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Is Social Media a Revolution Or Hype?

by: isev

on: 21st April, 2011

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Today’s global world and dynamic markets challenge all businesses, and so the process called marketing is changing, becoming more complex and challenging than ever before.

Marketing is difficult, so is promotion, an important ‘p’ of the marketing mix. Adding to the set of more traditional tools used to promote products and services is social media.

There have been a lot of debates over how much influence social media actually has over consumers. Some call it a revolution, stating it will play a vital role in the modern world, and advocate that it will influence the consumer perceptions and ultimately the buying process. On the other side, some are also calling it hype, a faze.

A recent compilation made by socialnomics.com from various sources has revealed some stunning facts about social media which most of us would have never imagined. Here are a few of the key findings:

96% of the millennial generation has joined a social group network.

Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.

Social media has now become the no.1 activity on the web!

Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year.

If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest.

80% of companies use social media for recruitment.

Some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts; instead they are distributing eReaders, iPads, Tablets.

39% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands.

24 of 25 largest Newspapers are experiencing record decline in circulation.

60 million status updates happen on Facebook daily.

There is no denying the fact that social media has gained a major amount of popularity among the consumers around the world. Social media has successfully connected with consumers all over the world, today consumers are in a better position to discuss products and services, exchange information and ideas. Today consumers are better informed than ever before.

Anyone can get reviews from people about a product or service within no time through social media conversations and contacts. Consumers are in a position to make better choices. But is this a revolution?

Absolutely not, say some, calling it hype. According to a report from online researchers Knowledge networks titled ‘How people use social media’ which suggests that it’s effect on the population, is vastly overrated. Though its popularity is soaring, with 83% of the online population having some sort of interaction with social media and half of the online population doing so on a regular basis.

Despite its popularity, social network platforms like Facebook, twitter and other similar social networks have failed to show competence as marketing tools and possibly never will, says the report. Knowledge networks ranked the value of social media advertising at the bottom of the ranking, below word of mouth recommendations and TV advertising.

So, finally, is it a revolution or hype?

Well, the emergence of social media is a incredibly new phenomenon, there is no doubt it has gained so much popularity and wide acceptance within a short period of time, which itself is a landmark in the history of mankind, moreover they involve people, that is it’s main strength, marketers go where people go, involve themselves wherever people are involved, in short, marketing is people centered, in that case a platform like social media where millions of people meet, discuss and exchange ideas, thoughts and information, would definitely attract marketers, and looking at its popularity, it is definitely not a hype, rather I would say, it is in the growth phase and still to go a long way to take the place of other powerful promotional tools existing today.

Is it a revolution? I don’t think so, it is gaining popularity day by day, it is the current trend, and the trend will not be short lived, because it is in it’s growth phase and gaining importance and will go a long way.

How marketers use social media does matter, social media, having the number of users and popularity it enjoys today, it is definitely one of the most powerful promotional tools, but you need to understand that it is a promotional tool, if you think it can drive sales and help you earn profits within a short period of time like other promotional tools – it won’t. It’s about building relationships, improving credibility and reputations. This will not be achieved in a short space of time – it’s a communication tool first and foremost and a promotional tool second.

Social media is neither hype nor a revolution, it is a brilliant platform for millions of people to meet each other, if your products and services are for humans, and then you ought to be a part of social media.

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