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Social Networking Sites and Marketing

Social networking sites (SNSes) such as MySpace. com, Facebook, Friendster and Hi5 appeal to a large number of users, mostly in the younger age bracket, who makes use of its services to connect with their peers through a personalized profile that promotes the user’s interests to connect with others. Each site has a different purpose for gathering users but generally they offer a lot of incentives for users to interact on such as games, chat interface, profile matching and the inclusion of mass media elements like brands, entertainment figures, music and gadgets among others.

To promote the brand or services of the company or organization, usually marketers utilize traditional networking approaches to reach consumers by word-of-mouth through run-of-site advertising and static microsites. Nowadays, marketers have learned to adapt in developing new marketing strategies on SNSes by tapping into personal networks which provide something of value to its users (Li & Bernoff, 2008).

According to the research done by Charlene Li and her colleagues for the Forrester Research, Inc., promotions are good way for companies to expand their network within the SNSes wherein users can transfer or spread the brand elements to their friends. Myspace and Facebook are one of the many websites

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that makes use of this strategy to attract younger users to utilize its services. This was proven when Forrester’s US study were released to denote that over 57 million and 14 million users were part of the Myspace and Facebook community respectively in 2007 (Li, Bernoff, Feffer & Pflaum, 2007).

The study revealed that about 47% to 69% of teenagers and young adults’ age 18 to 21 years old are frequently using both networking sites to connect with their peers while only 20 % of adults use it for the same reason. A whopping 68% of the youth log on to their accounts daily compared to 42 % of the adults who also have an account (Li, Bernoff, Feffer & Pflaum, 2007). Whereas most SNS users are regular Myspace users, the Facebook community has grown recently thanks to opening its doors for non-students since 2006.

If Michael Kors wants to expand his reach on the online youth, as well online adults, he must take advantage of the opportunity to exploit the features of SNS (Szewczak, 2008). One thing that the Michael Kors team can do to market the brand is by setting up a profile of the company in Myspace and Facebook. Users can join the profile account made by the company by adding the profile up to be their friend or as a fan.

For instance, Li made an example of the profile account of the movie X-Men: The Last Stand in which 2 million Myspace users added the account as a friend and interacted with those who have also added the account (Li, Bernoff, Feffer & Pflaum, 2007). The study made by Forrester also presented that more than one-third of the Gen Y social networking users have stated that they would be interested in seeing more brand products or marketers on the respective SNSes that they use.

Almost half of the adult sector has also stated the same comment, which doubles the expectation of the Michael Kors brand since it not only gets a chance to infiltrate the youth sector, but the adult sector would also appreciate its presence in the SNS realm (Li & Bernoff, 2008). Word-of-mouth marketing is often behind the strategies of most brand companies who would like bigger exposure and a wider audience. It uses mostly three approaches such as viral marketing, referral programs and community marketing.

It’s usually in the discretion of companies to apply all of these techniques if need be so long as it is within the company’s budget. However, most companies could only afford time and energy to stick to one or two ways of marketing their brand. When the SNSes emerged, companies realized that they could utilize the receptive environment of these communities and are able to be unburdened with exerting much effort to promote their brand. SNS users could also be used as viral leaders who could markets the product or brand that they believe in (Trusov, Bucklin & Pauwels, 2007).

A look at the demographics and psychographics of adult and youth SNS users demonstrates that they would most likely rave and promote about a certain product or service that they found to be beneficial for them, ascertaining them as natural leaders or promoters of the brand or product. This could be found within their profiles or reviews in their blogs, which according to the study of Forrester, accounts for more than one-third of adult users and more than half of youth users (Szewczak, 2008).

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