A Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing 2018
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. SMM primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes, as well as paid social media marketing.
The most prominent social media channels currently in place are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and Pinterest.
Social media marketing has been extensively used both by SMBs as well established brands for the following purposes:
• Communicate with their potential target customers as well as existing customers. Social media marketing is the most cost-effective medium ensures that a maximum reach of the brands could be established.
• Address concerns/resolve issues. Be it product complaints or a redressal cell, social media monitoring has become a common norm for brands to reach out to their complaining customers quickly and build trust invariably by resolving their issues.
• Increase Brand Awareness of a new product/personality. Not only products by businesses, various personalities in politics, business tycoons have been able to extensively use social media to reach out and build/increase their brand awareness.
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• Creating hype around a new product launch/ new movie is now a new fad in social media marketing wherein snippets of the new product/movie are first released in social media channels either using an official page or posting on a fan’s page rather than use traditional media like Television or Print.
• Citizen Journalism has been one more interesting trend that has been made possible only because of the social media platform. This platform was used extensively during calamities like “Tsunami” to mobilize rescue operations and post updates regarding the news of loved ones.
What has made Social Media Platform so popular?
• Aggregation of the large populace.
• Ease of use.
• Smart targeting options provided by social media platforms to reach out to target customers.
• Economics of outreach, being cheaper than traditional media like Television or Print.
• Measurability of the effect which has been made easy by the different tools that social media platforms have come up with to entice both SMBs and established brands.
Using a Television or a Print advertisement did not provide the necessary information to calculate the ROI of the ad.
Social Media Platforms and their unique Personalities:
Facebook is considered the youngest and the most vibrant of the lot. Friends, Family, and Acquaintances rule the regime here. Facebook also started as an experiment of “Mark Zuckerberg” to only target colleges wherein different students from different colleges could share a common platform to network and have fun. But that was ages ago.
There have been many iterations of this platform since then and now it is the most effective platform that brands use to build awareness, target customers, launch contests and create buzz.
There have been many examples of startup companies who have effectively used this platform to grow their business. One such example for India is the “Chumbak” brand. Chumbak started as an Indian origin “Souvenirs” which had an Indian theme.
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Founders of Chumbak started the brand as a “Facebook” page rather than a website.They started to add their different products to the Facebook page and promote them amongst a loyal group of followers who then promoted these via Facebook shares and likes. The brand now has “38 categories” with “400 – 500” affordable, funky products. They have recently launched their unique clothesline too.
Advertising on Facebook:
Facebook has also made many more changes to its paid marketing medium. Since Facebook captures the information on “Demographics”, “Interests”, “Life events”, “Age” etc. it has made it easy to entice businesses with targeting options for potential customers. You could now run targeted ads using the “Custom Audience” and “Audience Insights” features recently launched by Facebook and only show ads depending on the criteria of the information that defines your potential audience could be age, demographics, life events etc.
Also, its robust reporting tool gives you real-time information on how your ad was doing and gives you an ability to change your targeting any time during the ad run if you think the audience taking your requested “Call to Actions” are not meeting your target audience criteria. It’s simple, easy and economical too.
Pinterest is the newest kid on the block. It potentially caters to “Hobbyists” who create a “Board” and start collecting “Pins” which relate to their hobby. It could be “Cooking”, “Photography”, “Gift Ideas”, and “Designs” etc.
Pinterest has seen the highest growth in its registrations in the least amount of time. It represents a virtual album where you can stack up ideas or collect ideas on how you want to plan a life event (mostly gift ideas around birthdays and weddings). This is the most robust platform where the users of the platform have defined the strategy of what path the “Pinterest” company should take.
Local businesses have snatched up this potential platform and since it is pictorial in nature have used this space up to showcase their small business goods and build traction with their potential customers. Most of the businesses which have been very successful on Pinterest previously were “Food-related” like “Bakeries/Restaurants”. For example, a brand with the name “All Recipes” was able to reach out to 30 million home cooks using the Pinterest platform.
Since Pinterest is uniquely set to create groups of users who have similar interests, influencing the audience becomes quick and easy for brands. Pinning and repining get your products onto the next chain of users which takes up a pyramid effect.
Advertising on Pinterest:
Pinterest has recently come up with its paid version for advertising called “Promoted Pins” which was launched only in the US at this moment in time. Using the Promoted Pins brands could reach to potential target audience easily as they are already categorized by Pinterest. Bank of America used this paid platform to reach out to “Millennials” of around 6 million people in 5 months.
Twitter is also called as “Micro-Blogging” website as its character limit for a post (called as a tweet) is limited to 180 characters (same as the character limit of an SMS). It is generally used to promote outside content (generally a blog) to the fans or followers by tweeting out the blog URL and writing a short description on what this blog is meant to be regarding.
Twitter is generally used to connect with people of similar interests who are complete strangers. It is a more serious platform rather than Facebook as there are strangers following you on twitter and they would keep following you only if they find your tweets useful and sensible.
Twitter became a sensation when its users started using this platform to post updates on the current affairs and also as a citizen journalistic medium by helping with the rescue activities during climatic disasters like “Tsunami”. The 180 character limit made the news crisp and informative only.
Twitter uses a unique model called as a “Hash Tag” which is represented as “@” followed the username or topic that you want to post towards. This helps the users find their interested topics amongst all the clutter on Twitter by just searching for this hashtag. Hashtags are also used in creating “Ad Campaigns” and creating buzz. They are optimized to be searched on google search engine too.
One of the recent success stories at Twitter has been “@Girl Scouts”, a girl scouts Organization which sells the traditional cookies. They created an app and posted it on twitter so the potential customers who wanted to buy a cookie could spot a “Girl Scout” nearest to their location. Their app has seen staggering 19,500+ downloads since being advertised on Twitter.
Advertising on Twitter:
Twitter’s paid platform for ad creations uses the same model as “Google Ad Words” which uses either a “CPC” or a “CPM” model. The reporting tool is very simple and easy to find the statistics regarding how your ad campaign is performing.
LinkedIn is the biggest online professional platform present out there. It has users who are seeking professional development and are either looking for career opportunities or to enhance their credibility in their industry by posting professional content regarding their current domains.
Brands mostly use LinkedIn to reach out to potential customers, potential employees or to post more information on new initiatives like CSR activities, Hiring Policies etc. to build credibility to their brand in the market. Lead generation is one more important feature of LinkedIn which is being extensively used by sales professionals.
LinkedIn as a paid platform has a unique set of parameters. It uses 2 potential ways of revenue generation platforms. 1. LinkedIn Paid Ads 2. Packages which can be individually bought for lead generation or hiring requirements.
Van Heusen, an apparel company which is into manufacturing and distributing formal apparels for men and women effectively used LinkedIn by creating an “Ad Campaign” called “Most Fashionable Professional”. This campaign was also picked by Mashable as the “Top 8 Innovative LinkedIn Marketing Campaigns”. They were able to reach a 1.5 million LinkedIn users creating a successful brand awareness campaign. Since LinkedIn is considered as a professional platform, the formal wear apparel campaign fit like a hand in a glove.
Advertising on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn Paid ads to work in the same format as “Google Ad Words” with options like “CPC” or “CPM” but the best feature is the targeting option wherein you can choose the professionals of a particular job level (CXO’s etc.) to show your LinkedIn ad to. This ensures that you are cutting the middle in and directly reaching out to the decision makers. This is every salesman’s dream and LinkedIn is the only platform that could make this dream come true
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