Virality in social media context refers to the tendency of information to circulate from one internet user to several other internet users within the shortest time possible. Social media is a platform that promotes circulation of information and this is through sharing and reposts. More often than not, sensitive information posted on social whether written or pictorial has the potential to go viral (Ellison, 2007). Social networking sites like twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr among others provide for information sharing options. This functionality is indifferent to other media which makes it unique to social media.
Businesses find this aspect of social media very useful especially in terms of marketing. Today most businesses prefer viral marketing to traditional convenient marketing techniques. The possibility of a product to draw attention via social media is very high especially when it goes viral and this is good for business. Activists and non-profit organizations also have particular interest in the virality of social media. They use social media to spread information about pressing concerns and issues that affect the public.
This simply refers to the use of social media on social media devices such as smartphones and tablets. Today, people use mobile devises to access information on social media at their own comfort zones. There are social media applications that are installed in mobile devices to allow for communication and information access. In addition, other features are present in mobile devices such as location of user information, time of information access and delays. This is different to traditional media.
The most important factor in using social media on mobile devices is the immediacy with which information is exchanged between one social media user to another. Smartphones for examples allow for immediate notifications whenever posts are made or messages are sent via social networking sites. This aspect is unique to social media and it also fosters the virality aspect of social media because users can react to posts and messages as immediately as they get notifications via their mobile devices.
Whereas traditional media offers wide variety of opportunities to businesses in terms of marketing, social media has brought convenience in online marketing as well as online businesses. The time-location sensitivity aspect of social media has improved market research because businesses can now carry out market research on social media considering time and location aspects. Social media also allows for relationship development between the customer and the service provider because it encourages engagements, inquiries and response to critical questions about services and products of a business.
In addition, social media facilitates promotions and discounts. Businesses and companies are able to promote products and give discounts to specific users of their product at given timelines. For example, companies offering transport services can use social media as a marketing platform to promote their services and offer discounts to their customers at given times of the day or on specific days in a week. Regular checks on business online platforms bycustomers improve business relationships and customer loyalty because customers have access to information anytime.
Social networking refers to the use of social media platforms to share information and communicate. It involves the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram among others. People use social networking sites all over the world and communication via these platforms is highly advanced in the sense that it enables even the sharing of images and documents. Social networking sites allow people to create a virtual community where people can express themselves exchange ideas and information (Patridge, 2011).
Social media marketing
Today social media marketing is a common phenomenon. Companies and business create user platform from which they carry out marketing through advertisements, promotions etc. It is important to understand that social media marketing platforms have in-built data analytic tools that companies and business corporations use to carry out marketing research by tracking progress, customer-company engagement and following up on campaign adverts. For business and firms to optimize the use of social media for marketing, it is imperative that they allow for user-generated content and comments.