Internet has changed peoples lifestyle as well as habits. Primarily every human being has a need and wish to communicate with others and exchange information, ideas, news etc. Internet has enabled people to connect and communicate with not only ones family, but with people across the world. Truly internet has erased the boundaries between nations.
The participation from community of people and society at large has provided impetus to the growth of Social Media Network. There is hardly anybody who is not participating in one or the other type of social media, be it exchanging emails, using chat or posting photographs and exchanging music etc.
With the increasing number of online community participation, the social media network has become a major medium that is being explored by Marketers, who find it the most effective way of getting closer to the customers and getting to know the customers. Marketers have dual advantage in the fact that they are able to get in touch with those who have already become their customers and experienced their products as well as those prospective customers who might be inclined to or may be influenced to buy the product.
Social media when compared to traditional news media is different in several fundamental aspects.
Unlike the traditional media where the readers or viewers are passive participants, social media network is one place where the customers as well as would be customers are actively participating and exchanging information, sharing experience, giving their opinion and reviews based on their understanding as well as experience. This means that the markets are able to interact with the customer in real time basis and benefit from the communication. The Organization actually gets to listen to the customer and understand more about the customers perception about the brand as well as the product etc. The social media channels help build collective opinion and precipitate healthy discussions about the relevant topics.
Second important feature is that social media network spread across variety of channels and medium as compared to the limited channels that print and news media operate with. Social media network operates with several tools including audio, video, text, audio pods, and private forums, public discussion boards, SMS, chatting, emails as well as blogging etc.
Thirdly, social media network is a dynamic, flexible medium that keeps changing interms of content, tools and keeps evolving all the time. As the participants keep giving inputs and the collective wisdom of the group results in change and up-dation of the content as well as creates demand for more tools to be made available.
Fourthly, social media network calls for a different kind of participation from the marketers. Unlike the traditional media where marketers run campaigns and customer designed advertisements focused on a particular audience or group, social media network enables the participants to steer the discussion and the marketers are required to do more of listening than leading the discussion. Marketers have got to approach the prospective customers in a indirect fashion by helping to build public opinion and then indirectly steer them towards taking an interest in your product.
Social media network is evolving at a very fast pace and in line with faster changing technology tools that are being made available. Marketers have got no option but to tune in with the media, understand how things work and make sure they are present. Not being present in the social media networks in the current times is not an option for marketing companies.
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