Social media is the biggest source of online referral traffic, with 31.24% share of the market – even larger than search engines (like Google, Bing and Yahoo) or paid traffic. This alone tells us that businesses should focus on implementing this branch of digital marketing into their marketing strategy. Alas, for most companies, their social media marketing strategy usually entails seemingly-abandoned platforms with the occasional tweets or posts about Christmas or New Year.
As of 2019, there are close to three billion people of social networks – don’t ignore them. Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Social media marketing is a wide-ranging promotional strategy designed to enhance brand recognition, develop personalised relationships with target audiences, and increase sales revenue using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. The strategy is meant to take advantage of modern society’s increased dependence and reliance on social networks for communication, buying decisions and information consumption.
Social media marketing is not meant to facilitate hard selling or direct marketing since customers have the ability to permanently block access to content or accounts they dislike. So, strategies must be tailored to get the target audience to ‘like’ the message or sender, and thus, voluntarily stay connected with companies.
The messages used can be in the form of a text post, images, videos and audios – there are no restrictions, really.
Owing to the communal nature of social media platforms, thought leaders and influencers have the disproportionate ability to sway opinions on products and services. As such, companies must also factor in influencers into their overarching strategy.
Social media marketing offers companies the opportunity to create relationships with their customers, and develop brand and product loyalties. This will eventually trigger organic customer acquisitions. The previously mentioned communal nature of social networks means a single acquisition can grow exponentially within a community of friends or individuals sharing the same interests. As a result, acquisitions can suddenly spike a hundredfold from a single source within a short window. The drop in acquisition costs has spurred many organisations to devote massive resources towards developing their social media presence.
Strong social also offers a great support option to customers. While social media teams cannot possibly cope with the high amount of customer complaints, they can help identify major or urgent issues – a heads up option for senior management. In some instances, the involvement of prominent social media personalities in complaints can also be escalated to supervisory staff to prevent minor issues from snowballing into a public relations nightmare.
Social media marketing offers organisations with the ability to tap into a vast cauldron of ever-listening, potential customers. Companies which fail to exploit this opportunity will be self-handicapping their ability to grow and compete. So start working on your engagement strategy right now and reap the benefits in a few minutes! Yes, things do move that fast online, grandpa.