Marketing Through Online Social Networking Communities Course Instructor Date Contents Introduction 3 Social Networking Communities-a phenomenon 3 Marketing in the Social Media Landscape 4 The Melting Point-Marketers interact with Users 5 Leveraging Social Networks for Successful Marketing and Brand-Related Activities 8 Conclusion 8 Bibliography 9 Introduction The social media landscape has taken by storm consumers and marketers alike…
It is about reaching your customers, both existing and potential, at the right time, in the place with the right tactics. This essay will essentially deal with what social networking communities are, the ramifications that they have on their customers who are also users of these social networking communities and the marketing and brand related activities they employ to target this segment. Social Networking Communities-a phenomenon Very aptly put by Jeremiah Owyang (2007), Online communities group together people who share similar interests and are involved in the exchange of information and connected over the Web. Online social network sites are a broader category of the same nature that allow individuals to connect with people known or unknown to them by creating profiles through which they manage their contacts and interact with them. The differences between the different social media networks is blurring with time with the only differentiating factor the level of restriction enabled on the community or site that determines the kind of members who join it. Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, LinkdIn, Cyworld, Ning, Spruz, among many others, are examples of such communities and sites. Social Networking sites, over the past century, have evolved from being general social sites to more specific sites, such that one can now find an online social networking community for virtually anything including friendship sites, alumni networks, career related and hobby specific. The features these sites boast are becoming more and more sophisticated. As users become more savvy their needs and means to stay connected also become sophisticated which pushes for these sites to enable features such as photo-sharing, video-sharing and private messaging. Most social networking sites become a phenomenon due to their sheer nature, however, it is very common to find people segregated on the basis of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age interests and so on (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Another important differentiating factor of online social networking communities is their being anchored around people or interests. The trend in today’s social networking landscape indicates that these sites and communities are evolving to form well integrated ‘egocentric’ networks that defy the concept of small closed groups (Boyd & Ellison, 2007 cited in Wellman, 1988, p. 37). Boyd (2006) purports that these sites behave as “networked public spaces” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007) in the virtual world that allow users to interact as they wish even when it is not possible to do so in the offline or real public spaces. Online social networking communities therefore, serve to bridge the gaps between the online and offline worlds of its users, making them a central part of their lives. Marketing in the Social Media Landscape The rising trend in social networking sites has important ramifications on businesses and marketers. Each day as users grow exponentially, more time and attention is dedicated to social networking sites subsequently increasing their monetary worth. Businesses have discovered that marketing through social networking communities contains a landmine of opportunities, not to make money per say, but to engaging customers. People on social ...
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