What is social media marketing
What is social media marketing?
In a world driven by social media, social media marketing can be defined in a variety of ways. Because of the many platforms and means to use it, this approach can be as comprehensive and as minute as any brand or company needs it to be. At its inception, social media marketing is a branch of digital marketing that takes advantage of the different social networks online to gain traffic for a site, deliver a message, engage an audience or build an image.
The landscape of social media these days has grown drastically. It’s no longer dominated by one or two networks, both with only a handful of people. Instead, there are now expansive platforms which are frequented by the masses and even specialized apps and communities that target specific niches. Both are extremely powerful in shaping consumer buying tendencies. These social sites enable brands to communicate through mixed media, like sarcastic tweets, viral videos and high quality photos.
A lot of people see social media as the next step to progressive human interactions. After all, it connects people who live 12 time zones apart in a matter of seconds. It’s become instinctive for a mom to post a photo of her baby walking for the first time or bloggers to talk about their favorite products. People’s need to share, connect and communicate with other people is now made easier and more accessible by social media. Instead of only sharing experiences with people you interact with every day, you can also share it with others who live far away, those you’ve just met and those you don’t even know. Social media bridges the distance of people, and allows them to fulfill their natural and human need to interact.
This shift is used by businesses to attain their own goals, like launch a product through a trendy viral photo on Instagram or constantly engage their customers by replying to comments on posts. Whatever the goal is, it has now become crucial for companies to know how to use social media for marketing. It has exponentially more reach than traditional media, and, in most cases, allows businesses a closer look at how consumers respond to whatever message they put out there.
The Most Popular and Effective Social Media Platforms
To be able to use social network marketing effectively, you need to have a good grasp of the sites that draw in the people that you want to see your marketing efforts. For some businesses, getting as many people aware of the brand or message is the goal, but, for others, they might prefer a more targeted audience. Listed below are social media platforms that your business could use in its marketing campaigns.
Arguably the most popular and accommodating site for social network marketing, Facebook has everything from free pages to paid ads. This platform is inclusive by nature, because almost everyone has an account, therefore if you want to reach a mass audience this is definitely one of the sites to go to. It currently has a total of 1.86 billion active users, and it’s still growing by 17 percent yearly.
Despite the amount of people already on board, very few feel left out because of Facebook’s group feature, allowing small communities with like preference or experiences to interact and build a relationship. For example, a number of fiction writers from Europe can make a group and invite as many other writers as they can, and they can share software they use to edit their work, how to get published and other topics that could benefit their community. There are also pages which fosters the same sense of community. Their users could be allowed to share content or comments on posts, increasing the engagement on the site.
There has always been a debate whether Facebook should be used as a tool to build brand image or generate sales directly from it. Some even aim to have both. Regardless of what the company’s goal is, the vibe of the page and the content that you put out should be balance between marketing products and engaging the audience. If the site is a little too heavy on product posts that do not gather as much interest, then you’re lessening the reach of your page. Make sure that whatever you post, you are able to elicit likes and comments from users because that’s how you make your page more relevant, much like how a typical search engine works.
Just last December 2016, Instagram announced that it has 600 million users. That is a huge pool of prospects that businesses are able to tap if they implement an effective social network marketing campaign on this platform. Unlike other sites, Instagram focuses on photos as the object of interaction for its users. Recently, Instagram also rolled out its “Stories” feature, which are short videos both individuals and businesses can use. It could have come at a better time, considering the shortest videos were either on Vine, which was recently shut down, and Snapchat, which is recently gaining a lot of popularity.
To fully take advantage of this site, you have to make sure that you at least have decent photos that users can talk about, especially because the site recently highlighted the value of engagement by filling your feeds only with photos from accounts you recently commented on or liked. What that means for businesses is that every post should be interesting or relevant to your audience.
Another approach to cracking the key to Instagram success is using influencers. This is the reason why a lot models make sure that they have a solid Instagram followers. Now, it’s also a medium for them to promote products. This is extremely effective for brands like Givenchy and Dior, partnering with popular bloggers who get thousands to millions of likes and comments per photo.
YouTube personalities and channels have the most dedicated and loyal fan base of all these social networking platforms. This site is the best place to upload and curate video content, no matter the topic. It has channels for almost any aspect of human life, from the basics like lifestyle
and cooking to the creative like music, fashion and art. There are even book review, motherhood, sex and prank channels.
The possibilities for businesses are endless. You could make your own channel and generate whatever content you deem fit. In doing so, make sure that you set realistic goals because not every video will go viral. Focus instead on gradually building a following, dedicated enough to share your videos or at least engage it through comments and likes. If making our own channel is not something you see benefiting your business, you can also try reaching out to influencers, like you would on Instagram.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows users to share their thoughts in 140 characters. In contrast to Facebook – which is all about community and addressing their needs, Twitter is more direct. What that means is if a business receives personal messages or replies to tweets, users more likely expect an explicit response from the brand.
That culture also extends to how businesses should curate tweets. They often have to be direct and engaging. The ideal scenario is you get users to reply and retweet your content to exponentially increase your reach. It’s also important to use hashtags strategically, but sparingly. Originally, they were a means of organizing content, so people can easily find particular topics, but now, you can also use that to direct your tweets towards content that will generate more engagement. For example, if users are talking about mental health awareness, you can devote one tweet to address that issue, and also show your followers which topics your brand cares about. Not only does that help enhance the brand’s image, but it can also get you new followers.
Using social media for marketing means familiarizing yourself with these sites and gauging which ones your consumers frequently visit. Apart from these platforms, you can also use Pinterest (to engage people who collate photos for their vision boards), LinkedIn (to reach out to users more professionally, considering this is a site that focuses on linking individuals from all areas of business) and Reddit (where viral content is often shared). Across all those though, you have to maintain strategic and relevant content that users will respond to. It has to be consistent with your brand’s image, and the goals that you have for that particular platform.