What is Social Media? Why Is It Beneficial to Marketing?
Social media is such a complicated concept these days. With new apps springing up constantly and well-known apps stealing headlines, it’s overwhelming to really sit down and tease out what you need to know. Before you get too overwhelmed, we’ll look at the basics of social media, what it is, and why it’s so helpful for marketers.
What Is Social Media?
You can think of social media as content creation on a widely accessible platform. This content is ultimately posted to drive engagement and encourage sharing. So this might refer to a teenager sharing photos of a vacation to her friends or a company posting a new product demonstration.
Part of the reason why social media has been complex for many marketers to master is that options are endless. Not only do strategies have to change based on the customers you serve and the industry you’re in, but also the kind of platform you’re using. LinkedIn users might want longer content, while Facebook users want videos. Instagram users click off immediately if your photos aren’t perfect.
The Power of Viral Content
Every marketer wants their content to go viral, even if they know they’re up against the stiff competition. The good news is that the numbers are in your favor. Facebook has 1.6 billion users alone, or close to one in every four people on the planet.
If you don’t feel like you fit in on Facebook, there are 200 other platforms to consider. Some marketers will find that they only need their content to go viral within a small community. Their demographic may not be millions of people, but they have a strong base and enough brand recognition to make an impact.
A smaller or specialty platform can be precisely what you need to branch out and make your mark. This way, you don’t be swallowed up in the noise of the big names.
What Is It So Beneficial to Marketing?
The truth of the matter is that social media isn’t always beneficial to marketing. Without the right approach, your brand can get lost. You even run the risk of alienating the very customer you were trying to attract.
Used correctly, though, you’re engaging with customers instead of talking to them. You’re asking them to get involved in the conversation so they have a stronger connection to the product or service you offer. In a world of start-ups and powerhouses alike all trying to compete for attention, it’s easy to lose sight of what real loyalty looks like.
When a customer chooses your company based on your values rather than price or celebrity endorsement, the purchase becomes more meaningful on both sides of the equation. This kind of engagement is what social media marketing is ultimately trying to foster.
How to Get Started on Social Media
We recommend getting started on the most well-known platforms, at least at first. Yes, you can have more success on niche social media, but you should at least establish yourself on Facebook and Twitter before you think about moving on.
Your next step is to think about content and how you want to present that content to your audience. A TikTok post will be largely video-focused, but you can still introduce your company with words. Whether it’s a tweet on Twitter or a pin on Pinterest, you should have a focus behind anything that you post.
Context and Content
The context behind your content is said to be more important than the actual content. Twitter is known as a microblogging platform in that you’re limited to how much you can say. If you try to treat it like a regular blog, though, you’ll end up losing your audience quickly.
Hashtags can actually be a great way to jump in on trending topics, particularly if you’re in an industry that depends on the news to drive your business. For instance, financial companies can tag their content with the latest market news (e.g., #DOWFAIL, etc.) to promote interest in the business.
The Currency of Social Media
Shares are known as currency in social media because it’s the metric of your content. Are people interested in what your company has to say? Do they want to share it with a friend? Click-throughs are great; there’s no doubt about that. However, shares are a real way for you to understand your engagement on a deeper level.
Marketing Trends to Know
The most important thing to know about social media trends is that they can change at any time. This is frustrating to marketers who don’t have endless hours in a day to get their questions answered.
On a basic level, though, consider the effect of ad spends as a serious trend. Now that so many people are on these platforms, it’s encouraged companies to pay to promote. This has made it difficult for companies to grow organically.
This is not to say that you can’t grow your following without sponsoring a page for cash upfront, only that it’s less likely you’ll be able to now as opposed to 10 years ago.
Another trend is that technology is making it easier to merge different channels. For instance, you might have an e-commerce store that sends out reminders to customers who didn’t complete a purchase. Instead of sending that communication through email, you can instead use Facebook Messenger as a different or additional method. There’s also a merging of different kinds of marketing tools. For instance, MailChimp users can create Facebook ads from their MailChimp accounts.
Taking the Cake
There is a certain degree of experimentation across social media. However, there are ways that you can cut down on the time (and money) you spend trying to perfect your strategy. Stratgrow has helped countless companies refine their approach and improve their reach. We always aim for the quality of followers, not quantity. To get more people on board with your brand, contact us today to learn more about what we can do.