The winter has approached, and it’s the last quarter of 2019, but we’d love to discuss social media marketing– the favorite hot talk for everyone, from budding entrepreneurs to conglomerate brand strategists. To understand the beauty and power of online platforms, we can simply recall that in 1999, we were asked not to share the car with a stranger.
In 2009, meeting a stranger in person whom we’ve found online wasn’t advisable. And here we are in 2019, where we would go online to book a cab with a stranger on Uber!
This article focuses on sharing insights into the golden rules of social media advertising, which should never be missed at any cost — dive deeper into exploring the horizons of social media advertising, which could propel your businesses ahead.
Marketing: The Quintessential Pursuit
Marketing is defined as “Satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process” by Philip Kotler.
Every social interaction has a sense of marketing embedded in it. The job interviews to salary negotiations are all exchanges of value before actual tangible ROI is delivered to either of the parties.
Flirting, for instance, is another example of intense marketing campaigns that all of us have experienced so far. Having said this, our lives revolve around marketing skirmishes and conquests in one way or the other.
Social Media: The Dawn of Colossal Networking Platforms
Social media are platforms that facilitate the exchange of information over computerized systems amongst the user groups acting as both publishers and consumers. Popular social media platforms include YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and the list keeps growing. Each of them provides a medium to share content in the form of photographs, blogs, videos, and audio to its community.
Social Media Marketing and Advertising
Social media marketing (SMM) is the process of driving internet users to your website through social media platforms. However, it should not be confused as hammering your product information to potential customers. SMM also includes developing and contributing to communities, sharing relevant information, and interacting with each stakeholder of your business ranging from the vendor to the end-user at large. SMM Advertising is creating content and engaging the community with it for creating an impact on the target audience.
Impact of social media advertisements: Starbucks shining!
Starbucks unbridled the Unicorn Frappuccino exclusively for a week in April 2017. With the purple and pink tint, it banked on the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and the limited edition tag as its USP. Soon, it went on to become popular amongst the masses with flooding posts taking over everybody’s timelines!
A staggering 155000+ Instagram posts within the one-week time frame. It also resulted in a 3% increase in sales. As a brand, connecting with the audience, converting them into customers who walk out as brand ambassadors that promote your product at a personal level is by far one of the most luxurious impacts, you can imagine.
It looks cool on the surface, but the strategic aspects of such campaigns need to be understood before one lays hands on SMM to see real business coming in.
Let us have a look at some of the most common myths which lead us to the golden rules of social media advertising in chronological order:
Myth: Advertising needs a concept, and you go with a boom.
Rule: Know your target customer base and analyze market trends first.
“A fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan.”
This piece of advice to the oil baron, T. Boone Pickens from his father, is a timeless piece of advice that holds true for SMM as well. Develop a business strategy that clearly defines the people targeted, the channels and tone of the message, and what your content will describe the product in terms of buyer sentiment. After knowing the answers to these questions, track down the preferred platforms, the average time users spend surfing them, and the rate of interactions to devise an engagement strategy.
Myth: Social media is for the big fishes, and you just can’t keep up with budgets.
Rule: Have a clear vision of channels and go step by step.
The internet is flooding with platforms, and mingling with all of them is the last thing you should do. Be specific about the channels you are going to use and limit the number of platforms to a bare minimum in the initial phase.
For instance, if you are looking for B2B leads, LinkedIn is one of the forerunners, while Instagram will attract lifestyle product buyers. Be realistic and rational about the entire budgeting structure to get adequate exposure to the customers. Once you receive expected engagement, considering other platforms will become more comfortable since you have access to stable participation.
Myth: Horsing around will bring in the audience.
Rule: Content is king, and connecting is socializing.
A lot of businesses confuse an online marketing campaign to a simple newspaper delivery exercise. However, you need to do a lot of research and interact with the community to become more “social” and “approachable” for the target customer segments. The social media advertisements shall be curated in such a manner that the audience relates to it and interact in one form or the other. This will help in streamlining the game plan and increase the relevance of your strategy as per the platform.
Providing high quality, informative, and engaging content should be on the first priority. Building community and contributing as an active member shall be at the core of an interaction between the brand and its consumers. As a result, you can socialize better by connecting with your potential clientele.
Myth: Ignore the naysayers.
Rule: Be Mr. Dependable. Every opinion counts.
When you are open to community-based discussions, criticism and angry customers are going to attract much more attention than the positive feedback. Handling such situations in a timely and responsible manner is essential to leverage from the case. It would be best if you used all such incidents to your advantage to set an example for excellent customer service.
When customers give you lemons, serve them lemonade. Becoming transparent, agreeing to constructive criticism, and improving the quality of the product will help the long term business interests by sourcing feedback directly from the customers.
Myth: Post it and forget it.
Rule: You need to look respectable before you get respected as a brand.
Most of the folks take SMM too casual to be even considered as a lead generation activity. You have to be consistent when it comes to posting online content because the viewers will react to the posts made by you and expect you to reply within short time frames. It shall include extensive engagement over discussion subjects, community initiatives, complaints, suggestions, appreciation, and advice.
Being continuously visible, maintaining sound public relations, and rekindling the customer engagement with timely activities are much more important than the initial phases. Taking a stand on subjects outside the company’s business domain shall be approached conservatively as any violations made against the modest code of conduct for a particular section of the community can prove to be a significant setback.
Myth: You make ‘expenses’ on Social Media Marketing.
Rule: Use metrics to measure ROI on all your advertisement campaigns.
Unlike the popular opinion of treating SMM as an expense, the businesses should employ extensive analysis to measure the tangible ROI. For instance, promo codes will quantify the customers who made a purchase against the advertisement run on a particular platform.
The increase in sales against the efforts made during each time period needs extensive analysis with channel-wise bifurcation so as to provide insights into the strategic decision-making process for the future. Handling such activities as investment tools will result in exalted success ratios with passing time.
The cherry on the top
If you’re willing to go beyond conventional marketing, there is no substitute for social media advertising. Increasing mobile connectivity and access to financial services can be encashed easily since there is no restriction on approaching potential customers. You can target any customer segment provided that you have sound Social Media Marketing guidance with a capable team to implement your business vision on the internet.
With the conservative model, you can approach clients at the place, time, and frequency of their wish while online platforms will let your clients contact you at the place, time, and frequency of their convenience without you having to pay for it!
So no matter what is the size of your business or the sector you are working in, there is a vast potential in social media advertising for everyone, including you. With planning and effective management, you can tap the unexplored horizons with a significantly lower cost as compared to traditional marketing and yet outrun larger enterprises.
Most of the businesses who experiment with SMM don’t see results due to the myths associated with the functioning of such platforms, but having expert guidance, education on technical aspects and persistence can help build a stronger brand presence that attracts brighter opportunities round the clock.
Shy Lee is an Associate Digital Marketing Manager at factoHR, an India based hr, and payroll software solution providers. A creative marketing strategist with over 8 years of experience developing digital marketing strategies and guiding business development.