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Social Media

Free Research Essays

Social Media Marketing

Organizations and businesses are empowered by reaching out to their target consumers through social media. The use of different social media platforms has helped many companies to launch and market their new products to customers with ease. The objective of the current study is to investigate how social medial facilitates communication while marketing new products, especially to the youth. The study will help to highlight the dynamics of using social media to market new products. It will also investigate the pros and cons of using social media in business. Finally, the study will identify the ways that can help make social platforms better tools for marketing new products to the youth.

The following research questions will be utilized to carry out the investigation of the role of social media in marketing of new products to the youth:

  • What are the most popular social media platforms used for marketing products to the youth?
  • Who are the largest target consumers of products and services targeted through social media?
  • What are the benefits and shortfalls of using social media as a marketing tool by organizations and businesses?
  • Finally, how are social media contributing to the marketing strategies of businesses and organizations of reaching out to customers?

The literature reviewed concerns the best use of social media for developing a marketing strategy that can meet the needs of the consumers. The authors have developed concepts that businesses can follow when they are using social media to reach out to customers with different messages. An outstanding concept is that youths are spending more time on social media, but the approach to marketing new products to them must be in line with the characteristics that are identified by the marketer.

The sources of data chosen for this study are secondary, which means that scholarly journals, online databases, and other published sources will be used to collect data on social media use in marketing. There will be no interviews or surveys carried to collect data, even though the researcher will investigate the activities of some businesses. The target is to determine the trend in the consumption of social media content aimed at reaching out to new consumers.

Introduction

The most popular target group is the youth, who form the biggest portion of the people who use social media to connect and communicate with each other. Thus, it is common for business entities to maintain a Facebook page, a Twitter account or an Instagram account to reach their customers. However, the use of social media as marketing tools can also have a negative impact on the marketing strategy of an organization if they not used correctly (Barker, Barker, Bormann & Neher 2013, p. 27).

For this purpose, it is important that contemporary organizations understand the dynamics of social media and undertake their appropriate use to avoid getting mixed up in the process of trying to reach the consumers. Social media are used based on the premise that they facilitate communication between people, and this communication between the sender and the receiver of the message can be interactive (Wollan, Smith & Zhou 2010, p. 13). This interaction can be leveraged on to ensure that the business addresses the precise needs of the consumers by providing what is demanded by the market. Consumers can also provide feedback to the businesses on how to improve the services or products that they are offering and reflect the needs of the consumers better. This proposal seeks to evaluate the use of social media for the marketing of new products and services to the youth. The proposal introduces the objectives, research questions, literature review, and the research methodology to evaluate the use of social media as a marketing tool to the youth.

Objectives of the Study

The entrenchment of social media as marketing tool in the recent past has enabled businesses to reach a wider audience. By using social media, organizations and businesses can interact with target consumers and gather feedback. The objective of the current study is to investigate how social media facilitates communication during marketing of new products, especially to the youth. The study will help to highlight the dynamics of using social media to market new products. It will also investigate the pros and cons of using social media. Finally, the study will identify ways that can help make social media a better tool for marketing new products to the youth. The observable outcomes of this study will be a list of areas where social media can be used as tools to enhance an effective marketing strategy for an organization that wants to target youth.

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Research Questions

The following research questions will be utilized to carry out the investigation of the role of social media in marketing of new products to the youth. The research questions are geared towards a qualitative study, which will help to reveal the factors that contribute to the increased use of social media in marketing of new products and services.

  1. What constitutes most popular social media platforms used to market products to the youth?
  2. Who are the largest target consumers of products and services marketed through social media?
  3. What are the benefits and shortfalls of using social media as a marketing tool by organizations and businesses?
  4. How are social media contributing to the marketing strategies of businesses and organizations of reaching out to customers?

Literature Review

The use of social media in marketing strategy has become popular with organizations and businesses in the recent past. It is now common to find businesses operating different accounts of social media as a way of reaching out to different groups of customers. One of such groups is the youth, who form a large percentage of consumers of new products that are introduced in the market. However, in order to maximize the benefits of using social media in developing a marketing strategy, it is important that marketers understand the concepts and dynamics that underline such tools. These concepts have been defined by various researchers, who have explored how different businesses can use social media to reach their target consumers. The use of social media in marketing must be done within the context of the services and products, as well as the characteristics of the target consumers. The marketing strategy that seeks to utilize social media must also define the available resources, including people who will manage it, in order to achieve the best investment results.

According to Scott (2011, p. 21), social media was primarily developed as an Internet tool to help people connect with each other by sharing content in terms of text, visuals, video, and other forms of information. However, in order to use them as tools for developing a marketing strategy, social media need to be understood as tools that facilitate communication and interaction with the wider audience, but not just as tools for sharing information. As such, the content, which is shared through social media for marketing, must be tailored with the aim of passing a message about the services or products that a given company or business offers. Therefore, social media should be used as a tool for developing a marketing strategy that meets the businesss objectives and goals. The goal might to be to sell products to consumers in a niche market. The consumers could be young people who want certain products, for example, headphones. The marketing company should consider the needs of buyers in terms of providing headphones and deciding how they will meet a corresponding need by using social media to reach out to the target customers. The objective may include increasing the brand awareness, cutting down on the costs of marketing the brand, and attracting loyalty of the customers that already use the same brand. Whichever the case, Scott (2011, p. 21) notes that having the larger goals and objectives in mind can be useful for developing a social media marketing strategy that will reach the intended customers.

One of the challenges that businesses face when trying to use social media to market their products is a lack of identifiable customers with whom to communicate. According to Barker, Barker, Bormann & Neher (2013, p. 15), the failure to have a clear set of customers targeted through the use of social media can be costly to a business trying to sell its products. The ability to identify an accurate customer profile helps with finding the right people to target, the places that such people can be found at, and the correct messages that should be included in the communication. Customers can be precisely targeted through their occupation, age, income, needs, likes, interests, and other characteristics which make the use of social media less costly and easier to implement. The chosen strategy must consider the profile of the buyers persona in terms of basic information about their needs, relevant social background, and the language that is well understood within the circles of the targeted customers. For youth, a common word can have different meanings. Thus, it is important to understand the buzzwords and other popular words to be successful in communicating with the potential clients (Anderson 2010, p. 45).

Social media are available to all businesses that would like to use them. Lovett (2011, p. 33) argues that researching about the competition in a given field is essential for succeeding in the use of social media. Therefore, businesses that would like to use social media in their marketing strategy must research about the existing competition and the practices of their competitors in terms of using social media to market their products and services. The importance of researching is to empower the business to uniquely employ the use of social media and avoid duplicating what the rest of the competitors are already doing in the market.

Researching about social media in a given industry can also help establish tactics that will work best and develop the content that will meet the needs that exist in the market. The content could be promotional or just engaging. It is, therefore, vital that using social media should be accompanied by a general knowledge about how they are helping competitors to communicate and engage with the customers (Anderson 2010, p. 67). Thus, the use of social media to market new products should be based on the information that the business gleans from other industry players. The available information should help with developing the website traffic, creating conversions of potential customers into actual buyers, creating brand awareness within the target customers, developing a brand identity and positive brand associations, and enhancing the interaction and communication approaches that the business uses for particular customers.

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There are many platforms that allow the use of social media to communicate to a larger audience. This approach can work against the marketing strategy of a business in case if the firm does not choose wisely the channels that should be used. The content of the message is also an important consideration. For example, Youtube has come across as the best channel for video messages. The same may not be true for Facebook or Twitter platforms, where visual and text content is preferred. The knowledge of the dynamics of these social media will help the business to choose the right channel through which it can pursue the marketing strategy based on social media. Additionally, Patil & Bhakkad (2014, p. 17) observe that wise choices should be made when it comes to the type of social media that the business wants to use. One of the reasons why careful choice may be necessary is because different social media attract different types of users. Thus, it will be useful to know where the youth usually are and provide the services or products through the most suitable channels.

Most social media marketing strategies have failed, because the businesses did not have a clear content strategy. According to Wollan, Smith & Zhou (2010, p. 54), there is an inseparable relationship between the use of social media and the content provided so that one cannot be achieved without the other. It is important to have great and appealing content in the social media to avoid being irrelevant or out of context. On one hand, good content ensures that the message is passed across and is easy to understand. On the other hand, social media are only facilitating tools that enable reaching the wider range of consumers. Businesses that have succeeded in developing strong content in the recent past focus on the message in the content, the time when the content should be posted, and the frequency with which it is posited. These three factors are important for ensuring that the business is able to pass the message as intended and achieve the objectives which are stated in the mission statement. Most businesses are capitalizing on the type of content by integrating images, videos, links, text, etc. with a goal of attracting more page views and later converting a good number into sales.

As noted by Meerman (2009, p. 77), the effective use of social media in marketing is largely dependent on the context of the company and the prevailing trends in the industry. While a business should not duplicate what already exists in the market, it is essential that whatever is done in terms of using social media to market any product, reflects a general trend in the market by targeting specific consumers. There should, for example, be a standardized approach to the development of the message in the content to avoid doing poor work or presenting the customers with information which will turn out to be repugnant and repulsive. The fans or followers in the social media are very sensitive to the information from their suppliers and will easily pick up an unintended mistake and make a big issue out of it. It is, therefore, important to ensure the correctness of the message without having to annoy or offend the customers.

In addition, it is also essential that the frequency of posting information is maintained so that the users know when to expect new information. The online environment is very volatile with a lot of information coming in at the same time. Therefore, the youth are more likely to be scanning though the internet to get new messages from different websites. They may not have time to remain on one social media long enough before any message is posted. Thus, establishing the frequency of posting means that the target customers can know when to expect to find current information and quickly move on with other activities. This approach makes them trust the information and also feel that the administrator of the social media platform understands them and appreciates their time (Lovett 2011, p. 91).

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The reviewed literature concerns the best use of social media to create a marketing approach that can meet the needs of the consumers. The authors have developed concepts that businesses can follow when they are using social media to reach out to the customers with different messages. An outstanding concept is that youths are spending more time on social media, but the approach to market new products to them must be in line with the characteristics that are identified by the marketer. For youth, the frequency and value content of the information are important factors that need to be considered when using social media to market new products.

The Research Methodology

The research methods chosen to implement a particular research can affect the outcomes of the study. As such, it is important to have a good selection of the methodology through which data is collected and analysed in order to answer the research questions. There are two approaches that can be used to carry out the proposed study. The first one is a qualitative study, where the data collected with be less statistical but more abstract. The purpose of using a qualitative research approach is to allow the collection of data, which can be easily analysed and can contribute to the decision towards the achievement of an identified strategy. One of the principles of successful researcher is the ability to choose the right research methodology and formulate the correct research questions. There are many suggested theoretical and idealized approaches that researchers in the area of research methodology have suggested. Choosing any one of the suggested theoretical frameworks will depend on the existing characteristics and the dynamics prevailing in the market (Poynter 2010, p. 27).

When researching about the contemporary marketing processes, the approach to research may not be clear-cut in the same manner that the many information sources on the internet seem to look genuine and may pass as credible sources of information (Neergaard & Ulhoi 2007, p. 37). The selection of the research problem to be tackled through the chosen methodology should be guided by the availability of resources including time, ease of access to the necessary data, and not too much hinge on the philosophical ramifications of the research methods. For this paper, the selected method is the qualitative approach that seeks to collect information from secondary sources on how businesses and companies are utilizing social media to market their products to the youth.

The sources of data chosen for this study include scholarly journals, online databases, and other published sources that are be used to collect data on social media use in marketing. In essence, the researcher will utilize the results from the recent empirical studies to investigate the activities of some of the businesses and targeted consumers to determine the trend in the consumption of the social media content. When implementing this approach to research, a number of benefits are expected to be realized in the process of carrying out the study. They include the ability of the researcher to observe the actual reactions from the participants and make conclusions based on these reactions. This approach also allows for new ideas to be developed, since the discussions by the respondents are likely to take place in an open and unstructured environment. The questions of research are also open-ended giving the researcher an opportunity to explore different sources without constricting them (Bredl, Hunniger & Jensen 2013, p. 78).

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One more important aspect of qualitative research is that apart from allowing the researcher to use a wider variety of secondary sources, which are easily accessible on the internet, it also allows the researcher to act as a moderator for groups. Therefore, it is possible to observe the respondents as they give the answers to the questions. This study will not make great use of respondents, but will rather use secondary sources to collect information from what has already been published. Due to the contemporary and dynamic era of technology that young people extensively rely on, marketing of new products to the youth requires a better grasp of the perspectives and viewpoints. For this reason, the chosen methodology will help to highlight different viewpoints, which are needed to make the correct conclusions about how social media assist companies and businesses to communicate with their customers (Poynter 2010, p. 17).

The validity of the research methods is important for ensuring that the data collected and analyzed can be verified. For this study, a qualitative approach will assist to select valid secondary sources with a view of exploring what other researchers have written about marketing using social media. The reliability of the collected data and the eventual conclusions of the study are based on the fact that the sources are scholarly. They are also selected from reputable databases with authentic authors (Bredl, Hunniger & Jensen 2013, p. 64). The findings of the study are going to be general in their application as the study deals with a wide issue of marketing through social media. It does not differ much from marketing to a different segment, such as women or older men, using social media. The same concepts still apply. Thus, the findings will be generalized with a possibility to be used by many other businesses The researcher intends to seek permission from the authors of the secondary sources before using them. Where the authors are not readily available, the researcher will leave an acknowledgment note. In such a case, he will also acknowledge the sources in the final study.

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