The marketing arm of a business is the functional area that is responsible for building consumer curiosity and getting eyes on the business. This must be done using all available channels in tandem with attractive campaigns that not only explain business offerings and their relevance to consumers, but also directly or indirectly make a call to action for prospective customers to investigate and possibly spend on said offerings.
Traditionally, the channels available required companies to capitalize on small slices of time that potential consumers spent doing other activities. A billboard advertisement requires someone to happen to be passing by and take notice. A newspaper ad requires someone to happen to be skipping through the pages and take notice. A radio advertisement requires someone to happen to be listening to the channel your firm decided to advertise on and take notice.
While these channels all have their context and are still useful, the world is a different place today than it was even ten years ago, and Social Media Marketing (SMM) needs to be a part of any successful business marketing plan.
What is Social Media Marketing?
SMM is simply what the name implies. It is marketing via social media platforms with the goal of reaching not only prospective customers for new sale opportunities, but also existing customers as they present opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
The average person spends as little as a half hour and as many as four hours daily interacting with social media. This provides a perfect marketing opportunity as this daily activity can now be leveraged as a marketing platform that scales down the random chance factor. This is not to imply that ads are guaranteed to be seen, but based on social media trends, the likelihood of this is high.
Depending on the platform, the way interactions take place and the way messages are brought across vary. Some users prefer long text-based posts, some prefer short catchy one-liners, some prefer looking at images, and some prefer video. Though there are platforms that allow a hybrid of these, users of social media tend to find platforms that are specialized for these preferences.
SMM allows for social media platform adaptability in marketing. This means that you can create a strategy that allows for reaching all these persons regardless of their preferences. You can design a core message that you wish to get across and then modify it to reach each group of persons. So, you can post a catchy sentence on Twitter, then post a captioned image on Instagram, then run a full paragraph with an image on Facebook.
This allows you to reach niche users in their comfort zone while you repeatedly reach those that have multiple accounts.
SMM is one of the cheapest forms of advertisement available. This is because it technically provides both free and paid advertisements. Paid advertisements are better used to reach new potential clientele, while free advertisements are better used to reach those already interested in and ‘following’ your brand.
There are various payment models for ads, which can be used based on your strategy. You have the option of paying a flat rate for an ad that shows up on the public news feed of persons until a designated number of people have seen it. You also have the option of putting up an ad for a finite amount of time and paying for each click on it.
Social media users can choose to ‘follow’ your brand if they are interested. This feature means that your content shows up on their news feed automatically and they receive notifications about new content if so desired. Posting content in this way does not attract a cost.