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Need for Social Marketing
Social marketing is a strategic tool for the companies that seek to attain global success at affordable rates. The introduction of the online platform started with the introduction of Google in 1998. The companies sought to use techniques such as pay per click, search engine optimization with the aim of generating traffic to their sites. The techniques are still used in the social marketing.
However, with the rise of the social media, the majority of the social marketing activities emanate from the social media. Social marketing is an ideal marketing strategy since it capitalizes on the connections that the social media has. The business can use the platform to the develop peer-to-peer influence (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). The ability of the company to weave the social marketing in its marketing strategy leads to the delivery of traffic to the websites that can later transmute into viable business relations. Social marketing is the graduating aspect from the B2C focus to B2B.
The golden rules of social marketing that the company has to consider are the creation of a not-too-serious image, combining inbound marketing with outbound marketing, ensuring that the social marketing entails the concerns of the other person, use of peer to peer sharing, offering good content that is backed up with good offers, focusing on the value additions of the entire exercise and the development of a strong call to action. The successful application of the above aspects determines the effectiveness of social marketing the company ought to focus on the development of the aspects in all that it does.
For the success of social marketing to be attainable, the company has to lay right foundation. The clarity of the company goals is called for in the social marketing. The practice calls for the development of the specific objectives that can be measured. The second foundation aspect is the commitment of human resource management to the social media marketing. The employees committed to the social media marketing will be incurve of the phrasing and updating of the social marketing messages (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). The company also has to ensure that there is a constant flow of the contents that will be able to sustain the social marketing communications.
The content has to encourage the interaction between the company and the clients or peers. There is also a need for the knowledge of the sites that have the most traffic of the customers and the prospective customers. This knowledge is the determinant of the development of the right target location to channel the messages (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). If the site has a maximum traffic, it could be ideal for the company since it will only have to pay for the clicks on the messages that are posted on the site. Social marketing practices have to be part of the approbations of the company. They have to be incorporated in the entire buying process of the company (Lagarde, 2012). Therefore, the social marketing foundation calls for the inclusion of the technique in all aspects of the company. All campaigns conducted by the company have to entail an aspect of the social marketing.
The company also has to capitalize on peer to peer sharing. The social campaigns are not conducted for the sake of it. The campaigns have to be social. This means that there should be benefits from the relationships between the social media marketing. The company has to understand the gains pf peer to peer sharing as opposed to the business to customer sharing. The past perception of social marketing that entailed its definition as the publishing of social content is faulty. The social marketing is not an extension of the main marketing campaign (Lagarde, 2012).
On the contrary, this is the development of the strategy that is an integral part of the entire marketing campaign conducted by the company. The approach to marketing is built on the premise of sharing the information with other people. The design of the message ought to be compelling enough to encourage sharing. This makes social marketing efficient and seamless.
Brand visibility gains from the word of mouth communications and the peer recommendations. The people are most likely to believe the peer recommendations as opposed to a brand-driven marketing campaign. Therefore, social media marketing has to be developed in order to increase the brand visibility through the extension of the peer relationships into recommendations. Incentives to encourage sharing are important since they determine the development of the sharing practice (Lagarde, 2012). Incentives could assume the form of polls, flash deals, social sweepstakes and referral systems. The effective use of the techniques determines the eventual success of the social marketing.
Selection of channels
There are numerous channels in social marketing. The ability of the company to capitalize on them determines the chances that it has on the success. Channels that the company can choose from includes the social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, YouTube, influence tracking sites, presentation and document sharing, question and answer sites and photo and image sharing. Tactics that can be used include blogging, commenting, podcasting and bookmarking. The use of the above tactics ensures that the message is communicated to the right audience. It also ensures that the reach of the customers is attained and spread to all the possible users of the internet. The different avenues of getting the information about the company to the prospective customers have to be used in different ways.
They have to be used according to the development stage of the company in social marketing. They also have to be developed according to the target market audience and the concentration of the audience in one channel (Lagarde, 2012). If one channel can reach the majority of the target customers and existing clients, it is important for the management to adopt the approach. The company can also adopt different tactics according to the products that it is selling. The approach used in an analysis of the tactics to use will depend on the overall marketing strategy of the company as well as the specific campaign for which the tactic is being evaluated. Some tactics are better suited for some products and situations. The focus on the tactics will increase the capability of the campaign meeting the immediate needs of the company in terms of the target market.
Tools for measuring the effectiveness
There are different tools for the social media marketing. The tools determine the effectiveness of the social media as a marketing instrument. There are different platforms that one can use to market a campaign or a product. However, the challenge in the staying organized while on the platforms to attain the majority traffic. The organization of the platforms determines whether the company is putting the right time and energy on the platforms that will lead to the optimal output (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). The tools are meant to increase the social media presence of a company. Using the tools effectively determines the effectiveness of the company in running the business. The maintenance of presence in the social media increases the robustness of the campaign hence increasing the chance of its success.
The selected tools will be the guide towards the entire process. They guide the user from the awareness to the engagement. This leads to the increment of the success chances of the social marketing campaign (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). These tools also allow the users to come up with monitoring aspects such that the user can track the progress of the social media campaigns. The main goal of the social marketing tools the monitoring of the perceptions of the users of a certain product. The monitoring tools capture the reactions of the people in the social media platforms to a certain product offered by the company. The tools are essentially meant to be the listening aids for the development of the opinion on the market perceptions and what they would like to be changed in the entire marketing.
Inclusion of the strategy in all marketing activities
Social marketing does not work in isolation. It has to be included in all aspects of the marketing funnel adopted by the organization. The use of the social marketing as an alternative to common marketing perceptions is a source of failure for companies that are starting out in the marketing approach. Social marketing has to be among the main approaches to marketing that a company uses as opposed to being the alternative to marketing. The development of the social marketing has to be part of the main funnel of the organization.
Incorporation of the social marketing in the entire process involves lead nurturing. Lead nurturing occurs when an unknown prospect visits the social media site (Lagarde, 2012). The inability of the organization to identify the prospects does not mean that they are unqualified. The second aspect of the incorporation is the social opportunity nurturing. Any prospect of social marketing ought to be nurtured and capitalized on to increase the chances of success. The next step is the nurturing of the social customers.
The company ought to focus on the nurturing of the social customers. They are essentially customers that have joined the organization due to a referral from the existing customers. The company ought to use the existing customers as the springboard to reach the other customers. Encouraging them to use the social media is crucial in the development of interest in the company’s operations (Wood, 2012). Incorporation of social marketing in the lead nurturing makes the marketers understand and interest with the prospects in a better way. The ultimate outcome of this move is the increment in the volume and quality of sales that the company enjoys.
Assessment of the returns on investment
Just like any other investment, social media has to be assessed according to the returns that it brings to the organization. The company has to realize direct benefits emanating from the social media investments. Otherwise, there is no need of the company investing its funds in a mode of marketing that will not garner any returns (French, Reynolds & Merritt, 2011). The returns on the investments made by the company are the ultimate measure of the effectiveness of social media marketing.
However, there are numerous challenges that on the assessment of the returns on investment difficult. Measurement of social marketing comes from the inbound lead. In as much as the inbound efforts are revered for the high level of qualification, there are difficulties in the attribution of the gains to any marketing campaign. Most of the inbound leads come from the word of mouth or referrals. The lack of attribution mechanisms makes it difficult but not impossible to assess the inbound leads. However, other forms of social media marketing drives can be assessed easily and effectively.
Conversion costs of the lead into a sale can be assessed. They constitute the investment. The returns are the benefits to the organization accruing from the referral. How an organization handles the investment determines the outcome. Social media marketing is a promising source of leads that can be converted into sales. The leads ought to be optimized for the attainment of the sales. Relationship marketing can also be enhanced using social media. The ability of the organization to gainfully invest in the social marketing will determine the competitiveness in the fast changing environment.
Therefore, the issue with social media marketing is not on if it is needed but how much of it is needed to attain the desired returns. With a few modifications of the assessment techniques employed by the organization on the investments made, the organization has a chance of reaping benefits in terms of increased quality and volume of sales. Proper management of the investments will lead to the optimization of the returns.
Criticality of social marketing in the modern market
Social marketing is a crucial aspect of the social media. The effective development of the social marketing approach determines the success or failure of a company operating in the competitive world. How well an organization is adapted to the environment will affect the chances that it has of survival.
The modern prospects are looking at the company profile and presentation on the social media before they start any engagement. This means that the companies ought to present themselves in the best light possible when it comes to social marketing. The perception of the prospect of the company determines the decision to engage with the company or not. The ability of the company to present its value proposition as attract the customers with the main basis for the development of the modern marketing. Social marketing goes beyond the posting of perspectives or offers about the product on a social networking site. It is all about the development of a strategy that seeks to go social in all aspects. The strategy is so vital that it should be present in all aspects of the marketing campaigns. Social marketing is also a cheaper way of creating awareness about the company.
The first step that the university has to focus on is the understanding of the importance of the social marketing in the attraction of the prospective students. Development of the understanding will determine the involvement of the marketing department on the effectiveness of the mode of advertising. It is important for the members to understand the importance of the mode of advertisement since this understanding will also affect their involvement to the approach.
The university ought to develop the plan and policy that it will stick to in the marketing campaign; the plan will act as the road map for the entire campaign. It has to be comprehensive and diverse to accommodate the diversity of the prospects. Clarity of purpose will also be emphasized on in the entire campaign to ensure that the staff does not lose focus of the main goals of the campaign. In the planning, the university ought to ensure that it considers the most common pitfalls and avoids the common pitfalls that affect the majority of the social media campaigns. The vigilant look out for the common mistakes will reduce the needs for reworking the entire campaign. It will also reduce the costs.
The university ought to select tactics that will appeal to the prospects.
Forums that the target prospects are ought to form the main focus for the organizations
The communication of the offer ought to include the value proposition that make the university the best option.
The campaign ought to be convincing enough to ensure that the students are attracted to it.
It should be developed in different languages to accommodate the diversity of the prospects.
It is advisable that the university uses different campaigns for the different locations. The target population is not the same. Therefore, the university ought to develop marketing campaigns that are targeting the individual countries. Country specific factors and culture ought to be considered in the development of the campaign. The university has to appear more accommodative to the diversity
Tactics to be used can be different to suit the different customers. The university can create a podcast made by students from diverse locations. The podcast will be an effective communication of the policy of the organization on diversity
All the campaigns have to be conducted with the focus on the returns. The university ought to watch the costs of product in the podcasts and compare them with the expected returns.
The university has to develop the marketing campaign that will be targeted to the actual customers. The focus on the MBA students ought to be different from the focus on MSc students.
The channel selection ought to focus on the largest concentration of prospects.
Facebook groups will be the best places to start reaching out to the prospective customers.
Combination of channels will only be used when necessary to ensure that the costs of the campaign are as low as possible.
French, J., Reynolds, L., & Merritt, R. (2011). Social marketing casebook. London: SAGE.
Lagarde, F. (2012). Insightful Social Marketing Leadership. Social Marketing Quarterly, 18(1), 77-81.
Wood, M. (2012). Marketing social marketing. Journal Of Social Marketing, 2(2), 94-102.
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