The word ‘hashtag’ was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014. This perhaps indicated how much social media had and would pervade our daily lives. What initially started as networks or tools to connect with friends and like-minded people has today morphed into a primary platform through which many consume news and views that are relevant to them. Irrespective of the generation one belongs to, one cannot afford to ignore these platforms. In fact, many studies suggest these platforms are no longer the preserve of only the digital natives—a number of older adults are increasingly using them.
Given the numbers they attract and engage, these platforms offer a tremendous opportunity for companies to reach their target audience. The availability of big data, sophisticated segmentation tools, and algorithms that can accurately analyze an individual’s internet footprint and throw up the right solutions have made these networks a marketer’s dream. No other medium has offered such precision ever before. If you manage to identify the target group and also create the right message, then the probability of hitting the bull’s eye is really high. In fact, many critics today accuse these platforms of using customer data for influencing decisions—whom you vote for, where you work, and what you buy. After all, every click on an advertiser’s website ensures more money for the platform.
While that may be true, the consumers’ voice has never been heard so loud before—bouquets and brickbats flood our timelines and Twitter feeds. So much so, companies today have dedicated teams that manage their social media pages and monitor trends that might potentially influence their product or service. Irrespective of the pros and cons, a debate that continues to enthrall many is whether social media presence and popularity actually result in ROI. That it creates brand awareness is undisputed but does it also effectively transform into unit sales? In this issue, we try and explore the various facets of this new phenomenon that continues to evolve.
Happy Reading. ■