How To Effectively Utilize Social Media In Marketing
Social Media Marketing is a channel of digital marketing that makes use of popular social media apps like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn Twitter, Reddit, Blogs, and more to market and create brand awareness. It is one of the most cost-effective mediums to reach the target group and undertake business activities.
The power of social media is commendable as it allows a brand or business to reach a large number of audience within mere seconds of posting, thereby, helping them reach the potential audience at reduced costs.
Nowadays, digital marketing has become an open space that is available to all. Brands and businesses, or even people for personal purposes, can post their content or material online. It is advertising without boundaries. Nothing can be better than a social media network where most of the users spend a large chunk of their time, constantly making use of these social media applications be it day or night.
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As social media channels are open to all, it gives chance to businesses to follow their customers’ activities or potential buyers. This helps marketers be more informed about the likes, dislikes of their target audience so they can create better marketing strategies to attract customers.
Through social media marketing, it becomes easy to upload content that is relevant to the target group with a laser-sharp focus. Social media also makes use of an artificial algorithm that is based on the customer profile, searches location, and more — therefore the content is easily suggested to them on their social media platform. These social media channels help attract the right kind of customers using the right information at the right time and help showcase your product or brand to potential customers at the right times.
The conventional advertisements form of marketing was latent and laid back as it was static, it didn’t have a dynamic feedback mechanism which leads to slow conversion rates because it simply is targeted at the general masses, whereas on the digital platform using social media, the content can be uploaded instantaneously, it can engage directly with customers, can have quick feedback, can be focused to target customers and content being dynamic can be modified to suit as per the requirement and the feedback received.
In traditional marketing, the cost is more with slow effectiveness while social media marketing is comparatively less expensive but more effective. Through social media marketing customization for the target customer can be done in a focused manner, allowing the content to reach only the intended target audience or location. This is an advancement on the traditional print media which was always open to a general audience that diluted the awareness.
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Objectives of using Social media in Marketing for your Brand or Business
Social media has become a vital aspect of digital marketing, providing brands and businesses with the benefit of reaching millions of customers worldwide. Any business stepping into social media marketing as a channel can have the following objectives –
- Brand Awareness about your company or company products
- Cost-effectiveness of advertisement
- Engagement directly with the target customers
- Increase brand loyalty
- Increase the traffic to the website
- To increase the influence of your business or product on an audience
- To increase new leads which can later be converted to product sales/business sale
- Growth of sales leading to growth in profitability
- Customer support for your business and dynamic feedback mechanism
Enhance Brand Awareness
Social Media is considered one of the easier and most economical marketing platforms to increase your business visibility. By just starting your social media profiling and interacting over the platform increases your brand awareness. Spending just a few hours a week on the platform can provide a seemingly great enhancement of the visibility of your brand within no time.
Stepping into social media marketing is as easy as creating an account and signing up on all social networking platforms — all for free! Social media advertisement is one of the least expensive tools for marketing your business. The best thing about this digital media is the fact that it doesn’t require you to advertise frequently, you can grow as a page on social media by simply being consistent and posting interesting and reliable content periodically.
As an advertisement strategy, it is one of the most cost-effective ways. Even if you decide to opt for paid advertisements, there are options to start with small investments. We can easily view the return on investments as well as monitor the usage, feedback, virality of your content, the return on investment with the tools available.
Engaging With Customers
These platforms are very easy to engage directly with your customers. You can have direct conversations with potential buyers and groups or existing customers. This helps to establish a connection with the customers, making them feel more connected to the company.
It also helps not only in customer retention but also helps in the multiplier effect of increasing the customer base as they can easily share with their other user groups. This way your brand will reach larger audiences in real terms and it is easy to convey your brand message directly to the customer who has your attention and focus. Your customer will be able to know you and relate to your stories on a more personal level and this is exactly what you need as an entrepreneur in this digitally connected world.
Brand Loyalty Enhancement
As you engage directly with the customer/ audience, it is easy to connect with your brand. This helps in customer loyalty and retention. The bond that is created with the platform between the customer and the brand helps in increased loyal customer base and customer satisfaction. Brand enhancement is easy with this attentive customer base as with continued customer engagements and brand promotions /campaigns.
Healthier Customer Satisfaction
These platforms of social media are very helpful in creating a voice for your company as it plays a vital role in networking and communication. By observing the customer activities on these platforms, the company can find customer interest or opinion which you may not be able to find otherwise. When the company reply to any customer complaints or suggestions which are customized for them, it creates a healthy relationship of being heard or recognized by the customer.
Increase traffic to your website
Social media marketing is all about establishing your presence digitally and trying to get more audiences to view your brand or business profile. It has been observed that the more your presence is seen on the social media sites, the more traffic increases on the company website for understanding about the company and its services which leads to more conversations with a company representative and helps in creating more sale opportunities.
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Social Media in Marketing can be broadly classified into 3 groups –
- Social Publishing
- Social Networking
- Photo-Based Networking
There are social publishing sites like – Wikipedia, YouTube, Blogs, etc where the content is collaborative from various users. This form of content is limitless while this form of the platform is used across all age groups.
In social marketing platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. where users converse and content is created with the conversation. These platforms are used by almost all age groups but are mainly prevalent to professionals or homemakers, the audience more likely to invest in your brand or business. The objective of using these platforms for social media marketing is to connect with the maximum number of people.
In this form of social media marketing, platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc are utilized to establish a connection by making use of photos and images. This form of social media is very popular with a younger audience.
Choosing the right Social Media platform
Depending upon the nature of your business one can identify and select the social media platform that suits you more because every platform has a differential target audience. The target audience can be decided based upon factors like demographics, the purpose of your business, what is your goal one needs to engage the different types of social media. It has been observed that Business to Business marketing uses more Social Publishing and social networking sites while for Business to Customer interaction, photo-based networking is utilized more.
The total population of the world is roughly around 7.5 billion out of which 3.7 billion people make use of the internet. A decent 2.7 billion people use social media, 900 million in India alone. As per a study, the rough estimate of users between different types of social media available are as under –
- Facebook – 350 million
- Instagram – 80 million
- Tiktok – 120 million
- Youtube – 265 million
- Twitter – 80 million
- Pinterest – 2 million
Facebook is generally available across all age groups but is mainly being used by people between the age group of 18 to 55 years of which 60% are female. This platform seems to be best for building relationships and in a way, building brand loyalty but the downside is that it has limited reach based upon the friends and family with each user.
Twitter on the other hand has an age group between 18 to 35 years. This platform is mainly for news, articles, and conversations and is good for a public relationship. The downside is the article or news cannot be more than 140 characters
Pinterest seems to be more famous between the age group of 18 to 35 years of which 80% are female. This platform is mainly used for scrapbooking and best for lead generations for clothing, food, and art businesses. The limitation is – only graphics or images can be used.
YouTube cut across all age groups and is a very good search and information seeker in terms of “ How to …”. This platform is best for brand awareness and very useful for service industries.
LinkedIn is more useful for any kind of professional discussion or awareness. This is mainly popular between the age group of 30 to 50 and is a good tool for B2B business and business development.
Content in Social Media Marketing
The most significant aspect of social media marketing is content. The content you post must be enticeable for the audience, make them want to trust you as a brand or business. Relatable, short content helps acquire a good number of users to your profile, in turn converting them into buyers over time.
The content on social media can be divided into 2 types – Organic Content and Paid Content.
The content published on your business page which is posted by the company or user is free of cost and is open to all. It can reach and be seen by users who are following your profile or by people who get forwarded your content by other people. But over the years with an increase in the number of posts daily (as per one estimate there is around 3.4crore posts every day on Facebook), social media platforms edit the feed and show relevant content to the users, content wherein they have engaged in some way by liking or commenting.
The social media platform gives low preference to any content that has an external link; therefore that kind of content remains in the background or doesn’t easily pop up on your screen. With the advent of paid advertisements, priority is given to the advertisements or content which is paid.
With regards to the drawback of organic content as mentioned above, the social media platforms offer paid services to companies wherein advertisements or information will always be available on top-line and to the relevant audience who may have searched for any type of services or product in any kind of social media platform or search engine.
Using social media in marketing the right way
With a billion users on social media, the pressure is on brands and businesses to grab the attention of potential buyers. With a variety of posts on social media daily and with the increasing competition, it becomes critical to use social media effectively in marketing. Innovation is key to the content you post on your profile but at the same time, there are a few tried and tested techniques that will ensure you maximum conversion rates – and they all involve using social media effectively. Here is a basic foolproof method of marketing the right way and steps to make your social profile prone to marketing –
- Make your account professional – Don’t try to post any personal pictures or selfies on your business social media account.
- Ensure that the content is of high quality
- Graphics or images should be creative and have value-added for the user. As social media is all about more engagement so content or images should allow more and more users to get engaged or connected to your social site which will uplift your brand awareness
- There are multiple tools available for making the social media account more effective like –
- Tools for Graphics – Canva, Crello, Stencil, Snappa
- Tools for Video making- Animoto, Animaker, Adobe Premier Pro, etc
- Social media management – Buffer, Hootsuite, Social pilot, Monday
- Avoid irrelevant or unnecessary posts or comments
- Check your friends and family profiles which can be relevant for your business
- Connect with your profile directly and professionally and try to maintain good relations online as well as offline if possible.
- Don’t invite for business immediately but try to make a relationship by finding a common interest or platform for discussion.
The 7 Pillars of Social Media Marketing
1. Branded Channels
The business page is created on social media for reaching to the target customer. Its corporate communication channel wherein Corporate can undertake regular engagement with their target customers. For this purpose, business identity, or presence is created on social media like a Facebook business page, LinkedIn business page, Twitter profile for business, Instagram business page, etc. There is uniform information being passed on these different platforms customized slightly to target the different segment target audience of these platforms. There are methodologies of engaging customers through advertising campaigns, contests, etc, and algorithms to find out the growth in customer base, engagement, the virality of content, etc. Business owners need to be vigilant on social media networks and need to create an image of their brand such that it is the first thing that comes to customer mind when they think of certain products or services.
2. Closed communities
Closed groups are created by a business wherein the idea or business discussions are conversed or communicated to controlled groups in the platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. were the like-minded people participate on topics being introduced which are broad but leading to how to improve the business deliverable or product relating which can be served or improved by your business.
3. Influencer Outreach
Get associated with already well-known figures and personalities to experience your business product or idea so that they create content advertising your brand or business on their platforms. This will help to reach out to already well-established followers of these influencers and your business idea or product can reach their followers and friends by using their goodwill and image.
When you have a good brand or business idea but lack in social media you can join hands with someone who has a very large follower base due to their style of presentation or content. Here also these highly active social media evangelists can subtly talk about your brand or can keep your brand in their background which leaves a subtle impact on their followers.
5. Social Selling
Salespeople undertake the selling of business through any social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook etc. It has been observed 91% of B2B buyers are now active on social media. 84% of Senior executives use social media to support purchase decisions while social media significantly influences 75% of B2B buyers. Like individuals can message a particular client directly about their product and services through social media direct messaging or even advertisement can be posted on the social media platform directly for open to all which can reach or be seen by the users
6. Customer service
Nowadays with the customers being very active on social media, it becomes easier for them to contact a brand or business through social media platforms. As per one of the recent studies – 67% of the customers take to social media platforms to raise their concerns about a service or experience. These concerns or any experience of a particular service with the company product can impact the brand image of the company, so many companies ensure that they immediately respond to these types of customer complaints and grievances.
7. Know your competitor better
With most of the business profiles available online these days, it is a good method to know about your competitor and understand their brand strategies and how they engage with their audience and customers. This also helps to satisfy your customers’ queries in a better way as you can be prepared on the offerings of competitors and your product upselling proactively.
Social Media – Make you or Break you
Based upon the above information on social media marketing and its gamut of things it can do, it is clear that this is a very potent tool that can be effectively used to create a multiplier effect if used properly. Social media yields the power of turning a person into an overnight star or even a monster if not used properly. Here is a glimpse of a few recent examples that elaborate these points –
The rise of Sonu Sood as “Mashiah for Migrants”, a term given to him by social media. During the recent Covid pandemic, due to the unprecedented lockdown all across India, the migrant laborers mainly in big metro cities were left stranded on the streets. After viewing the pitiful pictures posted of the migrant workers, Sonu Sood, with the help of his friends, started a moment on Twitter and Facebook wherein he conceptualized the entire project of arranging for buses, finalizing the spots from where these laborers would be picked up and dropped, arranging for their food, etc.
Within a matter of a few weeks, this social media moment became the talk of the town. Many like-minded people got attached to this moment and because of this lakhs of migrant laborers could be transported back to their native places. Sonu Sood- who was just known as a character artist of movies suddenly became a big star not only in Mumbai but worldwide wherever Indians are there.
There are many such good and bad examples, but the point remains that because of the multiplier effect of forwarding or sharing the content, the idea, new content can either make or sometimes break you. Therefore, this media needs to be utilized delicately. As they say, with power comes responsibility. Though there are many regulations on print and other conventional media channels that are prevalent for ages but social media, as this is a new animal the framing of the checkpoints and regulations are being evolved as the understanding of issues and misuse are coming to light. The government across the globe is working with legal teams on how to make to not address the privacy issues as well as keep it open which is the genesis of social media.
But for brands and businesses, it remains, that social media marketing is an effective and critical tool of digital marketing. Effectively utilizing it can boost sales and reach tremendously, and at the end of the day, that is what we’re all in for.