By: Xinran Zuo
Mass Media, one of the main forces in contemporary society, has great influence and impact on ways of thinking and human behavior, as well as social structure and education trends. At the same time, mass media has also successfully created a whole new world: Social Media.
Social media influences our generation in many respects. As a student with wide interests in marketing, I have been learning how to market brands on social media platforms and studying the influence of social media on the marketing since the beginning of my studies in Business. In the past years, the influence of social media has been a popular research topic.
The emergence of Social Media has created a new tool for marketers in marketing research. Social Media facilitates convenient interactions between enterprises and their customers, which enables businesses to get a clear and timely idea of market trends and customer needs. Moreover, marketing costs of social media are low. These two aspects make social media an efficient tool to maintain brand image, improve corporate influence, and obtain market information.
There are 5 most common forms of social media, which are SMS, social network sites, instant messaging (IM), blogs, and micro-blogging (limited words). Each one has their own characteristics. Researchers argue that each of these 5 forms of social media have unique features and functions. In this article, I compared these 5 forms of social media from 3 different perspectives – open to the public vs. keep private; users’ relations; communication model.
|Open to the public vs. keep private||Users’ relationship||Communication model|
|Completely open to the public. All information could be announced||Following relationship. Information flow could be unidirectional, bidirectional as well as multidirectional.
Equal relationship between users
|Focus on information exchange. One to N to N Model. Communication, announcement and interaction need to be short due to the word limitation. Free of charge|
|Exclusive space. Most communication are between two willing parties and are not accessible for the public, information is one to one. Private interaction||Users are real friends or the ones you know in daily life. Stable relationship.||Private. Word limited. Need to pay|
|Social Network Sites (i.e. Facebook)||Half public half private. User could choose if their message are to the public to all or to friends only||Most users are real friends or the ones you know or knew in daily life. Stable relationship is not needed||On one’s own page. In addition to updating or messaging, it has other functions such as Party book, Vote, Music, Game. Number of words unlimited. Free of charge|
|Instant Message||Closed communication,
Only friends can talk to each other, and it’s secret to others. Communication are private. The number of friends in each account is limited to 1000.
|Add and Accept friend request is needed to confirm the relationship||In addition to written message, can also provide with video chart, voice chart, music etc. Free of charge|
|Blog||Public space. Information can be as long as one wants. Blogger has the absolute say in their own blog. In their blog, they are the dominate party in this relationship.||Stable relationship is not needed||Words unlimited,
Music, Document sharing.
Free of charge.
Social Media is already widely used in collecting market information. As the table shows above, different platforms can provide different benefits. At the same time, each form has its own disadvantages or limitations. Only one tool for brand marketing is rare. Choosing and combining suitable tools in efficient ways are important for collecting the best range of marketing information for an organization.