Internet age and the social web is redefining marketing. Online marketing as well as online advertising and brand promotions are done differently from the traditional ways. When you consider the traditional way of marketing and building customer loyalty, you will find that the customers positive experience of the product or service helps build loyalty. It is interesting to study the same aspect on Social Networks to identify and establish the way in which the online community builds and endorses a product or service.
Online interactions on the social networks are carried out by individuals and at the same time the opinions and the loyalty expressed would be collective. This is not so in the case of traditional media. Another significant factor to be noted is that the online community participants subscribership can be measured and quantified. The entire process of loyalty building can be easily tracked and traced on social web. On the Social Networks, one may not necessarily speak about loyalty to the brand, but the same concept is referred to as the reputation of a brand.
The brand reputation is built as a result of the conversations and discussions held by individuals but the reputation is built by the participation and collective opinion of the entire community. Further on the community opinion helps strengthen the individual participants loyalty or commitment towards the brand.
The reputation build by a community is further harnessed and spread to other networks and slowly a buzz begins to form around the brand. The new launches of products ride on such buzz and gain popularity across millions of subscribers.
At this point, it is important for the marketers to map and understand the behavior as well as the attributes of the individual participants as well as the community as a whole. By understanding both, the collective as well as the individual, it is possible to influence one to impact the other. Thus the Company can work to influence the community in which case the individual too gets influenced automatically.
Every marketer would need to know the basic difference between traditional media channels and the social web. On the Social web, the advertising or marketing is not unilateral but is participative. It is the participants who control the Social Web and discussions and not the Company alone. One might think of not being present on the Social Web. But thinking in this way can be a big mistake. If the customers are available in the form of online community and if they are discussing your product or service, it is important for you to be participating too. Absence from the Social web in such situations can cause damage to the Companys reputation which might be viewed adversely by the collective community.
Social web alone cannot be the complete solution for marketing or advertising products and services to the markets. The Social Web would have to be used as supplementary to the traditional channels. If you understand the trend amongst the people, you will find that every individual tends to check out the details of products or services that he gets to see on the TV or print media. This goes on to prove the need for marketing on Social Web.
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