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Impact of Social Media Marketing strategies

ITV4 for Engaging in Social Media Marketing

ABSTRACT

Social media has grown exponentially both in terms of users and in terms of revenue. It began as merely being a social networking platform but is now a platform for growing and developing the business. Modern organisationshave realised the potential of marketing on social media platforms and are thus, using these channels to engage with its customers. These platforms are increasingly being used to advertise existing products and services and are also being used to introduce new services to the customers. Getting the feedbacks from customers on the products and services is helping companies to further bring about improvementsin their overall operations and in certain cases has also provided an entirely new business opportunity.
ITV4 is one such company which was quick enough to identify the benefits of social media marketing much before its competitors. ITV4 is actively present on certain social media platforms and is actively engaged with its viewers through these channels. Social media marketing has helped the company to gain a competitive advantage over the other players of the industry. However, the company now needs to innovateits strategies so that it can maintain the interest of the viewers which will help them have better engagement.

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1.1. Introduction

Consumer behaviour is basically a decision making process and it encompasses the different physical activity involved in acquiring, evaluating, using and disposing of goods and services(Close, 2012). The process of buying starts at the moment when a customer identifies his needs in his mind. He then starts searching for the product and tries to evaluate each product in relation to its advantages and disadvantages. This is being followed by the final decision of buying a product (East and et. al., 2008). The post purchase behaviour is also very important because this point gives a clue to the marketer whether his product has been successful or not. It is important to understand in this context that marketing begins with the needs of the customer and ends when the customer is finally satisfied.

In the current business scenario, with the growing influence of social media in the lives of the consumer, it is important to discuss the importance and significance of social media marketing and how it has been able to influence the needs and preferences of the modern customers. Social media marketing can be defined as a process to secure website traffic or attention through social media websites.The modern customers are greatly influenced by social media and if companies want to positively influence the customersin order to get into business with them, the companies would be required to make a strong social media presence. The increased usage of social media is influencing consumer behaviour to a great extent as it has been observed that there are consumption related interactions on these platforms. Social media has enabled a more widespread word of mouth as the consumers can now interact with a large number of people and the information reaches to a large number of people as compared to the traditional face to face word of mouth.In the dynamic business scenario, social media can be used as a marketing platform by companies because of easy accessibility with internet access (Zarrella, 2009). It is also a cheaper medium available to organisations for the purpose of marketing. The subsequent report deals with ITV4 which has been engaged in social media marketing. The company has used this medium to get the feedbacks of the customers, know their preferences and to also reach the new customer segments.

1.2. Literature Review

Social media marketing has evolved to be a very powerful tool for the organisations to attract customers. Increasing usage of networking sites has made it possible for the companies to track the different needs and choices of different people.The development of internet has made it possible to easily share information and experiences and opinions are available from a large number of people from all over the world. Companies are constantly trying to increase their presence on the social networking sites so as to get in direct touch with their customers. Social media marketing is emerging to be a powerful tool as it is a powerful strategy to draw the attention of the customers towards your products and services, helps in bringing a huge traffic to the firm or the company website or blog and also gives a huge opportunity to increase revenues. It has been observed that larger are the number of followers of any product or company, the faster is the spread of word of mouth of the concerned product or company. Social media has been a very recent phenomenon but has made a very significant place in modern marketing and for developing a strong client base.It has been reported that almost 94% of the companiesare now including social media marketing in their marketing strategies. And almost 85% companies have reported an increase in their revenue and sales as a result of social media marketing.

Social media has transformed from merely being a socialising platformto one of the most important marketing tool in the modern world. Also, social media has enabled companies to build a brand for themselves as branding is one of the most important activities for companies in the modern scenario as companies need to build a niche for themselves in the minds of the customers. The companies can build a brand image by creating communities which help to build the image and secondly, by playing an active role in the communities in order to make the presence felt to the customers. Branding becomes successful because it helps the companies to connect with people on a more personal level.

It is a kind of personalised marketing promotion as the customer builds up a personal relationship with the company or brand in the same way as with a friend or relative on the networking sites (Burg, 2012). Facebook, Twitter, Myspace etc. are emerging as the new battlegrounds where tough marketing wars are taking place. In the modern business scenario, all the companies are trying to find space on these networking sites in order to tap the benefits which they can have by making a presence on these websites. Social media is providing companies a chance to tap the potential customers by use of multiple channels. If experts are to be believed, social media marketing is going to give the companies much better outcomes than traditional forms of marketing which the companies have been using so far.Also, social media helps the companies to stay in the line of vision of the customers in a very cost effective way. It is also a very effective way to tap the potential customers.

The current report which deals with ITV4 is a British based television station. ITV4 has always been involved in rigorous marketing strategies in order to increase its viewership and is also been actively involved in social media marketing. The company has been trying to increase its presence in Facebook and Twitter marketing, blog writing, LinkedIn marketing, viral video marketing and much more(ITV4, 2012). In the highly competitive scenario where every channel is trying to increase its viewership, it is becoming increasingly tough for the channels to have an effective marketing of programs. ITV4 also had similar problems but very soon it was able to carve out a niche for itself by focusing on social media marketing campaigns.

Social media marketing is emerging as a very effective tool because the message is passed through when people ‘retweet’ or ‘repost’ it and thus, when it is repeated so many times, it reaches to a large number of people(Clark, 2010).Many communities have been built on the social networking sites of the various events that are broadcasted on ITV4. Thus, through these communities a platform is provided by which the show is discussed. Similarly, on other sites also like Twitter etc. various communities are formed, the information in which is retweeted by the followers and by this information gets shared on a huge platform. Thus, it is quite evident that companies can utilise the powerful tool of social media marketing in order to have a better reach to its customers but in order to serve the customers better it is very important to understand their needs and preferences, which is universal no matter which medium of marketing is being used.

1.3. Company Background

ITV4 is a British based television station and was launched on 1st November, 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd. The series of programs that the channel basically specialises in is male oriented which includes sports, cop shows, US dramas, and also the action series of 1960s and 1970s.A wide range of sporting events are covered by ITV4 which includes major events like football world cup, British Touring Car championship, Grand slam of Darts, European championship, Indian Premier League, Big Fight Live, Frank Warren Fights, Tour- De- France, Rugby World Cup etc.
ITV4 has reaped many benefits of social media marketing.ITV4 has always been one of the top companies that come up with innovative marketing techniques in order to increase viewership. It has also been well known for engaging in rigorous social media marketing.It has helped the channel to build a positive PR, increase the awareness about the brand, have better penetration in the market, locate new customer segments etc. It has also proved to be a very cost effective campaign as compared to other traditional marketing campaigns. The company has been extensively using Facebook and Twitter to inform the viewers about their various offerings on TV and their timings. For the niche sports events, ITV4 developed interest among its customers by dramatised videos which went viral on internet. ITV4 has managed to reach a number of 3441 followers on Twitter which spread the information throughout the network. ITV is at present the largest commercial television network in UK(ITV4, 2012).

1.4. Research Question

Research question is very important for any research because it takes the research in an appropriate direction. If the research question is framed correctly, it will be endured that all the efforts and resources are channelized in a proper direction. The research question helps in building a path towards achieving the research aims and objectives. For the present research, the research questions are as follows:

  • Why is social media gaining an increasing significance in the modern society?
  • What benefits the companies can have by increasing presence on the social networking sites?
  • Can the needs and preferences of customers be determined through the social networking sites?
  • Has ITV4 benefited by adopting social media marketing campaigns?

1.5. Research Rationale

A research is done primarily to add to the existing base of knowledge about a certain problem (Bhattacharyya, Reeves and Zwarenstein, 2009). In the present context, where the customers have a wide variety of products and services to choose from, it has become very tough for the companies to identify the needs and preferences of the customers and serve them in the best possible way. Similarly, the television channels today are constantly in a state of war so as to increase their viewership. ITV4 since its launch also faced such problems but the channel was able to establish itself because it made its presence amongst the customers through networking sites. ITV has a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter etc. through which it has been able to make a distinguished place for itself in the minds of the customers. Social media has gone a long way in building relationships between the brands, companies and the customers. Through social media companies are in direct contact with their customers and are more effectively able to track their needs and choices. Thus, the present research is important in the modern context because it will be studying a very important aspect of modern society that is social media and its relation with modern businesses.

1.6. Research Aims and Objectives

The aim of the study is to analyse the effectiveness of social media marketing strategies used by ITV4 in UK on Organizational performance and perception of customers towards ITV4.To accomplish the above stated aim, the following objectives have been set which are as under:

  • Understanding Social Media Marketing: It is a new phenomenon in the wide field of marketing. It grew stronger after the entry of sites like Facebook, Twitteretc. This research focuses on the development of social media, how it is different from traditional, its effectiveness and its future.
  • Studying various social media strategies used by the company: Research includes study of various strategies used by the company in order to attract more viewers. It will include study of the method of selection and implementation of a strategy, challenges company faces during such cases.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of this campaign on performance of the company: Social media campaigns are usually cost effective and do not require much investment but demand knowledge and social media acumen. The research tries to uncover the impact of social media campaigns of ITV4 on parameters of reach, recall, actual increase in viewership etc.
  • Understanding the effect of social media marketing on consumer behavior: Consumer behavior has changed in the last decade due to revolutionary changes in the marketing space. Online advertising is an interactive media which is bi-directional and is significantly affecting consumer taste and preferences. This research understands the changes in the consumer behavior due to social media campaigns.
  • Analysis of social media marketing campaigns in term of ROI: Effectiveness of any advertising or marketing campaign is always measured in terms of return on investment. The current research analyses the total cost of social media campaigns by ITV4 and returns from it in terms of percentage increase in the viewership.

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1.7. Research Methodology

Research methodology is a systematic and step by step manner of solving the research problem. It is in this part that the logic behind the various techniques used for conducting the research is considered. Research methodology encompasses different tasks like what the activity of research is, how to proceed further, how can the progress be measured and what constitutes success(Ethridge 2004). The present research is an exploratory one because there is no clearly defined problem. The research is regarding the impact of a variable on the outcome rather than investigating and evaluating the root cause of the problem. In this research, both primary and secondary investigation is done. For primary data, information is collected through questionnaires which will be distributed among 50 respondents who will be the followers of ITV4 network. Primary data is necessary as it is important to know the first hand experiences of people.

For secondary research, various books, articles, newspaper articles, research papers, journals etc. will be accessed. Secondary data is important because the facts and figures that are collected from these resources are verified and based on extensive research done by the previous researcher (Thomas and Heck, 2001). The comparison between the contemporary and traditional marketing will be conducted on the basis of the information which will be collected through these secondary sources.

1.8. Structure of the research

It is very important that every research is carried in a proper order and there is a step by step approach followed. In addition to this, the research report should also be written in a proper manner with correct sequence of chapters so that the reader clearly understands what the entire research was about and how it was carried out. This research report is also presented in a series of chapters and the brief of each chapter is as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction-In this part of the research, the subject of the research and the research background is discussed. The aims and objectives are also stated in this section. The benefits of the research in the present context are also discussed in this chapter. This section also describes the methodology and various research methods. The content of the further chapters is also briefly described in this chapter.
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review-This is the second chapter of the report and basically studies theories and previous research work in relation to the research topic. Keeping in mind the aims and objectives of the research, the significant books, journals and articles are studied. The literature review in this report will study the significance of social media and its benefits to the companies and how can it be an important medium to study the needs and preferences of the people.
  • Chapter 3: Research Methodology-This chapter describes the steps that have been followed for conducting the research and the logic behind them. It is important for the researcher to identify which is the most suitable method for the research. This section also identifies the validity, reliability and ethical considerationsrelated to the research.
  • Chapter 4: Findings-This section describes the results of the data collected and processed. In the present research, both quantitative and qualitative analysis is done. A thematic analysis is done and the findings are grouped into identical themes so as to study the different aspects of the problem.
  • Chapter 5: Discussions and Analysis-In this section, an assessment of the results that are generated in the previous chapter is done. This chapter is basically a combination of the literature review and the findings and it is determined in this chapter whether there is a relation between previously stated facts and the present findings.
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations-This is the final chapter of the report and presents an evaluation of the findings and data analysis. This chapter also gives recommendations based on the findings and analysis and will also highlight the requirements of future research.

1.9. Conclusion

It can be concluded that social media is becoming increasingly significant in the modern society.The companies can use this very powerful medium in order to serve its customers in a better way.The companies require being consistent in their approach towards building a strong social media presence. The companies require to be actually engaged with their target customersand have to build relationships with them in order to gain their trust and influence them to engage in business with them. Social media marketing is a long process as the consumers cannot be expected to change their behaviour overnight. ITV4 has over the years build a strong presence on social networking sites and the data reveals that it has benefitted a lot from the social media marketing campaigns(Sweney, 2011).

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REFERENCES

  • Anjum, H.A., 2011. Social Media Marketing: The Next Marketing Frontier. GRIN Verlag.
  • Axinn, G.W. and Pearce, D.L., 2006. Mixed Method Data Collection Strategies.Cambridge University Press.
  • Bailyn, E., 2012. Outsmarting Social Media: Profiting in the Age of Friendship Marketing.Que Publishing.
  • Baker, J.M. and Saren, M., 2010.Marketing Theory: A Student Text.SAGE.
  • Barefoot, D. and Szabo, J., 2009.Friends With Benefits: A Social Media MarketingHandbook. No Starch Press.
  • Barefoot, D. and Szabo, L.J., 2009.Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook. No Starch Press.
  • Barnes, D.N. and Barnes, R.F., 2009. Equipping your organisation for the social networking game.Information Management Journal.43(6).
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