May 14, 2014 – Interaktif Pazarlama Dergisi / While traditional marketing channels such as radio, television and newspapers remain important, the concept of “integrated marketing” has come to the forefront in the last 3-4 years, but the importance of social media has been curiously and surprisingly ignored both in developed economies such as the USA and the UK and in emerging economies such as Turkey and Brazil. In particular, consumers’ intense interest in this area confirms that companies should change their marketing strategies in this direction without wasting time, and at the same time, the adoption of the social media process by the consumer is much faster than the old media sources.
Radio reached 50 million users in 38 years, television in 13 years and the internet in 4 years. But Facebook reached 100 million users in just 9 months! This is just the tip of the social media iceberg. We can characterize social media as a large and active communication network with a continuous flow of information and especially free collaboration. In the old traditional network, there is a passive flow of information from the company to the consumers only.
The new marketing trend involves the active flow of information from company to consumer, from consumer to company and even between consumers – figure 2. But what are the tools we need to use social media? In order to answer this question, first of all, you need to do a serious study about the sector your company is in, your existing competitors and your target customer base. Your company’s internet web page, the rank studies you have done in order to be at the forefront of search engines such as Google, your blogs and forums, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Groups, Gmail blogs, youtube, flickr, RSS feeds, slideshare, wordpress, bebo, msn, etc. are just the beginning stages of this work. Even social activities such as flash mob are non-internet based activities that can be found within social media activities.
Here are the steps you should take before creating a social media plan for your company and the questions you should ask yourself on behalf of your company:
– Is your company or industry suitable for social media strategies? For example, while social media is indispensable, especially for B2C (business-to-customer) companies, it will be much less applicable for B2B (business-to-business) companies.
– Who is your target customer base? If you want to use social media, especially in Turkey, it is important to target the 15 – 40 age group. Another important question is, what are your expectations from this target audience after implementing social media activities, what kind of results do you want to achieve?
– Who are your competitors? How appropriate will it be to use social media against your competitors, let alone to recognize your competitors in competitive market conditions and to produce strategies for them?
– What kind of social media activities do your competitors carry out in which channels?
– What are your company’s strengths? How can you bring these strengths to the forefront in social media activities?
– Which social media tools can you use for your company?
– How can you carry out implementation and monitoring activities?
Social media activities will also have a cost for companies; it would not be right to say that this is a completely free medium. However, compared to channels such as television, radio or even newspapers, the cost of social media is almost negligible. In some sectors, we can even say that it is much more effective than high-cost channels.
In today’s world, Social Media can be used as an indispensable marketing weapon for small-scale companies and as an auxiliary and important marketing weapon for large-scale companies. Although it is our hope that the level of awareness on this issue will increase further in our country, both in terms of our companies in different sectors and in terms of the increasing interest of the consumer mass in our country both economically and in technology and the internet, it is a separate fact that we still need great steps to be taken in this regard. However, we don’t need to look into a crystal ball to realize that companies that grasp the importance of social media and act early will be a few steps ahead of their competitors. Remember, the goal of social media is to serve your customers better; for example, your existing website or social media tools should be about your customers, not about your company.