Mary Grace Copeland
Communication Studies at UNCW
Before starting college, I had the idea that I wanted to open my own photography business. I spent my first few years swimming at UNCW, so after my commitment to the swim team, I began researching majors at UNCW that offered, and from doing my research, I learned that studying photography is not an option. I wanted a major that would enhance entrepreneurship, marketing, and communication skills. All skills that would help me succeed in starting my own business and creating a successful brand. The Communication Studies Department stuck out as the best major to develop a broad variety of skills benefiting entrepreneurship. After taking the introductory courses of the COM major, I started focusing on the IMC concentration with the hope of learning how to successfully build a brand and market that brand on multiple social media platforms.
IMC and Social Media
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) has allowed me to build skills such as marketing through social media, creating a brand identity, rebranding, communicating, and the importance of consistency through a brand. Social media is the most effective way in today’s world to promote your brand or product to a large group of potential customers in a personal way. Since social media has drastically changed over the years and keeps evolving daily, marketing techniques via social media must be updated too. Unfortunately, modern marketers must conform to these social media advancements since it has become the primary way shoppers spread data on merchandise and services through these social platforms.
First, what is social media marketing? According to The Marketing Review, “social media marketing is a dialog between consumers, or audiences, or businesses, products, or services which funnels into a positive dialog between the explicit parties for the purpose of
learning from one another’s opinions and experience, ultimately benefiting both” (Rehman et al., 2022). Essentially, social media provides a gateway to communicating with your customers in a personal way, creating an increase in brand loyalty. To develop that steady customer connectivity and responsiveness, one must provide a clear understanding of brand opinions, cultivate timely responses or communication with customers, and manage insights via social media to see what areas are needed for improvement. Strategic IMC depends on promotional mixtures to create the IMC strategies through social media to help shape and showcase the brand identity, brand image, and company performance (Rehman et al., 2022).
Marketing through Social Media
When people look at my photography business, it is of the utmost importance that customers or interested parties see a consistent brand identity across my website and social media pages. When potential customers or clients need information, my pages include the same information over all platforms allowing each to direct them correctly. Social media plays a massive role in this, and since most marketing in today’s world takes place on social media apps, my advertisements and content must be consistent. However, social media usage should be focused on the consumer’s attitude towards it, focusing on social influence, compatibility, enjoyment, and usage behavior matching the company’s intentions. When creating content for my photography platforms, I aim to create content that will generate consumer or potential consumer interaction. The more a brand can make the customer feel like family and that we care about what they want, the more success you will see.
Regarding marketing my photography brand, I focus on sharing my work so my followers can see my editing style and give them an idea of what their photos could look like if they did a shoot. I also focus on gaining interactions with my current followers and using methods such as hashtags to reach others who are not following me yet. Those who find success through marketing on social media remain remarkably consistent in posting content, interacting with their followers, and having personal and quick customer service. Creating a positive experience for all of my customers is my biggest priority. I aim to get back in touch with those inquiring about a shoot as soon as possible. Also, in the rare times I have had customers dissatisfied, I try to offer a fast solution and do everything I can to make sure they feel heard and receive the product they love. There are many areas I need to improve regarding social media, especially my consistency, but I look forward to after graduation since I will have photography to focus solely on.
Overall, social media and marketing will be the most successful route for building and representing a brand. It is essential to learn how to utilize all the benefits on free platforms for brands to use. Social media and technology will constantly evolve and advance. So, when marketing for a brand, the methods brands use will also have to adapt and evolve. Social media creates a convenient way for brands to build these successful identities and personalities. It also allows people and brands to interact, allowing consumers to learn more about a brand and specific details that create a loyal and steady customer.
Rehman, S., Gulzar, R., & Aslam, W. (2022). Developing the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) through social … Developing the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) through Social Media (SM): The Modern Marketing Communication Approach. Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440221099936