The discipline of social media marketing has become a powerful force in modern business. A growing number of enterprises of all sizes have turned to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks to spread the word about their products and offerings.
The challenges and benefits of the practice are a lot more complex than digital ad space, however, and this article will take a deeper look into the field. If you’re running a business, or are simply curious to know sides of social media marketing that aren’t obvious at a glance, read on.
1. Social Media Marketing is Mass Communication
A lot of what social media marketing is carries over from traditional marketing. Businesses that market on social networks are still trying to connect with their audiences, win consumer trust, and position themselves as authoritative brands–just at a much larger scale, and for lower cost.
Mass communication takes on a new meaning when marketing on social platforms. Based on the latest tally of social media users, brands can reach out to 2.3 billion active Facebook users, 1.9 billion people on YouTube, 1 billion Instagram users, and around 330 million Twitter users.
This drastically larger scope has implications for the way businesses conduct their marketing. For instance, marketers are highly encouraged to divide their customer base into segments: groups of people who share certain intrinsic (ex. sex, age, location), financial (ex. socio-economic class, spending budget), or behavioral factors (ex. purchase habits, site journeys).
Social media marketing sets the stage for marketers to perfect the art of communicating with massive audiences, but the job doesn’t stop with spreading the word.
2. Social Media Marketing is Community-Building
Building a community around a business is a tremendous asset. It goes above and beyond customer loyalty when your market base is willing to adopt part of a business into their identities.
Today, social media marketing is about creating and maintaining such relationships with their target markets. The ultimate goal of the exercise is to form a social media community with and among your existing and potential patrons.
The benefits of forming a community are plenty. For one thing, a community is a valuable tool for gathering insights into your customers’ wants and needs. Likewise, a community can propel your reach to new heights if you can inspire them to invite more friends into the mix.
There are a number of approaches to this. You could take advantage of features like Facebook Groups, turn posts into chat rooms (“Comment below if…”), or even work community building into your offline activities.
3. Social Media Marketing is Direct Engagement
Unlike running a billboard ad or buying a primetime spot on TV, social media marketing is a two-way street. Thanks to live chat and public interactions happening in real time, your market base has a direct line to your representatives at any given hour of the day.
It’s important for any brand that wants to be active on social media to position itself as communicative and engaging. The best brands on social media develop unique voices, and use them frequently to keep their followers entertained and informed.
To achieve higher levels of social media engagement, we recommend crafting posts that appeal directly to the buyer personas you’re looking to court. Captions are powerful tools as well–use them to strike discussions and insert compelling calls to action for maximum effect.
4. Social Media Marketing is Precision Marketing
Audience targeting is one of social media marketing’s most attractive features. Gone are the days of fire-and-forget, when brands would aim to broadcast their ads to the largest possible samples of people in the hopes that their customers are among them.
Today, businesses engaged in social media marketing can take advantage of social media’s data obsession to send your ads to the perfect viewers. You can filter your audience based on vital characteristics (e.g. age, gender), location, profession, and even interests. From there, you can position your content to reach large numbers of people–all of whom could be likelier to make a purchase.
Couple this with the remarketing capabilities of most websites, and you can even target site visitors to loop them back into your funnels. It’s as simple as making sure your site is running the right tracking codes, then creating ads that fire to audiences who’ve either visited your site, or closely resemble the people who have.
5. Social Media Marketing is an Exercise in Creativity
To cap off this article, we have to stress that social media marketing is a challenging feat. It’s a creative exercise that demands you walk the fine line between adhering to trends and making a unique impression.
Bland content that fails to hit the mark can do more harm than good for your business’ position in the eyes of your market. Considering the sheer number of brands, organizations, and individual users who populate social media with content, it’s clear that there’s a lot of work to do in terms of standing out.
The best way to look at the task of producing creative content for social media is to pick an angle. More often than not, businesses opt to either inform or entertain: they can act as an authority on their product or service, or a source of captivating content that builds brand equity by forming positive associations.
Finally, take advantage of the myriad types of content that today’s social media platforms can manage. Find or create quality photos and videos to host on your feed, and consider playing around with features like stories and polls to keep things diverse.
Social media marketing is an invaluable tool for modern business. It’s a surefire way of getting more people acquainted with your brand’s most impressive features, and in the hands of the right team, it can even boost your sales over time.
If you’re planning to engage in marketing on social platforms, remember that it pays to work alongside an expert. Check out the Marketing Agency Network as your next stop in exploring the practice–there, you’ll find a collection of the world’s best digital marketing agencies, just waiting for you to reach out and touch base.