While countries around the world differ with aspects of culture and traditions, many people around the world are linked together via social media, overcoming geological differences. With the ever-increasing popularity of social media people are globally able to create and maintain relationships and generate visual representations of their lives and stories. Communication and online interactions are huge factors that play on the ever-fluctuating state of socialism, considering the state of relationship building just under thirty years ago. According to Chen and Zhang (2010), “The compression of time and space, due to the convergence of new media and globalization, has shrunk the world into a much smaller interactive field.”
The “global village”, as social media is known to scholars', links very heavily into marketing. The rise in the number of people joining social media, with over 58% of the Great Britain's population on social media at the beginning of 2017, is heavily saturated in advertisements to subtly conform the users.
In this essay, I with be discussing the pros and cons of marketing via social media as well as the social-cultural, legal, economic and technological properties that have and impact and tie in with my chosen subject's thesis.
Social media has been a very lucrative tool used by many marketing firms to influence consumer's outlook and conduct towards certain products. For example, in early 2018 an article written by Sumit Ghosh says: “Here you should observe two different terms paid content and personalized content. So far, we are using paid content for better reach of your business on social media… As millions of businesses are competing on a single platform, a lot of noise generated every day.” This shows the importance of stabilizing a brands outreach on sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as the effects of advertising online have a higher chance of effecting sales.
The influence of marketing online is also quite high due to the community itself. The social influence theory explores how culture impacts the influence occurring in consumer communities in social media. For example; People with large amounts of followers have the control of producing and sharing advertisements, paid for by the company, sharing their experiences and opinions with the brand. Due to the excessive following said person has accumulated a phenomenon called electronic word of mouth spreads. Similar to the term “word of mouth” used to describe the physical act of telling members of a community about a thing or idea, electronic word of mouth, also known as EWOM, helps form emerging conformance for that particular sites “global village”. Ethics and subjective morals are bias when it comes to the subject of EWOM, many consumers feel that false advertisements are a constant, they feel that the products they believed to have certain effects have not changed their lives in the slightest while big brands believe that it is up to the consumer to interpret the description of the item.
Much research has been conducted to show the correlation on consumers product attitude, purchase decision, thinking and brand trust and loyalty using EWOM forms of marketing but due to social media's reach across the globe, there are many factors that come into play, such as cross border factors and a country's traditions and ideals. In layman's terms, marketing that would work for one country, does not necessarily work for another. Although advertising via social media strongly depends on the need of social-cultural aspects and the connections of people, it would never have become a viable form of advertisement without the advancement of technology. Technology has a mammoth impact on social media, with its advancements within computers, mobile phones and other hand-held devices, combined with the newer generations growing and developing at the same rate. It is stated that in 2017 68.5 million IPhone were sold in the UK alone.
The integration between social media advertising and technology is seamless, as they are both dependent on each other. Advertising essentially pays for higher fortune 500 companies such as Apple Inc. to create newer and better technological advancements, almost creating a virtual marketing circle of life, neither can live without the other.
Upcoming businesses and companies are reliant on social media as an advertising channel, a way to connect with consumers, and a means to advance market perceptions. However, there are legal aspects in which agencies have to abide by, as if this were a regular advertisement, there are lawyers and copyrighters that adhere to the laws surrounding advertising online. Though there are laws in place to protect the consumers and the advertising agencies, they are very loose, meaning that they are very easy to misinterpret and potentially “break the law” legally. They are easily exploited by both parties and are a potential risk.
An example of this links back to the social-cultural aspect of my essay in which I suggest that electronic word of mouth can be misconstrued as misleading. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) “expects companies to regularly monitor their social media pages, including for content posted by users that the business knows or should know is misleading.” The ACCC can require companies to substantiate claims and can take court action or issue an infringement notice where it identifies a breach of the law.
An example case of this is the case of Richardson v Facebook/Richardson v Google UK Ltd, in which the Richardson is suing for deformation and infringement:
“The claims related to content published on Facebook and Google's Blogger services, specifically a fake profile and a blogpost, both of which the Claimant said were defamatory of her and infringed her right to a private life. The Claimant sought substantial pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.”
Although the legal aspect can seem quite daunting, with all the rules and regulations being made and broken constantly, economically digital advertising, in particularly social media advertising, as created a mass amount of jobs, and turnover a huge revenue for the companies that advertise this way. Before the creation of sites like Instagram and Facebook, the term “digital advertising” was virtually non-existent, now it's an easy opportunity for people to combine their talents of technology, creating the advertising algorithm's and creativity, designing the advert itself.
There are many positives of social media advertising such as better measurements of consumers engagement to the product, easier accessibility to run experimental drafts of consumers reactions and gauge the outcomes of a sizable scale, as well as having local and global reaches. Although I suggest that this variation of advertising is much easier to gauge and control “A Marketer's Guide to Understanding the Economics of Digital Compared to Traditional Advertising and Media Services” was written by Joe Burton suggests, “If you outsource analytics, technology, Web development, programming, pretty soon you'll have outsourced the project,” this counter acts what the companies themselves say about the marketing tool.
Overall, looking at these different aspects with came in to considering this career path, weighing negatives and positives, it is clear to see that advertising in social media is a tricky but interesting choice. The social and cultural aspects surrounding this subject are all quite positive and share the same aspects word of mouth, as mentioned before, bring people closer together, giving the agency and the company they are marketing for more exposure to newer consumers. We all see the high correlation between the increased advancements in technology and digital advertising and how this effects newer generations and how they perceive advertising and marketing. However, the darker side of this career, as there is in most job placements, is the loose laws as I mentioned and the labour intensive work hours.
In conclusion, I believe that advertising via social media is a necessity of our and future generations. Many people boldly claim that print is dead and that as we move on we must move on to. The future generations have or will grow up with sites like Facebook and Instagram, we must harvest that opportunity to move to newer forms of advertising. We are creating new jobs for new generations.
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