Social Media Marketing: The Future of Business?

The use of Social Media has grown rapidly over the past few years, with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter having 2.2 Billion and 328 Million users respectively. With the rise of Social Media, and the increase in these types of platforms that are available, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube, it makes sense that businesses would strive to move into this relatively new market, in order to promote their products. In turn these social media organisations have used this as an opportunity to monetize their platforms, with all the previously mentioned organisations offering add placements on their websites. Another way businesses are using social media as a mean of marketing is through endorsements, where celebrities, and ‘influencers’ who may appeal to a certain target market are provided with goods and services for free. The ‘influencers’ are paid to advertise the benefits of these goods or services to their ‘followers’, in a bid for these people to make the product popular among their target market.

Being able to have a constant communication with consumers, and access them at all times, is a major pull factor for companies considering and using Social Media marketing. The fact is, that a majority of people who frequently use the internet, also frequently use social media. If you’ve been on any social media, the chances are you’ve seen an advert or some promotional material somewhere down your feed. These advertisements are also likely to be relevant to you, your interests or your browsing history. With platforms such as Facebook tracking your interests and what you post online, as well as your ‘cookies’, it makes it extremely to have ‘tailor made’ advertisements that are more likely to appeal to you, sent straight to your devices.

With this in mind, traditional marketing strategies of magazine, radio and television advertising just isn’t enough in today’s world. While these traditional methods are not completely defunct, their audiences are shrinking as well as the fact that these large marketing campaigns, are in no sense, personalised to the customer. We have seen companies realise this with television marketing campaigns, as these campaigns have become more entertainment based, to grab your attention, rather then factual and explaining what the products or services that are being pushed have to offer to the consumer. For example, Evian’s famous baby advert:

Credit: Evian

As well as this, we can see more and more marketing campaigns using a fuse of traditional marketing methods and social media marketing. This enables the campaign to become more personal and interactive with the consumer, in turn leading to the consumer to feel valued by the organisation that is targeting them. Furthering on this, there is the potential for a no cost, and accessible line of communication to be built between the consumer and other consumers as well as the business. This interaction can help to build a community between consumers, who will help your organisation to find potential faults in your goods and provide direct feedback on popular features and what consumer would like to see your goods and services to provide in the future. If this process is done well, you’ll find that you will start to build valuable relationships with your customers and subsequently this will lead to a sense of brand loyalty and make it harder for you competitors to sway them into purchasing their goods over yours. As well as this, as this relationship between your customers and the brand grows, you may start to read their posts and gain an insight into the daily lives of your consumers. This inside knowledge may help you to come up with product and service ideas that may improve their lives, as well as engaging them in a way that would be seen as more of a friendship than a business relationship.

Social Media Marketing has also seen a rise due to it being cost effective and having a large audience in which you can easily find the target market your looking for. As well as this, social media marketing can allow for consumers to share your products and information about what your organisation has to offer online, and with their friends. In essence this is a further free method of marketing, and other consumers are more likely to trust a recommendation from one, or a number of their friends, over a company that might be seen as trying to push their goods onto you.

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Become ‘friends’ with your consumers, and not just another brand they use.

It seems that nowadays, when considering the purchase or use of any service, people are inclined to look it up online. With websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, even Google and Facebook, offering a rating service to almost all establishments and goods in the marketplace, it’s becoming ever more important for all organisations have an online presence. From personal experience, I know that if i’m looking to go out to a restaurant or need to buy a new product, the first thing I do is look it up on Google. Often it’s the case that those with the best reviews on Google or Facebook, are not just the companies that provide the best service, but also the companies that utilise social media marketing to publicise their organisation and communicate with their customers. So in the case that someone is disappointed with the product, or service they received the organisation in question can proactively, and are encouraged to seek to resolve the situation, in order for any negative reviews to be revoked, as well as trying to appease the customer so they may become a return customer and build a rapport with the organisation in question. As well as this if potential customers see that your brand is proactive in trying to ensure that consumers are happy with the service or product provide, and try to compensate for any negative experiences, people will be more inclined to use your brand as they see that consumer relationships are valued.

Another key factor that is leading to the success of social media marketing, is that people see websites such as Facebook or Twitter as social media networks, and not marketing platforms. This in turn means that if you are to post an advertisement on these websites people are going to be inclined to see it as less of an advert, and will be more likely to want to see what your organisation may be trying to say. This can lead to people being more inclined to clicking on any links you may post on your organisations social media, and this in turn can end up generating some serious traffic towards your organisations website, especially when you consider people ‘liking’ these posts and sharing them among their friends.

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Just a few examples of where you could build your online presence…

It estimated that 91% of brands are using 2, or more social media platforms to help market themselves. This is important, as if your competitors have sought the initiative to build themselves a presence on social media, and your organisation hasn’t, this could lead you fall behind. If this happens, catching up with them it will cost more, and take more time. As well as this, as previously mentioned Social Media Marketing can build loyalty between brands and their target market, and if your competitors have already been able to do this, it will become harder, especially as time passes, to win these consumers over to your side. Even if your organisation has little faith in social media marketing, the very little capital (if any) needed to set it up, is defiantly worth every penny if it can prevent your competitors from taking your customers through their own social media campaigns.

Social Media Marketing also enables for your brand or organisation to constantly be ‘in front’ of your target audience. This means that your brand will slowly be imprinted into the minds of those of which you target. In turn this will lead for your target audience to think about your brand when they are considering purchasing a certain good or service. As well as this the use of Social Media Marketing is easy and quick, this allows for your brand to provide a constant flow of promotions to your customers, that will appeal to them and provide them with incentives to purchase whatever it is that your brand has to offer.

With all of this in mind, as social media grows, and people continue to watch Netflix and fast forward through adverts, social media marketing is becoming an ever more important component of a successful marketing campaign. As more and more business realise this, and build their online presence on multiple platforms it’s never been more important to ensure your brand is up and running on social media so it can compete. This method of marketing is only becoming more popular, and since its free and has a potentially massive reach, it should not be a tool that is forgotten about, that is… if you wish for your brand to succeed.

Worth a Tweet?

Credit:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/yesmail-retail-brands-social-media-channels/

https://www.contentfac.com/9-reasons-social-media-marketing-should-top-your-to-do-list/

https://hbr.org/2016/03/branding-in-the-age-of-social-media

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