Timothy M. Graham
University Of Phoenix
Social Media and the American Marketplace
Social Media has changed the way that large corporations, and small companies market their products and services to the general public. The launch of most products, services, or new businesses are now focused on social media. The means of reaching a large number of demographics, all in one place, have never been as great as it is right now. In the early 1900’s radio and newspaper was the only means of transmitting any news or information across a group of individuals. This was reliant on people getting the newspaper, or having electricity and a radio available to them. With the invention of the TV, and electricity being available to most people around the country, the reach became even farther. The problem with early TV was that all of the channels were owned by just a few companies. This lead to a monopoly on the TV industry that kept certain people in control of what was heard and seen. Cable television broke this monopoly up in the late 1900’s and helped to some degree, but most of the major networks were still owned by just a few companies. Social Media has changed this landscape entirely, and almost no one gets their breaking news from newspapers, radio, or TV anymore. They are on their favorite media site all day long, and get the first glance at a major event or product via the internet. People that are “media literate” know that taking stories from sites like Facebook can be risky, and they check their facts based on what the television and other sources from the internet are saying. Businesses have thrived as a result of social media. People have the ability to bring a new product to market, and get live feedback on their new product straight from social media sites. This feedback can be good, or it can be bad. Social media has proved to be a great tool for the average shopper that wants to know if a product is worth their hard earned money. It is a kind of “consumer watchdog”.
Social media has changed the way that companies take products and services to market. It truly affects sales, and although it is not the normal media of the past such as television (paid media), or press mentions (earned media), it still has a large impact on various companies. Social media is gaining a foothold in advertising, marketing, and influencing customer opinion. Logic would tell you that traditional advertising would have a greater impact on direct sales than social media outlets because traditional media reaches more people than social media.
Word of mouth generated sales were thought to be primarily influenced by traditional media outlets, but recent research shows that the impact of social media is greater than anyone could have expected. The decision process during a purchase seems to be shifting, with decisions being made later rather than immediately. People used to turn to word of mouth, asking friends and family about a certain product. This seems to be the second or sometimes third step in the selection of a good or service. Research indicates that the first place the average consumer looks is the internet, and to be more specific, social media. This causes consumers to be more selective when purchasing a good or service, and more likely to give feedback via social media, affecting the next possible consumer.
The trends among flow of communication seem to be shifting. Traditional media is now being driven by social media. Grassroots political groups and social movements usually start by word of mouth. People come together to lobby for a common cause, and as it gains momentum, traditional media will pick it up. Now grassroots is starting on social media, and working their way backwards. Traditional media will pick up the trending topic from a site like Twitter, and air a story about the movement. Word of mouth follows traditional media, as anyone not on social