The Growth of and Transformation of Social Media

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Chapter 2 2.0 Introduction In the past few years, social media has evolved from just being a basic tool for collaborative creation and the sharing of content to becoming an important part of the present media landscape (Evans & Bratton, 2008; Weinberg, 2009). From a business perspective, companies are actively leveraging social media to create brand communities and crowd sourcing models, gain consumer insights, enhance product/brand awareness, improve search engine optimization efforts, reduce customer acquisition and service costs, and optimize overall marketing and communication efforts (Weinberg, 2009). This chapter seeks to review literature that has been propounded by past and present researchers in the field of social media, its use in the marketing communications mix and their various areas of convergence in this field of study. Social media and its development The media landscape has undergone an immense transformation over the past decade (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). Social media popularity has increased substantially during the last few years, firms are eager to profit from this ever increasing trend (McCann (2010). The relatively low costs of implementing social media measures are a major catalyst of the increase in popularity and growth of social media. Social media is thus changing the traditional way of marketing. Traditional marketing involves an information exchange in one-way direction (e.g., TV and radio commercials). On the other hand, web-based marketing enables interactive communication with customers while maintaining the push-messaging (Trusov et al., 2009). Therefore, customers are no longer passive recipients of information; they actively use and distribute information via social media (Ryan and Jones, 2009... ... middle of paper ... ...ia as people without an email address ending with “.edu” could in 2006 create their own accounts. (Scott, 2010, p. 175). Facebook allows businesses to create public profiles that have many of the same features as a user’s profile. Users can connect with a page and become fans. Pages can have public messaging walls, events, photos, and custom applications. (Zarrella, 2010, p. 67). Essentially Facebook is one of the more complex social networking environments, but potientially very rewarding when businesses have its strengths and weaknesses in mind. (Clapperton, 2009, p. 60). It is therefore important for businesses to not underestimate the time and effort it is going to take to supervise the profile and pull together an online community. (Clapperton, 2006, p. 64). Clapperton (2006, p. 64) writes that you cannot just expect that things happened, you have to be active.

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