What is Social Media Marketing? There are two things that you would like to be aware of before looking into what exactly is this thing known as social media marketing. Those two things are social media and marketing.
Social media is an agency or means which facilitates communication among people and enables them to exchange and share thoughts, suggestions, data and information as well as come up with new thoughts, suggestions and ideas virtually. For more information on social media, please refer this article.
Marketing is an activity of passing on information about merits of products or services to the potential consumers to generate and develop awareness and need in order to sell those products or services to the consumers. Further information can found in this Wikipedia page.
Now that you have at least a basic knowledge of social media and marketing, let us look into social media marketing. At a basic level it is about reaching out to potential consumers through social media sites by generating and developing awareness about products or service to garner consumer attention. Here focus is on developing useful information content to woo consumer attention and inspire consumers to share information on social sites. Follow this link to know big companies are using Instagram to develop brand awareness.
This sharing of information from one user to another user or to a group of users has a profound effect in comparison to the traditional marketing mediums in invigorating consumer awareness and curiosity for a brand, product, event, service or company. Reasons for it are that information is coming via a reliable and trusted sources and also when it is recommended or liked by a group of people who are your friends or acquaintances then a person is likely to be believe or rely on such information. The outcome of this kind of marketing is earned media and it is different than paid media which is traditional marketing where a company or a brands pays to buy space in print or digital media.
Companies can use Social Media as a channel for marketing to reach out to consumers who know about their products or services and also, to develop awareness among consumers who don’t know about their products or services. Social media can also be used to learn about consumer insights and to appropriately target them. Unlike traditional marketing which is more of a mass marketing, social media can help companies to do targeted marketing and touch customers at each level of consumer buying decision process.
Seven out of 10 important factors that lead to a good organic search results in Google depend on social media. Therefore, companies can’t ignore social media. Social media marketing doesn’t need large budget in comparison to traditional marketing. Hence startups and small and medium businesses can benefit a lot from it. Companies can use social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ to reach right customer segment at a fraction of a cost required by traditional marketing. Refer this link to know how companies are using social media for marketing.
Consumers are posting their experiences, reviews and recommendations on social media which makes it imperative for companies to keep track of such conversations as negative consumer experience or review can cause ripple effect leading to considerable damage to a brand’s image or a company’s reputation. Companies not only has to keep track of consumer conversations but also answer to concerns or questions raised by consumers as soon as possible and effectively so as to negate effect of negative publicity and ensure that a brand’s image or a company’s reputation is unscathed. For example, if you are shopping on Amazon then you will think twice before buying any product having negative customer review.
Social media can also be used for other things e.g. political campaigns, raising awareness for a social cause. Indian general elections, 2014 is a famous example of how social media to make a big difference towards achieving a goal. BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) one of the political party in India won the Indian General elections, 2014 by leveraging technology in its election campaign. It used social media effectively to connect senior party leaders with the party workers. The party used internet to achieve momentum at the right time for the election. For more information, please refer this article.
On a lighter note another example of campaigning for a social cause is a bid to save a dog from being banished from an educational institute. Follow this link to know more about this.
I hope this article addresses basic questions that beginners or dummies or novices could have about social media marketing