In todays’ virtual world, social media becomes an important link to connect people over the world. It allows exchange of information from one place to another with use of internet. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook etc. have the potential to reach wide audience. There are over 2.23 billion Facebook users, which includes more than 65 million business Facebook pages and 6 million advertisers. More than 1.9 billion people use YouTube and it is the second biggest social media platform. There are 1 billion Instagram users.
Nowadays, businesses are using social media for not only marketing of their products, but also for delivering products, customer services and creating brand loyalty. Social media is used by every concern whether multinational or SME.
Creating and maintaining brand image are the crucial functions of every concern. Marketers form various strategies and use various means to maintain the reputation of the business and their products. The recent means of creating a brand image is social media marketing. The aim of this discussion is to study the impact of social media on brand image.
BRAND IMAGE and IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BRAND IMAGE:
A brand is an identity associated with company or its products or services. It is the unique name, symbol, design or a combination of these or any other feature that identifies the products or services of a company. It differentiates the products from their competitors. Brand image is what and how a group of consumers perceives brand to be. It is the impression a product have on the customers. Brand image is formed by various features unique to the product related which may be related to quality, quantity or other such features.
Social media, nowadays, plays an important role in everyone’s life whether individuals or business. It has power to influence great number of people and create an impression about something or someone. Due to increasing number of social media users, companies started using social media as a tool of marketing. It advertises its products through online media. Whenever a brand uploads its products on any social media, it interacts with the customers. This helps them promote their products.
Social media impacts brand image both in positive and negative way. As we know, online advertisement of product is becoming popular. There are various blogs, pages on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram etc. where various products are promoted. There is communication between the product providers and the audience. The providers get reviews of their products and solve queries of the viewers.
BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO BRAND IMAGE:
- Through social media, people become aware of various brands. It creates more brand awareness in comparison to any other media as nearly half of the population over the world using social media. The main reason behind this is the low cost.
- A study from Trinity Mirror Solutions (U.K.) shows that most of the adults demands real proof of whether the brand keep its promises or not. For this, there is need to show the human side of brand, means what value does a product really provides, how it really works and satisfy the interests of customers. And, social media can do this.
- Social media provides the opportunity to create brand advocacy, which means to establish brand as a thought leader and gain the trust of customers.
- Social media is the only tool that can set the brand on the top of mind of a customer. According to Pew Research Center, people check social media multiple times in a day. There is repetition of advertisements on the top screen, every time a user log in.
- Social media posts are the way to derive traffic to your blog or website which is a great way to create brand image.
- Lead ads on social media provides a way for customers to show their interest in your product or brand.
- Ads on the top of Facebook page with an option of learn more about our product is an example of lead ads.
- Sharing of any link or video of a product by one user to another is the ultimate way to create brand image. It helps the product to go viral.
- Providing online services to the customer is a great way to earn brand loyalty.
DRAWBACKS OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO BRAND IMAGE:
Social media is a great platform to communicate something to the large audience. Whether this communication works positively or negatively depends upon the response of audience. A brand may come into crisis if the target audience gives negative reviews about the products. Social media is the platform where negative information spread at a faster pace and have potential to eliminate the product from the market.
Lack of proper information can have adverse effect on the brand image. There should be less control on the information shared by the brand. Non-accessibility can create negative image in the eyes of the customer.
A brand should take care of the statements released by it on social media. Any mistake on this part will be hard to rectify.
No doubt, social is a great way to aware the audience about a brand or product. However, there are some disadvantages also. It can help a brand to reach the top within a short span of time, if the audience accept it. Nevertheless, in the same manner any negative comment or review can diminish the image of a brand.
Therefore, a company should provide the clear picture of their product and its features and provide the same in real if it wants to create brand image through social media.