Today, the role of social media platforms goes far beyond exchanging messages with friends. Social media marketing of SMM has become a dedicated online strategy for businesses. With the rising internet usage and increasing smartphone penetration, marketers cannot risk overlooking how social media works to connect with their target audience.
Not only this, but SMM is also a type of digital marketing technique that helps you build your brand, boost website traffic, nurture customer relationships, and drive more sales.
Over the last decade, social media has solidified into a thriving global community with more than 3.5 billion active users, who spend an average of three hours per day on digital platforms. It has thus become imperative for businesses to understand how social media marketing works and how it can drive profitability and growth. If you want to get more expertise on social media, check out our digital marketing programs from top universities.
Learn more: Why and How Should Businesses Use Social Media?
Social media’s power in the digital age
According to Global Web Index, 54% of internet browsers use social media to research products. Online networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. are seeing an upward trend in terms of their reach impact.
Hence, more and more businesses are looking to have a prominent digital presence and riding the wave of social media marketing. Brands usually look for positive reviews and recommendations from their buyers as people tend to trust others’ personal experience rather than a regular display advertisement.
As even small towns get more digitally equipped, social media presents a financially savvy way of reaching mass audiences. A study conducted by Buffer in 2019 confirms that it is a worthwhile endeavor. It reveals that 73% of marketers consider their social media marketing efforts to be useful, practical, and effective for their business.
Across different industry sectors, companies and startups are investing in digital marketing activities and implementing social media strategies. They are on the lookout for people who can devise and execute these procedures. And academic institutions are incorporating social media as a part of the business management curriculum and also offering digital marketing courses to suit the industry needs.
For your convenience, we have provided a comprehensive overview of how social media works, its benefits, and the latest developments below. Read on to know more!
How social media marketing works
- Market Research: Collecting relevant data to solve marketing challenges in the digital age is a breeze as compared to the traditional methods. Social media allows you to understand customer demand, stay updated about the buying trends, analyze the market condition, and also analyze your competitors’ efforts.
- Discovery: Identifying and unlocking new opportunities is easy in the real-time world of social media. You can find new ways to connect with your target audience, generate leads, nurture them, and provide customer support.
- Formulate a strategy: Depending on your business objectives, you can prioritize these opportunities and develop a clear social media strategy. Various online tools have also cropped up to help you manage your digital marketing efforts.
- Final review: On social media, you receive instantaneous feedback and reports on your campaigns. And accordingly, you can improvise your digital marketing strategy.
Read more: Future of Social Media Marketing in India
Advantages of using SMM
1. The digital world is borderless by its very definition. With social media marketing, you get access to the global market and engage more than just your local, regional, and national audiences.
2. In a highly competitive business environment, it becomes difficult to stand out. And social media helps you increase your visibility, develop a dedicated follower base, and promote your products to them with ease.
3. Cost-effectiveness is one of the most significant benefits of using social media marketing. Digital marketing is super affordable when compared to the thousands and lakhs of rupees brands spend on print articles, billboards, and television real estate. The average cost of creating a Facebook ad is around ₹40 per day.
4. The diversity of social media users is another positive factor. While millennials continue to occupy the top spot, the online engagement of older generations has also picked up. Emarketer provides an interesting breakdown of active social media users – 90.4% millennials (25-39 years), 77.5% of Gen X (40-54 years), and 48.2% of Baby Boomers (55-75 years). Even the Gen Z population (Under 25 years) constitutes a significant portion of social media users. However, their preferred forms of online interaction may be different from other demographics.
5. Social media marketing can prove to be a beneficial tool for bringing more visitors to your company website. If you provide high-quality and relevant content to your audience and potential customers, you can generate more organic traffic without paying extra for digital ads.
6. Since social networking sites open doors for personalized interactions, tasks like solving queries and getting feedback tend to become untroublesome. You can provide enhanced customer support and improve service quality, leading to meaningful customer relationships and brand loyalty.
7. Your social media footprint tells a lot about your brand to a potential customer. And if utilized properly, your social media engagements can bring in word-of-mouth publicity. Compelling content can get you additional ‘shares,’ while positive customer experiences can secure personal recommendations about your business, product, or service to friends and family.
8. Social media posts can be immensely helpful in sending your targets directly to your blog or website. Besides this direct referral method, SMM can also have an indirect impact on your site’s SEO. Internet search engines like Google and Bing often show social media posts with high engagements in search results, assisting in link building.
9. It is now possible for brands to observe and monitor the conversations and interactions of their target audience and customize their social media content strategy accordingly. This is known as ‘social listening.’ Businesses can use social media to identify the language and tone of their targets, notice the trends they are following, and try to get an idea about what kind of content interests them and gets them talking. After this, creating a strategy to cater to these points. The timing of a post is also crucial in the online world, especially when you are posting about topical issues to create a conversation around your brand.
10. Finally, social media marketing helps you achieve your business goals by attracting new customers, retaining existing customers, increasing sales, and earning profit.
Current and upcoming trends in Social Media Marketing
Technology keeps on evolving and shaping the world. The world of social media is not new to changes either. The features provided by online platforms have to adapt to the lifestyle, habits, and preferences of consumers. So, here’s a roundup on all the popular phenomena in social media marketing that you should keep up with.
Increasing video content: Video advertising has established a solid foothold in terms of engagement, be it in the form of Facebook content, Instagram stories, six-second Twitter ads, or YouTube in-stream ads. Social Media Today estimates that video content will constitute 82% of all online traffic in 2020.
Rise of social media management tools: Online software applications and automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts on multiple platforms, integrate your efforts, and also analyze the results.
The arrival of social commerce: Social media offers a unique way of engaging with potential customers at their level. Business transactions can be facilitated with a Facebook store, an Instagram storefronts, or merely a shoppable online post. Brands have realized that social commerce offers a unique retail avenue with pro-selling features at par with offline stores and websites.
Soaring influencer marketing: Modern-day consumers prefer user-generated content over business-generated content. Moreover, hearing about another person’s corroboration gives more confidence to potential customers to make a purchase. As many as 49 percent of consumers make decisions piggybacking on the trust of an influencer.
Therefore, several brands are using online influencers to drive sales of their products in some way or the other. Micro-influencers with niche communities are a particular favorite, as they cost less but deliver high engagements due to their defined audiences. Gone are the days when a business had to shell out considerable sums to get a celebrity endorsement for mass reach.
Use of virtual robots or chatbots: A chatbot can have a one-on-one interaction with a target customer and also solve service-related queries. Facebook Messenger has about 100,000 active bots that gather information, provide product-related guidance to users, and take orders from them.
Going forward, bots are likely to become even smarter and acquire human-like traits with Artificial Intelligence. According to Gartner, bots will be able to generate business messaging to the tune of 20 percent of all content, instead of just disseminating it.
Embracing Augmented Reality: Snapchat and Instagram are already using augmented reality (AR) filters as a means to amplify the visual content shared on these social media platforms. These AR filters are a massive hit among users,
Adoption of Virtual Reality: Virtual Reality (VR) is the buzzword in the present-day tech community. Social VR has also seen an upsurge as big players are investing in providing enhanced user experiences. And as these new-age technologies advance further and user demand grows, the definition of ‘engagement’ will also evolve. Facebook has already introduced its social VR world called Horizon.
In this article, we learned how social media marketing works and how you can leverage its strengths to promote your business, build your brand, and sell your products. We also discussed the pro-business qualities of being social media savvy and explored some major trends. This information will help you gain clarity about what SMM entails and how you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy!
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