To most people, social media is a way to keep in touch with friends, to follow gossip, and keep up with events in a fairly light and frivolous manner. It’s seen as time off, something we log into for five minutes during a break from work in order to give our brains a rest. A virtual water cooler, social media is an arena for small talk, chat and banter: a place for sharing jokes, photos and sometimes our problems, hoping for advice or sympathy in return.
Find new avenues
For businesses, however, social media is nothing less than their number one marketing tool. We are now so saturated by advertising, both online and offline, that we hardly even notice it anymore. This means that marketing teams have to go that extra mile in order to do their job, or at the very least explore new avenues. Right now, social media is the marketing avenue of the moment.
The reason that social media is so effective for marketing is the fact that it represents a captive audience. As stated above, individuals go to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on in order to relax. But they stay because they worry about missing out if they leave, both on real world news and in-platform events, such as the latest meme craze.
Share great content
By sharing great content, brands can give people what they’re looking for on these platforms. Video ads are easy to make using online software and attract attention by featuring entertaining or useful content in their own right. A short film clip can be so much more than just an advert for your brand: it can be something that people will actually want to see, and which can set up a wealth of positive associations.
If these ads are correctly targeted, using analytic tools that only show your advertisements to social media users who fit particular demographic parameters defined by you, then this form of advertising is extremely cost-effective and has a remarkably high conversion rate.
Connect with people
Paid ads are only half the story when it comes to social media marketing. Giving your brand a presence enables you to make a more meaningful connection with the public, often on a one-to-one basis. You can give your business a human face and post content that helps to promote your brand but doesn’t cost you any money, just the time and effort you put in to interact with your community.
Community is the key word. If you can create a community around your brand then you are offering not just a product or a service, but a lifestyle. This is what creates genuine and long-lasting brand loyalty, based on a real connection between brand and consumer. The way to foster this is to listen and interact, not just promote.
Marketing is about building trust and giving value. Social media at its best is also about promoting those qualities. In the past, the local market was a place to go and meet people and hear the news, as well as to buy things. Social media now fulfils all these functions, and it’s up to all of us to work with it.