World constantly keeps changing and so the technology. Thus, in this constantly changing environment,it becomes inevitable for us to cope up with the changes. One such prodigious change took place in the field of marketing and developed a new concept of social media marketing which completely shook the conventional methods of marketing that is Social Media Marketing. Out of the total world population of 7.7 billion, 3.499 billion are active social media users out of which it is estimated that the number of digital buyers will be 2.14 billions as mentioned in the research summary by Dave Chaffey . So who would not want to be a social media marketer?
Before understanding how or why has it become so important, let us first comprehend the concept of SMM.
According to CX dictionary, SMM is the act of monitoring and participating in social conversations across platforms. In simple language,SMM refers to the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service.
John Hagel once said, “Social media management has the unique potential to remedy current operating challenges and to help companies derive greater value from their customer driven strategies.”
When Infibeam (now suvideals), an online shopping brand decided to go out with an IPO, Infibeam ‘supporters’ started cropping up across Twitter, lauding the e-commerce brand’s decision. #WeSupportInfibeam and #InfibeamShining soon started trending on Twitter. The campaign however, invited a lot of backlash since influencers not even remotely connected to finance were supporting and praising the IPO. #InfibeamShining brought to light the misuse of influencer outreach in getting a hashtag to trend. This clearly states the importance of SMM.
Creating the right, engaging and relevant content is very important. Because that lays the roots of social media marketing.People will visit your particular account or will check on your post only if they find something Fascinating about it.
For e.g. What if I simply post a picture of a paper clay home decor? People may see it if the item is attractivebut again how will they come to know that you have made it from paper clay which is eco friendly and you have posted it so that maximum people buy it and try to make the world eco-friendly? Only through the content. Again the quality of the picture that you post is another factor. So content creation is one of the basic reason why we need to manage the social media effectively.
Managing online community
Social media is like a sea. The more you dive in, the deeper you go. But during this course, you go through varied platforms available. Now, every platform has its own style, features and benefits. So it becomes imminent to understand and analyse each of them precisely, otherwise you can get lost in the sea. Social media management,therefore helps you to build different types of following on different platforms and altogether builds an online community for you because gradually you will be able to get the relevant potential customers.
For e.g. You are a company that is working to provide a platform to the poets. Now, it's not easy to detect poets around because many like to hide their poetic aspect, many don't feel confident to share their poems. In such a case, when you share the details about your platform on various online channels like Facebook/Instagram that helps to keep a person's identity hidden or where everyone and anyone is free to write, such poets will definitely get attracted and will immediately sign up.
SEO aka Search Engine Optimisation, is the most vital part of social media marketing. Not everyone can understand SEO. But it has a greater importance because it tells you whether you are easily visible through search or not. It helps to get you maximum traffic as well as repetitive customers. According to hubspot research organic search equates to 94 percent of all web traffic, and the first position on Google search results has a 34.36 percent click-through rate for desktop and 35 percent for mobile as mentioned in a blog. Basically, if you’re not at the top of the search results, you’re losing clicks, leads, and sales to your competitors.
For e.g. A person wants to get a new insurance policy. The first thing that he will do is searching through the internet. You are an insurance policy provider but how will you make your company to get visible on the first page of Google. The answer lies in SEO. SEO helps Google to know how your site is going to help the customers to get relevant things.
Check on progress
Whenever we conduct any campaign offline, we set a target of income via that campaign. We also keep a check on its progress. Similarly,when we conduct any online campaigns, it is important to keep an eye on the progress. Because it enables us to know if we are in the right direction. Now SMM helps into this as well, because it comes up with varied tools that helps us with the insights of every activity that we do on our social media handles.
For e.g. Instagram's business account serves us with a feature of Insights that enables us to know the time, location, age, gender, number of visits, number of forwards, etc. In detail for your particular post or story.
You keep on posting things on your social media accounts but you fail to have a look at the latest trends happening around you. In such a case, all your postings will get wasted. So if you do proper social media management, you will be able to stay updated on various trends going around.
Over the social media, people are highly interactive. They feel free to provide their views amd even ideas. They give ratings as well. So, if weconsider SMM, it helps us to collect those feedback, analyses them and provides us wi th the insights that helps us as a company to serve with better product to our customer.
For e.g. You are a restaurant owner. You had somecustomers today. Now, those customers will search you on FB or Insta so as to tag you in their posts. Also, if they really liked the food and ambience, they will mention about it out of excitement or if they didn't like anything they will also mention that may be out of anger or disappointment.Ultimately, you get your feedback.
Making yourself social media friendly automatically creates a buzz around. And if you are able to handle all the attraction well and in a positive, non controversial manner, you are bound to earn credibility. Because people will come to know that you are listening to their words and you care about them. So SMM is highly essential so as to be specific about barious things.
According to source of Consulting Survey, 69% of businesses claimed that efficiencies could be achieved by mastering social media management issues. Hence, it is not just important to have SMM but also to have the right way of SMM.
Using SMM and scheduling tools
There are several tools available in the market that helps you in posting various content on your behalf as per your scheduled time. It is too obvious that you cannot always post on the most engaging time. So these tools posts the content and make it worthy.
This one is pretty interesting. There is a website called IFTTT i.e. If This Then That. This basically helps you to connect various social media platforms. This helps you to save your time and energy which otherwise you would utilised in sharing on various mediums separately.
For e.g. When you post content on Instagram, they ask you if you want to post this on Facebook as well and do you want it to be at default mode? This means if you post on instagram, then post it on Facebook.
Utilising social media analytics
This is the most effective and handy part of using social media. Social media does not just helps in spreading the word but it also helps us with data required for analysis so as to get a better understanding on the audience.
Focus on quality
What content and how frequent are you going to post content are 2 important aspects of social media marketing. To be a buzz around, you need to go through the eyes of the audience for quite a good number of times. But here one cannot forget the quality of the content that s/he is posting. The content should be relevant enough to a majority and it should be trendy for a certain period of time. Because social media marketing is definitely effective but a slow process.
For e.g. I have a blog. I posted a #wrytup on world population day, I did get views but of a negligible amount. At the same time when I posted a #wrytup on Feminism, I got a shocking number of views. This was because of the relevancy of the topic. Not everyone wants to know about the population day but everyone definitely wants to read about such a debatable topic.
Define your goals
We always set certain goals even while conducting an offline marketing program. Similarly, it is important to set a goal of your social media presence.
For e.g. There might be a company that would be wanting to increase their sales through social media while some otherswould just be wanting to spread awareness about its existence like Fevicryl Hobby Ideas, they are not selling products on their website and social media pages, they are only promoting their products.
This is beneficial the way contests and giveaways are. When a speaker is at the stage, he is always told to talk with the audience and not just to speak to the audience. This means that you should get the engagement of the audience. Why? Because this gives more attention, makes the topic interesting and the interaction - two way. Similarly, when you are posting content, involve the audience as well.
For e.g. Fuzia, A website empowering women. It often connects with its audiences through live chats on Instagram and Facebook, where they read and understand the comments and try to be responsive. But to spread the word and to get more traffic and engagement during the live chat, they always ask their followers the topics that they would like the person to talk in the live chat. This brings more traffic and more people get connected.
Research is something which goes even before the planning. One cannot plan anything if s/he is unaware of the statistics, facts, trends, features and other relevant information. So before jumping to any medium, one should study every platform and analyze which social media can prove to be the best for their particular business.
For e.g. You are a blogging company and you want more and more people to read your blogs. For this, you cannot choose Instagram in the first place. Because when it comes to sharing links to your blog, A free Instagram account only has one option of bio for the link whereas Facebook and Linkedin lets you create a hyperlink in the post itself. So study of the type of content that you would like to post and of the various social media platforms is important before choosing the social media.
Choosing the right social media
As we read earlier, every social media platform has its own peculiarity and benefits. So it is important to understand them and then to choose the right social media for our particular business.
This proves to be a great platform for all those who are seeking to reach a wider audience. As per the stats, there are 2.41 billion monthly active users on facebook till date 30th june 2019. So just imagine, the number of customers that we can source.
This platform is highly recommended for those companies who provide visual aid services or products. It proves to be an excellent media for the product marketing. Statistics says, there are 1 billion monthly users of instagram out of which 71% are under the age of 35 which makes it good for young target customers. (Blog.hootsuite)
This is the most influencing platform. It involves the highest amount of interaction about anything. people generally use twitter for the news and the latest trends and hot topics.
Linkedin is more of a professional medium where people network either for jobs or businesses. Various sites are available providing B2C services but linkedin sort of focuses more on the B2B services. Again it's a great platform for feedback and interaction and networking.
At present, there is no such company who would be on social media but not on youtube. Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google. Videos are comparatively easy and convenient as compared to some written content. So majority chooses youtube when it comes to seeing any product before buying it. I believe most of the technology oriented companies must have earned through this platform.
Just similar to Instagram, Pinterest is also a visual aided platform. People mostly who like craft and DIY, home improvement and other prefer Pinterest. So if you are handmade product seller, this is the best platform for you. But the duplicacy of your product comes at risk because other sellers may easily catch your idea and produce the same.
Whatsapp is the highest used mode of communication in today's world. Person may not be knowing English would still be able to use Whatsapp easily. Because the ease that it provides its users and features like audio, video, gif as well as documents, you can share anything.
Source:We Are Social
Developing a strategy
This is very important because when we do any expense with some desired goals, we definitely need to check on how that activity helping us and how often should we do it again. So developing a strategy must be the first thing to understand the social media market, understand the type of potential customers, their tastes, preferences, their response rate, their purchase behaviour, etc. Also, what will be your response rate and medium.
Responding to fans and followers
Consumers always seek to get more and more information about any product before buying it. Moreover they look for after sales services and other services. They will definitely want you, a company to answer all their queries and listen to their complaints and feedback. Because a non-responsive seller seems more of a careless seller.
Engaging with others on Social media
Social media does not just helps you build a customer base but it can also create new opportunities for you. You can also get services who check may prove to be cheaper.
For e.g. Collaborating with various influencers may help your business reach to expand.
Advertising campaigns have become a great business online. Posting ads on platforms like facebook and instagram can help gain customers to a great extent. Because that drives them directly to your site or page.
Contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaways are the latest and trendy way to gain large number of audience. However, this may indulge temporary audience who may like till the giveaway and may dislike post that but that is for a negligible number.
For e.g. Few months back Fevicryl Hobby Ideas in launched their fabric paint. To achieve higher sales, they held a contest named “#FabricpeFevicryl” and asked the customers to share a picture of their fabric painting and the Fevicryl paints that they used. They rewarded some best paintings. But this contest not only encouraged people to paint but to buy their fevicryl products only which ultimately turned out to higher sales and promotion.
“You are responsible for everything you post and everything you post will be a reflection of you.“ - Germany Kent. Thus, taking appropriate care during the social media marketing and its management is very important otherwise it can prove to be a two-sided sword.