Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Social media websites

Social media websites are becoming more and more of every ones lives, the majority of people have a social network site that they visit at least once a day. There are many social media websites on the internet at the moment, which companies like to make the most of, they have realised this. Therefore they have placed there companies in the centre of it creating their companies page or account to advertise their business. For example there are three main social networking sites, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. They all provide a free service for users to post information, photos, and videos, basically anything they like, that will allow other people to see. From a Mintel source 97% of 1,525 aged 16+ have visited Facebook, 46% have visited Twitter and 29% have visited Google+ before (Liao NA).

These figures show that Facebook is the most used and visited site out of them selected people with 3% of them never visiting the site, Twitter coming up in second and they finally Google+. Facebook is the most used sites with over a billion users according to Lee (2012) from BBC News, this is a great opportunity for companies to advertise their business if the is a potential of a billion people to see and to find out about their company.
Companies that advertise

Social networking sites give anyone a chance to advertise something. This could be from a singer advertising their voice, or a dancer trying to advertise their moves anyone has the opportunity to advertise anything. Using a networking site is an easy way for companies to advertise what they have for free but still reaching a huge wide audience. Companies do reach a large audience using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, for example Coca Cola have 55,414,622 likes on Facebook and 639,040 followers on Twitter. Each person that follows or likes that page will see Coca Cola’s advertisements that they post on their networking sites hourly. This will therefore increase sales and awareness of the product for no cost, this is a very cost effective way for companies to advertise because the social media sites are free to use. Companies that advertise with other methods will only meet certain target groups with their advertisements but by using social media websites they will meet a much larger audience, people will like or follow the certain companies to find out information about them not necessarily just because they like the product or service.
How companies advertise of social media websites
Many companies look at social media websites as a great advertising method to use and that is wide a large range do. They can promote offers, new upcoming products, new stores, and sales. They have a chance to advertise anything by starting an account with a social network. From the social media marketing book by Zarrella (2010) is describes a marketing method used by Burger King on Facebook. Burger King opened a page and uploaded a coupon for a free whopper but the user had to unfriend ten of their social network connections to receive this offer. 
This was one way to get rid of the other competition for burger king on that social network site. All a company needs is one marketing method that people will talk about and share, this is easy with social media sites because users are able to share things they have watched or saw to other people on their friends list that may have not seen it. This is a quick way to increase awareness of that certain brand and item.
What benefits do companies receive from social networking sites?
Companies are always trying to find the best cheapest option of advertising, social networking sites are the best. They provide a free online service to advertise their company with a large interacting audience, leading users to follow, like or subscribe to their page resulting in them receiving all the advertisements and offers that the company has to offer through that certain site. Twitter is a newly risen site that companies can post information on about their business to increase awareness. For an article in the guardian a small company increased sales by £150,000 they said, "I'd never used it before and it took me several months to see any results, but within 18 months I had 1,000 followers and bookings were up, generating £150,000 of new business."(Coleman, 2012). This shows that using the right site and providing the users with enough information about the company it can increase sales massively.
Increasing the amount or follows your page has the more people will be aware of the certain company, for example large companies like McDonalds have 809,600 followers on their page.
They will be able to spread awareness of new upcoming products, information and anything they like to their twitter followers, this will increase people’s awareness rapidly. Companies can also use the social networking sites to receive feedback, other users are able to speak out their opinion on the website or have the chance to say anything they like to the company. This is a good chance for companies to improve their businesses by listening and changing their company for the customers.
Why and how companies use social networking to advertise
Companies use social networking sites because it is FREE and that they can reach a large wide audience from one site. Most companies are on one or another social networking site to promote their business. They can post new information about their company like offers, new products, and new marketing campaigns, the sites will supply users with unlimited time and space to post anything they like at any time of the day. This is ideal for companies that have a small marketing budget, they can be provided with feedback and ideas from future or previous customers, which will enable them to improve and adapt their business. If they provide the customers with what they want it will result in a boost of sales for the company making the business more profitable.