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SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING CHANNEL

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53). It is also playing a key role in the overall community building. There are many types of social media that help people communicate with each other and develop business relationships. However, social media mainly refers to the social networking websites that play a dynamic role in the personal and professional lives of people. Some of the main business benefits of using social media include provision of an effective marketing platform, ability to reach large audiences, and improved customer service. In this paper, we will discuss the value of social networking websites for advertising, customer service, and as a community building tool. The paper will also include a discussion on the value of social media as an effective marketing tool. 2. Social Media as an Effective Marketing Channel Social networking websites are playing a valuable role as effective marketing channels for all types of companies whether large, small, or medium-sized (Kelly 2013). With the advent of the social media as an effective network for marketing and advertising, companies started using social networking websites for achieving better response, as well as to provide customer service through enhanced level of interaction with the customers of the company (Richardson, Gosnay and Carroll 2010, p. 58). The main goal of social media marketing is to ensure high participation of target audience in campaigns and content shared by the company (Rajarammohan 2012). It is imperative for a company y to know the needs and demands of the customers for the provision of best products and services. Managers use a range of tools to gather required information because without the information of customers’ requirements, it is not possible for a company to deliver customer value properly. Social media marketing helps managers and concerned employees in contacting the customers of the company directly to know their requirements and preferences. Today, many small and large companies form manufacturing and retail industries are focusing of the use social media marketing to customize their products in accordance with the customers’ preferences, as well as to deliver their message in a more effective and conventional way to the target audience. Social media marketing refers to marketing using social networking websites and other forms of social media (Weinberg 2009, p. 4). Gone are the days when people used to visit products’ dealers and companies personally to know the functionalities and specifications of their required products. Today, most of the people use internet and related media to get all information about the products that they want to buy. For example, the number of people using online portals and websites for shopping is increasing with every passing day. The reason is that they do not need to waste their precious time going to markets and collecting information about different products. Today, internet has become the biggest and the most convenient marketplace where trading occurs in the same way as it occurs traditionally. The role of internet in this regard is evident from the fact that some popular social media websites, such as, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook receive millions of clicks every day regarding product information (Rajarammohan 2012). The role of Youtube seems to be on the top in this regard as millions of people use this website to gather information about different products and services. For example, if a person aims to buy a new mobile phone of a particular company, he/she is most likely to open Youtube and see different videos related to that mobile phone. This is the reason why almost all major brands