big that it doesn’t even think of Messenger as an app. Facebook thinks of Messenger as a platform on which entire businesses will be built.” (D’Onfro, 2015).

Skype was launched in 2003. Skype for Business is another convenient function which is very useful. Unlike Facebook, Skype for business is not free, but it costs as little as $1.50 per user each month.  Skype for Business can help members to contact up to 250 people, even if they’re not on Skype. All they need is a phone or internet connection. Skype can host video calls with multiple participants, which is extremely beneficial for conference meetings when people may be in different places of the world. How multi-nationals companies managed before the launch of Skype is a mystery.

LinkedIn is a social network, which is business orientated. It was launched in 2003 and it is mainly used for professional networking.  LinkedIn lets it’s users make a review for suppliers, accountants and any other type of business they may be dealing with. Other users can then view this review before making a connection with the business in question. (Flannagan, 2011) It serves very useful for B2B transactions.

LinkedIn is also an extremely useful tool for attracting top quality employees. Businesses can post job opportunities on their LinkedIn profile, while LinkedIn members can search for jobs and apply for them through the network. This can prove extremely useful for employers as they save a lot of time and money, as they are easily able to access applicants profiles. (Flannagan, 2011).

Business may use Twitter for notifying followers and other users of updates in products or services, news, customer queries and feedback. It allows for short posts (up to 140 characters), which can include pictures, videos, links and more. It is extremely useful for customer care as you are able to include people’s usernames when replying to a query that they may have. These posts are also available for everyone else to see, which is why it is extremely effective when a mishap occurs in a service/product being offered. For example, when Irish rail experience a problem in their service, they take to twitter to notify customers and answer any queries.

The social media sites and their functions discussed above, along with many others not included, have contributed a tremendous amount towards business efficiency, effectiveness and success, and I believe it will only continue to do so.

Bibliography

D’Onfro, J. (2015, 10 13). Facebook says its messaging app is 1% finished — and that should make Apple and Google nervous. Retrieved 10 25, 2015, from Business Insider: http://uk.businessinsider.com/facebook-messenger-ambitions-2015-10?r=US&IR=T

Flannagan, R. (2011). 3 Reasons your business will benefit from LinkedIn. Retrieved 10 27, 2015, from nuanced media: http://nuancedmedia.com/3-reasons-your-business-will-benefit-from-linkedin/

How social media found it’s way into everyday business.

What is social media?
According to Kietzmann, et al, social media operates on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content. (Jan H. Kietzmann, 2011)

Social media has been around for as long as I can remember. Facebook was launched in 2004, over a decade ago, and I have been regularly active on it since 2009. The timeline of social media stretches all the way back to 1978. Ward Christensen and Randy Suess were responsible for the creation of the first computerised bulletin board system (CBBS) to make announcements and plan meet-ups with friends. (Glenn, 2012)

Today, social media is a powerful mechanism that has shaped the internet and changed the ways of over a billion people throughout the world. (Newton, 2015) The average American spends thirty seven minutes a day on social media sites. It is estimated that 52% of online adults spend at least two hours or more on social media sites. The number of social media users only continues to increase, and popular sites such as facebook are even beginning to attract many OAPs (Over 65s). (Preite, 2015) This gives business owners and entrepreneurs enormous potential to connect with their target market anytime, anywhere.

Google+ is at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to registered users, but in August, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that facebook had achieved over one billion active users in a twenty-four hour bracket (Newton, 2015), which adds to the fact that facebook still remains the most dominant. Other popular platforms include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. For small and medium sized businesses, the ability to maximize growth, stability, efficiency and effectiveness is higher now than it has ever been before, all due to the use of social media. (Preite, 2015)

When and how did social media become a part of business?

There are many ways in which businesses can integrate social media into their operations, marketing being the most common functionality. It has been over twenty years (1993) since the first online advert was sold (Bourne, 2013) , and similarly to other technological journeys, internet marketing has come a long way since, and the facts above show exactly why. Marketers collect data on their target market and advertise on social media accordingly.

Douglas Karr posted some staggering statistics in relation to social media for business. One of which stated that 46% of web users turn towards social media when making a purchase (Karr, 2014). Jeff Bullas also stated that 89% of 18-29 year olds are active on social media. Could this mean that over 41% of all 18-29 year olds may use social media to aid their decision making when making a purchase? – No wonder social media has become such a huge part of marketing.

Other functionalities that social media offers to business include customer care, communication, headhunting, online conference meetings, news & publication and for enhancing business-to-business (B2B) & business-to-customer (B2C) transactions, all of which will be discussed in detail in later blogs.

Bibliography
Bourne, J. (2013, 09 11). Online advertising: A history from 1993 to the present day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: http://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2013/sep/11/online-advertising-history-1993-present-day-infographic/

Glenn, D. (2012). The History of Social Media from 1978 – 2012. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from adweek.com: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/the-history-of-social-media-from-1978-2012-infographic/90816

Jan H. Kietzmann, et al. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from http://busandadmin.uwinnipeg.ca/silvestrepdfs/PDF06.pdf

Karr, D. (2014). 2014 Statistics and Trends for Businesses on Social Media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-social-media/

Newton, C. (2015). Facebook draws 1 billion users in a single day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9217607/facebook-one-billion-daily-active-users

Preite, G. (2015). Social Media is Causing a Home Business Revolution! Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from linkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-media-causing-home-business-revolution-greg-preite