Today, the use of the internet, especially social media networks, is growing exponentially and has become a part of life. Originally social platforms were used for catching up with friends, finding jobs, news, and occasionally for buying stuff. However, marketers have since seen an opportunity to use it for brand marketing.
After realizing how much time people spend on those platforms, they use it for advertising and promoting the goods and services they offer. Many people embrace it because they no longer have to wait until they stumble on a newspaper to read a particular ad. And hence social media marketing was born. It grew, and it is still rapidly advancing. Today, there are over 3.2 billion social media users globally.
What is Social media marketing?
It is a process by which businesses achieve the promotion of their brand by sharing content online on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Why is it so essential to marketing?
Social networks have played a key role in marketing and helping businesses grow their brands. Some of the benefits that have made it so essential for marketing include:
- Utilizing social media in your PR efforts manages your brand reputation and fosters your relationship with influencer marketers;
- It increases brand awareness and recognition;
- It is economical;
- Increases inbound traffic and sales;
- It improves your search engine rankings on Google and other search engines;
- Social media enhances customer experience with your brand;
- You understand the behavior of your clients better.
How has social media changed marketing strategies?
Social media has been a tipping point in how business owners raise awareness about their brand. Below are ten ways social media changed marketing strategies.
1. Customer Support
Customer service aims at establishing a link between a business and its customers. Traditional methods of customer service such us emails and helpline calls can be time-consuming, and frustrating thus resulting in poor customer experience. Social media has facilitated this relationship by creating a direct line with your targeted audience.
The communication is now two-way traffic. Customers are can now interact with their favorite brands through quick questions and replies. They can express their opinions, threats, feedback, and complaints on a brand easily.
On the other hand, businesses can respond to their queries, offer apologies, and attempt to solve problems instantaneously. Sonia Bell, a marketing specialist in a healthcare company states that: “Customers would want to see if they would receive assistance when they face challenges.
Through social media, you can acknowledge even negative posts and humanely respond to users. Communication enables you to learn more about your customers’ needs, build brand awareness and win new customers. A study has revealed that the number of customers who are likely to recommend your company because of good customer experience is 71%”.
2. Brand Engagement
Social media and brand engagement are an inseparable pair. Social networks provide engagement strategies such as hashtags, private messaging, regular posting, etc. These keep your customers engaged while talking about your products, thus build brand engagement and awareness.
Social media provides both free and paid advertising opportunities. It is quite a change from previous ways of marketing. In the past, adverts could only be found in newspapers, TVs, and radios. With the limited media, the number of people reached was small. But with the advancement of social media, advertising has been made available to over 42 % of the world’s population.
Advertisements on social media have also evolved. For instance, paid ads on Facebook can refine the target audience and reach out to them during an ideal set time. Facebook can categorize its audience depending on gender, age, race, income, physical location, and employment. It can monitor the performance of various ads and optimize them for specific days. Facebook also offers brand monitoring services where you can create a detailed report on metrics such as conversions, link clicks, brand mentions, likes, shared post, etc.
4. Marketing Insights and Analytics
Previously, marketers could not detect data such as profile information, the online reviews, posts liked, information about customers, what drives them, etc. However, today, with the help of brand monitoring tools such as Mention and Google Alerts, you can listen to customers and know their thoughts.
You can also access data on customer habits and trends. You can create better ads when you understand what potential buyers want. Targeting specific individuals is now possible with data analytics on social platforms.
The product is only displayed to targeted individuals. This decreased size of the target makes marketing personal. Additionally, companies can now eliminate third-party market data since they can directly engage with social media users resulting in effective marketing campaigns.
5. Bypassing Gatekeepers
Social media has also eliminated the gatekeepers who existed between the brand and its customers in the past. Having a press release published or writing articles was always a complicated process.
There was a middle man or a professional PR who determined what was to be said or written or what message to deliver to the audience. This middle man could not provide real-time feedback or interaction with consumers. With social media, brands are more responsible, efficient, and have more control over the message they want to deliver.
6. Business Intelligence
The various social platforms are used to eliminate chances of trial and error while deciding on tactics and strategies of running a company successfully. You can learn what tactics made your competitors fail or succeed by monitoring their companies.
Social media can be a source of information about your competitors and their customers too. You could use that information to learn about the challenges that similar companies face and look for solutions for future purposes if the same problem occurred in your company.
7. Free Marketing
Social media has made it easy for your content to reach anybody you want by only making a click. This facilitates free marketing once you have a social media presence up and running. Your satisfied clients can share your posts with others or refer people to like or follow your page.
8. Increased Competition
In the past, your company was only competing against next door companies. But with the many people using social media networks globally, the number of rivals increased, and now you must stand out to every industry worldwide.
9. Viral Content
Today it is possible for millions of people to pick up a viral piece of content on social media instantly. This is an improvement to what happened in the past years where viral content only got into the hands of a few news stations. This development is a good thing, and companies are making considerable investments in their marketing budget to have their content in such viral circulation.
10. Video and Live Services
Today, organizations can attract customers with a wide variety of content options such as video, graphics, polls, live chat, demos, and many others. These options are created creatively to resonate with every segment. Statistics show that visual content on a site is more likely to be shared on social media for at least 40 times than other types of content. Keep in mind that people remember 80% of what they see.
The Future of Social Media in Brand Marketing
Like many other things, the future of the use of social media is unpredictable. However, one thing is for sure, social media is here to stay, and its usage will continue to grow and evolve significantly.
Instagram is expected to dominate social media come the year 2020. Also, the millennial generation is expected to get more disposable income, and there will be an increase in the number of social media platforms. It’s a ‘let’s wait and see’ situation, but it is clear social media will only keep changing our marketing strategies for the better.
Social media has its endless advantages on marketing, and now you can see the extent to which it has changed the way we market our brands. You should be on the lookout for the developments in the social media world, recognize and adapt to them to get ahead of the game in your marketing campaigns.
Have fun using social media for marketing your brand since your competitors are already doing it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with social media – More leads! More traffic! And more conversions!