Digital Marketing entails marketing of goods and services using digital technologies and digital mediums. In this context, it would be pertinent to note that with the advent of Web 2.0 or social media, marketers now have the chance to utilize the opportunities offered by digital marketing using social media like Facebook. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook for digital marketing and discusses the various issues surrounding this concept. Before launching into the discussion, it would be worthwhile to note that the unparalleled access to a large consumer base afforded by Facebook makes it the ideal medium of choice for marketers especially those in the business of consumer goods and FMCG or Fast Moving Consumer Goods. This is because Facebook has a combined user base of more than a billion people and reaches nearly one in four adults in the United States alone. Apart from this, the use of Facebook in the emerging markets is even more pervasive with estimates suggesting that out of the 80 percent of the total Facebook users who are from outside of the United States, nearly half of them are active users making the medium a platform for brands to be noticed in the “noisy social media world”.
Advantages of Using Facebook
Continuing the points made above, it is indeed the case that Facebook offers penetration and reach to marketers especially those operating on shoestring budgets, as they do not have to spend large amounts of money on expensive marketing campaigns. Moreover, unlike traditional media where the effectiveness and efficacy of a marketing campaign cannot be measured directly and instead, readership or viewership metrics are used, Facebook marketing can be measured for its efficacy as click through and conversion of eyeballs into purchases is readily available. Further, Facebook offers the unprecedented chance for marketers to target a global audience and at the same time, consider local factors. In other words, what this means is that marketers can create campaigns, which have a global theme and at the same time can reach out to their local audience as well. The conflation of reaching out to a wider audience without compromising on the local customers means that Facebook becomes the social networking site of choice when compared to Twitter and Instagram that are more focused in their reach. Further, the “death of distance” and the removal of the geographical constraints mean that spatial and locational barriers are nonexistent with Facebook Digital Marketing. Already companies like Coca Cola and Starbucks have used the power of Facebook to integrate it with their marketing strategies for effective customer outreach.
Downsides of Using Facebook
Of course, there are downsides to using Facebook as a marketing tool and these include the rapidity with which negative publicity can travel around the world in a jiffy. For instance, a jealous competitor or a disgruntled employee might post negative comments or information about the brand or the product and considering the ways in which such comments can go “viral” in a matter of hours and even minutes, it is the case that marketers and companies have to be always on the lookout for what is being said and commented upon on their products. The point to be noted here is that by the time, the marketer, the company representative comes up with a rebuttal, or the disproving of the negative comment or publicity, the damage would have been done. Apart from this, using Facebook as the digital marketing medium means that instant gratification is the norm rather than any sustained engagement with the brand. This results in users (who are mostly of the Generation Y) forming opinions of the brand in a shallow and superficial manner which means that little attention is paid to deeper thought and nuanced marketing as is the case with traditional media.
Other issues to be considered
We have considered the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook for Digital Marketing. Apart from these, other issues count in favor of Facebook. For instance, marketing on Facebook is easy and inexpensive when compared to traditional media as all one needs to do is to integrate Facebook into the company’s online marketing strategy and create a fan page or a dedicated page in addition to providing for targeted messages aimed the focused consumer segment. Further, marketing on Facebook can bring additional benefits as can be seen in the company’s recent moves to be more aggressive as far as e-Commerce and m-Commerce are concerned. This has long been a sticking point between Facebook and its corporate clients, as the latter wanted the former to integrate these aspects more into the overall strategy.
Before concluding this article, one must consider the fact that news travels fast in the online world and travels instantaneously in the social media world. Therefore, this can be a force for good and at the same time, can yield unpredictable results. Moreover, integrating Facebook into a company’s overall marketing strategy must be done only after due diligence is done as the cost benefit analysis works differently for different companies in the different sectors. In conclusion, Facebook is a game changer for marketers and the emerging trends indicate that it would be used more by the marketers as they seek more bang for the buck in terms of the returns per dollar spent on marketing and advertising.
BY – AASHUTOSH KHANDELWAL