Ask almost any digital marketer or online business owner these days and they will tell you the same: Social media has the potential to be an exceptionally efficient and impactful marketing tool.
Opinions and preferences are one thing, but the above is a fact; social media really can be an extraordinary platform for brand growth. Now more than ever, consumers worldwide remain glued to their online personas on a (literal) 24/7 basis.
Last year, it was estimated that close to 4 billion people worldwide were using at least one social network on a regular basis.
With figures like these, social media represents the ultimate marketing ‘soapbox’ you cannot afford to overlook, ignore or underestimate. But does this mean that social media marketing is 100% positive and without its downsides?
In a word, no – and to assume so is to set yourself up for disappointment.
What Does ‘Social Media Marketing’ Encompass?
The term ‘social media marketing’ is exceptionally broad and does not refer to one specific practice or group of practices. Quite simply, anything and everything you do on social media as a business (or for business purposes) qualifies as SMM.
From posts to paid ads, promoting products, and simply responding to comments, these are all exceptionally important SMM activities.
This is also why devising, implementing and maintaining a quality SMM campaign can be tricky; every move you make contributes to the outcome in some way.
The Primary Pros of Social Media Marketing
Irrespective of how you go about your SMM campaign or which techniques you prioritise, the primary benefits of social media marketing are universal.
Even when comparing the largest multinational businesses to the smallest local retailers, an investment in SMM can bring you:
1. A uniquely economical outreach platform
There has never been a platform quite like social media when it comes to reaching the most enormous global audience for next to nothing.
Almost everything you can and should be doing on social media is technically 100% free of charge.
Setting up accounts, posting content, engaging with your customers, building a business network and so on; none of this need cost you a penny.
Paid ads are available and helpful, but are strictly optional and by no means necessary.
2. Unrivalled consumer influence
It’s simple, achieve the approval of others on your chosen platforms and you are golden. From likes to followers, comments to shares, and direct recommendations from influencers, hit the right note with your followers and the rest takes care of itself.
Tapping into the power of social signals, influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC) can help you achieve just about anything on social media. Building brand awareness, attracting more followers, selling more products and so much more besides.
3. Direct communication with your customers
The fact that your customers can connect with you directly and publicly makes social media an extremely attractive communication channel. Every interaction between you and your customers doubles-up as a contributor to your marketing strategy.
In short, demonstrating exactly how focused you are on customer satisfaction and general service excellence.
Even when things go wrong and complaints are received, the whole thing can be turned into a major plus point for your business when handled strategically. And again, by the use of a service that is (for the most part) 100% free of charge.
Stay tuned for the second half of our two-part post exploring the primary pros and cons of social media marketing, coming soon…