Social media is the new wave of marketing that is responsible for bringing millions of dollars in revenue to traditional and online retailers. Social media tools have become a force to reckon with in terms of marketing and promotions that have revolutionized the marketing world. The participation of retailers marketing in the world of social media has risen dramatically in 2009 according to a study conducted by Power Reviews, a reputable e-commerce consultancy and software provider. Some of the most popular social media tools and applications being used today by retailers are Facebook , MySpace , YouTube , and Twitter.
According to these surveys, social media applications are now being used by almost 50% of top brands and retailers. Facebook Fan Page is leading the race at 86%, followed by Twitter at 65%, customer reviews sites such as Yelp at 55%, and viral video podcasts such as YouTube and MetaCafe at 50%. The surveys have also shown that brands have exploded in popularity because of social media in the past 6 months. The social medial adoption of many brands and retailers have resulted in increased sales through “referral” marketing that goes viral as proven by marketing experts. The increasing sales are due to the increased brand awareness and brand loyalty created through the use of social media networking tools and applications.
Social media applications are free to everyone and people do have the basic human need of belonging, whether to a certain group, community, or network. This makes social media a powerful marketing tool for any retailer. Social media sites are also constantly developing increasingly effective tools and applications to retain their existing members for fear of losing their members to newer and more socially-engaging social sites. This leads to a constantly improving product that benefits both retailers and consumers.
Social media has created a new wave in brand and retail marketing and we will definitely see the use of the applications in marketing for many years to come. On the other hand, retailers have expressed fears because their product can be rejected on a larger scale in social sites. One of the critical phases in success or failure in social media is the “building the relationship” phase. These relationships cannot be achieved overnight. It requires a great deal of time, patience, and persistence. A retailer who can commit to all these requirements will definitely reap the benefits for many years to come.