A few years ago, most of people worldwide saw social media as a kind of new and different stuff using in the internet. A type of marketing with social media also has been treated as experts’ behavior.
It is quite funny when we look back to that situation today when social media is very common use and no longer marketing’s new thing. As a simple way, social media is playing an increasing important part for lots of companies’ marketing nowadays.
In this article, I would like to talk about the usage of social media in business today, and I will discuss the challenge of social media marketing for users or companies. Some charts will be quoted to prove my views. Hopefully CCJK is able to catch up the big trend so that obtaining much good help from social media marketing. Because our business are mainly focusing on overseas market, my discussion will be based on the situation of international social media.
1. Social media application usage in business
I found a research material of 2011 to show some data about the usage of social media in the world (see Figure 1). There is no doubt that Facebook is the absolute leader in all of the social networking, having the largest number of users. The other types of social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace also plays the important part but have lost their amount of user to Facebook during last three years until the first quarter of 2011. As mentioned in the research, social media have been used in business widely in this several years. For example, Facebook Business Solution launched by Facebook helps companies to grow through learning the best marketing tools from Facebook. Some marketing experts predict that LinkedIn also will be more popular by its reasonable network offer e.g. jobs seek. Additionally, experts also reveal that many people would like to use social media by some valuable reasons even though they are not interested in (see Figure 2). The functions of social media have been played a significant part to encourage people to use them.
Figure 1: Usage of social media
Figure 2: Number of social networks ever used
2. Case studies of companies using social media marketing
There are two case studies aiming to illustrate the communication way of the foreign companies through social media externally and internally. A well-known fashion brand, Jimmy Choo, has been used the Project PEP, a photo-base online community to launch its latest product, and created a forum to allow people to share some interesting stuff relating to the company. Another one is a provider of UK’s veterinary care which has been increased communication and interaction among employees in the company and sells the internal training course through their online community.
3. Customer difficulties and confidentiality of using new social media applications
The existing users would be easy to meet some barriers when they adopting new social media applications. Some hackers tend to steal others’ personal information through setting up virus and false profiles in social networking sites. Users are possible to download unwanted spyware or adware when they click in the social media applications which may link to other websites, including fake profiles. On the other hand, it is widely discussed that discussed that social media applications have not built the controlled hierarchical groups, resulting in unanticipated players or some subject experts being not recognized. There is no guarantee for the information published in social networking sites.
4. Difficulties for companies adapting to new social media application
Social media have been influencing companies’ communication with customers and among employees. Most of companies still are not ready for this change of communication and difficult to follow strategies. Alterian (2011) showed that the level of understanding about the social media conversation happening around company brand or its clients (see Figure 3). There are 28.78% companies undertaking communication by social media and only 38.59% using a few special tools.
Understanding and analysing customer interactions and finding application for future communications are what the requirement of the current market towards companies. Hulme (2010) explains that the most important aspect of social change which is driving the engagement models is missed.
According to the research, my suggestion is that companies need to practice IT systems and link department together to achieve unified communication on a platform effectively. Training and relevant skills should be required by employees who are responsible for communication processes management.