Strictly Business Belmont University College of Business Administration

30Jul/12Off

Double-Edged Sword of Social Media Marketing

One of a marketer’s main objectives in defining a company or product’s marketing mix is determining the channel or medium through which the target audience will be reached. Recently, no channel has been quite as successful in reaching and engaging a large audience as social media. These days, you won’t find a coupon, website, or email that doesn’t point you to a company’s Facebook or Twitter page. Why has this been so successful? Well, companies have gotten smart and gone where their audience is - online. Few people read newspapers anymore and the number of people reading magazines, with the exception of the gossip columns, has declined as well.

According to the marketing firm quoted in this article, the most important aspect about social media is that it allows the customer to “meet the company” which will hopefully drive the customer to a physical store to purchase products or make an online purchase. Facebook and Twitter allow companies to offer customers all kinds of goodies. Sweepstakes, coupons, and promotions are communicated in a matter of minutes. The best part is that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for companies to use social media. The hardest task for companies is getting as many people as possible to “like” or “follow” it.

While social media offers many benefits to companies, in the wake of scandal, it has also proven to be a curse for others. Many have found opponents using social media to negatively impact the company by driving negative press. Let’s take Chick-Fil-A for example. A social media firestorm erupted for them due to recent statements made by one of the company’s top executives. It’s no secret what this company stands for, but people are now in an uproar because he chose to stick to his beliefs. Click here for more on this story. If this were a different time and social media was not around, I doubt the company would be in the situation it now finds itself in. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the dust to settle. In the meantime, I feel like a chicken sandwich!

This post was submitted by Krystle Grogan, MBA Candidate

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