The Future of Social Media


Social media will continue to connect people around the world as it continues to grow and evolve.  With millions of users in the United States and around the world using multiple social networks, it is critical for businesses, especially the financial industry, to provide a social media presence.  Just having a social media presence does not guarantee exposure or an increase in customers.  Social media is an important tool that all businesses can use to connect with the public and even potential customers.  Social media helps build relationships and enforces a company’s vision and mission.  Establishing a presence and monitoring social networks are important for banks in order to analyze and understand what customers want.  Financial institutions need to be agile to adjust their marketing and public relations’ campaigns to the quickly changing trends and consumer opinions.  Improvements in technology will facilitate exposure of information to users of social media sites. 

Current and future electronics will continue to effect companies.  Businesses must adapt and follow consumer trends in order to adjust quickly to fulfill customer’s needs.  Technology has facilitated the process of doing transactions online.  Many consumers are using ATM’s, online banking, mobile banking, and phone banking to facilitate transactions in a fast-paced environment.  With a few clicks of a button, consumers can spread information rapidly through social sites.  At times, information may be harmful to organizations and businesses must have a team to listen and provide feedback to diminish unwanted information.  The power of social media has given control to consumers and businesses trying to increase consumers and sales should constantly adjust to fulfill customer needs.  Information, truthful or not, about financial institutions will be readily available to the public as current and new social sites grow globally.  As the American economy continues to recover there will be an increase in spending, lending, credit, home purchases, and investments that will increase financial institutions’ revenues.  Having a respected reputation and established relationship on social media will help banks compete and surpass competition.

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Word-of-Mouth in a Social World


A large part of the young population use social media periodically.  As the young population ages, in the future a larger percentage of the overall population will be using social sites as a means of communication.  Banks who establish a strong presence in social media sites will continue now and in the future on retaining customers.  Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool that can ruin or build a company’s reputation.  Using social media sites to promote products and services through loyal users can help spread word-of-mouth to reach a larger audience.  Fiancialbrand.com explains that word-of-mouth banking in the past five years has influenced banking purchases.  In addition, there has been a seven percent to fourteen percent increase in consumers’ purchasing decisions through word-of-mouth on online social sites (the financialbrand.com, 2011). 

While social media is beneficial for all businesses, social media can damage a company’s reputation.  Establishing a team to monitor information about a company on social sites will help pinpoint critical issues to resolve and to help improve an organization’s strategy.  Managing consumers’ issues, complaints, and questions on social media will help banks re-build some of the trust damaged due to the financial crisis.  Not only will financial institutions benefit by using social media, all businesses, whether they deal with consumers directly or indirectly, should establish and maintain a social media presence.

New Social Media Services


Groupon, a purchase-based social site, offers coupons that have socialized the coupon market by making the savings localized, offering discounts through local businesses within a user’s proximity.  The site uses social networking to get users to share offers with their communities.  FourSquare, a location-based social site, gives users points as they “check-in” at certain registered locations.  With the use of global positioning systems, FourSquare is an application for mobile devices that allows users to get incentives, discounts, and prizes when they “check-in” at their favorite locations (Washingtonpost.com).  Google+, a social networking site integrated with Google’s email system, and other large companies entered the social media market.  Through Google+, users can make comments about vendors and locations on Google Maps.

 Social media is changing the Internet and the public relations’ landscape for job-searchers, corporations, and others with the desire to friend, tweet (micro-blog), purchase goods, research, get discounts or coupons, and update a status (Morton, Tindall, & Waters, 2010).  Overall, understanding social media’s impact on the corporate image will equip businesses with the tools needed to succeed in the 21st century.

Transformation of Social Media


Since Twitter’s launch in 2006, the market continues to see the rise of popular new services that allow individuals to share their lives and spread news, e.g. Posterous and Tumblr, FourSquare, SlideShare, Flickr, and Instagram.  The introduction of smart phones has facilitated the access of social sites through downloaded social applications without the need to log in to check information. 

Facebook for organizations allows users to like their page and permits the organization to post feeds on the user’s page.  Business Facebook pages have the “like” button, which acts like currency.  The more likes on Facebook indicates greater popularity (McEachern, 2011).  Other social sites are gaining popularity such as Pinterest, a social community site in which users “pin” things that they like.  Pinterest is a virtual pin board of images where users can re-pin or follow someone with the same interests.  With millions of users on social media sites, businesses are finding new channels to promote, sell, and attract users.  Few social companies have emerged with success by offering alternative services to Facebook and Twitter.

History and Evolution of Social Media


Media steadily evolved from word-of-mouth to hand-created books, to mass-printed media and now social media.  Social media has become a method of communication between individuals and organizations designed to build relationships and share thoughts.  Businesses are dedicating more time and resources to track and develop engagement with consumers through social media (Meredith, 2012).  New technologies have evolved from the telephone box to wireless mobile networking.  In the 1950s, technophiles used telephone networks to mass communicate and the first podcasts took place on corporate phone lines.  Advances in technology have facilitated communication among many devices.  Growth in the mobile wireless network has allowed users quick connections with others at almost any location.  In the 1990s, the World Wide Web revolutionized the development of media technology.  Emerging tech companies have changed the way of communication through the adoption of forums, web searches, emails, and text messaging.  In the early 2000s, residential high-speed Internet access was readily available to most households in the United States, thus making it easier for consumers to access information on the web (Royal.pingdom.com, 2012).  Soon after, users began to see the appeal of social networking and blogging sites like LiveJournal, Friendster.com, LinkedIn.com, and Myspace.com.  Financial institutions that actively use online social sites and blog sites lead an advantage over inactively social banks (Balaceanu, 2011). 

Friendster became the first social network to gain more than one million users.  A year later, MySpace began and quickly gained popularity in 2002.  The introduction of Facebook in 2004 and YouTube in 2005 helped expand the popularity of social media (crunchbase.com, 2012).  Around 2006, MySpace began its fall from grace after an advertising strategy that cluttered pages and resulted in large audience decline.  Twitter emerged in 2006 giving consumers a micro-blogging platform.  Social media networking reached widespread popularity after Twitter’s launch in 2006.  The rise of user-generated content sites like Digg and Reddit, combined with the popularity of easy-to-use blogging services, like WordPress and Blogger, aided the rapid development of personal websites, shared content, and online media.

Consumer Relationship Building: Be a Customer-Centric Business


Organizations that foster innovation and agility can quickly adapt to changes in marketplace conditions and technological capabilities into the future.  Companies that master the new technological changes in marketing can benefit greatly.  Innovation and agility are important, but brand recognition, trust and loyalty are more important for companies today than in the past (“The new era,” 2012).  The top business strategic initiative for organizations should be prioritization in building relationships with consumers.  Building relationships and trust among consumers shows respect, which is at the heart of building business relationships.  Respect leads to accepting a person for who they really are.  When building relationships, businesses must accept different opinions and views from consumers to create an environment of trust.  Trust leads to new opportunities, collaborations, strategies, ideas, and new products.  Consumers assist in co-creating products and services that are beneficial for businesses.

As social media continues to expand, more businesses are engaging in social media campaigns.  The key to building relationships on social media requires a combination of two things, the creation of great content posted on social sites and conversations that foster meaningful relationships on social media sites.  Social media links to visibility, credibility and profitability.  Using applications such as Twitter and Facebook increases branding and visibility as social sites grow.  Having a credible reputation enhances the possibilities of increasing customers thus resulting in larger profitability.

Marketing methods are at times more effective when combining multiple channels of communicating to consumers.  Digital distribution channels cover traditional marketing areas of communicating in a digital way.  Digital marketing is more personal, relevant, and cost-effective in reaching consumers because it involves various channels of reaching people with or without the use of the Internet.  Innovative methods in doing business are rapidly changing from a technological point of view, but organizations must remember that digital media is still a person-to-person activity.  Blogging and being part of connecting to communities are all personal activities, which are ways organizations can connect with consumers.  Companies should be customer centric and the social business approach requires engagement with the target market.

Future Trends in Digital Marketing


The future of organizations will be judged on the quality of their concepts (leading-edge ideas, designs and product formulations), on their competencies (ability to deliver products and transform ideas into services) and their collaborative networks (Fyall & Garrod, 2005).  The importance of innovativeness as a business-level strategic objective is to ensure the survival of businesses, since innovation in and of itself is a necessary but insufficient condition to provide continued organizational survival and success.  Once off, discrete product or service innovations are not sufficient to guarantee long-term success.  Success is not determined at the individual product innovation level, but at the overall organizational level.  To illustrate, a business that has a very good service or product innovation will benefit from a temporary competitive advantage until competitors decode its source of competitiveness and imitate the innovation.  On the other hand, innovativeness assists in gaining a long-term competitive advantage because it is part of the organization’s corporate DNA and cannot be easily decoded, copied or imitated by competitors.

Innovativeness deemed as an extremely important dynamic capability because it enables the business to alter its internal resource base, quickly adapt, and respond to its changing market environment.  Organizations that are dynamic and highly flexible have the ability to orchestrate changes, build new capabilities, transform the asset base and reconfigure processes that are crucial for competitiveness.

An innovative organization that has the ability to be nimble, change quickly and be alert to changes in the environment can apply dynamic capabilities sooner and more strategically than competitors can, and will be able to adapt quickly and easily to changing market conditions.  More innovation capable organizations have the ability to build and deploy distinctive resources faster than others.  Looking ahead to the year 2021, two trends are apparent:

  1. The volume of available information will continue to grow rapidly, driving the need for synthesis.  Hence, processing power will continue to increase and advanced analytics will flourish (Micu, Dedeker, Lewis, Moran, Netzer, Plummer, & Rubinson, 2011).
  2. The need for closeness to the customer will drive innovation, especially in unprompted consumer research.  Corporate leaders will develop fluid, searchable knowledge collection capabilities—an insights-on-demand capability that will not require interruptions to initiate individual studies to answer business questions (Micu, Dedeker, Lewis, Moran, Netzer, Plummer, & Rubinson, 2011).