The rise in popularity of social networking Web sites and other social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and individual blogs has grown subsequently during these recent years. This literature review shall demonstrate on how the social media networks have an impact on businesses; following an introduction of what is exactly the social media marketing, secondly what are the networks for and thirdly the impact of the social networks on consumers. Some studies have been made by several researchers and authors about the impact of social media in businesses which will be evaluated in this research proposal.
Social media networks are fast becoming the infrastructure of the Web as all of our personal data and connections are being aggregated into databases. The value of Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter is part how much of our personal information they store and part how useful they can make this information for companies, advertisers, marketers, and consumers. The more information social networks know about us and our connections, the more targeted they can make their advertising and ultimately their business value (Levitt 2010).
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Tuten (2008) described social media as communities which include forums, virtual worlds , social news organisations, social- opinion sharing sites and social networks. In addition to this, Tuten (2008) remarkably suggested that social networks are built with a platform that enables users to create or identify profiles with the ability to interact with other members and participating in various site activities. With memberships that are growing daily and the amount of people interacting with these various sites, marketers and businesses have found a tool that can make money likewise Tuten (2008) argued that marketers in the USA spent $920 million on social network advertising which showed a net progression of businesses implementing social media into their businesses. On the other hand Bowman (2010) investigated that social media is expanding at a sophisticated business tool because it provides businesses a unique opportunity to target customers and its prospect. For instance, the massive social network 'facebook.com' which has millions of subscribers is 'one of the most appreciated site for businesses' can create fan pages on offering instructional videos to show people how their products are reliable. Further research demonstrated that social networking sites are promoting rapidly through the internet acquiring users around the world; the more quickly social networking sites grow, the more quickly they spread. It has been argued that; it is a vital source of revenue for some businesses to market their products and services for example the retail industry and as a result many advertisers have conducted consumer promotions involving social media to generate attention to and participation in their promotions; for instance (Otter 2010) suggested that some companies in the recruitment sector have placed social media in their planning, companies such as Microsoft, Roundchard and CH2M Hill have successfully achieved in implenting this process which has been cost effective, faster to hire and improved candidate quality. In the UK the large retailer John Lewis has invested in a research project to monitor the consumers point of view, it is part of their strategy to develop new skills in their advertising programme; in brief 'The Gazette' the company trade magazine quoted " Social media can also help generate a 'buzz' about product or brands"(cabinet-marker.co.uk). Equally Starbucks have seek digital and social media marketing investment in their channel in the UK, their success has involved a global campaign in releasing new product online via the social networks. Starbuck`s strategy was to involve customer loyalty via facebook, the company has also planned to integrate activities across a number of iniatives including the Starbucks Card, public affairs, customer care and shared planet across social media channels with its 9million fans on facebook and 1million followers on twitter (nma.co.uk).
Similarly, Twitter has reached the middle east for example Gulf Air; the Gulf Air's website gulfair.com has become the No.1 airline website in the Gulf region by number of followers on one of the most popular social media networks, this trend has enable the company to promote its image in their specific service sector on "How to utilise digital and new media to reach customers, ommunities and special interest groups" (gulfair.com).
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Nowadays employers and employees understand the power of social media networks in creating real business value and relationships with customers the press, analysts, and all other stakeholders ( Businessweek.com 2010). In addition to this, many employers have been managi marketing their personal brand together by promoting their company. It argues that employees participating in social networks have already developed a network that can help them in the long term within their development and promotion in regard to their progress in a company for future prospects.( Businessweek.com 2010)