In the last years, social media platforms have experienced a boom that is hard to compare with anything similar before.
There is hardly anybody that does not have his own Facebook account and probably everybody has watched at least one video on YouTube in his life. Those few people without Facebook are being watched skeptically, usually accompanied by the question “how can you live without it without feeling excluded?”. This shows how important social media has become in our everyday lives and that we no longer can imagine living without being connected 24/7.
The following paper will first give a general insight into to the development of social media and social media platforms (with a focus on Twitter and Facebook) and then show their importance and influence on the presidential elections in the United States of America in 2012.
At the end there will be a short forecast about how social media will probably develop within the next years.
2.1 Social Media
According to Tamar Weinberg, the term social media “relates to the sharing of information, experiences, and perspectives throughout community-oriented websites […]. Thanks to social media, the geographic walls that divide individuals are crumbling, and new communities are emerging and growing. Some examples of social media include blogs, forums, message boards, picture- and video-sharing sites, user-generated sites, wikis and podcasts. Each of these tools helps facilitate communication about ideas that users are passionate about, and connects likeminded individuals throughout the world.”1
2.2 Social Media Optimization
The term social media optimization is often equated with social media marketing and “was coined in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava. Bhargava explained the concept of social media marketing as optimizing a site in such way that written content garners links, which essentially acts as a trust mechanism and endorsement. Social media optimization also helps build brand awareness and raise visibility for the marketed product or service.”2
2.3 Social Media Marketing
In the following paper the term social media marketing will be referred to as “a process that empowers individuals to promote their websites, products, or services through online social channels and to communicate with and tap into a much larger community that may not have been available via traditional advertising channels. […] Social media marketing also involves listening to the communities and establishing relationships with them as a representative of your company.3
2.4 Search Engine Marketing
“SEM is an internet marketing method that focuses on purchasing ads which appear on the result pages of search engines such as Google. Many search engines offer ways for individuals or businesses to purchase ads, which typically appear above or to the right of the content on the search result pages. Typically, the higher the fee one offers to pay for an ad, the higher the ad will appear on the page, depending upon how much competition there is to appear on that page. Depending upon the agreement, one may pay a flat fee for a given length of time, or may pay a given fee for each click that they receive to their ad.”4
3 The Importance of Social Media Marketing
When the internet was invented, it was “initially designed for the physics community” and inventor Tim Berners-Lee probably would have never imagined “that the Internet would end up interconnecting millions of computers worldwide, providing vast amounts of information to individuals.”5
Nowadays it is accessible to almost every household all over the world.
During the last few years, the Internet has become more and more social and is now “connecting like-minded individuals with communities that allow them to express themselves and engage in lengthy debates at any time of the day.”6 Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have emerged to simplify the communication among peers. They also “unify individuals with similar interests: social news sites that are governed by the ‘wisdom of crowds,’ social bookmarking sites that allow individuals to discover websites that a large number of people have already discovered, and niche social networks that unify individuals under a common interest.”7
Because of the high potential of these social platforms a new discipline, social media marketing (SMM), has evolved.
3.1 Goals of Social Media Marketing
3.1.1 Bringing Traffic to a Website
As soon as a user discovers some piece of content which he thinks could be relevant for his peers, he will share it. Thus by electronic word of mouth (eWOM) the content spreads virally as shown in the following figure:
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Figure 1: graphical presentation of viral marketing
- ISBN (eBook)
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- Institution / College
- Institut for Interpreter and Languages Munich
- Social Media Marketing Elections USA President Web 2.0 Facebook Twitter Barack Obama Mitt Romney SEM SEO