This is a guest post by Claire Jarrett. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
The social networking websites Facebook and Twitter can be used for both personal and professional purposes. For professional purposes, specifically marketing, it is possible to reach many people through the use of these websites.
With Facebook there are a variety of ways that marketing can be done for anything from products to services. Many companies have created Facebook accounts primarily to exhibit their businesses in which users can become “fans” or “like” the particular company. For each user who “likes” the company, anywhere from twenty to thousands of this user’s friends are notified. This is like “word-of-mouth” advertising amplified. This technique could definitely be beneficial for promotional offers as well.
Another form of marketing can be done on Facebook in the form of ads that are targeted to specific user groups based on factors, such as age, race, gender, or social status. An example of a potential group that could be targeted is young mothers. Another way to market to the large base of users on Facebook is by partnering with games in the form of advertising or offering a “product” within a game for a limited time.
Twitter also has opportunities for marketing. The most prevailing type of marketing found on Twitter involves celebrities. This group of users has a large following and therefore will impact a wide audience of marketable subjects. By paying a celebrity to, in essence, be a spokesperson for a company, thousands, possibly millions of people will be exposed to the product or service instantly.
Of course, as with anything, there are disadvantages to using social media as a marketing tool. When using user-generated information it is more difficult to control the expression of the marketing. In addition the product that is represented is now connected to the celebrity that endorses said product, so if their image has any type of blemish it could potentially hurt the company. With this being said, it becomes clear that it is extremely important for any company engaging in these tactics to be vigilant in selecting the appropriate representatives for their product or service.
It is also worth noting the implications of marketing gone wrong for any product or service using social media. Perception is key, and as such can make or break any company’s product line. This means that the marketing should be appropriate for the intended group of consumers expected to be the most interested in the product or service. If not there can be backlash and/or reduced revenues as a consequence. Any decisions regarding Facebook and Twitter, while valuable tools in the marketing department, should be carefully planned accordingly for each company each time they are considered. These social websites can bring a great deal of traffic to the establishment or can limit the traffic if not handled properly, so companies beware.