Social media is no doubt a big influence in marketing nowadays. Aside from companies giving each other a run for their money through SEO, they are also exploring social media as a way to increase their sales. This method has become an important component of improving conversion rates, with social media marketing in Arizona in a big boom. However, there are organizations that are yet to discover the advantage of utilizing social media marketing.
If we look at the big picture, incorporating this marketing strategy is a powerful change. Social media platforms are crowded with people that tirelessly scroll through their feeds. It is a fact you can work on to your advantage.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is an avenue of increasing customer interaction and product exposure. Like search engine optimization, it has an array of intricacies for an organization to stand out in the competition.
Basically, marketing through social media is an act of attracting the attention of users to patronize your product or services. It relies on social action and many times, the likes, shares, and comments could impact the credibility of the organization.
Social Media marketing works hand in hand with SEO to create a streamlined plan for the promotion of a company's product or service. More often than not, this marketing strategy links back to the organization's website to target an increase in traffic, as well as from the individual exposure of offered services.
An organization with a consistent social media presence will be likely to gather followers and recommendations from users. Even though these advantages are magnanimous on its impact, social media can also be a very delicate form of marketing. Bad reviews and negative comments can easily sway a majority of your readers or followers. With that, a skilled social media manager is needed to mitigate such scenarios and to ensure that your resources are utilized well.
Content is king in social media marketing. What you post and share will be the reflection of your company's image.
Trend is the language of social media. Everyone wants to be on top of the trending list to enjoy the attention of the platforms' users. But remember that being part of the trending group can either be good or bad. Some company's gain popularity due to infamous acts and marketing ploy went wrong.
Aside from creating a strategic marketing plan, it is also important that you practice the right social media trends. These methods are ever-changing. What works last month would need more improvement today. For 2018, here are five of the top social media trends that you should know:
1. Live streaming
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat allow anyone to air a live stream feed with just one click. Video marketing, by far, is one of the leading trends in social media optimization in terms of customer engagement and product/service promotion. Live videos also interest users even more compared to plain text or shared links. The idea of real-time communication sends an urge to click and be part of something.
Nowadays, there's what they call FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Younger generations who have the time and energy to use social media platforms would be part of the big chunk of your viewers. Older generations will also participate given that the content of the live stream suits their interest.
2. Video creation
The latest web statistics showed that by 2020, about 80% of overall internet traffic would be associated with videos. About 90% of social media users share video content on their feed. Experts believe that about 95% of the videos' messages are retained to the users' mind, consciously or subliminally.
However, it is not just about creating a slideshow of eye-catching content. There should be a "Wow" factor every time you are going to create visually moving elements. The first seven seconds of your video is the most crucial part in engaging the viewers' interest. The video's playability, length, language, and mobile-friendliness will also play key roles in the effectiveness of your social media campaign.
3. Connecting to the Gen Z
Generation Z or those born between 1995-2012 are the "true digital natives". This age bracket consists a majority of social media users and they are vulnerable to social media messages and marketing cues. Gen Z range in age from 6 to 23 and more likely to be the target of most products including gadgets, clothing, food, and the likes.
Yet, their purchasing power is in question. Can Generation Z influence the purchasing decision of their parents? A report from CASSANDRA stated that 95% of parents said that their children influence their spending. And regardless of whether Gen Z can influence other people's purchasing habits, this generation is still the biggest spenders, accounting up to $143 billion in direct spending by 2020.
4. Promoting brand participation
Social media users love to be involved. Participation is the nature of social media which you can use to increase your marketing powers. Connection and involvement translate to messaging applications like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Snapchat among others. Different brands are expected to personalize their messaging platforms through the use of chatbots, AI, and voice assistants. All in the name of enhanced customer experience.
Aside from that, brand participation may also include launching competitions and polls in exchange for a certain reward. For example, a snack company would ask their social media followers to send over their unique selfies together with their products to win gift checks.
5. Virtual reality
This 2018, virtual reality set a craze among brands. It's an immersive medium that transcends the influence of high-quality videos, and obviously, companies are recognizing its impact. 360 videos are everywhere on social media platforms and it is seen to boost sales by 18% among companies.
One example is Mercedes Benz' 360 video test drive where the viewer gets to see the road from the point of view of a passenger. It also allows the viewer to navigate the screen, simulating a person's vision in an actual ride.
Best social media platforms for marketing
The product or service you are marketing will dictate which platforms will be effective for your social media optimization. Here are options that you can consider:
Despite the controversy Facebook had encountered in the past weeks, it is undeniable that this social media platform has the biggest chunk of users. It has over two billion active users that have been the top choice for marketing ever since. Facebook is a champion in lead generation and fast ROI.
However, you need to perform retargeting consistently as each user has a different interest from the other. Still, be mindful of ad fatigue that can force your viewers to unfollow you.
Instagram is a Facebook-acquired company that is now setting a blaze in the marketing industry. In 2016, Instagram beat Facebook in terms of engagement rate in a 58% difference margin. With over 500 million users, IG is heavy in images and videos, a great avenue to show your aesthetic arsenal.
According to statistics, Instagram users are more likely to be minorities and females in the age bracket of 18-29. It is worth noting for whatever purpose it may serve a certain brand.
The 280-character limit is not a hindrance to send your message to your target audience. Thanks to the latest update of Twitter that doubled its character allowance that brands can now post longer messages. Also, Twitter advertising is seen to be effective in increasing the purchasing habits of users compared to non-users.
You can make use of a Twitter website card for a consistent show of your business. E-commerce usually uses Twitter for brand awareness and direct conversions for increased sales.
Snapchat is where you get to post interactive videos with a high swipe-up rate. However, the pricing is expensive, and it might not be a viable option for a small business. The consolation here is that exposure is also high since about 41% of Americans with the age bracket of 18-34 years will interact using the platform.
The upside of using Snapchat for marketing is the wide variety of gimmicks you can hop into. You can use their Sponsored Lenses, Snapchat Discover, or Snap Ads.
LinkedIn is focused on professional solutions and works well for B2B setups. Also, LinkedIn users prefer concise ads that could be through Sponsored content, Sponsored InMail, or Text Ads. The biggest advantage of LinkedIn marketing is the quality leads one would get. The 227 million users are mostly professionals that are equally divided into male and female.
It is important to take note that about 60% of LinkedIn users fall in the 30-64 years old age bracket. Mostly, these are businesspeople or professionals maintaining a corporate social media presence.
Tips to use social media to make sales
Sales is the driving force of a company and an integral part of its operation. If you are to use social media to increase your conversion rates, here are some tips to keep on your sleeves:
1. Distinguish your target audience first
Each social media platform is made different from the other. Facebook is the lair of the youngsters while LinkedIn is the hangout place of professionals. If you have a product or service to market, choose an audience that is more likely to patronize you. But do not get this wrong. Being omnipresent and utilizing cross-platform marketing is divine, but make sure to allow most of your resources to the one that works best.
2. Build relationships, not just connections
It is not always about posting product photos and description. Social media users love organizations that listen to what they are saying. Do not just connect or collect leads, be involve with those leads. After finding the people that are interested to your industry, find ways to engage them consistently. In that way, you can find out how to tickle their purchasing interest. Converse with your followers and figure out how your product can be valuable for them.
3. Establish your business' personality
No one wants to do business with an unprofessional company. Make sure that the image you project in your social media platforms is in harmony with what you're trying to market. Join conversations and forums to build your credibility, but always proceed with caution. Never flood comment sections with random links to your website. That would be a guaranteed way to be shut off from users' feeds.
4. Brand ambassadors are unbeatable
Look for famous social media personalities and work with them to endorse your product. Getting the leverage from their influence is an unbeatable way of increasing your sales. Social media users listen to people they look up to. Giving out "sponsorship" opportunities will level up your company's desirability since you are supporting an influencer's endeavor.
5. Put your best content forward
Off-brand posts or unsightly visuals are big no-nos in social media marketing. When your audience can no longer find the relation between your company and your social media presence, they will doubt your credibility. There is a high chance that they will hit the unsubscribe or unfollow button. Make sure that what you post is unique, original, and well-thought of.
Truths about social media marketing
It is true that social media marketing is an excellent way to increase your sales. But it is not always a bed of roses. The competition is always high and not all companies get reasonable ROI after exhausting most of their resources. Only about 48% of the 77% marketers see success in their social media efforts. Another thing is that it takes time to succeed in a social media campaign since it requires a lot of attention and work. You don't simply sign up for social media platforms and expect it to generate attention to your brand.
This method of marketing is not always about how much you can pay to have views. It is also about strategy and keeping up with what is trending. Two different companies from the same industry can invest a different amount but get the same exposure and followers at the end of the month. Utilizing effective social media marketing strategies are important steps.
Getting your business go viral
Speaking of strategizing to get views, companies see virality as the Holy Grail for their social media marketing. Take International Air Response (IAR) for example. They are an aerial services provider. What did they do to go viral? They laid out the longest slip and slide you can find and had adrenaline junkies jump off a plane and land straight to the slide. This high-octane video they posted on Facebook has over one million views and counting. Cool, right?
So the question is how can you do something worthy of shares and likes?
Online content goes viral if it’s highly controversial, witty, funny, or if it pulls the heartstrings. While there’s no absolute formula to going viral, the key is timing and content. Whatever industry you are in, creating content that’s unique and entertaining is the best social media strategy. Anchor it on pop culture and you stand the chance of getting more shares.
In the case of IAR, they chose to trigger people’s interest by doing the extreme of whatever is achievable and unique to do in a height of about 30,000 feet.
Content that puts people on the edge has a high chance of going viral. But you would want to be careful not to be famous in a negative light. Remember that as much as viral content are outliers, it shouldn’t be offensive or too controversial to put your business on the wringer. Have the freedom to use social media to reach customers but don’t stay too far from your business’ core values. It’s also important to promote your viral content through Facebook Ads. In the case of IAR, Cloud LGS ran a targeted Facebook Ad campaign to give the content every chance to take on a life of its own.