Getting The Right Social Marketing Mix
The social media world, within a span of a few years, has already become a crowded place. The numbers and statistics have shown that almost everybody has an online presence. It is a haven for marketers and products to bag valuable customers. How does one then ensure that they stand out from the crowd?
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk shows the way to tap into the potentials of various social media platforms to increase their social media presence and enhance their profiles to ‘hook in’ customers and ‘jab’ the competition where it hurts the most!
Every time you are online, you have a barrage of adverts screaming for your attention. Many marketers put their money into flooding social media, thinking it’s the best and only way to put their product into the limelight. However, in reality, one has to use systematic methods to achieve the right marketing mix for the latest marketing platform that’s taken the world by storm.
Social Media: An Essential Marketing Tool
The importance of social media can perhaps be understood best by seeing the number of people around us who are spending their time on their smartphones. Statistics say that in the U.S. alone, there are about 325 million phone subscriptions. That’s a massive number considering the total population in 2013 was 316 million!
Nearly everyone has an online presence, on either applications or websites that connect them to other people. According to eMarketer, 71% of Americans are on Facebook for nearly half the time they use their phones. Additionally, more than half a billion people worldwide use Twitter.
Social media has also changed consumer habits, influencing the way people spend. For example, about one in four people make buying decisions based on a friend’s Facebook post or a Twitter marketing campaign.
Along with the younger generation, it is seen that Baby Boomers, in one year have increased their social media usage by 42%. It important to note that Baby Boomers now account for about 70% of US expenditure.
The importance of social media can be seen when we take into account how fast it has overtaken other forms of media. In the past, radio took 38 years to overtake the print media and reach 50 million people, TV took 13 years to overtake radio, and it took only a year and a half for Instagram to reach the milestone!
It is therefore clear that social media is vital to marketers and advertisers in today’s time and age.
The Importance Of Content
To keep up with the changing social medial trends, marketers have to align their marketing content too. It’s no surprise that to create great content, one has to tell an enticing story. Additionally, while TV campaigns could be made for six months or so, campaigns for social media need to be targeting markets all year round with daily fresh content. It means to keep customers engaged on a daily basis.
This was done well by the Nike+ app campaign, wherein customers can share and compare their exercise goals and achievements and compete, thereby generating new content for the brand, and thus promoting it!
There are, however, a few ground rules for great content!
- Content has to be eye-catching, entertaining, and mesmerizing enough that the consumer doesn’t simply scroll past it.
- It therefore cannot be intrusive or annoying and should seamlessly blend into the consumers’ online world, else it runs the risk of getting ad-blocked, muted, or DVR’ed by the user.
- Content should be interactive and informative, yet not be too demanding.
- For content to be effective, it should be native, as the incorrect context makes all content meaningless.
- Therefore, marketers should be very precise and ensure that the content fits the demographic, format, and general trends of the media used. For example, posting an unclear pic on Pinterest might get ignored, yet with a witty caption, it can take Twitter by storm.
It is therefore essential that marketers study every available platform well before they make their marketing decisions for social media.
Facebook is the dream world of social interaction with consumers.
Advertising on Facebook is extremely inexpensive. As compared to a TV that charges anywhere between $7,000 and $13,000 per campaign, Facebook costs are around $0.50 and $1.50 per “like.” Additionally, being sharable, these ads are interactive!
However, Facebook requires content to be absolutely outstanding. The Facebook newsfeed is created in a way to filter out content that doesn’t interest the consumer. To enable such a filter, Facebook created EdgeRank, which keeps a track of every time a user does anything on Facebook. This stored piece of information is called an ‘edge. The EdgeRank then determines what content should show up on a newsfeed based on what the user clicks on or likes or shares. For example, if a user likes a friend’s photos and not their status, more photos from the friend will feature on the user’s newsfeed.
Facebook marketing therefore should focus more on content that helps generate more ‘edges’. However, marketers should also remember that the EdgeRank doesn’t count click-throughs that lead to another site or purchased likes. Therefore a link to a website, that could generate a high number of sales, won’t feature on the newsfeed unless it is liked, commented on, or shared. Thus Facebook needs ‘like’ worthy content.
Not many marketers realize it, but Twitter is often used inefficiently. However, Twitter can really create great business opportunities considering it can help connect with the customer directly. Twitter being an almost public platform, connects strangers too. However, a user’s newsfeed is often inundated with mostly spontaneous conversations, which is a downside of Twitter. With more than 750 tweets per second, how can an advert stand out?
To make Twitter work, marketers can apply the concept of ‘trend jacking, wherein you piggyback on to a popular discussion. Popular discussions are identified by a mathematical algorithm and are listed. Trendjacking needs witty content creation and is often underused.
One can use hashtags for effective marketing too. However, #hashtags #are #most #commonly #overused #or #misused! People often use them indiscriminately, out of context, without any humour, sense of irony, and they backfire.
Pinterest is a great platform for companies to draw customers to their websites and online stores by sharing ‘pins’, or pics and videos, that when clicked can take a customer to the website. Additionally, Pinterest can help a brand diversify into topics of interest that are related.
Pinterest, interestingly, has a huge female user base. Therefore it is ideal for products and brands targeting women (mothers and even children). Additionally, it was found in 2012, that users were about 79% more likely to buy on Pinterest than on Facebook. Moreover, it is a fast-growing social market and had about 48.7 million users by 2013.
Pinterest however, isn’t a business favorite mainly because of business dogmatism and legalities due to copyright issues of sharing photos that businesses don’t own. While no legal suits on copyright infringement have been filed yet and Pinterest does all it can to keep its usage terms business-friendly, businesses are vary that it could be nothing more than a passing fad. Therefore Pinterest often takes a backseat.
There is never a ‘one size fits all’ formula for marketing on social media. While it is surely an essential medium for marketing, companies, and brands should focus on creating tailored content depending on the platform they wish to advertise on.
There will be newer platforms and apps to choose from. Thus it is important to understand that a certain amount of risk must be taken to try out new places. Who knows, it might just help your sales soar!