The internet gives us a wide range of opportunities such as; having a connection with people all around the World, creating, sharing and disseminating contents, gaining and searching information on unlimited number of subjects and staying up to date. More or less, there are some indisputable outcomes and changes due to the emergence of internet but especially the widespread use of social media. One of these crucial changes happens in business models, as well.
Due to technological infrastructure dramatically changes in the last decade that requires the social media and marketing works closely in business life. Marketing teams use various ways of social media. That increases the search ability of the brand or the company and creates two-way communication with customers. The term, Social Network Marketing (SNM), arise out of this connection. Currently, most prevalent SNM practices involve creating and operating a company’s fan page, managing promotions, maintaining public relations, and conducting market research. Other activities include providing customer support, encouraging customer reviews and discussions, and recruiting .
According to the SMEs organizational objectives and capabilities some of them only use internet forum-blogs in order to gather industry specific information and promoting their events. Some others are highly active on micro-blogging tools (such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+) for online advertising and creating an effective online communication network. SNM is more effective in building brand awareness and enhancing brand reputation than generating leads and increasing sales .
Smallbusiness.co.uk states, that 31 % of people trust brands more when the company interacts with people via social media, 25 % of people prefer organic content (not paid-in), revealing that they trust companies who grow their audiences by using social media.1 However, German Strategic Marketing Agency said that social media and testimonials are a reasonable start to raise brand awareness .
Social Media is considered as an effective marketing tool for B2C. However, 87% of companies that use B2B concept also use social networks for brand promotion. The most effective among all networks is LinkedIn. It is useful for all types of enterprises, but especially for SMEs.
There is a Buffer service, that makes the social media marketing process much easier. They offer 24/7 support, share information to all social networks at the same time without logging in to each of them separately, etc. Moreover, it provides the detailed research. It is mostly used in manufacture industry .
People are inherently skeptical about endorsements and advertisements that come from the company itself. The way to reach and convince potential clients is by using tactics that allow them to convince themselves. Adding testimonials to the company's website allowsthe company to gain credibility from known sources and clients that other potential clients can contact.
What testimonials do as well is to create a platform for cross-promotion where clients gain brand exposure as well and industrial enterprises gain credibility. It becomes an added value that is given to the clients and a win-win on both sides .
Before making a big purchase it is almost certain that there is research done bare minimum at the surface level. This includes product reviews and peer recommendations. Signing contracts is one thing, but how much easier would it be after looking through the official website of the enterprisethat presentsits service to a potential client.
These are important points because especially SMEs may sustain their position and create loyal customers through the effective use Internet marketing. Industrial enterprises should spend time to create rich contents on their social media accounts to attract their target customers’ attention. In addition, they should also be sincerer whilecommunicating with their target customers and should prefer to communicate in a friendlier style and to respondin a quick manner to all communication attempts of their customers.
List of references:
1. Pentina, I., Koh, A.C., & Le, T.T. (2012). Adoption of social networks marketing by SMEs: Exploring the role of social influences and experience in technology acceptance. Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, 7(1), 65-82.
2. Chua, A.P.H., Deans, K.R., & Parker, C.M. (2009). Exploring the types of SMEs which could use blogs as a marketing tool: A proposed future research agenda. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 16(1), 117-136.
3. Magazine “SmallBusiness”. Source: http://smallbusiness.co.uk
4. Source: https://buffer.com
5. Michael Cohn. “The Importance of Testimonials for Your Business”. CompuKol Communications. – 2010.
Науковий керівник: Притула Наталія Валеріївна, кандидат наук з державного управління, старший викладач, Одеський національний економічний університет