03 Jul ‘So you get paid to sit on Facebook’- What is Social Media Marketing and how can it help you, personally and professionally
After spending many an awkward moment explaining to people exactly what I do, I thought I would try explain it here! Social Media Marketing is a wonderfully weird world that if used correctly, can be very powerful for both yourself or your brand. With social becoming the main communication tool across the internet, it is no wonder that Social Media Marketing has been making a lot of noise over the past few years. The facts back this up, digital advertising spend in the USA eclipsed TV advertising spend $72.09 billion to $71.29 billion last year (eMarketer, 2016).
So lets get right into it, what in the world is Social Media Marketing? After reviewing a few definitions, I thought this one summarised it the best: Refers to techniques that target social networks and applications to spread brand awareness or promote particular products. Now I know what you are thinking, ‘that’s a bit broad isn’t it?’ so lets dive a bit deeper. Just so I don’t bore you to death, lets keep it simple by breaking it down into 3 parts: Content Marketing, Communication and E-Commerce.
This perhaps is the most common side of social media marketing that you will have come across. This essentially is where brands will create content that catches the attention of potential consumers through different social media platforms. This is more of a indirect form of marketing in comparison of outbound marketing where you are pushing your products on to consumers like traditional TV advertising or press campaigns. This is a softer approach that allows you to gain valuable engagement and interaction with potential consumers by providing them with content. My favorite companies that utilise content marketing really well include Red Bull and GoPro as they focus on high quality content that really hits a chord with their target audience. Other more light-hearted companies such as Innocent and Paddy Power use content marketing to have a bit of fun with users and the comedy angle is very successful in the world of social.
Communicating with your customers and fans is another key area of social media marketing as it allows you to personify your brand and what you offer. The ability to create a two-way conversation between a brand and the consumer improves service levels greatly compared to traditional customer service techniques. Instead of waiting on hold for 45 minutes, you can get in touch with brands directly and they should get back to you in a timely manner. It also lets brands have fun with their customers by having conversations and some jokey banter and can even lead to viral exposure. You will have seen companies having exchanges with fans which end up being shared as it is content within its own right.
My recent personal favourite was from Wendy’s (American Fast Food Chain) when Twitter user @carterjwm asked the simple question ‘how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?’ and they immediately replied with the figure 18 million. What started off as a joke quickly went viral and a month later the tweet broke the record of the most retweets with 3.6 million retweets. Wendy’s gave in and said that being the most retweeted tweet was enough for the nugs as well as donating $100,000 to charity. What started off as a simple conversation between a user and a brand, quickly transpired into one of the most successful viral campaigns on social media giving them great exposure all for the cost of replying to a consumer.
For a long period of time, brands did not engage with social media marketing as they could not determine the exact ROI of the budget that they put in. As social media platforms (in particular Facebook and Instagram) have become more advanced, they have focused on driving traffic towards websites and getting consumers to purchase products. This allows you to monetise your social media following and partnering this with the ability to hyper target desired audiences, this makes for a powerful tool to increase sales online.
Social media also allows for greater creativity with advertising for e-Commerce and allows for a more interactive experience for the user rather than the more traditional forms of digital marketing. But e-commerce isn’t all about vanity, it provides detailed analysis of how people interacted with your advert as well as being able to show what users do after they click on your advert. Facebook’s Advertising Pixel can show brands the user’s actions on their site and how much they spent as a result of the social media placement making it a great way to see the exact ROI received from social.
Overall, there are a number of ways that brands can utilise social media marketing to compliment and ultimately bring success to the rest of the business. We have just scratched the surface of the wonderful world that is Social Media Marketing and hopefully I have been able to shed a bit of light on the topic. It is rapidly developing as an industry and brands are really starting to engage with social and our reaping the benefits by being early adopters. If you are looking for any advice on how your business could use social media then please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat.