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The Facilitation of Advertising within Social Networks

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate to readers the advantages and interactions that a business gains through advertising their products and/or services on a social media platform. This paper aims to highlight that there is a difference between customers and non-customers and that both groups are able to be reached through the use of a social media accounts. Customers have already had prior experience with a business and therefore can provide electronic word of mouth. Non-customers on the other hand require more targeted advertising as they have had no experience with the company. One of the many positives of advertising through social media is that both groups are reached and marketed to effectively. Although there are many positives surrounding the effect that social media advertising can have, in this paper I also discuss the fact that there are also negatives involved, as social media is an uncontrolled area in which users are able to comment on a business and even make false statements regarding it (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). As well as this, due to the interconnected networks of social media, users no longer share their thoughts or statements with just their close friends and family, they share their interactions with their followers who in turn share it with theirs, therefore facilitating the rapid spread of information (Fulgoni & Lipsman, 2017). This can obviously be good or bad as a false statement regarding a business could go viral, in turn damaging or even ending a business (Ji, Li, North & Liu, 2017).

Essay:

The growth and development in social media has allowed and facilitated the increased ability for companies and brands to promote their products or services to larger groups of people online. The ability for users and brands to connect and form a two-way relationship is now possible through social media platforms, as consumers are able to interact with the company social media activities (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich, 2012). Companies are able to create a sense of community between their image and their customers (Mayrhofer, Matthes, Einwiller & Naderer, 2018). These brand pages are helpful in not only advertising their product or services to an audience but are also essential in assisting any potential customers who may have questions about the company or the goods. Although there are many positives considering as to why advertising through social media is a positive process for businesses and brands, as like with everything, this does come with its negatives as well (Ji, Li, North & Liu, 2017). A positive of marketing through social media sites includes the fact that traditional advertising has been found to be not as affective in reaching as many consumers as social media marketing does (Liu, Burns & Hou, 2017). With this large reach that social media facilitates, there is a loss of control for brands as there is no way to restrict what users of social media write online. Businesses must keep this aspect in mind as just one negative comment can be detrimental to its corporate reputation, as unlike before social media, anyone who comments or shares something negative about a company, already has their online network made up of online ‘friends’, with some accounts having millions of followers (Fulgoni & Lipsman, 2017).

Within discussing the ways in which businesses are able to promote themselves on social network sites, there is two differing audiences in which should be described separately, those of who are customers of the brand and those of who are non-customers. These two groups have characterized specific aspects to each, and consider aspects such as engagement levels, amount of experience with the brand, reason for visiting a brand’s social media account, prior perceptions of the brand and the way in which to grab their attention through marketing (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). Several platforms that do support branding include Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. The advertising of a brand can be improved by creating and promoting themselves through an online social media platform as it comes with the benefits of increased audience reached, but also comes with negative aspects.

Social media facilitates the advertisement of businesses within their platforms, effecting the businesses’ interactions with customer and the customer experience provided to users. For a business to have a social media account available for users to follow, it allows the creation of an online communication and a type of relationship and interaction, which prior to social media, was not possible. Social media activities produced by businesses not only increase the engagement that users can have with them, but also increases customer loyalty and promotes users to influence their friends or followers. Social media allows businesses to establish the voices of their customers and promote their experiences (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich, 2012). Information seeking surrounding a business has now moved from offline services to now online through the process of electronic word of mouth (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015).

There are a number of ways in which businesses are able to advertise via social media. Page publishing is the free action in which a post will be seen in a user’s newsfeed, or through a friend’s newsfeed. Another way businesses get advertising through social media is when a fan interacts with a business account and the interaction is displayed on the friend’s timeline (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich, 2012). User-generated advertising is reported to be the most effective way for a business to advertise on social media, this process involves a user posting positive information surrounding a business, this does not mean that the business is paying the user to post it. This kind of free advertising for a brand has been researched to be more effective in increasing potential probability of purchasing, in comparison to if the brand posted a promotion post. Twenty six businesses out of twenty eight are said to have promoted to their followers the idea of them to share content surrounding the business which can be done through the posting of stories, images, messages, timeline updates and hashtags (Mayrhofer, Matthes, Einwiller & Naderer, 2018). The positives surrounding social media activities includes businesses being able to grow their online and overall reputation. A positive reputation can mean an increase in customer loyalty, the number of customers, the number of willing shareholders to invest in the business and the ability to look after the business in a midst of a crisis. Another point considering the amount of engagement and interactions a user may have with a business’ social media activity is that users who have higher engagement on social media, are also more likely to follow and engage with a business’ account (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). Overall, if a business or brand markets themselves on a social media platform, there will be ranging benefits including increased interaction between the business and potential customers.  

Within the discussion of the positive aspects of marketing for businesses on social media platforms, the difference between the strategies used for customers and non-customers is notable. Customers and non-customers are two very differing target groups, as they often play different roles in the spreading of the electronic word of mouth and in the benefits of advertising via social media. In regard to the customers, this demographic is the most important when considering the electronic word of mouth as they are able to share prior positive experiences had with a business. Customers are to be assumed to have similar beliefs as the company as they have already purchased from them and are less likely to suddenly change their opinion surrounding a brand, whereas non-customers have had no experience surrounding the brand, and are therefore more likely to change their opinion due to the influence of other sources such as a news report. Considering the aspect of reach, non-customers are harder to reach in comparison to customers. This is because a customer is more likely to have encountered and interacted with a brand’s online presence if they have previously purchased from them, in comparison to a non-customer (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). Users are much more likely to view a brands advertisement on their timeline in comparison to visiting the brands account, this is why customers are more probable to view advertisements from a brand (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich, 2012). Although if a non-customer does have a strong engagement with a business’ account then this has been found to increase the corporate reputation of said business. Often businesses will send influencers their products or will pay them to test out these products and use their platform as a way to spread the business’ name, even if prior to this exchange, the influencer was not a customer. Customers and non-customers often have different reasons as to why they would interact, follow or engage with a brand’s social media account. For customers, this may be because the account is providing a place for them to ask questions considering their services or products, similar to a customer service site, to see any product updates and to place reviews. However, for a non-customer to be viewing a brand’s account, this may be due to curiosity surrounding the business and their services, or interest in it. When considering the trust that a customer or a non-customer has, there are several differences as customers have had experience with the brand. Customers are found to have more positive attitudes surrounding a businesses’ corporate reputation in comparison to non-customers. Non-customers are more likely to perceive a business directly off of how an employee may speak to them or what they have heard from others. Within non-customers, the relationship between their engagement in social media and the reputation of a business is quite strong, this means that businesses should be focusing majority of their advertising on non-customers. Customers will slowly decrease in number as through time some may fall away, therefore businesses should be constantly looking for new customers to replace them. Non-customers who are more engaged with online social media are the users that will be increasingly easier to turn into a customer. For a business to begin operating on a social media platform, and to have not had one prior, there is an advantage surrounding customers, this is that a customer is found to be more inclined to commit to a brand, as having an advertisement online encourages trust and creates a sense of community within an account (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). More than 70 million companies advertise their services on just Facebook alone, these businesses are at an advantage as they are easily reaching both their customers and non-customers effectively (Mayrhofer, Matthes, Einwiller & Naderer, 2018).

Business marketing on a social media platform has its many advantages when discussing the trust of customers, the increased number of non-customers reached, the creation of a sense of community, and many other aspects previously discussed. However, within this idea of advertising online businesses are taking a risk surrounding the fact that they are losing control of what is said, shared, or commented about their business. There have been many cases in which a business has been largely affected due to something negative a user has said (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). Likes, shares and comments are an effective way for businesses to understand their current economic situation and whether users are enjoying their content or if something needs to be improved. However, the downside to this feature of social media is that users are easily able to leave negative or even false statements, which can lead to detrimental effects on a company’s corporate reputation. Social media means that groups of people who may not know each other are brought together and are encouraged to have a conversation, often this does not mean a positive one (Ji, Li, North & Liu, 2017). Another aspect to consider when discussing how a user’s comment can affect a business, is that the factor with social media is that it is no longer just a person’s close friends and family that they are able to talk negatively to about a business anymore. It is now the large network that a user has interacted with over social media, with most networks reaching over the hundreds. Each network is interconnected, thus meaning the spread of information can happen extremely quick. In some ways this is good but in others, this can mean that a false statement or a once off bad circumstance, can be spread to thousands of people thinking badly of a brand and can even become viral (Fulgoni & Lipsman, 2017). Non-customers are especially vulnerable to misinformation surrounding a business, as they have never had prior experience to counteract the negative comments being said. Social media is an uncontrolled site that encourages participation, with this comes the ability for the sharing of incorrect statements. Often even one bad comment or accusation can lead to damages in businesses corporate reputation. All in all, the ability for businesses to advertise and present themselves online through social media sites can definitely have positive impacts, however there are unfortunately negative aspects that can affect the reputation of businesses.

In conclusion, marketing a business online through the use of social media sites has many positive impacts on not only the reputation of the company but also allows the creation of a community in which customers are able to ask questions or place reviews. Consumers are now able to interact and form a two way relationship online, meaning an increase customer loyalty and increase chance of the spread of electronic word of mouth (Lipsman, Mud, Rich & Bruich, 2012). Within advertising for businesses through social media, there are two differing groups that are targeted in differing ways, the customers and non-customers. Advertising for these two groups are separated as for customers they have already had experience with the business but in comparison, non-customers have not. Marketing on social media makes the targeted advertising for these two groups easy as the online platform provides assistance for customers and reaches those non-customers who may not be aware of the company and what they do. Although the advertising of businesses on social media is a positive thing for the business, the loss of control these businesses have is negative (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015). Companies are unable to control the way that they are being portrayed through users’ comments (Mayrhofer, Matthes, Einwiller & Naderer, 2018). Overall, advertising on social media for businesses is beneficial and in turn should increase the number of customers due to its interconnected nature and ability to facilitate the process of electronic word of mouth (Dijkmans, Kerkhof & Beukeboom, 2015).

References:

Dijkmans, C., Kerkhof, P., & Beukeboom, C. J. (2015). A stage to engage: Social media use and corporate reputation. Tourism Management, 47(1), 58-67. https://doi-org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/10.1016/j.tourman.2014.09.005

Fulgoni, G. M., & Lipsman, A. (2017). The downside of digital word of mouth and the pursuit of media quality: How social sharing is disrupting digital advertising models and metrics. Journal of Advertising Research, 57(2), 127-131. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=973f54c1-1dbf-4068-9781-1bf6fb09674e%40pdc-v-sessmgr04&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=123490403&db=bth

Ji, Y. G., Li, C., North, M., & Liu, J. (2017). Staking reputation on stakeholders: How does stakeholders’ Facebook engagement help or ruin a company’s reputation?. Public Relations Review, 43(1), 201-210. https://doi-org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/10.1016/j.pubrev.2016.12.004

Lipsman, A., Mud, G., Rich, M., & Bruich, S. (2012). The power of ‘like’: How brands reach (and influence) fans through social-media marketing. Journal of Advertising Research, 52(1), 40-52. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=7b7721c1-ccec-4417-9ac5-c7ab6d93c831%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=73177656&db=bth

Liu, X., Burns, A. C., & Hou, Y. (2017). An investigation of brand-related user-generated content on Twitter. Journal of Advertising, 46(2), 236-247. https://doi-org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/10.1080/00913367.2017.1297273 Mayrhofer, M., Matthes, J., Einwiller, S., & Naderer, B. (2018). User generated content presenting brands on social media increases young adults’ purchase intention. International Journal of Advertising, 39(1), 166-186. https://doi-org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/10.1080/02650487.2019.1596447

13 replies on “The Facilitation of Advertising within Social Networks”

Hi Amelia,

Very interesting paper as you balanced out the positives and negatives of advertising through social media on both customers and non-customers. It is so true that social media has allowed users to connect with brands and form a two-way relationship. Also, I do agree with you that brands aren’t able to control what social media users’ are going to write about their brand, and thus might lead to a negative impact on a company. I believe that customers in the contemporary world read online reviews before purchasing a brand.

Many businesses do make use of social media for advertisement as it enables them to grow their sales and interact with their fans/customers simply by creating a social media account. In short, social media is the most direct form of business to consumer communication, and with so many users online – as you mentioned it in your paper. I agree when you discuss positive surrounding social media activities will help enhance the overall reputation of a business, and thus increase customer loyalty. Alternatively, negative customer reviews could also lead to a negative reputation of a business, therefore decrease in customer/sales. I definitely agree with you that when a non-customer is viewing a brand’s account, most likely is due to curiosity surrounding the business and their services/interest in it. Based on my personal experience, I tend to get attracted by an advertisement of a brand easily and if I’m interested in it, I will first look for customers’ reviews before taking the next step which is to learn more about the product/services. I would be interested to hear your perspective – as you mentioned that companies are unable to control the way that they are being portrayed through users’ comments, so do you think that positive comments will eventually turn non-customer to engage with their brand?

My paper focuses on the effect of Instagram on adolescent girls’ (age 13 to 18 years) social and emotional development (both positive and negative) – Here is a link to my paper if you’re interested: https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/the-ups-and-downs-of-instagram-on-adolescent-girls-social-and-emotional-development/

Hi Kristina,

Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate your point of view on this topic and you reading my essay! I just wanted to start by saying I appreciate the point you made in which you have highlighted the fact that it is common for non-customers to first read the reviews left by past customers both negative and positive. This can therefore impact the process in which potential customers are able to collect feedback that has been given considering a business. This point ties into the fact that any comment made online can affect the corporate reputation of businesses and has the ability of shaping non-customers perspectives surrounding a business. I would also like to appreciate the concept in which you have discussed considering the facilitation of the ‘business to customer’ relationship within social network sites, I think this is a good point in demonstrating the connection that is encouraged through advertising on social media. As well, thank you for describing one of your own personal experience considering the use of social media when looking at businesses’ Instagram accounts, as it provides me with a new perspective into the difference between the content consumed by customers and non-customers. In regards to your question, yes I do think that the ability for non-customers to view positive comments does have an effect on how a non-customer may view a business as I believe that the more positive comments viewed by a non-customer, the more positive they will believe an experience with this business will also be positive. In turn, increasing the amount of customers and sales a business has. This can therefore encourage non-customers to engage with the business and their social media pages. I hope that this answers your question alright and if there was anything else you wanted to ask me go ahead. I’m excited to go and read your paper now, thanks again.

Hi Amelia,

Thank you for answering my question. It is so true that any comment made online can affect the corporate reputation of businesses. I totally agree with you that positive comments will eventually turn non-customer to engage with their brand and thus, a positive impact on the business = increase customers and sales.

Hi Kristina,

No problem!
Yes I agree, but unfortunately this freedom of commenting does also allow negative comments to be written and in turn have a negative effect on a business.
Thank you for the reply and your time

Regards,
Amelia

Hi Amelia,

You paper is really interesting and worth to read. I definitely agree on your argument that a business gains through advertising on social media platforms. You have well defended your arguments with supporting ideas which have really enriched my knowledge. I think social media acts an intermediary between the customer and the business. What do you think?

Thank you and kind regards
Katoosia

Hi Katoosia,

Thank you so much for the reply and I am glad that you enjoyed reading my paper!
Yes I agree, social media definitely does act as an intermediary between the customers and the businesses, and overall assists in facilitating this interconnected relationship. This relationship can also differ for those who are non-customers which are now more than ever able to learn about businesses and their ethics. This can be done through not just the posts that business may have on their page but through the interconnected networks of followers that social media allows and promotes and the features of likes, comments and shares.
Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Amelia

Hi Amelia,
interesting paper! you raised a point about brands having no control over user generated content, but even this is being used as a marketing strategy nowadays.
Nike raised a controversy on purpose to gain user generated content, though negative. Without having to spend much on paid advertising, it used the earned media to effectively increase sales
Check out this article for more details
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonwingard/2019/07/17/nike-does-it-embracing-controversy-and-deepening-customer-relationships/#1cb95f525863

on an ending note, I’d appreciate your opinions on my paper
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/the-online-community-of-instagram-a-tool-promoting-self-acceptance-in-young-females/

Hi Bibi,

Thank you for reading my paper, I really appreciate that!
Wow that is so interesting, I have never heard of a company to use this kind of situation to their advantage in marketing. I think this would have been a great example for me to cover within my paper, so thank you for the resource.
Sure I would love to read your paper!

Thank you for your time!
Regards,
Amelia

my pleasure Amelia. I’m delighted to have shared new information with you

Regards,
Farheen

Hello Amelia,
Your paper is very interesting and has been well executed, especially in the way you have established the differences between advertising through social media platforms on both customers and non-customers. Indeed social media has allowed many businesses to flourish through the electronic word of mouth.
My only criticism would be the rather limited number of references you have used. My paper is within the same stream and it focused on the impact of social media advertising on businesses and I believe there are more scholarly articles that relate to your paper and could have also been used.
I had a great time reading your work nonetheless.
Best regards

Hi Vaishnavi,

Thank you for the feedback.
I agree with you. I think that the more scholarly sources utilised within a paper can really emphasise and strengthen an argument by backing up your information with sources. Thank you for your time!

Regards,
Amelia

Hi Amelia,

Your paper’s topic is very different from other’s that I’ve read so far. It is very interesting and the informations are very accurate. I definitely agree that social media has allowed businesses to expand as they are able to reach a larger target audience through online advertising. Can we say that it is cost and time effective? Moreover, people are able to share the businesses page or post which is also another advantage for the company.
Consumers are able to review through the review option as well which also to further promote the company in a positive way depending on the reviews they get. However, to what extent can we believe the reviews on social media platforms? There might be fake profiles made by the employees to maintain a more positive: negative ratio? Also, some companies sometimes tweak by deleting the negative comments to spread a fake positive image of their company online. What do you think about that?

Take care. 🙂

Hi Amelia! I came here from your comment on my paper! Thank you for contributing.

I just gave your paper a read and found it very interesting. I am very interested in this topic, as you know, I’ve written about a similar one myself. There are many points you mention that I strongly agree with!

Social media has indeed allowed businesses to grow faster through electronic word of mouth. You used great points and references to back this up. I like that you also mention the negative impacts social media has on businesses due to comments and content that the brands do not have control over. This was a great point to put forward.

Great work!
Stefi

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