How effective is social media marketing? Can your business fail to ignore the likes of Facebook and Twitter?
Well, if you want to adopt a rounded and balanced digital marketing strategy then the answer is most definitely no – you can’t. Most of the recent studies undertaken by marketers would suggest that the fastest-growing and most-influential sector of the advertising market is the social media sector. Some studies have found that engagement with these digital platforms is actually as high as 79 per cent amongst medium and larger businesses. So, if you’re new to this game or are still less than convinced, you’re probably asking yourself a perfectly valid question right now, and that’s why are more and more businesses forsaking traditional advertising and transferring their attentions to digital? Well, the answer is simple: lots of these businesses prefer social networking as it has proved to be more appealing and effective.
Companies find it easier to engage with their audience using social networking.
What’s more, they are increasingly using it in more-innovative ways to establish relationships, foster communication, improve products and cultivate long-term brand awareness and consumer trust. At the end of the day digital communication is nothing more than a conversation between two or more people sharing advice, experiences, and resources, however, the important point to remember is that because digital communication can be amplified across platforms and communities, it can readily be heard and shared by individuals and businesses across the globe.
How will you know if your digital strategy is delivering measurable returns?
Conversations about your brand are going to happen, regardless of whether you choose to take part. So there’s absolutely no point sitting on the sidelines and watching it happen around you: what you should be doing is embracing the conversation and engaging. What you need to do is make the medium work for you. Your business should utilise the special power of social media by spreading information, experiences and content to your target audience. Share your content with your audience, and encourage them to share their articles, blogs and other online content with you so that you can broadcast their message to a much wider demographic, through multiple social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They then in turn share it with their audience increasing brand awareness.
A social media strategy is ultimately about building relationships; after all, that’s what it was founded on. What’s important to remember is that this is a two-way street. As a brand, you aren’t necessarily there to promote a product: you’re there to communicate and relate information. Any business which approaches social media with sales as the only end goal, will generally not engage with its audience. On the other hand, if you offer your audience something of value, and your message is genuine, then consumers are more inclined to listen. Offer users engaging content, helpful information, streamlined customer service or other incentives, and you have the makings of a healthy long-term relationship with brand ambassadors willing to sing your praises to the world.
What’s more, once this trusting and mutually-respectful relationship is established it will only continue to grow and develop so long as your business continues to deliver consistent, authentic and meaningful messages. Consumers tend to stay loyal and express that loyalty in revenue generated over time and positive word-of-mouth recommendations among their peers. That’s the real return on social media.