Facebook needs to be extremely careful with it’s privacy issues and needs to deal with it immediately. The ethics of privacy being exposed through social media is extremely sensitive and public. Thus, as Porter & Kramer state “Strategy and society is the link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility” and companies need to address and protect this model. Companies usually learn from there mistakes, and as long as they fix these issues the issues can be resolved. This model can also be applied under the shared values of what a company needs to do. Step by step fixing each issue is imperative and important. Firstly, the 3 subsections that Facebook must look into are the following 1) Reconceiving products and markets 2) Redefining productivity in the value chain 3) Enabling local cluster development.
First of the process of reconceiving products within the market needs to ethically challenged and applied within the proper timeframe. Since Facebook is such a big company and ecologically sound, the importance for protecting it’s products and markets are very crucial. Secondly, the productivity of the value chain needs to be ethically sound and productive. Creating a shared value through productivity is definitely in the value chain. Lastly, the production of the local cluster development must be protected and issued as well.
We can analyze how big Facebook is and the numerous marketing opportunities if can offer from what Paul Dunay and Richard Krueger describe in the introduction of the book Facebook marketing for dummies: It’s been said that if Facebook were a country, it would be the sixth most populated nation in the world. Imagine being able to get your message in front of the Facebook nation free. That’s exactly what Facebook is offering companies with Pages: an online location for businesses, organizations, and individuals looking to market themselves to the Facebook community. (9)
Social media sites are generally of great importance to marketing managers and entrepreneurs. A critical look at today’s world will reveal to you that Facebook on its own has over 1.4 billion users (browser media, socialnomics, Macworld, 17 May 2014). As a marketer, this should be more than just an opportunity for marketing, it should be their stronghold. Most branded marketers have seized this opportunities by creating pages on Facebook and advertising each of their new products whenever they have a chance to. For the average Facebook user this has been enlightening especially since they are able to know the diversity and prices of products available in the market without much struggle. Marketing through Facebook has made window shopping a bit old fashioned. People can ‘window shop’ at the click of a button. It is even possible to know what products are on sale and which shopping centers are trending through Facebook.
Statistics prove that 500 million log on to Facebook everyday and this represents a 48% increase from 2010 to 2011(The Social Skinny 2012). Facebook is not a onetime affair. Statistics show that five new Facebook profiles are created every second (ALLFacebook 2012). This means that the growth of Facebook is exponential. Facebook is not going away anytime soon. There is no fear of Facebook marketing being a seasonal affair. Facebook is continually adding new features that would be relevant to marketers and clients. One such feature is the graph search. Through this feature, one can: find colleagues to connect with, find friends who like their pages, network within Facebook groups, find fans’ interests through wall posts on one’s page, identify other pages that the fans like. This can help broaden the fan base. It is also possible to compare fan bases and therefore identify prospect markets. Through this very fan bases, one can attract new customers for the products. This is usually one of the main goals for any marketer.
Facebook fails marketers by not eliminating all doubt of privacy of information provided. In an online journal Privacy and Perceptions: How Facebook advertising affects its users: In an announcement in late October 2009, Schrage (2009), the vice president of communications and public policy for Facebook, admitted that one of the goals of the site is for the ads to be “relevant and interesting” for viewers. Facebook is also assuring that the information shared is “anonymized,” meaning that advertisers receive demographic information, but no individual information that could be traced back to one person (Schrage, 2009) (27)
I think they try to make most users thin that this is the case. It would be devastating if marketers discovered that the information provided on Facebook was shared with a third party. Such private information in the wrong hands could lead to collapse of businesses as the opponents would know exactly what to use against a certain company. The issue of privacy has always been there since the introduction of the internet. All that marketers can hope for is that the information is kept anonymous to ensure their success in marketing and to create a level ground for all marketing competitors.
There is need to develop a marketing strategy just like any other business. The marketer needs to know the exact audience. Facebook unlike any other search engines that only use key words comes with an ingenious plan to make the search for an audience extremely specific. You can use demographic values of age and gender. That means if you want to target men between the ages of 30-35 years, you can do it. Facebook goes further to provide the psychographic variables where these are based on the personality of the user, more specifically their interests. Specific marketing will not get easier than this. Imagine you can target men between the ages of 30-35 years, who have an interest in rock music, or engineering. With these very specific searches you can be sure that your advertisement will reach its exact targeted audience.
Many businesses have been able to achieve success and therefore increase sales through Facebook. Statistics point towards the fact that small businesses stand to benefit the most from Facebook marketing. The strategies are simple, though they require a great deal of time and dedication on the marketer’s part. A small research has to be done to find out when and where the target markets are, what they like most and the hours during which they are found on Facebook. By doing this, one is likely to increase who watches their advertisements, make sure all possible consumers of the final product have access to the details of the product beforehand and hence generate greater profits from the products. After the research, one can effectively decide what format to use on the adverts and when to place the adverts for viewers to see. With that in mind customers will be attracted and markets created.
By marketing on Facebook the business saves money. Marketing by use of most mail service providers proves expensive to stay in touch with customers always. You need not to pay survey companies as Facebook readily provides statistics on your following and even the geographical information of fans who are potential customers. Facebook will also help increase viewers of the official page of the business by simply posting the website as a link on Facebook. What more can you ask for than saving money and getting popularity at almost no cost.
It is not only small firms that can benefit by popularizing themselves through Facebook. Large firms can also benefit a great deal from creating Facebook pages especially since they are already popular. A good example would be Virgin Mobile Canada in the telecommunication market. Virgin Mobile Canada has been able to successfully establish its market even before Facebook. But the large firm does not stop there; it goes ahead to make sure it owns a larger fan base on Facebook than its competitors. Virgin Mobile Canada has also been able to acquire customer feedback and know exactly what the customers think about their products. As on 17 may 2014, at 12:24pm the official Virgin Mobile Canada page had 122,177 likes. Starting companies can borrow this idea from Facebook as a stepping stone towards greater success in whatever they may be marketing. It is also worthwhile to note that Virgin Mobile Canada generally acts on posts posted on their wall by subscribers. Most other mobile service providers have many complains that are usually left unattended to when they post them on Facebook. (Source, Facebook). This should make it clear that even consumers are turning to Facebook as an effective way to air their complains and have their views listened to by the marketers. Fans may also decide to offer suggestion through Facebook which come in handy for any marketer.
To be successful on Facebook one needs to be aware of the fact that Facebook is a social media. It is a place where the users come to release stress and interact with friends. Therefore aggressive marketing tactics may not help. We need to advertise by showing the fans the fun in accessing your products or services. To make the advert catchier, one needs to avoid using mere words and apply the use of pictures and video. This will communicate much faster and spare the Facebook users the agony of reading long wordy advertisements. This shows that advertising on Facebook will guarantee that many people will see the advert as opposed to TV and radio that are becoming less popular with greater use of the internet. Facebook also has a special function where the owner of the page can pay a certain small fee to promote a post and it therefore reaches a greater number of people by appearing in their news feeds. Facebook also offers applications that can be linked easily to pages. These apps enable the fans to get more interactive and play games. This builds their morale and love for what the marketer is offering.
Musicians and other artists can also market their songs, plays and movies through Facebook. Facebook provides the option of one to upload their videos, share links or upload photos. One can use this to their advantage by uploading free videos from time to time to viewers and fans. This gives them free samples of their music and hence they will be tempted to buy the other music and/or movies. Movie trailers can also be posted on Facebook to attract customers to the real movie which would attract more viewers to the real movie than if a trailer was not available. Examples of international artists and musicians that have successfully used Facebook include Rihanna, Beyonce, and Avril Lavigne among others. They encourage people to download their music from other social sites such as YouTube or even post them on Facebook. They also take suggestions from fans and accept criticism to make the next videos and songs better than the previous ones. Facebook in this case is used as a tool for self-development and improvement and also as a means of gauging whether or not ones fans are satisfied with their music. Rihanna for example occasionally posts photos of her in trendy clothes and make up. This not only promotes her music but also promotes her designers and make-up artists. Thus Facebook can enhance marketing indirectly as in the example above.
Facebook as a marketing tool also has an advantage in that one does not have to keep repeating the same advertisement over and over again. Unless one wish to delete them, the photos and videos one posts on Facebook are always available to their fans at all times. This is unlike television and radio advertisements which keep being repeated time and time again. Moreover, Facebook adverts are available to anyone as they appear as suggestions on their timelines, with television and radio, the adverts are only available to those who view the station at a particular hour or those who listen to the radio at the time the product is being marketed. Any marketer would obviously go for Facebook due to this convenience.
Facebook can also be used as a marketing tool for politicians and NGOs. Most politicians in the world have a Facebook fan page; Barack Obama tops this list since he has the largest number of people liking his page. This huge fan base was a huge political strength during his campaign. . Barrack Obama became world renowned for his 2008 presidency platform presented all over social media. Obama took over Facebook to connect with citizens and get his message and view across to everyone. It is clear to many that President Obama’s victory was due to his strong activity through social media. Washington Post called him “The King of Social Media” and many other backed that statement. Obama and McCain were both on social media, but the facts for Obama are much greater in social media than those of McCain. In an article I found, the facts were stated “On social networks, Obama . . . held a clear lead, with 844,927 MySpace friends compared to McCain’s 219,404. Just between November 3rd and November 4th (Election Day), Obama gained over 10,000 new friends, while McCain only gained about 964. Obama showed and proved that spreading his voice towards social media in getting young voters to listen, would work. In the end, they came out to vote for him and what Obama stood for by reaching out and telling youth voters.
In conclusion, it can be seen that using Facebook as a strategy for marketing is effective as it saves time, is cheap and available to a wide range of people and requires minimum skills to use. We cannot afford to ignore how big Facebook is and the amazing rate at which it is growing. The sooner it is that businesses realize the power of Facebook in marketing, the faster it will be for them to grow exponentially just like the Facebook community. We can rest assured without and doubt of the efficiency of Facebook marketing for now and for the future.
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