Does it really pay for brands to be on social media? Is it not just a place where the Kardashians relentlessly post a never-ending slew of selfies? Well yes, but brands should take note from Kim K herself as she receives an estimated $200,000 for each branded post she does.
Traditional marketers are facing many challenges when it comes to ‘digital’. Clark Kokich, former chairman of Razorfish offers a good summation, “There are hundreds of thousands of people who were trained and mentored, and studied classical marketing, and they got good at it…. Unfortunately, the world has changed – and that education is no longer relevant.”
In this post we will outline why your brand needs a social media presence. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some guidelines and universal rules which we will explore. Social media should be part of every company’s marketing toolkit, and as such, it needs the same consideration, attention and resources that a company gives to the rest of its marketing.
Most of your target audience is on social media
One significant reason why brands need to be on social media platforms is that much pretty everybody else is. Well that might be a slight exaggeration but not much. These platforms have a reach that no traditional media or publishing outlet has ever achieved. For example, Facebook has 2 billion users, and it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
The amount of customers who are actively using social media as an integral part of their ‘buyer’s journey’ is also increasing. According to Hubspot, 7 Social Media Predictions for 2017, “56% of consumers said they followed brands on social media to browse products for sale, and 31% of shoppers said they use social media specifically to look for new items to purchase”.
How to choose the most appropriate social media platform
The figures cited above are a compelling argument for brands, whether they are multinational corporations or regional SMEs, to invest in a digital marketing strategy with an integrated social media element. There are a multitude of social media channels out there, from the ‘Big 5’ (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter) to bespoke platforms that are industry specific such as Active Rain for real estate agents and Behance for creative professionals.
The potential to reach consumers with social is exponential. However with so many platforms on offer, businesses need to select the channels that are most appropriate for their target audience as opposed to setting up half-hearted profiles on multiple channels. Scott Levy, CEO of Social Media Firms offers a good summation, “Instead of having a sub-par representation in a lot of places, be awesome on a few of them.”
You should work out where your customers are going to be and also factor in the type of business you do when selecting your social media platforms. For example, if you are primarily a B2B business, Snapchat and Facebook might not be the ideal platforms for acquiring leads, you might want to look at Linked IN in more depth as it is specifically designed for professionals. It’s not to say that the others don’t have a place in your strategy it just might be the case that they will perform the function of brand awareness as opposed to being the primary outlet for establishing a business relationship and so you should tailor your content and resources with this in mind.
Social media advertising is the way to go
Digital has disrupted the traditional model of advertising to a monumental degree and social media has played an integral role in this shift. Great creativity and planning are still key criteria for successful campaigns however the way in which this is executed is very different to the traditional realms of print, radio and TV advertising.
Newspapers, magazines and even broadcasters are losing their grip on the media space. Their reach is being dwarfed by that of Google and Facebook and this trend is only set to continue. Analysts predict a 26.3% global increase in spending for social media ads and that spending on social media ads is likely to exceed $35 billion, representing 16% of all digital advertising spend globally.
Digital advertising is also cheaper than the traditional advertising, which is another reason for businesses to factor it into their marketing activity. It is also important to tailor organic content so that it will be picked up by the relevant segments of your target audience and attract the attention of so-called ‘influencers’ who operate in the same space as your business.
Just a point to note, you will still need to create social media ads. By paying for them you are instructing the platform to place the content in front of the demographic and location you want to target. In many cases your ‘organic’ content, which essentially is the posts you create is the same as your paid content.
Developing personas will help focus your message
Developing personas is not a new technique in advertising. In the age of digital however, it is a necessity for businesses to engage their target segments. It is estimated that we are bombarded with 6,000 adverts a day or 34G of data. That equates to a lot of noise which businesses have to cut through. Developing personas enables businesses to get their message to the right segments of their audiences as fleshing out their tastes, habits and interests will help to decide where and how best to place the digital content.
According to this piece by Hubspot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”
You need to take it seriously and invest time and money
In order for a social media strategy to work properly, it must have a dedicated resource. We know that many SMEs are not in a position to take on a full-time digital marketer however getting an intern in for a few weeks here and there to manage your social media channels is in most cases not going to cut it. It is time to embrace the change and doing so means taking this medium seriously.