Social networks have emerged as the new driving force behind web marketing and changed the entire landscape of the discipline. Today social networks are the essentials of a comprehensive internet marketing strategy, especially when it relates to e-commerce. The value of social networks is not only in sales; rather it is based on building brand equity and customer relationship. This trend has been called “social commerce” by some professionals.
There are numerous innovating examples of integration of social networks with internet marketing for several global brands. Burberry distributed samples of its new perfumes exclusively to its Facebook fans. Danette gets a contribution from its Facebook for choosing new recipes to include in its product portfolio offering. The aim of the Facebook page is to facilitate discussions on food and to invite Facebook fans to exclusive events. With 18,000 fans on its page, the company boasts 2000 regular contributors on its Facebook page. The marketing manager of the company also says that it is better to have 5,000 fans with whom they can work well rather than having 150,000 with which to do nothing.
With the high involvement of consumers and brand enthusiasts with social media – such as Facebook, Twitter, Netlog, etc. – social media has become an integral component of SEO. Several social networks are now indexed by the Google search engine. When a user searches on the name of the brand, Google displays not only the corporate website but also Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well.
Most importantly, with Facebook, it is easy to generate new audiences and capture the interest of potential visitors to one’s website. With this new social trend on the web, a business can make a reputation with potential customers. In fact, social referencing has become an asset to contemporary businesses and enabled them to have a touch point with thousands of user accounts. Social networking has become an integral component of web marketing also because with social media it is easy to profile people and learn more about its visitors.
Owing to all the information available about the member on Facebook pages, social networks have become real databases which facilitate targeting of a population. Hence, the impact of marketing campaigns and promotions on social networks is easily quantifiable. Dell, for example, announced that it generated a million dollars revenue through Twitter in 2008, half of which through promotional alerts. This is also true for SMEs and small shops. A small neighborhood pizzeria in New Orleans has seen its sales increase so significantly. An experiment on a day showed a promotion launched on Twitter increased its sales by 15%, and a majority of these sales was from new customers. Thus, social networks are at the heart of consumers’ daily lives and, thus, represent significant web marketing opportunities for businesses. E-reputation, responsiveness, and interactivity are the key features that justify growing attraction for this new media.