10 years ago social media was an afterthought, something that was nice and friendly but no one would ever dream that companies would use it to market their products. Fast forward 10 years and social media is one of the biggest phenomenon’s in history. The digital age is upon us, and with generation Y quickly blossoming into adulthood, social media is only going to become more important in peoples everyday lives.
According to Statista (2013) in 2013 there 1.59 billion social networking users and this figure is forecasted to reach 2.44 billion in 2018.
That is a huge mass market, so many different demographics, tastes, trends all in one location. A marketers dream. Any company can reach their target audience through social media due to the sheer quantity of users.
Facebook is by far the most popular social media channel however as the graph below illustrates the other networking sites are fast gaining a following as well.
Social media has the ability to influence the entire world, just look at the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge was designed to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and because of social media the challenge raised close to $100 million with over 2.4 million videos being posted onto Facebook (Townsend, 2014).
That is the power of social media but how can it benefit you and your business? The following 6 points will outline how social media marketing can benefit you:
- Increase brand recognition
With over 1.59 billion social networking users, social media is the perfect way to get to the consumer. You can increase the awareness of your brand with online campaigns. This is a direct channel to the consumer, with frequent posts you become more recognisable and more familiar to consumers. An important fact to remember is that you need to be native, by this I mean not all Facebook users are on Twitter and vice versa. So do not make the mistakes of automatically Facebooking all your Tweets.
- Improve brand loyalty
With regularly posts and updates, consumers will become more loyal if they feel connected to the brand. Brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers (Bell, 2013). Subway are a great example of using social media to increase brand loyalty, they continually promote deals and offerings to gain following. Their recent ’flavorizer’ campaign was a huge success, users could create and name a sandwich and then promote it to their friends.
3. Generate more business exposure
89% of marketers say that social media generates more business exposure (Dyer, 2013). It allows for much greater distribution, every social media post is another channel back to your website and an opportunity to convert a consumer.
4. High conversion rates
With every new tweet and every new post it is creating another opportunity for someone to react, leading to interaction thus creating humanisation. Consumers feel connected as though they are speaking to someone rather than something. Social media also has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing (Hubspot, 2015).
5. Decreased marketing costs
Social media allows for consumers to regularly talk about the brand, this in effect is free marketing. It is increasing the brand awareness and the more people talking about a brand the better.
6. Enhanced customer service/satisfaction
Every consumer interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate fantastic customer service. If a complaint is made you can immediately address the issue, like JetBlue has below, or if a compliment is made you can thank them. It’s all about interaction and personal experiences with the consumer. It also allows you to navigate to what the consumer wants, all you need to do is listen.
According to Constantinides (2014) there are two main types of social media marketing:
Passive approach – to understand what the customer wants, to learn information about the market, customer experiences, competitive movements and trends.
Active approach – to utilise social media as a tool of communication, direct sales, customer acquisition and customer retention.
Social media is only going to become more prominent, you need to decide how you want to manipulate social media so that it can benefit you the most.
Bell, T. (2013) Establishing Brand Loyalty through Social Media, Texas Tech University. 05 September 2013 [Online] <http://www.depts.ttu.edu/comc/outpost/blog/brand-loyalty.php#sthash.GymG5BDh.wD5R1DRu.dpbs> [Accessed 14 April 2015]
Constantinides, E. (2014) Foundations of Social Media Marketing, Science Direct. Vol. 148, pp40-57
Dyer, P. (2013) The Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing, Pamorama. 30 July 2013 [Online] <http://www.pamorama.net/2013/06/30/the-top-benefits-of-social-media-marketing-infographic/> [Accessed 14 April 2015]
Hubspot (2015) The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics [Online] <http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics#Social%20Media> [Accessed 14 April 2015]
Statista (2013) Number of social network users worldwide form 2010 to 2018 [Online] <http://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/> [Accessed 14 April 2015]
Townsend, L. (2014) How much has the ice bucket challenge achieved?, BBC. 02 September 2014 [Online] <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29013707> [Accessed 14 April 2015]