WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?
You may be an expert on using social media, but social media marketing for businesses is a totally different ball game.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we mention social media marketing?
Ads, likes, shares and comments?
There’s actually a whole lot more to it. Since its inception, social media has given word-of-mouth advertising a brand new meaning.
It’s a far cry from verbally recommending something within your social circle.
You scroll through your newsfeed, see your friends’ online activity, get recommendations and reviews; it’s that straightforward.
So with the all purposeful social media, should you abandon content marketing in favor for social media marketing?
Well, let’s weigh the options.
Content Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
Content marketing ‘pulls’ visitors to your website while social media marketing ‘pushes’ information to your news feeds.
Take a look at the table below to help you get a better feel of the two forms of marketing:
Before Facebook and Instagram invaded the society, blogs were a popular medium of content marketing.
The average person now spends 5 years of their time on social media. And the number is going to keep growing. Following this trend, businesses are adopting a hybrid marketing approach of integrating their content in social media ecosystems.
So which should you choose or start with?
It really depends on the marketing objectives of the business before settling on the marketing medium(s) to use.
If you’re looking to build long-term meaningful relationships with potential or existing customers, go for content marketing. Social media marketing on the other hand, is powerful in building brand awareness.
Now that you know the basic difference, let’s find out what social media marketing can and can’t do for your business.
Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing
Search Engine Optimisation
For starters, social media is mildly good for search engine optimisation. Why I reserve its effectiveness is because more share doesn’t mean higher search rankings.
However, it does to a certain extent help websites gain popularity. Here’s how it works:
- Contents are shared on social media platforms
- Content garners a ton of shares and likes
- Shares and likes propel popularity of external content amongst users
Social media contributes to SEO too. Eventually, it’s visitors’ count and key phrases of web content that improve search engine rankings.
Your post may be raving on social media platforms but it’s on page 10 of Google search results.
The thing is, nobody reaches page 10.
Getting in touch with customers
Comments, likes and shares can help determine what your audiences are thinking about.
For some brands, social media platforms has become a place for banter and comical exchanges. Wendy’s ‘roast’ is a prime example. And it could be one of the greatest way to bond with your potential or existing customers.
Customers can even show their loyalty by following your business page. Receiving business updates have never been easier; all you need to do is be active on social media.
Comments often are a mix of constructive feedback and noise. I mean, a lot of noise.
You’re probably gonna have a hard time sieving through the noise, like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So social media marketing may not be the best way to communicate.
Ease of maintenance
Social media sites have it all laid out for you, it’s simple and straightforward.
Whereas you’d mostly need to start from scratch if you want to create blogs or a web page.
Although social media platforms have some proprietary add-ons like those on Instagram, content are usually stagnant.
Since social media sites don’t own any content, it’s basically a TV on the internet and you are the production studio.
Reaching the right audience
One of the biggest selling point of using social media is the ability to track your customers.
By understanding, I mean data mining. This is probably the reason why businesses are so fond of social media marketing.
Social media platforms are fantastic for reaching out but a bad place if you want a sell-out.
Every seasoned marketer knows that a web page should have a compelling direction that visitors can take, right?
A call-to-action (CTA) invites visitors to subscribe, sign up, register etc. If you have your own long form content, you’ll know where you want your customized CTA placed. Social media sites has options for CTA too, but it gives you less control of how you can implement them to your content.
Don’t sell yourself short, go long
Everyone can be the cool kid on the block with social media, or at least on the surface.
But don’t be confused, social media marketing is definitely not for long-term branding solutions.
Studies have shown that 89% of businesses rely on customer service as a competitive advantage.
Customers desire prompt action and personalized responses. It’ll be easier to achieve this through one-to-one communication like emails than sieving through comments.
Getting started on social media marketing
Before you start, consider which platform(s) will be suitable for your product or services. Here are some for your consideration:
|Social Media Platform||Features||What is it good for?|
|Images, long form text, videos, likes, shares and comments||Any longer video content and public sharing|
|Photos and short videos||Visual intensive businesses|
|Facebook version of profession based social media||For job-related content|
|Short form text||Real time updates e.g. news media|
|Youtube||Ultra long form videos||Informational or educational content|
|Similar to Instagram, only shareable||Visual based content that must be shared|
Next, you’d want to consistently create content, post regularly and share any relevant information. Creative and humorous contents tend to be a plus point.
Once you have the content in place, promote it aggressively. Push it out into your social platforms, engage your followers and ask for likes and comments.
This will help to push your ranking up within the social media ecosystem.
Social media marketing can create phenomenal results. But don’t rely on it alone for business growth. Social media and content marketing should go hand in hand.
Once you’ve wooed your customers, win their loyalty with solid content and customer service. That’s when you’ll have yourself a sustainable marketing strategy.