Marketing is an essential component of any business model. Without marketing, the manufacturer of a product cannot reach his target audience.
Interestingly, with time, marketing as a business activity has undergone a sea change. From some mere graphical images in newspapers, it has reached our daily medium of communication, that is our phones.
So, what made this miracle possible? The answer is simple, social media.
Today, social media has emerged as a predominant medium for expressing our views, thoughts and opinion. It has become so indispensable that even big multinational corporations are using social media platforms to promote their products and services to reach their prospective consumers.
As it follows, social media marketing is one of the many marketing methods used by business owners and companies. It entails the utilisation of various social media platforms for the promotion and advertisement of their services and products.
How does Social Media Marketing work?
As a powerful marketing method, Social Media Marketing applies a vast range of strategies and tactics to enhance product promotion and consumer engagement.
Some of the effective strategies include:
- Collecting user details like location, demography, personal information and preferences from notable social media platforms to segregate and compartmentalize the target audience and send them promotion messages according to their preferences.
- Creating short, eye-catching, and viral content to encourage people to like, subscribe and share those products or services related messages to their friends, family, and other acquaintances.
- Strengthening consumer engagement by encouraging them to share their reviews, comments, and recommendations regarding the concerned product or service (termed as the ‘earned media’).
How to assess the efficacy of a Social Media Marketing drive?
The efficacy of a social media marketing drive can be estimated by using a vast range of indicators.
Some of the significant indicators include:
- Website Reports involving tools like Google Analytics.
- Return-on investment calculated by relating marketing strategy with sales activity.
- Customer response rate, i.e., how many times consumers are referring to a particular company.
- Virality or reach, i.e., how many times consumers have shared a particular product content.
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
Compared to other marketing mediums, social media allows business owners to have more direct and intimate access to consumer information and preferences.
Consequently, social media marketing tends to have the following advantages over other marketing methods:
- Quick promotion: Today, there are hardly any people who are without an account in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Therefore, through social media marketing, companies can reach their consumers by just clicking a ‘post’ button.
- Cost-effective: With free sign-ups and minimal paid promotion costs, social media is probably the cheapest medium to promote a product or service. Besides that, it reaches people directly via their smartphones.
- Wider reach: Today, hardly any person is without a social media account. Consequently, social media marketing allows companies to reach a diverse consumer base.
- Better segmentation of the consumer base: Most social media platforms collect user information for registration. This feature allows marketers to collect consumer data and classify them under different customer categories.
- Better insight into consumer interests: Today, social media has emerged as the most dominant platform for expressing views, thoughts and opinions. Consequently, companies can directly interact with their current and prospective customers and have a better understanding of their interests and preferences.
Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
Just like any other marketing method, social media marketing has its share of limitations.
- Exposure of business strategies: Keeping an account of another company’s business approach is an essential part of social media marketing. It follows that a company’s social media presence discloses its business strategies to its competitors.
- Time-consuming: Social media marketing may not demand too much money, but it indeed requires a lot of time and patience.
- Requires continuous engagement: Unlike other marketing methods, social media marketing requires constant interaction and engagement with the target audience to generate the desired results.
- Slow ROI: Social media platforms may allow quick promotion with a meagre amount of money. However, the return on investment in this method of marketing is both slow and low among all other online marketing methods. It is because it demands a tremendous amount of time, labour and engagement.
- Quick tarnishing of brand reputation: Social media may allow swift promotion of a company’s products and services. However, it can also make a company lose its reputation within minutes if any negative information concerning the company makes its way on to its platform.