Social media constitutes a diverse digital application of media and technology that makes information exchange possible so that users can configure and share digital content individually or in groups. In so doing, social media incorporates crowdsourcing and thoughts of the community in the so-called Web 2.0. Digital assets such as texts, pictures, audio data sets or videos are used as a means of communication . A further element of Web 2.0 is the collective creating, editing and sharing of content supported by interactive applications. The professors Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as:
… a group of Internet applications, that build upon the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and make the generation and exchange of user-generated content possible.
Corresponding to this is the view that social media supports the democratization of knowledge and information (example: Wikipedia) and offers users the chance to switch roles, changing from the consumer to the producer. The difference between the sender and recipient of a message is eliminated.
From Sender to Recipient
The sender recipient model of communication developed by Stuart Hall defines communication as the transmission of a message from a sender “A” to a recipient “B”. Sender and recipient must use the same coding and decoding methods in order for the message to be clearly understood. This one-sided relationship and dependence of the user on the sender are lifted in the social media environment. Theoretically, each person is simultaneously the sender and the recipient using texts, pictures, audio data sets or videos as a means of communication.
Increasing Corporate Interest
Interest in this new media has existed since the mid 1990′s. It wasn’t until recently that companies have actively utilized the economic potential of social media for marketing and distribution. Increasing interest, however, has not led to relevant market strategies and social media is not yet an integral element of the marketing mix.
Social Media Marketing as a New Discipline
SMM (social media marketing) is the newest discipline in online marketing. SMM is composed of essential marketing measures that have the main aim of implementing one or more of the following goals in the social media environment: increased traffic and reach, image cultivation, new customer acquisition, customer care, branding and reputation management.
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