Apart from being a medium that bridges companies to their customers, social media networks are considered lucrative marketing platforms due to their gigantic user base, according to a report in the Financial Times.
As of June 2012, Facebook has 995 million active users and Twitter has around 500 million. Google’s YouTube gets 800 million visitors each month watching four billion hours of video, while Chinese social media site Renren claims to have 157 million active accounts.
Social media is a vital and powerful online tool that provides a potent avenue to spread messages and respond to them in a real-time nature. It is also a means of getting in touch with friends to share photos and information.
More importantly, these networks are also economical. A typical Facebook page is free even for large companies. Businesses are also discovering that social media is not just a viable alternative to a standard webpage; their services also provide an abundant source of information on how products or brands are perceived.
If utilised effectively, social media is a boon to companies because they provide a means to create and follow groups of clients, suppliers, or “influencers” who might be useful to the brand. These networks can also facilitate business operations such as human resource management (HRM), similar to the business social network LinkedIn.
However, spending money on such networks may not always deliver desired results. For example, General Motors axed its $10 million (£6.18 million) advertising deal with Facebook due to insufficient returns. On the contrary, Ford has enjoyed many successful advertising runs, especially for the Fiesta.
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