There’s no way of escaping it: in the modern age, using social media is essential for marketing. With Instagram alone boasting over 800 million monthly active users and other social sites claiming statistics which are just as impressive, it’s clear that a critical mass of potential consumers is all over social. From the small business which can target adverts at those who live in a certain neighborhood to the major international corporations ready to announce a new product launch, almost every firm in the modern age needs to be on these platforms.
But how exactly can social media be used as a marketing tool? What’s the benefit of using a site like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get ahead in the marketing stakes? This article will explain some of the ways in which entrepreneurs around the globe and especially here in the US consider it essential to invest both time and cash in growing their profiles on social media.
Power of an Image
Comments about images, good or bad, are some of the most common made about social media. “Facebook is making people image-obsessed,” some might say. “Instagram is a great way to share images with your buddies,” others might say. But like it or not, there’s no way of avoiding the fact that social media is an image-focused environment in which the use of high-quality, targeted pictures can mean the difference between an engaging and a not-so-engaging profile. And with many profiles on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere now also using the power of video to strong effect, it’s clear that marketers have plenty of creative thinking to do in order to compete.
Luckily, though, it’s possible to do this even if you have a shoestring budget or a not-so-strong staff base. Take the question of decking out your Facebook page with good quality imagery. It’s actually easy to create Facebook cover video content without having to hire a professional video designer. And with plenty of copyright-free images also available across the web, it’s also the case that you can get hold of an image to suit almost every post’s context without too much trouble.
A move that many social media marketers are now opting for, meanwhile, is targeting. Paying for a post to be boosted in an advert-like manner may seem like anathema to an organization or business which prides itself on organic engagement with customers – but the two don’t have to be in conflict. In fact, it can be possible for non-boosted content to sit well alongside paid posts, provided that you strategically mix the two and don’t focus too heavily on one or the other. Boosting content is often also cost-effective. That’s because it allows you to target highly specific user groups based on demographics, interests and more – so it often represents a great return on investment.
Engagement with Users
In many ways, social media is now starting to mimic what would traditionally have been seen as customer service. Take the most common example. If a customer in the modern age has a problem with a product or service, they will often take to Twitter and reach out to the company concerned with details of the perceived problem. Whether it’s a transit provider with a late-running service or it’s a supermarket out of stock of popular products, almost all brands will need to deal with this sort of disgruntled e-customer from time to time – and will need to reply with a courteous response, often encouraging the conversation to move to a more private forum.
On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a marketing function but one of customer relationship management instead. But that’s not strictly true. Because social media sites are largely public forums, any customer service interaction in this space also has a marketing element. Being seen to respond in a positive way to a user’s complaint can create positive brand goodwill towards your firm and can lead to higher customer retention in the long term.
There are plenty of ways in which a brand can harness social media’s power and use it to their advantage. The methods used vary depending on the brand in question: from ensuring that user engagement in the context of complaints and problems is handled well to being certain that your image and video content quality is high, there’s no end of avenues to explore when it comes to making the most of social media.