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Critically evaluate the Advantages And Disadvantages Of Social Media Marketing ?
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In recent years, there has been an increased use of social media as it is used not just for networking but also for sharing content and maintaining personal relationships (Gaber & Wright, 2014). Social networks have made it easy for a person to talk and connect with hundreds of people across the globe. Since it is an open platform, it creates an opportunity for companies to put forth products and services to dynamic communities(Porterfield, 2017). It is a new tool for marketers to advertise messages across the target audience. This medium has its advantages and disadvantages, and companies and the debate regarding its application and impact have been going on for quite some time. However, organisations are increasing budgetary spends on social media marketing(Maddox, 2015). Marketers are realising the power of social media and are using it in designing marketing strategies and campaigns effectively. Being a heavily debated topic, it is important to identify the advantages as well as the disadvantages of social media marketing. In the following essay, both of these perspectives are discussed in detail, starting from the advantages and then the disadvantages and finally, the conclusion of the entire essay is elaborated. This critical essay is bent towards highlighting that advantages of social media marketing outnumber the disadvantages.
One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing (SMM) is that it has a global reach; thus, from the perspective of a marketer, if the company can engage and develop the target market, it provides an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and build a loyal following (Evans & Bratton, 2012). It means that SMM can create brand awareness. As an illustration, the case study on Facebook carried out in Egypt can be used (Gaber & Wright, 2014). Facebook is the largest social media network currently being used with 1.71 billion users (www.statista.com, 2017). It represents a huge opportunity for marketers who are on the lookout to market directly to the target market in a personable manner as opposed to a traditional form of advertising. In Egypt, there were a social media boom and fast food chains which were looking to find a foothold in the country, needed to find a way to market directly to the target audience, which was young people (Gaber & Wright, 2014). Facebook, being extremely popular among the youth, was the preferred choice of advertising for these fast-food chains. The companies have fan pages on Facebook with millions of fans. These fan pages are used to promote new offers, promotions and new products. In this way, the chains were able to connect with the youth, and thus this resulted in better sales (Gaber and Wright, 2014).
One of the main advantages of SMM is that firms can provide information regarding product, services and offers to its target audience without any human intervention(Weinberg, 2009). This is especially beneficial as the amount of information shared is unlimited along with it being perfect; there is no discrepancy of any kind. Furthermore, the provided information is in a form that is readily processed by the audience. Another advantage of SMM is cost-related; the financial expenditure with respect to reaching is much less as compared to traditional marketing (Weinberg, 2009). This is because most of the social media sites offer free access to users and brands needs to create a profile, set a picture and start engaging the target audience (Weinberg, 2009). The nature of interactive social media means that every person who reads a post, if relevant on a personal level, will be likely to share the message with respective social circles, thus reaching a wider audience. According to studies, increased social media engagement between companies and users leads to higher involvement (Bucy, Newhagen, & Bucy, 2004). Live question and answers; promotional offers, etc. all are targeted towards the target market, making the campaign more relevant.