It won’t be a cliche to state that we have used social media or are actively using media at some point in our lives. Maybe right now, you are furiously typing at your keypads to send comments, tag friends, post amazing pictures, stories or seek information about the latest fashion trends, best restaurants, new cosmetics, gadgets, you name it! With so much at the offer, have you ever wondered how the use of social media has drastically altered the traditional marketing landscape? Take a look at this article to understand the power of social media marketing.
Before we delve into the wide world of social media marketing, a brief discussion about marketing will help you understand why social media is the rising star in the marketing world today. It will also enable you to appreciate its importance for every business venture.
In layman’s terms, marketing is creating, promoting, and selling products or services via various methods like market research and advertising. It is an all-inclusive term that involves multiple processes- making products/services, communicating about them, delivering them, and providing offerings to customers or clients.
Experts have identified various people who perform marketing, such as affiliates who work on behalf of the company or professionals working within a company. A typical marketing setup would involve Neil Borden’s famous Four Ps principle- product, price, place, and promotion. We can understand the importance of identifying a product that fills a market gap or more generally satiates customer demands for an existing product. Since the latter case is more common, promotion, by extension advertising, gains paramount importance.
Promotion refers to a comprehensive marketing and communication system that informs a target audience about the product- its use, merits, service, brand, and characteristics. Of course, the fundamental aim is to attract potential users and possibly induce them to buy the product or service promoted compared to other products or services in the market. Promotion is an essential route to create loyalty towards a brand, generate sales, and establish a medium of communication with the target audience.
While promotions can be both free or paid, such as offering products as free samples or issuing press releases, advertising is a paid form.
This brief discussion will help you to understand how social media is carrying out the essential function of marketing, promotion, and advertising.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Twitter, or YouTube have emerged as the giant players in social media marketing. Please take a look at your phone now; be it YouTube or Facebook, you might be watching advertisements for Nykaa or H&M, or Nike. What initially began with relaying content on social media to drive relevant traffic to websites (blogs or e-commerce), has evolved to effectively communicate with users and engage with the target audience to drive sales.
At present, social media has also become a site and tool for conducting business. Burgeoning writers are now flocking to YouTube to gain hands-on knowledge of content writing or digital marketing or blogging or crafting. This example points out an important fact- social media boosts user engagement directly with an entrepreneur and their products or service.
That is only a tiny bit of the benefits social media can give to your venture. More generally, social media sites are the channels that announce to the world about you, your business (product or service) and generate an invaluable brand image, provided you work for it. But it already gives you the resources to begin your journey in reaching a wider audience. One cannot emphasize enough that social media permits you to build engagement, connection, and trust with your target audience.
And what else can one expect from it? Social media is the buzzword of popularity. Here, look at these numbers (that is if you have any doubts about its fame!). Harvard Business Review estimates that marketing budgets spent on social media “have increased from 13.3% in February 2020 to 23.2 %” which they calculate as a 74% lift. More importantly, they found that companies are gaining historical returns on their social media investments.
For a small business, to be present in an environment where 3.78 billion people are present is a wholesome opportunity to invest in drawing these many people’s attention.
What’s more? It is cost-effective compared to traditional advertising mediums. Small businesses can avail themselves of low-cost advertisement opportunities in social media. CPM (or cost per thousand impressions) is the measurement used to determine the amount of advertising currency one must spend to reach a thousand people. Given this metric, LYFE Marketing estimates that direct mail requires 57 USD to get a 1000 population, while television broadcast requires 28 USD, and social media requires merely 2.50 USD for the same number of people.
The social media revolution has brought diverse demography from ages 13+ to over 65+ years into their platforms. In India, around 230 million people of varying ages and backgrounds are active users of social media. The average age of the Indian population, which is 27.1 years, is invariably social media users. Imagine conversing with this vast audience and reading their thoughts, suggestions, answering their queries, and responding to their every little chat that mentions you. Social media allows you to engage with them without the need to cram your followers in a room.
Social media is so adaptable that you can avail yourself every opportunity to showcase your products or inform about your business, be it an E-commerce or a brick-and-mortar business. The power of social media marketing can give you the exposure required to become the authority figure in your domain and utilize it to promote your products or increase sales.
Talking about adaptability, did you know social media can also become your go-to customer service portal. One can assume customer feedback as a bedrock in improving any business which is almost always available on social media (like you find reviews in Google Play Store). The added advantage is that you can instantly respond to feedbacks or comments and up your customer service game by giving them the trust that you care about their experience.
If you are already someone investing in Email marketing; you can make them easily reachable to a broader audience by sharing the email newsletter on the social media sites you use. Websites like Facebook are an ideal place to start such campaigns to join a mailing list or an email newsletter.
Here are some suggestions for you while making your primary social media marketing strategy.
Choose the right platform.
There is a proverb “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Similarly, engaging in all social media platforms will create mediocre engagement with all the social media platforms you use.
Each of the above social media (and many more) mentioned has developed to suit different business models. LinkedIn is best suited for the Business to Business model, and Facebook is adaptable to both business-to-customer and business models. Therefore it becomes imperative to understand which social media sites suit your business model. This will tell you where you should invest your time, efforts, and resources. To know where your target population is located take a look at these factors-
Which medium has the most concentration of target customers? You can join groups and see usage data to find out about this.
Which medium is readily accessible to your target audience?
Which medium has the most active user engagement with advertisements in your domain? Though this will require some prerequisite testing.
If you are still confused, here is a way to find the right platform.
Suppose you are interested in social networking, connecting with family or friends, or different brands. In that case, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter can become your relevant and befitting platform to market your products. You can create a dedicated follower base with time and effort, and witness greater user engagement with your content and products. Since these sites already have a diverse and extensive user base, your marketing strategies like advertisements or hashtags will reach many people on the same day. You can also become a part of communities and share your thoughts, interests and most importantly engage in live discussions. Also, these sites can further furnish you with market research.
Suppose you have a flair for content revolving around images, illustrations, infographics, and gifographics. In that case, you might want to check out Instagram, Snapchat, or Imgur. You can utilize the power of images over a thousand words in expanding your business. You can employ creative marketing strategies like running a campaign to urge customers to capture a picture of your product for some form of reward or similar promotion acts.
If you are someone who understands the value of reviews or microblogs in our day-to-day lives, you can do incredible work in engaging with websites like Quora, or TripAdvisor (given your business is related to this domain). Like Facebook, social review sites have engaging followership, but they have an already composed community of like-minded people. This will make your task a lot easier to say create a group. With time, your dedicated user base would expand and involve themselves in promotion or marketing strategies. You can also gain tremendous understanding from the reviews posted, especially to understand what’s working and what requires improvement.
It is a golden goose for someone who aims to tap into the vast potentialities of video creation sites like YouTube or Vimeo. These sites will offer you dynamic and diverse communities to communicate with (say for studies, slow living, tiny houses, etc.) and establish a user base. Your products can find a niche place in the diverse fields present.
Blogging and discussions are long terms but lasting forms of promotion. While blogging is also a distinct marketing strategy, community blogging sites like Medium and Tumblr can improve your blogging experience as content can be re-updated, repurposed, and fresh content can find a committed reader base. You can also channel readers further towards your other content and products situated elsewhere. These sites will enable you with the voice to continue with your creative pursuits.
However, a cluster of social media sites is always the best option for marketing. The aim is always to avoid mediocre engagement with users, instead to build a dedicated relationship with the target audience to induce in them the motivation and reason to convert.
Create relevant content:
Content is always the holy grail while strategizing for marketing or advertising. Therefore, it has to be optimized to suit the unspoken or spoken demands of the users. Content can be anything that you post, either a vlog or an image, or a blog post but the smart way to target your desired audience would be contextualizing your content according to certain factors like, demography, the platform used, product features, etc. Say, if you are somebody who owns a handmade jewelry business, useful content would be striking pictures of your products instead of writing a 2000 words blog about it. Similarly, Instagram or Pinterest would be apt platforms for marketing (read promoting) your business in this case.
Social media is a handy tool for directly engaging with potential customers and listening to their opinion and an efficient tool for analyzing your business performance. Posting relevant content, engaging with followers, beginning conversations, and responding to queries is a compelling way of establishing effective communications. But having a social media presence would also allow you to analyze your business operations, such as user reach and engagement rate, as well as monitor sales via social media analytics tools.
Social media allows us to build trust with a user base, and engaging the user base can potentially transform into impactful consumers. More importantly, you can also engage with your competition to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Carving out relationships with an effective marketing plan will grant your business longevity.
Advertising is a paid form of promotion; hence it creates more impact in reaching a wider audience than merely your followers. Moreover, with the advancements in social media algorithms, you can even specify your desired target audience or create a selected category based on different factors to promote your business efficiently.
Social media marketing is a great way to polish your marketing strategy. If you are someone owning a business, social media is a powerful tool you can wield to get your desired marketing goals.
Contributed By- Teerna Mandal, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang
Our Social Media: