Perhaps it’s a little too late in the day to be told that social media marketing hasn’t yet proved itself. Brand marketing professionals all agree that it makes sense to be active on social media. Some brands do it better than others but every brand starts off with a strategy and a target audience. Here’s why it’s important, what it does and how it’s being done well.
Why engagement is important
Social media marketing is becoming one of the most important factors in building a strong brand and staying ‘in touch’ with what customers want and expect. In fact, in a recent survey, it was reported that marketing teams were spending up to a fifth of their entire advertising budget on precisely this, and that figure is set to increase.
Creating accounts is easy and free on all social networking platforms and, once a strategy is in place, paid advertising can be started on almost any budget. Because it increases business visibility, social media is also one of the most cost-effective methods.
The result of a strong social strategy usually follows with achieving organic, natural customer engagement, stronger brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and, in time, developing brand authority. The upshot of concentrating on these marketing metrics is developing a strong sense of marketplace awareness too, meaning further marketing efforts have both substance and numbers to guide it.
How consumers want to engage with brands on social media
Obviously, one of the bigger challenges of brand marketing on social networks is having the right content ready for the right channels.
Being right on top of the latest social tech innovations has made some companies able to take advantage of customer motivations on each platform. There are really five core reasons why people use social media:
- Bridging – Connecting with brands, discussing topics and professional networking
- Bonding – Providing an authentic peek into a brand and sharing information.
- Communicating – Staying in touch and exchanging views and messages.
- Discovering – Finding out new information and viewing interesting content.
- Taking Action – Streaming content, monitoring activity and engaging in an activity.
Brands that engage well in social media gain market position
Dominoes, for instance, knows people see pizza and then want pizza, so is well known for making it very easy for its customers to order one. By being right on top of the latest social marketing tactics, it quickly adopted tweet-to-order as well as offering a Facebook Messenger-ready ‘Dom the Pizza Bot’ allowing customers to order their favourite pizzas directly through the app. Big brands use social media to pull off big PR stunts. Nike is well-versed in being able to tap into the nation’s mood. For instance, by celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign with content featuring Colin Kaepernick. According to Nike’s CEO, it drove ‘record engagement’.
Even businesses without budgets the size of Nike’s or Dominoes’ can utilise social networks effectively. Buzz Bingo is well known for its use of Twitter and Facebook for communicating with customers, sharing wins and generally giving customers an idea of the fun community spirit it aims to bring. It does this by having each branch create their own local accounts so it can tap into the local mood and tone. Meanwhile, its corporate accounts offer daily prizes for entering its competitions.
Then, there is the way some brands like to openly market themselves but try do it cleverly. Innocent drinks like to think outside the box with their media, both online and off, mimicking their sense of irreverence, ethics and cavalier spirit.
No matter what marketing budget a company has, social media provides a platform for brands to get a specific brand message out to their customers. Different brands use different platforms but each starts with a strategy that identifies with who their customers are, where they are and what content they are looking for. Even if it’s just a picture of a pizza, a bingo card or a running shoe.