Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to the early 2000’s era. Social media networks were relatively unheard of, companies still preferred to market their goods through physical media (such as billboards and direct mail) and MySpace was still the coolest trend among youngsters. Fast-forward to a decade later, social media has taken the world by storm, online marketing replaced physical marketing mediums, and MySpace is now replaced by Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social networks. So the point is, you never know what the future holds; nobody could have predicted we would be so reliant on social media websites as a means of communication. But there’s one thing that has remained rigid since 2007; the rise of social media marketing.
The Rise of Social Media Marketing
What? You thought Facebook became a $100 billion industry just out of the blue? The social media website gets a significant portion of its revenue through online advertisements. Companies pay top dollar for their products to be advertised through social media networks. Hard to believe is it? It might be much harder to believe the fact that 93% of marketers use social media just for business purposes. The rise of social media marketing may be attributable to several factors, one of which is the large consumer base, numbering to 1.2 billion users on Facebook alone! The other factors include the customer information that the social media accounts hold, which can help in targeting customers.
How to Get the Most Out of Social Media Marketing Segmentation
You see those sidebar or news feed ads and those aren’t just randomly placed there. In fact, the ad is targeted especially for users based on what their ‘likes’ or interests are, along with other factors such as location, age or gender. This is why social media marketing is so effective for businesses; it targets specific users that are most likely to subscribe to the services. For example, a local car repair company can simply advertise their ads on pages related to their particular location. This can save the small business a pretty penny while getting their word across to users.
Unfortunately, this is the first thing that most small businesses forget – segmentation. By not properly targeting their audience, they are not only wasting advertisement budget, they are also reducing the chances of prospective clients subscribing to their services. That’s not just something I just made up; think about it. If there’s a sidebar or news feed ad for a particular business every time you visit a random page, even though that business is about a 1000 miles from your residence, what would be the first thing that comes to mind?
Yes, by relentlessly placing social media ads without proper segmentation, you might possibly be bringing your business into the borderline of being considered as spam, adding a negative aspect to your business while driving away your potential consumer base.
Another reason why social media marketing can prove advantageous to small businesses is cost effectiveness. Not that this form of marketing is the cheapest (that distinction goes to email marketing), but social media marketing also helps small businesses cut back on other costs. For example, consider a small business running a Facebook page or a Twitter account to answer queries. Not only does the business get the opportunity to interact with the consumer base, they can also reply to their queries directly, essentially rendering customer service directly on the page, thereby not having to allocate a dedicated budget to that department.
There are certain tips and techniques to utilize social media as a marketing tool to its full potential. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
Going with the Times
60% of shoppers browse through the Internet on their smart phone while going to shop for products. Not convinced yet? Get this; Pinterest users are three times more likely to share content on their mobile phones than they are on a desktop. Mobiles are taking the place of the traditional desktop PC, but that is no reason to be distraught. In fact, you can stay a step ahead of the competition by simply keeping your social media marketing campaign mobile friendly. This means having a mobile version for your webpage, which the users can access while on their phones.
Hashtags are a relatively new tool utilized by Facebook, and was first limited to just Twitter. To make effective use of hashtags, make sure you use your brand name, a catchy tagline or a popular hashtag.
Adding the Reply Option
Another excellent social media marketing tool which small businesses should use is the ‘Reply’ option, which Facebook has introduced for page owners to directly interact with their customers in the comments section. This produces a more customer friendly brand image, which users appreciate. This in turn will not only encourage them to buy from your brand, but to also give positive feedback on your page.
Another great advantage of social media is that whatever is posted by a user on a page, it shows up on most of his/her friends’ news feed. This indirectly generates positive publicity, improving your brand image for prospective clients. Social media marketing is an excellent tool for small businesses to expand their horizons and diversify their market.