Social media is still a relatively new concept for many consumers to grasp. For some, social media is fully integrated into their everyday routine where as for others, it’s something they tend to stray away from to avoid any kind of media all together. Living in a digitally saturated world, it’s something that is becoming a part of human culture across the globe. It brings friends, loved ones and families together while also being a source of continuous information and current news updates. Social media allows everyone to be their own journalist to tell their own story and share the stories of others. It’s something that users are continually checking for new content, creating their own content to share, and also fighting the advertisements that flood feeds to gain brand recognition, profit from ad revenue, and sometimes even data mine.
Social media marketing is something that business gurus are learning to utilize to create strategic digital campaigns that will target the right audience and get their message across. Marketing and advertising used to be something that consumers saw in print messages or heard on during a television or radio broadcast. Now, as digital media becomes a primary way society consumers get information, it is a platform marketers can capitalize on to build revenue that they can invest in to provide more ways of conducting market research to understand their target audience more and build deep insight into the mind of the consumer.
The way social media marketers learn more about their digital audience is through data analytics. Marketers used to continuously send out mail-in surveys, go out into the field to ask questions, and review focus groups as a means of a gaining insight about their audience to build campaigns. Now, with digital information in every web site code, it’s almost too easy for digital media marketers to search for and gather consumer information. For example, Twitter has an analytics page that’s available for personal or business accounts that shows insights and analytics about one’s followers. These insights include everything from gender ratios to the type of mobile carrier each user has. It breaks things down into percentages and graphs so that it is easy to interpret and understand. By tracking the likes and interests of followers, the analytics page shows the highests interests of a follower base. There is an event section that shows current and upcoming events that are likely to have a trending audience. One way to gain direct feedback on the page’s current and past analytical success is by viewing the audience impressions and engagements to understand other users responded to posted content. By taking the most successful tweets, and learning how they became successful, marketers will continue to hone their digital media skills to create the most effective and strategic messages to sent out to their audience.
Since social media is still somewhat of a new concept, it also comes with slight criticism in all of the consumer information that shared. The coined term is data mining, and it seems to carry it’s own negative connotations. Data mining seems like something that would potentially be illegal given one’s right to privacy in United States, but as in any law, it’s open to loopholes and plausible interpretation. Since the right to privacy has various torts and was created before the internet, it is continually being updated, but it is hard to update something in one country that may have a different law in another country and both are using the same thing. The main loophole in utilizing personal to give to marketers and potentially sell consumer information is in the terms and agreements. The terms and agreements of utilizing a free social media site and setting up a profile is actually a contract that can be signed with a click of a button. Often times in those contracts it lays out exactly how and where consumer information is being used. Due to the fact that many consumers do not take the time to read a legal contract, especially when signing up for a website profile, they don’t know what’s happening to their information and then are surprised when they see ads that are targeted at their interests from likes on various social media sites.
Another way advertisements target consumers on social media is by allowing an easy login for other sites. Sites often now give the option to either set up an email login, or ‘Login with Facebook’/’Login with Google.’ These logins, especially with something like Facebook or Google, allow consumers to cross their platform advertisements and are one step closer to connecting all their consumer data. Each time a consumer logs in with Facebook a message is often prompt saying something like “This app will use this information” and the user is either picks allowed or cancel, but often they pick allowed then might be surprised when they see the same advertisement on four different sites. If someone starts searching something like learn Italian online, it won’t be long before their Facebook has advertisements of the top online Italian program. Advertisers pay huge money to promote on social media, especially the biggest one like Facebook. The future of internet law will be interesting as it is now something the crosses oceans, cultures, and nations. It may be something that it looked at by UN policies as a way of creating some universal laws while still allowing separate nations to govern their own digital media laws. Aside from advertising, social media can be a great place to actually network, build connections, and digital document one’s life.