Should any social media strategy, no matter how well planned, take up 100% of a company’s marketing plan? Is it wise to rely on using these popular platforms alone? A little bit of backstory may help set the tone for the rest of this article.
The year 1997 marked the advent of social media. Andrew Weinreich unveiled Six Degrees, the first-ever social media platform. Weinreich’s invention enabled users to list their family, friends, and acquaintances on the website.
As time went on, other social media websites latched onto the trend, but no one anticipated that social media — which only served the purpose of connecting family and friends — would become an essential marketing tool for the world’s leading companies.
Today, as measured by revenue, the market size of the social media sites industry is a whopping $61.4 billion with 3.96 billion users worldwide. Given the massive reach of social media, it quite naturally emerged as a powerful tool to promote products and services.
The Appeal of Using Social Media as Your Only Marketing Tool
There is hardly any aspect of modern culture that has not been affected by social media. The advent of these online tools has changed multiple habits and routines. Today, people tend to spend a large chunk of their day surfing the various social media platforms. Companies trying to sell their products or services now capitalize on its growing influence.
Nowadays, if you want to let people know what you have to offer, social media is a must. What better place to get noticed than on platforms that entertain more than half the world?
Using social media to promote your products or services will benefit your business in more ways than you anticipate. Listed below are some of the most important ones.
1. A successful social media strategy creates buzz around your brand.
Social media will help you create a conversation centered around your brand through relevant content, paid ads, engagement, etc. This helps you leave a mark on the minds of consumers. There are various techniques you can use to create buzz. For example, a course marketing expert might leverage social media to create a buzz around a “groundbreaking course” and thereby attract more registrations.
2. Social listening helps you improve your brand.
Social listening is really nothing more than monitoring social media conversations. By leveraging social listening, you can better understand the behavior and perspective of your target audience. It equips you with knowledge of common issues, many of which you can resolve by reaching out.
3. Social media helps facilitate audience research.
Social media searches through keywords your target audience is likely to use. By gathering data from audience research, your business can intelligently tweak every aspect of your marketing strategy.
4. Brand mentions direct traffic to your website or blog.
One of the greatest benefits of social media marketing is that it can persuade audiences to visit your website or blog directly from social media platforms. Through social media, your website receives diverse inbound traffic, much of which you might not have captured otherwise.
5. Popular platforms offer a cost-effective channel.
Social media accounts are mostly free. You don’t typically have to pay to create your account or post relevant content. The only spending you might do is on paid ads to get an edge over your competitors. There are many other dollar-value benefits as well. Social media channels:
- allow you to share your knowledge with a broad audience base;
- help create brand awareness;
- give a personality to your brand;
- position you as a thought leader in your industry;
- drive more traffic to your website;
- increase audience connection and brand loyalty;
- improve your SEO; and
- allow you to interact and engage with your audience, developing an emotional connection with them.
Tips for Leveraging Social Media When Promoting Your Brand
Social media platforms offer you several opportunities to reach out to a diverse audience and promote your products or services. If you are well-versed with the right tactics of promoting your offerings on these massive platforms, you can win new audiences.
An engaged audience will accelerate the customer journey down the sales funnel, yielding previously unreachable business. All you need is to understand how to use these opportunities to your benefit. Here are some tips for using social media for marketing.
1. Use multiple platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most obvious places to start, but the list of platforms is endless. The growing number of social media platforms expands your chances of uncovering new business with each passing day.
One mistake that many people make is focusing their attention on one platform. Instead of creating a strategy targeting just one platform, use every relevant resource at your disposal. Create a flexible marketing strategy that can be molded according to the social media platforms you are using.
Take a planned approach. Start by listing the social media platforms that appeal to your target audience and then customize your campaigns accordingly.
2. Share valuable content.
Create valuable content for your social media campaigns and distribute it across multiple channels. Ensure that your content is relevant, engaging, and informative. It should be valuable enough that it compels audiences to move ahead with you by visiting your website.
Here are a few quick tips for creating meaningful content.
- Create content specific to your audience.
- Think of fun, creative titles.
- Use various media types such as images, audio, GIFs, videos, etc.
- Determine the ideal day and time to share your content.
- Create content that answers real questions asked by your audience.
3. Use paid ads.
Paid ads are a great way to engage more users and build up an audience base. Paid ads appear in the news feeds of potential customers with other posts and deliver your message to a broader audience. They should be a line item in any social media strategy. Moreover, you can track each campaign and then optimize as needed to enhance audience targeting and conversion rates.
4. Use promotions and reward programs.
Lucrative discounts and reward programs always entice an audience. By offering promotions to your followers, you cement their loyalty while also encouraging others to jump aboard the same bandwagon.
5. Interact with your audience.
Implement a chatbot. Reply to comments and actively participate in discussions. The idea is to interact with your audience on a more personal level.
Audiences should sense that they are interacting with a living, responsive entity behind the brand name. This gives them a feeling that they will be heard, replied to, and catered to promptly.
Should you use marketing channels other than social media?
The biggest question many new businesses have is whether or not to promote products or services using social media alone.
Expert comments, lived-out experience, and general opinion suggest that while social media marketing has become an undeniably powerful tool to market your brand, focusing solely on social media will limit your audience reach. You can miss out on a huge audience that does not use social media and even if those numbers might not be big, missing a fraction of it is still lost revenue.
A 360-degree digital marketing strategy entails using online and offline means to expand your target audience. It uses a wide variety of channels — TV, online advertising, mobile advertising, email marketing, SMS, Google Ads, etc. — to help spread the word about your brand.
Your best bet will be a mixture of the old and the new.
Social media marketing is undoubtedly a strong marketing tool, but the ideal way of going about promoting products and services is to never rely on one channel. A marketing plan created by bringing together online, offline, and social media marketing will work best for the vast majority of businesses.