Businesses and companies can use social media as a source of information. Blogs, content communities and online forums are platforms where social media users share information about products and services provided by various businesses. Such information is critical to the success of a business because it enables business to strategize on how to improve on their weakness and create products that are appealing to customers. Online platforms are strategic information hubs where marketers can tap and analyze views from customers and potential customers and this is useful in the redesign of products and services thereof (Zarrella, 2010).
Social media is therefore an inexpensive source of marketing intelligence. It is not expensive in the sense one only needs the internet to access these online forums, blogs and groups to extract information relevant to their businesses. For example, there is a time social media went abuzz with pictures of iPhone 6 and claims were raised that the hardware was weak and it is was possible to bend the phone by hand pressure and this was barely months to its rendition. Apple Company tapped the information and corrected the situation and promptly took a public relation stunt and informed the public that the company had sought several measures to ensure the device had strong hardware to withstand reasonable pressure.
Social media is mostly used by businesses and companies for public relations and marketing. However, it is possible to use social media as a communication channel to target specific audiences. Most often, businesses uses social media influencers and personalities to spread such information to their target audiences. Competitors of social media especially television can also be used to target specific customers, for example, displaying an advert during a football match means that the marketer is targeting football fans. Social media by extension can target niche markets even more precisely. Social media allows marketers to run adverts on a wide range of specific forums such as political forums, youth forums, women forums etc. As a result marketers are able to target specific audiences even more precisely and this is unique to social media.