Because of the scandals and controversies which seem to take center stage on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media sites, the question of why it is important for marketers to use such avenues is a legitimate one. However, the following definition of social media points to social media’s usefulness to marketers: “using technology to communicate interactively” (Donner and Wheeler 33). Social media “has become a part of our lives, and many individuals and organizations are committed to using it” (Donner and Wheeler 33). What does this mean for marketers? First, consumers appear to prefer interactivity, which they cannot get from a print ad or television spot. Second, marketers should go where their consumers are, and many of the consumers marketers want to reach are on these channels.
In using these channels, marketers are able to engage consumers in an interactive manner, which has already been established as preferable (Donner and Wheeler). Such channels offer consumers the ability to contribute content, and being able to contribute content causes the consumers to engage more with the product or service more meaningfully or memorably, which creates a stronger – and hopefully positive – impression or association in their mind (Hill and Moran). It is also considered a cost-effective means of marketing to consumers (Hill and Moran). Social media also offers users and marketers many more options in terms of customization, which allows marketers to target demographics more easily and on their own terms (Hill and Moran).

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The comment “Think of Twitter as the canary in the coal mine” from Morgan Johnston of JetBlue is a telling one. It basically means that if a marketer wants an honest and quick evaluation of their product in social media, Twitter is the quickest way to find out what’s going on. Though Johnston’s comment has negative tones, it is actually very practical and useful.

    References
  • Donner, Gail, and Mary Wheeler. “Using Social Media to Market Yourself.” The Canadian
    Nurse 108.5 (2012): 33. MEDLINE with Full Text. Web. 23 June 2015.
  • Hill, Ronald P., and Nora Moran. “Social Marketing Meets Interactive Media.” International
    Journal of Advertising 30.5 (2011): 815-838. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 23 June 2015.