A few years ago, you could dismiss social media as just a toy, offering limited benefits to brands outside the PR space. But now the evidence is stacking up against this hypothesis, as social media marketing becomes a serious focus of the discerning brand. We investigate the benefits, the potential, and the trends: you can make up your own mind.
Let’s start with the most obvious upsides. Small businesses are almost always at the mercy of budget constraints: few can afford a spot on primetime TV or a billboard at a busy intersection. Social media is the cost-effective alternative, offering the same kinds of advertising and exposure, just through different screens and platforms.
And with these new screens and platforms come even more benefits. The reason is simple yet significant: they are infinitely more mobile than traditional platforms. They can be shared to a consumer’s social connections with the click of a button, and carried around in a pocket on a smartphone. And unlike discussion of commercial around the water cooler, you can track this social activity through detailed analytics.
From value to tracking, we move on to targeting. Social media is largely an identity-building and -profiling tool for its users. They log everything from job promotions to relationship statuses, to education levels and favourite pastimes. This offers you a veritable wealth of information by which you can locate your target audience. What other advertising platform offers that kind of specificity and power? Not a billboard, that’s for sure.
Big Trends, Big Potential
Social media used to be a hangout space for the digital generation. But now it’s the primary source of news for 31% of millennials. And it’s not just millennials: 84% of Australians are social media users. Stemming from how millennials use social media– as an information update service as well as a social sharing tool– a powerful marketing force is born. So your content for social media marketing must be both informative and shareable. The rise of instant video is a trend we’ve been watching closely, not just because it makes for captivating content, but because it combines these two necessary elements. But it’s not just instant video – from media channels such as Facebook Live and Snapchat–that captures this spirit. Blog articles linked via social media also fit the bill, if you keep up a dynamic approach to writing them.
Another trend outside of content creation is the integration of social media and sales. Facebook now offers a complete integration with your online store. This effectively allows your consumers to purchase in the moment they are scrolling, increasing your potential for incidental purchases. Making the purchasing process slick and friction free is all part of the way that social media marketing is overtaking traditional advertising channels to claim its title as marketing’s favourite method.
The transition that marketing is undergoing is largely due to social media, and the monetisation models that have driven their development. The significance of this shift cannot be overstated. It’s time to take your brand to the social stratosphere. Are you ready?