Much like humans crave food, we also crave connection. This explains why social media took everyone by storm over the last couple of decades. It might be an understatement to say humans are addicted to social media—as of 2019, the stats show a staggering number of 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and these users spend an average of three hours per day on their favorite sites.
Initially social media was used only for updating family and friends about life events, reuniting with high school buddies, or even meeting new ones. Then brands slowly started using social media for their marketing campaigns and began to captivate their audience. The brand that pioneered this practice was McDonald's with their "Big Mac Chant" back in 2008. (Refer the below image for example)
According to Social Media Examiner, about 96% of marketers are currently participating in social media marketing, but 85% of participants aren't sure which tools are the best to use. Today we'll take you through how your brand can benefit from social media marketing.
Create brand awareness
People can't become your customers if they don't know about your business. Social media increases your visibility among potential customers. Implementing a social media strategy will greatly increase your brand recognition since you will be engaging with a broad audience of consumers, and it helps you reach a wide audience with a solid social media content strategy.
Social media can be a crowded space, and audiences can be easily overwhelmed by other brands who are trying to create noise and promote themselves. There are specific social media content types that are considered the most engaging and the best at standing out in a news feed, such as written articles, videos, images, offers/promotions, infographics, polls, and webinars. For this original content to be its most effective, though, it should intersect with quality design.
Brand awareness has different avenues to success depending upon the business—yours may include targeting new customers to your brand, increasing your local store footfalls/walk-ins, or sometimes the audience for your business will be present on a specific social media platform. It'll be up to you to determine which is the best fit for your business so you can create your brand awareness campaign accordingly.
In December 2019, Spotify created a personalized online page for each of its listeners. The campaign showed people their most listened to songs, favorite artists, and most popular genres. As a result, people around the world shared screenshots of their personalized listening reports. This helped Spotify achieve a massive gain in brand awareness simply because people wanted to learn something about themselves and then share it with friends. Spotify understood this and met a desire their audience didn't even realize they had.
Image courtesy: Spotify
Build online reputation
If you're a brand with a plain, dry, corporate-style tone when publishing your social media posts, it's unlikely you'll get the results you want. Most audiences on social media aren't interested in brands that have a boring voice. They get advertising directed at them constantly elsewhere in the world—on social media, they want to be engaged.
You can gauge your audience's tone through social listening. It helps you understand what's important to them and identify their trends so you can create content that's relevant and engaging for them. For instance, take a look at Burger King on twitter—they try to blend in with all kinds of audiences with a quirky tone.
It's important to recognize that it took them time to identify their brand tone—it didn't happen overnight. Now look at the following they have on their social space—almost two million users. Practice getting your tone right and remember that the audience wants to see real people behind your social profiles.
Generate inbound traffic
Social media is a melting pot of different types of people with varying backgrounds and behaviors. For brands that want to boost their website traffic, promoting or sharing interesting content on social media is a great value addition for generating inbound traffic. Syndicating this content across as many social platforms as possible allows users to visit your website organically.
For instance, perhaps someone in an older demographic of consumers will search for your website using a particular keyword on Facebook, but a millennial could begin their search by using a different social media platform, because they search for products totally differently. By marketing on multiple social media platforms, you can effectively redirect a variety of versatile audiences to your website and create quality inbound traffic. To be successful at inbound marketing on social media, you need to create and share interesting content that is valuable to your audience. It's also a good brand-building exercise for your business as you strive to become a market leader.
Engage with your existing audience
One of the crucial benefits of social media marketing is keeping your brand health intact. Social media is a great space to captivate a new audience, but it's equally important to engage with your existing audience and understand what they think about your brand. Audience engagement is where feedback and pointers come in directly.
There are plenty of ways to engage with your audience beyond just comments and likes. In fact, a new method known as conversational marketing is considered one of the most effective ways to establish a personal connection with the audience. Instagram acts as a great platform for this—audiences can develop a personal connection with your brand through behind-the-scenes Instagram stories such as tours of your office or product warehouses. Basically, the audience prefers when brands are humanized, and over the years, many top brands have opted for this approach, which has become popular among their audience.
One brand that's great at engaging their audience through social media-specific content is AirBnb. Their Twitter handle is less whimsical and more witty, catering to millennial slang, whereas their Instagram handle looks like a traveler's diary, filled with dream destinations and user-generated content from guests who stay at AirBnBs.
Improve search rankings
Social media is a great catalyst for outbound traffic to your website, resulting in better search ranking. Search engine optimization (SEO) is significant for achieving higher page rankings and obtaining traffic to your business website, and it can be achieved with smart social media practices. Being able to rank in the top positions for your keywords will revolutionize your traffic and continue to generate positive results for your business as everyone uses Google to search for information. Content like infographics, blogs, journal articles, business information, and case studies will make your social media profile look credible and will intrigue the audience. This quality content will be shared by audiences and will also enable business leaders to write and link back to you, resulting in improved search rankings.
Overlooked benefits of social media
There are still some critics who don't see the benefits of social media from a business perspective. They think it won't result in better ROI, but measuring your ROI from social media can be difficult when compared with more straightforward marketing channels. They tend to be in the minority though, as the majority understand the benefits of social media marketing outweigh any drawbacks. While you may not be able to directly measure ROI with social media, here are a few overlooked benefits that can be useful from a business perspective:
Comprehensive Competitive Analysis — Keeping track of your competitors is one of the major benefits of social media marketing. This helps you uncover more opportunities to explore a new lane in terms of content and advertising that your competitors lack.
Appeal to younger customers — It's high time brands need to adapt to a younger audience that has grown up with social media. Brands have to cater to their needs and speak in their slang to connect with this younger demographic. They have to optimize their content strategy while keeping in mind the growing popularity of user-generated content, stories, and influencers.
The ability to uncover trends in real time — Everything you want to know is all out there, as social media's transparent nature helps everyone see the conversation between the brand and their customers. The shared contents of your audience helps your brand keep up with trends. You have to let social listening do the trick and tap into those through social conversations.
Brands should assess the importance of social media and the benefits they gain from marketing this way. The impact varies from brand to brand, but to be a market leader, you need to think ahead with a brand vision in mind.
What do you see as the benefits of social media marketing? Drop your comments below and let's get conversational!