There was a time not many decades back when there was a vast divide between brands and customers. There were very few ways for customers to reach brands, share their experiences or grievances. Only a diligent few customers ever bothered to write or call customer service. Businesses, on the other hand, had their dedicated marketing agencies for studying customer preferences and creating effective campaigns. Advertisements were produced and circulated on different mediums such as radio, print and television.
In terms of customer relationship things have vastly changed today. There no longer exists this divide. One isn’t bigger than the other anymore. Social media has played a huge role in bridging this divide. Today customers can share their grievances and directly communicate with brands on social media platforms. Brands too are using social media to not only communicate their messages but also to connect with them in real time.
Social media marketing is no longer something businesses can ignore. In today’s world it is undoubtedly one of the most powerful ways for businesses to reach customers. Interacting with customers directly has almost become a benchmark for business legitimacy today. If you are not interacting with your customers, you will be perceived as a brand that doesn’t respect or value them.
There are many social media platforms today – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest being the most popular ones. Branding and communicating on social media platforms isn’t easy. You need to have a deep understanding on who your audiences are and what their preferences are. Moreover it is equally important to understand how one social media trends is different from another (and each is different!). It is equally important to understand which platform can you best use to connect with your audience? What are the benefits of SMM? We shall be discussing all this today.
How to Choose Platforms for Social Media Marketing?
Every social media platform was built with a different idea. Each continues to target audiences differently. Each has their own reach. So to think that social media marketing should be one and the same across platforms is wrong.
- Different platforms demand different types of content. For example, you will need an appropriate, eye-catching image along with a caption that is concise but informative if you want to post on Instagram. On the other hand, for Facebook, you can have a text-rich content, but make it interactive by including polls. For YouTube, you must have a video content that is of superior quality, has a strong message and can hold one’s attention for long.
- People use different social media platforms for different purposes. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform mostly use to connect with employees and employers. It is a good medium for B2B marketing.
When you choose a platform, you have to keep in mind the purpose and reach of the platform. For B2B marketing LinkedIn is ideal while small businesses rely heavily on Instagram to reach millennial audiences. How you choose a platform will depend on what your message is and who you are targeting.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Why should you go for social media marketing? You should ask your team this before you go forward. Some of the benefits of SMM are –
- Creates Brand Awareness – One of the most important goals of marketing is brand awareness and recognition. Social media has made it quite easy to create a buzz and to become popular. It is far easier to reach targeted audiences on social media than it is using traditional media.
- Help Generate Conversation – Social media has made it very easy for audiences and customers to reach brands and vice versa. Social media banter is also quite effective in interacting with audiences. People like it when brands converse with each other.
- You Can Tell Your Story – People like to know how you started your business. It always makes for an interesting read. Since sharing posts is very popular on social media, an inspiring story will always be shared. It will help expand your reach.
- Helps To Gather Data – Businesses should always have a tap on their audiences. Understanding demography helps in creating new marketing strategies. Social media helps in collecting data of your audiences. You can also study keywords, effectiveness of hashtags used and more. Most platforms will provide you with insights and reach.
- Best Customer Service Platform – It has become almost a standard for brands to acknowledge customer complaints on social media platforms and solve problems immediately. Efficient customer service is one of the cornerstones of a great brand.
- Helps in Building a Loyal Audience Base – Brand loyalty has to be earned the hard way. Though social media helps in reaching audiences far more easily, effective marketing is the only way you can retain them. But once you are able to do so, you can be sure that your customers are staying with you. Those who follow you on social media are more likely to buy your products and services, and in all likelihood will choose you above your competition.
How To Create Your Social Media Strategy
There are several things you must keep in mind in order to create an effective social media strategy.
- Content can be graphic, video, text or image rich. You must determine what works best for you.
- The tone you want to use to connect with your audience.
- The topics that will best resonate with your audience.
- You must have a firm grasp on how your target consumes content. Is their attention span fleeting or are they in for lengthy reads?
Social media marketing can only be effective if your content is strong, you use the right keywords and effective hashtags. Most importantly, you must be able to engage with your audience. You cannot maintain a top-heavy approach on social media. Remember everyone is equal here. Public bashing can harm your brand while praises can help you reach new targets. In today’s world it has become imperative that you use social media to effectively market your business. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Start today.