Social media marketing is a recent addition to organizations’ integrated marketing communications plans. Integrated marketing communications is a principle organizations follow to connect with their targeted markets. Integrated marketing communications coordinates the elements of the promotional mix;advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing, and sales promotion. In the traditional marketing communications model, the content, frequency, timing, and medium of communications by the organization is in collaboration with an external agent, i.e. advertising agencies, marketing research firms, and public relations firms. However, the growth of social media has impacted the way organizations communicate. With the emergence of Web 2.0, the internet provides a set of tools that allow people to build social and business connections, share information and collaborate on projects online.
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it is coming from a trusted source, as opposed to the brand or company itself.
Social media has become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with internet access, opening doors for organizations to increase their brand awareness and facilitate conversations with the customer. Additionally, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns. With emergence of services like Twitter, the barrier to entry in social media is greatly reduced. Report from company Sysomos shows that half of the users using Twitter are located outside US demonstrating the global significance of social media marketing. Organizations can receive direct feedback from their customers and targeted markets.
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