WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
“Social media” refers to Internet-based communication outlets that create a real time dialogue between a business, individual or influencer and their community. As social media platforms enable anyone with an Internet device to connect to various communities, this gives businesses with web-based applications a unique and effective way of getting to know and serving their target market.
HOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING DIFFERENT FROM THE MORE TRADITIONAL FORMS OF MARKETING?
With traditional media and marketing outlets such as television, radio and print ads, a company can only broadcast out their messaging - it’s a one-way street with very little room for reactions, communications and engagement from their base of users or customers. Social media marketing provides a place for the customer to connect and engage with their favorite companies. Additionally, social media platforms used by both businesses and individuals (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc) are able to provide mass, real-time data on social media account holders and what they are posting about, liking and sharing. This makes it easier and much more cost effective for companies to directly target their specific audience vs a standard TV ad.
SO… WHAT IS EXACTLY SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?
Social media marketing refers to online advertising that utilises social media outlets to boost engagement and branding, build up influence and loyalty, and educate about a company’s valuable product or service.
Traditional ad strategies may still have some positive effects, but, without a social media marketing plan, a company will fall behind due to the loss in potential outreach, networking and customer interactions provided by the social media platforms used by most businesses today.
HOW DOES SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORK?
Social media marketing begins when a company joins social media platforms to initiate two-way interactions with their customers. In this system, followers of a company can easily communicate with the business and vice versa. The communities created using social media tend to be connected via a shared set of values and needs. Businesses using social media marketing have access to valuable data insights in multiple forms. For instance, user engagement is easily tracked on social media platforms and companies also have access to demographic information on their audience. Additionally, direct feedback from the community proves to be a valuable source of data for companies wanting to learn all they can about their customers. Feedback from the community can come in the form of likes or shares, poll responses, or participation in social media promotions, all of which provide additional sources of usable business data.
"I HAVE NEVER INVESTED IN ANY FORM OF DIGITAL MARKETING BEFORE, HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WILL BENEFIT MY BUSINESS AND THAT I WILL NOT JUST WASTE MONEY ON SOMETHING THAT IS NOT EVEN TANGIBLE?"
There are multiple, measurable benefits for business owners using a social media strategy. It gives them a direct line of communication between their company and their audience, which provides endless opportunities for engagement and education about a product or service. Most businesses these days spend thousands per month to have their social media presence monitored and a plan implemented to increase engagement, reputation management and branding. Strong social media strategies result in positive effects on sales by increasing your company’s exposure to a much wider audience than possible with legacy advertising. With the ultimate goal of converting users into customers, social media marketing gives businesses the optimal tool for connecting with and converting social media users into an engaged, educated customer base.
"I HAVE BEEN RUNNING THIS BUSINESS FOR YEARS AND I’VE ALWAYS BEEN DOING FINE, WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY NOW?"
It wasn’t too long ago when a business could just have a rarely updated Facebook page and it would be enough to grow engagement and bring in customers. Fast forward a decade or so, and we have 2 billion websites on the internet, 2.7 billion Facebook users, and hundreds of different social media platforms. All successful businesses now have a web presence and a strong social media strategy in place. With the Internet evolving so rapidly, it’s imperative that your social media content be up-to-date, relevant, and appealing to your audience. Remember the “out of sight, out of mind” rule of advertising and include long term, consistent social media activities to keep you ahead of the pack. Because if you're not publishing social media posts in your niche to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, you can be absolutely sure your competition is. In this age of lightning speed digital innovation, it’s survival of the fittest, and adapting to the latest social media trends while establishing a long-term media presence will help you stay on the cutting edge. Today is no time to stand still with your social media strategy; younger demographics are more tech savvy by the minute and they expect brands to connect with them in entertaining, informative ways that makes for an enjoyable customer journey. So let’s jump right in.