Social media is a rapidly growing district, becoming fundamental for our everyday lives. Its primary use, for communication and connection between individuals, has now been reconstructed and extended into a platform of mass communication and public image. Individuals, collaborative organisations and businesses now have the ability to advertise themselves, reaching an immense and growing audience. With more coverage than ever, businesses can reach many domains of the users’ everyday lives, increasing publicity and profits from consumer interactions. With more public exposure, interactivity, and marketing opportunities for businesses, social media has become a very significant factor for a business’s success and yield.
Social Media Exposure: How it Reaches and Influences Everyone
By the research study conducted by Sensis in 2017, 84% of Australians access the internet daily. Almost every subject, from ages 18 -29 (99%) and 30-39 (96%) own a smartphone. With increasing dependence on the internet and devices to communicate and acquire information, advertisements are more visible and effective (Kaplan, Haenlein 2010). A company can advertise in many different websites, targeting a specific audience that would generally visit that site. This is a huge step forward from printed flyers, outdoor billboards or general television advertisements. Advertisements can be very specific, based on a person’s activity and interests. On Facebook, ‘sponsored’ ads are often designed to appeal to everyone, or target a broad audience based on gender, interests, age or location (The Weeknd).
94% of Australians are connected on Facebook, 51% own a YouTube account and 46% are users on Instagram (Sensis 2017). These three leading social media platforms are a huge basis for business publicity. They all have visual content (photos and videos) with captions and description for more information, links to access business websites and more details (Simply Nailogical). YouTube tutorials and popular Instagram posts acquire millions of views and likes, and their popularity and visibility bring many advantages to the tagged or linked businesses. YouTube can have links in the description box for buying merchandise or products seen in the videos.
On Instagram, businesses can have their own ‘pages’ with tailored content relating to the business. Pages often contain images of the products or services, in an attractive format that induces the audience to buy the products or ‘follow/like’ the page for more content that they may be interested in. The page may have an aesthetically pleasing setup, which attracts Instagrammers to follow their page for regular posts (@maxmara).
Users of social media can customise the content they see in their feeds to fit their personal interests. Marketing via social media can be advantageous when icons of social media, music, film, or sport endorse particular products and items. Consumers can build communities about these interests. The widespread visibility of social media allows more marketing opportunities, and improves customer interactivity and engagement (Culnan, McHugh & Zubillaga 2015).
Particular pages, especially on Instagram have ‘themes’ of varying colour palettes, filters, seasonal and celebratory events. This increases the interactivity of particular pages, as more people will notice the post/page for their festivity and creativity. By using Christmas colours, or Halloween related symbols for example (@zaful). A business may acquire more recognition and earn customers who appeal to celebration of festive seasons.
Holding seasonal sales, featuring giveaways or promotions, discount codes and competitions are effective ways of drawing in customers and followers. They can have decoration or festive emojis within each post, offer free shipping or a temporary code exclusively for those who see the post. As a result, more shoppers will be willing to look at the items or buy them with a discount off the marked price. Customers will shop around to find the best deal, or find an item they are searching for, so advertisement marketing is important to keep up with the competition (Investopedia 2017).
Christmas sales are a huge event, and many stores receive a high number of sales and earnings each year. The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) 2016 found that Australians spent $47 billion during the Christmas trading period in 2016. Buyers are more inclined to buy during this time – when exclusive deals are up for grabs – and when choosing gifts for their families and friends.
Some individuals may also use their creativity or talents for celebrating events. Desi Perkins (@desiperkins), a public figure, lifestyle and beauty icon, uses Instagram (3.6M followers), Facebook (93K) and YouTube (2.8M) to share her makeup art. She particularly has a passion for Halloween season. On YouTube she has video tutorials for each look, with links to the products used and affiliate discount codes. She has business affiliations with Sigma Beauty, Tarte Cosmetics, and collaborates with Quay Sunglasses Australia with her own line of sunglass designs. To maximise her earnings, she can feature her own sunglasses or products of her affiliates in her videos and posts, as she receives commission from each sale made. Her Halloween makeup looks are increasing in trend each year, and she also becomes featured in ‘best of’ makeup videos for her skill in makeup.
She is not the only one who benefits from the publicity. The brands she tags in each of her posts also get a rush of customers who want the same shoes or sunglasses as Desi. By sending free/discounted items to social media stars, businesses can benefit from the reviews and exhibition of their items. Viewers will be more inclined to buy when they see the actual item worn by models, or after watching a review about how well the item looks/functions. Tagging brands can directly lead a buyer to the page and website of the item, where they can find the item or discover something else they like.
Celebrity endorsement is also very effective in selling products, whether it’s their own brand, a sponsor, a collaboration, or paid promotion. Recognisable faces draw more attention and widespread visibility because of their constant appearances on television, magazines, clothing labels, interviews and various social media. Without perceiving it, viewers may trust and remember particular brands more. An expensive and non-essential item, for example, a luxurious timepiece, will increase substantially in value when they’re worn by someone highly idolized by the particular generation. An item that was never heard of or seen before may be introduced, and if already known, the effect and importance of the item is reinforced (Sokolovska 2016).
Sports stars may have supplements, equipment or clothing to further improve their performance, and fans or aspiring followers will also purchase those products. There are countless celebrity-brand fashion collaborations such as Rihanna (Fenty Puma), The Weeknd (Puma x XO) with Puma, Michael Jordan (Air Jordan) and Jun Takahashi with Nike (NikeLab Gyakusou), A$AP Rocky and GUESS (Guess Originals x A$AP). These are all currently leading brands with most of their success from strategic marketing.
Social media is surrounding us, during our daily routines, shopping or celebratory experiences. We use it as a platform for inspiration, connection and staying up to date. Social media is effective for business marketing, where the opportunities are boundless. Collaborations, promotions, sales and design layouts are important marketing aspects that the leading brands and businesses specialize in. Icons of fashion, beauty, sport, and lifestyle can influence at a massive scale, and advertising can reach a broader audience.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) 2016, Media Release: Pre-Christmas Sales Growth, accessed 14 November 2017, available [online]: http://retail.org.au/news-posts/australian-shoppers-to-spend-48-1-billion-this-christmas/
Culnan, Mary J., McHugh, Patrick J., Zubillaga, Jesus I. 2015, How Large U.S Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value, Bentley University, accessed 11 November 2017, available [pdf/online]: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mary_Culnan/publication/279893388_How_Large_US_Companies_Can_Use_Twitter_and_Other_Social_Media_to_Gain_Business_Value/links/56548c4f08aefe619b19f3c6.pdf
Investopedia 2017, Social Media Marketing (SMM), accessed 11 November 2017, available [online]: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-media-marketing-smm.asp
Kaplan, Andreas M.*, Haenlein, Michael 2010, The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media, accessed 8 November 2017, available [pdf/online]: http://michaelhaenlein.com/Publications/Kaplan,%20Andreas%20-%20Users%20of%20the%20world,%20unite.pdf
Sensis Pty Ltd 2017, Sensis Social Media Report 2017, accessed 8 November 2017, available [online]:https://www.sensis.com.au/asset/PDFdirectory/Sensis_Social_Media_Report_2017-Chapter-1.pdf
Sokolovska, Angela 2016, Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Buying Behaviour, accessed 14 November 2017, available [online]: https://www.guided-selling.org/impact-of-celebrity-endorsement-on-consumer-buying-behavior/