“Social media” is an umbrella term that includes web-based software and services that bring users together online and allow them to exchange ideas, discuss issues, communicate with one another, and participate in many other forms of social interaction. With the proliferation of different forms of social media, such as blogs, forums, audio-visual sharing sites, personal networking sites, and professional networking sites, consumers are constantly bombarded with many marketing messages.
Social media refers to all channels where people and customers are able to interact with each other via digital media that are public or accessible to multiple users. There are a number of social media websites, each of which has created its own model for enabling people to communicate with each other. Social media sites use content in various forms to build digital communities in which ideas and content are shared and discussion and comments are encouraged.
It is important to keep in mind, when planning a Social Media Marketing Strategy, that consumers will not always react positively to a company’s updates and content on social platforms. Negative comments about a brand and its products are inevitable even on the company’s own social media platforms.
Some companies will choose to exert control over comments on their own platforms and delete those that they feel reflect poorly on the brand. Other companies may choose to allow the negative comments to remain and respond in an empathetic way by offering an apology and/or a solution to issues. Leaving negative comments online, along with the company’s responses shows that the company is open, honest, and transparent. This also provides an opportunity to turn disgruntled customers into a brand evangelist.
It is also important to understand the distinction between “earned” and “paid” opportunities for “sharing.” For example, building “followers” or “shares” through the development and posting of valuable content is “earned.” Alternatively, several social platforms provide “paid” opportunities for advertising and promoted posts in order to share information. Earned and paid strategies on social media are not mutually exclusive and often the most effective social media strategies employ a combination of both.
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