The paper "Use of Social Networking Sites for Marketing in the Fast Food Industry" is a perfect example of a report on marketing. Marketing remains one of the most important functions of any business or company. It is the branch that is responsible for raising awareness of products and services of business among its target market (Marshall & Johnston, 2010). Marketing is also responsible for profiling the behavior of customers and tailoring products that suit them. As such, marketing is directly related to the volume of sales made by the business and ultimately the profit made.
However, marketing has continued to constantly change mainly due to the ever-evolving technology. Technological advancements could be viewed as a double-edged sword as far as marketing is concerned. The Internet and the world-wide-web have presented and continue to present excellent marketing opportunities for businesses. However, they also present considerable challenges largely due to their ever-changing nature. Thus, organizations and businesses should always strive to keep up with the pace so that their marketing strategies are not outdated. As a result, fundamental changes in the ways people interact in both the business world and the private sphere have occurred.
Online-based communication channels, such as e-mail, chatting applications, web blogs, and other internet forums have changed entire business process chains (Haythornthwaite, 2005). One of the most important technological developments is the invention of the web 2.0 standard. Web 2.0 is a term that refers to the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web (WWW) technology and web design which aim to improve information sharing; enhance creativity, collaboration, and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have resulted in the development and evolution of web-based hosted services and communities such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs video sharing sites, and folksonomies.
Although the term 2.0 gives a hint of a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to update or improvement to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways, software developers and end-users utilize the Web (Washington & Miller, 2010). According to Tim O'Reilly, “ Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and any attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. ” Social networking sites (SNS) in particular have had a profound effect by changing the nature and efficiency of communication processes in both business and private life (Misner, 1999).
A social network is defined as a social structure made of nodes (usually individuals or organizations), which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependencies such as visions, ideas, values, financial exchange, friendship, dislike, kinship, conflict or trade. The resulting graph-based structures are usually very complex (Washington & Miller, 2010).
Examples of social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, Nimbuzz, and Hi5. These sites offer would-be consumers an opportunity to interact among themselves by freely exchanging ideas and information that may be deemed relevant for the services or products offered by a given business. Facebook, for instance, has a feature that gives a business or an organization with a large following an opportunity to open a fan page where their fans, who are potentially their customers, interact with them. Not only are the fans able to gather information about the services and products offered but they are also able to share information and discuss the competitiveness of those products and services as far as value for money is concerned.
Twitter, on the other hand, gives prospective customers an opportunity to become followers of an account that is run by the business or organization where they can access information on new products and services offered.
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