Essay: Social media advertising

The numbers of companies who advertise on social media platforms like Facebook are increasing rapidly in recent years. The diversification of online advertising into social media can be seen everywhere. Facebook advertising is potentially able to reach 699 million daily active users with 1 billion registered users in worldwide (Wordstream, 2014). Scott (2008) says, ‘One of the coolest things about the Web is that when an idea takes off it can propel a brand or a company to seemingly instant fame and fortune.’ He also comments that even though communicating through social media is free at most of the time but only a small number of public relations practitioners are effectively using social media when communicating with their strategic public. Thus, do public relations practitioners have certainly perfected the art of social media advertising?
Back during past times, public relations practitioners approached audiences through traditional media. With no doubt, it plays a dynamic role as a medium between organization and its public to highlight their image and impression transparently. However, social media and technology such as Facebook is preferable in globalization for IMC. In 2010, Nike broke its ‘Write the Future’ World Cup campaign on Facebook before the ads aired on television (Business Insider, 2012). Public relations practitioners indicate that the combination of social media and traditional media will enhance the impact of the message by the organization when developing IMC strategies plans. The rapid growth of Facebook in both popularity and number of users make it as first choice advertising platform when lack of budget. As an example, to generate brand awareness for its Old Spice fragrance line, Procter & Gamble invited Facebook users to ‘Turn Up Your Man Smell’ by becoming fans of its products. The brand’s fan page had more than 120,000 new fans in a week (Morrisey, 2009). Furthermore, Toyota who faced with declining sales in the wake of safety recalls used a combination of YouTube videos and Facebook pages to promote its Sienna minivan. Approximately 2000 Facebook users were signing on as fans of the Sienna within few weeks (Elliott, 2010). Impacts of online advertising are huge. The cross channel messaging allows public relations practitioners keeping company’s messages consistent across Facebook which provide greater availability of information in editorial articles and interviews with company personnel. It is definitely help to create brand awareness and recognition via Facebook.
Facebook ads, an alternative IMC tool for public relations practitioners to post unpaid links on Facebook pointing to companies’ website or landing pages. Ebay uses a partnership with Facebook which ‘integrates Facebook’s Open Graph global commerce platforms. It is intended to encourage developers to create eBay apps on Facebook that will generate more business for Ebay (Business Insider, 2012)’. Amazon also uses Facebook as a way to drive customers with deals, sweepstakes and giveaways (Business Insider, 2012). Disney has managed 267 pages on Facebook with more than 300 million cumulative Page likes. It uses Facebook to entertain users by sharing movie trailers, songs with attach their other social media landing sites (Business Insider, 2012). In additional, contents for advertisements on social media are now not only limited on text and photos. Facebook implemented ‘Promoted Posts’ in June 2012 and in December 2013 they announced the launch of video ads, sponsored that automatically play in news feeds (Brand Watch, 2014). Zynga ‘ Facebook’s biggest advertiser is spending more than $200 million on sales and marketing for online advertising in form of video ads and promoted ads (Business Insider, 2012).
Moreover, Facebook serves as a channel where companies can quickly diffuse specific messages to a wider audience when compared with traditional media such as press releases or printed advertisement. It is more than a broadcast tool because public relations practitioners are now bypassing the middle man and getting permission direct from the end users. Public relations practitioners do not need to get permission to publish news or advertise to medium like newspapers, radios and television since social media is free. It is important in developing an IMC strategies plan for companies because messages public relations practitioners share with audiences can be a long term relationship in the form of page fans on Facebook. They are able to participate in conversations and answer questions directly to audiences, engaging them and leaving no room for the closed loop information delivery to newspapers or magazines (Aggarwal, 2014). It enables to initiate two-way communication with customers and develop relationships with customers via communication and interaction. Citibank who sponsors many different events like concerts, arts and charities has make Facebook as their main CRM channels which customers can get answers from the public relations practitioners or social media staff quickly (Business Insider, 2012).
However, the millions of Facebook users are breaking down traditional categories of audiences ‘ employees, customers and shareholders into more specific categories. The nature of Facebook means all audiences can read communications intended for any one audience. Thus, public practitioners cannot assume that advertisements on Facebook will reach everyone as an individual may or may not see information on a Facebook page. ‘83% of surveyed Facebook users report that they would find Facebook’s video ads intrusive and would likely ignore them’, says marketing consultant Analytic Partners (Brand Watch, 2014). Cost for advertising has increased for companies. Besides that, public relations practitioners are required to attend training program in order to learn how to engage with customers on social media. For example, Dell was making $9 million a year in revenues from sales generated by Facebook and other social media. Its commitment is Dell’s social media employee training program has trained more than 10,000 employees (Business Insider, 2012).

Source: Essay UK -

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