This week we continue our series of blogs on different aspects of digital marketing strategy, by taking a look at the ever expanding world of social media.
When Mark Zuckerberg came up with the concept of “Thefacebook” ten years ago, little could he have foreseen how much social media would take off and become an integral part of the daily lives of so many people. By the end of 2013, Facebook had a staggering 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide. 170 million of these had been added during 2013.
42% of online adults use more than one social networking platform; however for those people who use only one social networking site, Facebook is usually their chosen network with around 71% of online adults being Facebook users. Facebook itself also recently published figures showing that one out of three people in both the US and the UK were visiting Facebook every day. An increasing amount of this regular traffic is accessing Facebook via mobile phones.
With this size of market available on Facebook and other social networking platforms, and the frequency of access by users, it makes sense to make full use of social marketing ideas as part of creative digital marketing. At Xcite we have recently conducted some research as to different ways that social site marketing has been used successfully to generate interest in a brand and, in turn, increase sales and profit. We will feature some of these examples in weeks to come.
The number, variety and reach of social networks is growing all the time, and these are increasingly accessed via Smartphone apps as well as computers and tablets. To name but a few, there are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Circles, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr – and so the list goes on!
Whichever networks you choose to use, there are many different ways of using social site marketing as part of a digital marketing strategy, ranging from regular pages, posts, and blogs to exceptional campaigns as mentioned above. Let’s look specifically at five areas:
Nowadays it seems that nothing is anywhere unless it’s everywhere! Social media follows the old adage for trainers: “tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you’ve told them”! To keep up with the competition your social media activity needs to be constantly present and consistently interesting.
To maximise the benefit of social marketing it is vital to use Web 2 technology to its utmost and interact with customers. It is not sufficient in itself to just keep putting out posts. You need to invite response then respond to that response! As well as generating interest and keeping live threads going, this kind of interaction has been proven to build brand loyalty and presents a personalised face of your business.
Another strand of social monitoring is social engagement. You may not have started the conversation but you are damn well going to finish it! Join in any conversation, any thread, and piggyback onto any campaign that’s going! Skilful use of social engagement can ensure that your name and your brand get anywhere and everywhere without people realising quite how that has happened!
In addition to all the above activities, social media can be used as a powerful tool to gather intelligence. Online social networks provide a wealth of information. Every post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc contributes to an individual’s digital footprint; and every time anyone else reads or responds to the post they extend the data trail. Data mined from social networks can be analysed to help make key business decisions.
Social Media Tools
You will be realising by now that social marketing is big business! Along with the potential there is an ever-increasing array of social media tools to help manage the process. Three of these are:
Hootsuite – helps you manage social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences, and measure ROI right from the dashboard;
SproutSocial – enables you to create an exceptional brand experience across networks and promptly reply to your customers;
Buffer – Buffer helps you manage multiple social media accounts at once and quickly schedule content from anywhere on the web.
In this day and age, social media as a marketing tool is something to be ignored at your peril! For more social marketing ideas and advice about how it could be deployed effectively as part of a creative marketing campaign for your business, contact Xcite Digital today!