Social networking which gives birth to social marketing is a new marketing tool, and it can be a great asset if it is employed properly. Even though the benefits are great for a business, they have to be used in the most efficient way that is possible. Social marketing gives the opportunity for business to gain popularity over internet using social bookmarking websites and social networking site. The level of success depends on the nature of the social network that is used. There are many benefits and disadvantages that are associated with the use of such sites in the world of marketing.

Examples of social networks are facebook, MySpace, delicious, Twitter, and Ning, which are usually accessed daily by different members of community. To make social networking marketing to succeed there are various issues that are supposed to be analyzed before proceeding: type of network that is used, trust from audience, interaction, and the content that the marketer wants to advertise. If these methods are employed, there importance or success that are derived and the negative effects that are associated with this strategy are witnessed.

In a marketing scenario, there are various tools that can be employed and in our case, we analyze the use of social networking sites for our marketing plans. Importance of social networking in marketing Each strategy has its importance from the perspective of the marketer. There are various methods that a marketer can employ, and the marketer can decide on social networking method because: If the marketing strategy is carried out properly, the use of social marketing can call on a highly targeted segment of people who access the internet into accessing the business products and sometimes access the business website.

This can easily be done by the use of the various parameters, elements and tools that are constituted on the social media websites. This enables the increase of visibility in the business content on local and global level. For the many small organizations and business can apply this method to attract not only the international or global audience, but they can also increase their products brand by absorbing in a more selected local audience (Kibbe 2006, pp. 100 – 104). In any marketing campaigns, there is an issue and criteria that is called Return on Investment (ROI).

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For those businesses and mostly the small ones usually have small or low budgets, then in this case the marketing ROI needs should be designed in such a way that its good so as it can work. This then calls upon the issue of social marketing which is cheap way of marketing, and is currently available. This is because the use of social media is usually free or it cost a very small amount. Such low investment means that it is a low risk advantage even to the smallest type of business.

This has result to many businesses getting a big pop in terms of visibility after the application of social networking tools – the main advantage is that it is ultimately getting a good publicity that may be free (Richard 2005, pp. 123 – 125). An important thing that is associated with social marketing is that it does not require any specialization or a vast knowledge. Anyone can take advantage of its use even from his or her place of residence. This is because it does not require knowledge of coded language or any other sort of a thing.

Most of the social sites are usually user friendly – straightforward and visually oriented, which means that any person who has the capability of using the internet can use the tools that are associated with social networking (James 2007, pp. 86 – 87). When they are well designed, they can work better than campaigns or online advertisements. This is because internet users are usually bombarded with advertisements every time they go online. This has resulted to the whole society to get used to them and people in general do not click on them.

It has resulted to the lose of charm of previously marketing tools – link ads and banners, this is due to the fact that most people of late do not trust the online advertising campaign that is usually backed by money. With the use of social marketing, it is able for a business to provide a more human touch, which attracts potential customers (Rehema 2006, pp. 67 – 70). Social marketing has resulted in increase in visibility. When social networking is employed, since it works like blogging, product information is spread. This information can be correlated to the business website, hence increases the popularity of the company website.

Creation of a new content visual that people like, and there will be no problem in drawing people to the company website. All companies that produce products aim to increases their market audience. Before the creation of internet, such information was transferred in word of mouth. Social networking has developed to remove such issues and has resulted to the online version and which is a higher visibility online than before. Disadvantages of social marketing When there is, a positive effect is associated with a marketing tool there is also the negative side.

Apart from the positive contributions that are associated with social network marketing, and its associated success, there are few shortcomings. Social network marketing is usually praised by many companies due to its effectiveness in marketing and has a marketing tool. However, there are other times when such sites are not used effectively, and may result into additional costs. There are also some other negative issues that are involved with social marketing (Patrick 2000, pp. 23 – 26). One negative issue that results that is associated with social marketing is the difficulty to monetize.

An issue that is raised by social marketing critics is the idea on how such activity increases profits or how will it increase the sales for the company. This is because the use of social networks is in sharing information and used for communication. When measuring how such initiative contributes to sales is near impossible, when compared to other methods such as search advertising. Profits that are witnessed from a certain product or the general company cannot be easily be directed to the introduction or use of social networks. There is a presence of large number of white label players.

Here, the idea of white social networks is those social network sites that allow users to set up their social network for their use and brand them according to their taste. Such players and vendors with different competitive nature make choosing one of them difficult. It is difficult to know the best to use and how after using it, it will attract membership that the company needs. The nature and transparency of the data that members input in these sites brings out difficult issues in analyzing the market. A question that may arise is how the company will proof that the information is real.

There assumption is that people who sign do so with valid reasons, which makes the data valid (Douglas 2005, pp. 32 – 34). In the use of social networking sites, there is difficulty in methods or metrics that will be used to measure success. This may arise when the company does not use their own servers, which makes it hard to get the metrics from the hosting server; hence, analysis of the site is made hard. There are lets down when social network is used for certain marketing. Various shortcomings such as the methods in which success will be measured are common scenarios. Community is usually comprised of elderly and the young people.

A problem may arise when this method is used to market those products that are used mostly by the elderly. A high percentage of the elderly people do not access the social networks, which means that any product that is specifically marketed in these sites will not reach the elderly market. These are examples of issues that are associated with social network as a marketing tool. Other issues can be solved by use of existing social networks e. g. facebook and staying away from the white label version. The use of social network in marketing is important and brings many benefits.

There application benefits exceed shortcomings that are associated with such tools. The use of the social networking increases the market and exposes the company products and services to a wide audience. In developing and transferring information to the site is simple and the information and feedbacks can be obtained easily. Audience can easily give back their view in the different products and services that the company provides. Exposure of products such as communications and ICT tools to the market shapes the consciousness of the audience and makes them to select what they want easily.

Amount of labor and technicality level that is employed is minimal. Features such as the banners and posters, which are mostly paper work, and require expertise in designing them, in our case is not applicable. Most people access social networks, but to a large scale are the young population. Products that are development for such groups such as the phones, and prestige products can easily increase their market. About 2/3rds of youths from North America access, these sites daily and 1/3 of adults access these sites once in a month (Taylor 2003, pp. 45 – 47).

In marketing, there are different tools and strategies that can be employed. There application comes with different success and failures in the methods such information is employed. Different products have different types of markets and are supposed to be accessed differently. There is the older part of the community and the younger generation that can be accessed differently. The use of social network mostly is used by youths; this means that those products that are focused to the youths will have an advantage when such products are advertised in the social sites.

Therefore, certain products have to be marketed in other different means to as to help the other part of community who do not access the social sites. This means that when marketing campaign is been planned, the team should focus on various avenues that they will display their products. The social network currently is not fully reliable and requires some adjustments. Nevertheless, in different types of products and the type of community that such products should be addressed harvest different results.

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