Re-defining the role of the customer in social media marketing: A formula for success.
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Businesses today no longer have a choice as to whether they adopt SMM, it is now a strategic requirement (Constantinides, 2014, Qualman, 2013). Online social behaviour has transformed how people communicate and interact, creating new opportunities and challenges for businesses (Tiago and Veríssimo, 2014). Many companies are losing out as they do not understand the fundamentals of SMM and how they can be used to benefit business (Durkin and Mcgowan, 2013). The traditional marketing methods that were used to promote a business, launch a new product or target new customers are no longer sustainable today (Geho and Dangelo, 2012). SMM has changed the functions of traditional marketing which has led to a need to create new business models (Scheid, Vaillant and De Montaigu, 2012). The aim of this paper is to help service businesses to understand SMM and how it can benefit their business by proposing a customer-focused SMM model. The model is a practical guide to help business to allocate marketing resources in social media and lay the foundations for building a successful SMM strategy in the future. An analysis of the literature on SMM and social media for business form the basis of the paper. There is particular emphasis on the implications of social media adoption on marketing practice and the role of the customer in SMM (Castronovo and Huang, 2012, Erragcha and Romdhane, 2014, Labrecque, Vor Dem Esche, Mathwick, Novak and Hofacker, 2013, Paniagua and Sapena, 2014, Verheyden and Goeman, 2013). The practical implications of the research are to equip business owners/managers with an understanding of the fundamentals and benefits of SMM. The customer focused SMM model helps business to see where they need to focus their marketing efforts in order to build successful SMM strategies to compete in today’s dynamic digital marketplace.
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