Social Media - as I’ve mentioned on the blog before, is an intrinsic part of everyday life. It’s essential that you at least consider it when planning your next Marketing strategy, but, in my very humble opinion, you need to go so much further than that. We're going to focusing on the more general parts of Social Media on the Commercial/B2C aspects.
Using Social Media to market your companies is a fantastic opportunity to reach new people, and reach people who are much more relevant to your target audience. I’ve also mentioned Facebook Adverts on the blog before, and it has played a serious part on building companies’ sales pipelines, let alone Brand Awareness & Engagement.
I’ve found over the last few years, more and more, that when I’ve found something interesting and read through, I’ve found it through a link on Facebook or Twitter, than by more ‘natural’ means such as a search through Google or through my friends. I’ve also discovered about sales that require you to like a post on Facebook, or to retweet a post on Twitter to enter yourself into a competition, often exclusive to social media. Some of these, no lie, get nearly 1 million likes! Hundreds of THOUSANDS of reposts/shares/choose your term. Look at that for interaction! That’s one way of building people’s awareness of your brand. However, it’s not as simple as it could seem. You might have thousands of likes on Facebook, or thousands of followers on Twitter, yet you might only get 1 or 2 interactions per post. I’m not doubting your numbers, it’s more common that people like to admit.
A lot of it is down to your content. Whether it’s just writing blog posts and encouraging people to leave a comment (like I do), small form videos highlighting what you’ve done that week, or even something much larger, I like interactivity because it’s inviting! It’s not exclusive to talk to your audience, but it’s exclusive when some of these deals, sales and more are being conducted through your social media. It’s more common for people to take interest/notice something with a picture on the post, than it is if it’s just a ‘dry’ post. Then again, if it’s something that isn’t relevant to your company or post, people are also just as likely to switch off to it. It’s a balancing act, and all of this focuses on what you’re publishing, and the way that your audience consumes it.
This then can boil down to which platforms you use. Some are better for short term interaction and awareness, whereas others work much smoother over a period of weeks or months, by virtue of a larger audience and a more ‘pick up and play’ style. Whilst we’ll talk about Twitter and Facebook here, in the future I’ll go into more detail about some of the other platforms available currently (guess how dated that’ll end up being…)
Whilst yes, Twitter is great to see the occasional outburst from professionals and politicians, I’ve always found it to be in its element when I’ve been dealing with an issue. For example, I tweeted Arriva Trains Wales recently as to why a train was curtailed short of the end destination, and their customer service people replied to me within 5 minutes with a simple explanation why. Quick and easy! And that’s what Twitter excels at – just being ‘there’, at an instant being able to react to literally ANYTHING! For companies in sectors such as public services, Twitter acts as a good way to drive traffic away from the inbound calls and more to ‘relieve’ pressure on companies, such as in times of signal dropouts, delays, and other such incidents. Some companies excel at using Twitter (and also Facebook to a lesser degree) to discuss with customers on matters, whereas others struggle to effectively.
Facebook, on the other hand, doesn't guarantee much in short term results, but that’s because it excels at the longer form style of content, such as somewhere to post albums of images, posting blog posts, livestreaming (!) and other video content, or just other methods that needs longer term exposure. Whether it’s a video game company publishing a Q&A, a sports broadcaster offering their pre-game opinions or pre-broadcast build up through a Livestream, and professional bloggers who’ve highlighted their best photographs with a write up of their trips, Facebook’s design and nature means that these can reach as many people as you want – whether you’re paying for extra reach, or if it’s being shared by hundreds of people - Facebook is a better interaction method, for the fact that it has a higher user base, ability to post the longer form content overall, and otherwise can offer a much more community based spirit, opposed to Twitter and their aforementioned instant outreach and reaction.
They both have their merits and pitfalls, but the way that your audience consumes content isn’t just relevant to Social Media. At the end of the day though, Facebook and Twitter are still just social media platforms. Whilst they can help refine your business’ target audience and demographics for little in the way of cost, you can equally invest heavily for poor results and no ROI. You need to have a decent plan of action and understanding of it to vastly improve your odds at success. As with many things in our profession, it's just one part of a much bigger picture. However, if Social Media Marketing sounds like something your business could benefit from, then please get in touch!