How many people have you met that admitted getting into Tik-Tok in 2020 and how many hours have they spent on the app overall? What about getting on other social media platforms or using those you have been on more frequently than before? Lockdown and the conditions pandemic has put people through has affected every sphere of life. While the downsides may be far greater than benefits the situation had brought, there are certain aspects where the restructuring towards the virtual space has had its undeniable advantages. The ways people use social media is certainly one of those aspects.
Nobody is going to deny the fact that soon after its creation business owners of all kinds, marketing and advertising business included, saw the huge potential and new perspectives social media has opened for them. Social media has been employed full force for marketing purposes especially after the implementations of social media platforms into everyday life of billions of people. The numbers annual, monthly or even daily statistics that different social media sites pull individually or altogether has been enough evidence that those platforms are the best place to advertise your brand.
When we think about marketing and advertisements most people picture huge corporations and advertising agencies who do banners and TV commercials. While that may be true, in reality marketing has developed to be, and its essence has always been about, correctly packaging the product or service that you offer to your target audience. It’s all about knowing how to do branding. You can brand a material thing, your product, service or even yourself. Influence marketing is essentially branding yourself as a tool for advertisement. Influencers are constantly advertising something, be it a new piece of clothes they wear, a sight they visit or food they take a snapshot of to post it on their Instagram feed.
With the way social media works and how easy it is to share and connect different platforms to each other it also creates a convenient space for gaining connections, recognition, fame if that is what you desire and ultimately, finances. Bonus points for those things being interconnected. There is no obstacle against concluding that social media platforms, the source of information and entertainment to most people, have been and are being used by businesses, including huge corporations, as a space for doing their business more efficiently.
Marketing on Social Media: The Whys
One of the most overused and probably the worst advice that marketing “gurus” can give is about the content being “the king” and how you should just focus on creating high quality content and the rest will take care of it. This is simply not right. It sounds like wishing big while you sit around and do nothing else. If that was true most big corporations with names, history and power to them would not spend as much as they do on marketing and advertising.
Advertising is a huge thing even in the banking sector that would still be there and do what they do, especially government owned or federal banks, for the simplest reason that their services are a necessity. If they need it, smaller businesses and individuals definitely need it too. However, creating or having content to offer is not the start and it certainly is not the finish.
For the content to acquire the status of a “king” it is necessary to have a plan. Content will not be pulled out of a thin air. Planning is what makes your business successful. Especially in the digital era. If you do not create a plan for efficiently putting your content out there, no matter how incredible it is or how much time, money and energy you put it into it, nobody will be able to even see it, let alone actively engage with it.
What we have right now is what business people in the past could only dream of. You have the ready-made audience of virtually the entire world population that has access to the internet. All you really need to do is to know how to present what you offer in an attractive way. Again, what you offer could be yourself. Influencers are those, who business owners with products and services go to when they want to attract large audiences. Tools for marketing, in the least objectifying sense.
Simple example of this would be the immediately sold out stock of any piece of clothing that Instagram celebrities wear. It could be a high end piece of clothing and it still gets sold out. Is it because suddenly everybody has money? No. This happens because there is always the right audience for just about anything. It could even be accidental, with a celebrity having no intention to advertise the product but it just happens.
The point you need to definitely take into consideration here though, is that not every business owner has the fortune, luck and privilege of being able to team up with extremely influential people. The smaller your business is or moreover if you are a start up, lesser chances of getting this type of commercial from a big name.
There are two ways those kinds of businesses deal with the problem. They either take care of it by themselves. Working on building up their brand in an interesting way. It could be the logo, slogan, commercial, social media presence, the team of not-that-influential but creative minds, product packaging or anything else. The key is to be eye catching. If your products catch the eye of the right audience it has better chances at going viral which in turn can bring in the customers who were not even included into your target audience at first.
The second way of solving the problem is to hire those less-influential people who may not have millions look up to their every move but can put on more work into advertising your product. A single Instagram post with no caption, tags or any kind of semi-explicit implication of your product from the members of kardashian-Jenner family can give your website an endless amount of engagement. As we have already established that is for the obvious reason. They each have more than 100 million people following them and others who may not be Instagram users but are interested in their persona.
Less influential and popular influencers have fewer people in their audience but because they strive to grow bigger they are more willing to create something that will get them to where they want to be. Influencer – business owner relationship is the prime example of modern B2B marketing strategies. Aside from the payment of various forms that businesses pay to influencers, they get to showcase themselves in front of the audience that consists of their own as well as your target audience and potential customers. Not only are the number of tactics less popular influencers use more but also they are far more creative in choosing those tactics.
Here is another point to consider. Conferences, courses and pubs concerning marketing and advertising on social media are of course great ways to learn something but they can never replace advice from someone with a first hand experience. You can learn the most from influencers and content creators themselves. They are aware of everything about the industry they are a part of it they know it inside out. Best way to learn is to practice. If you really want to strengthen your skill set and set up a great strategy, pay close attention to those people.
Marketing On Social Media: The Hows
To answer the question we asked in the headline, yes it is absolutely worth investing into social media marketing, especially during these times, you just have to do the planning.
What you should definitely include in your plan is who you are teaming up with. Studies that look into how social media marketing works have found out that 87% of the companies that offer consumer goods have been unlucky in gaining any benefits from advertising their products this way. The reason why this happened is because the influencers they chose had fake platforms. It could be in the form of fake followers, wasted budget or the damage of the reputation that may happen along the way. If the latter is the case you should simply cut it off immediately. You brand being attached to the negatively tainted name is something you do not want to happen.
So how can you prepare yourself and your brand for dealing with influencers. First of all you should have your goal set straight. What is it that you want to achieve with the collaboration? Do you want to build your “fanbase” of customers as a business that is just starting out? Do you want to increase sales or recognition? Do you want to regain what you may have unexpectedly lost after an unsuccessful rebranding campaign? When you have your goal singled out and in bold you will be able to easily fit the right influencer into your plan.
You also need to be somewhat realistic about your expectations. Operating the way it does social media can be a very surprising space but there are strategies with which you can measure the rate of your success or possible failure beforehand. And the same can be applied to individuals branding themselves.
If we go back to the content we have few things already established. The fact that you are a direct reflection of your target audience so knowing your audience is necessary for creating the content that will sell for the first time and keep selling. The process will be dynamic and you should be able to keep up with it. Adjust your brand in accordance with whatever will satisfy your target audience needs in that moment.
In case of huge corporations and names, they have mastered the art of building the brand up in a way that the audience gets used to it. Achieving the status of iconicity. Innovations are done in moderation and they don’t even have to think about complete turnover which puts them in a very comfortable position. That should be the end goal of any business no matter how small. Iconicity is essentially individuality. Something that distinguishes you and your name from every competitor you may have in your field.
Now when we say content the thing that may pop up in many people’s minds can be a particular singular product. There are many different types of contents however and business owners should be aware of that. The type of content that you can offer to your audience outside of the traditional definition are live content, insider, filler and BTS types, people love this; primary and secondary types; third party; audience discussions, let the audience have a say in the development of your content. It is a win-win situation and you have nothing to be afraid of, at the end of the day what is made, is made for them.
Think about why the “My Followers Control My Day” challenge went viral on all social media platforms. And why are the constant Instagram Story polls asking to choose everything from what to wear to what kind of makeup look they want a particular influencer to wear that day, still very relevant. Everyone likes to feel like they are in control and have an influence over something or someone. Use that to your advantage.
The prime purpose of creating social media has been because of the need of communication. Sharing and exchanging information as well as being able to connect with each other are some things social media has made so much easier for its users. Logically speaking, those who are big on social media are big for a reason. Most of them are great communicators. Does not mean they are great talkers. A much more meaningful and impactful communication can happen through art than through words.
Communication can indeed come in various forms but there is something to them that can be used to benefit your business. When you have a right influencer at your hand let them communicate with your audience. Most people do not want to get down to business in the sense that they prefer something fun and engaging given to them in the way they can understand. They don’t want to hear about transactions and expenditure. This is why everyone from individuals to huge companies or start-ups are trying to come up with something creative.
This is exactly why the audio-visual aspect of advertising works best on social media platforms. You may just like the visual side of the feed of a company you do not plan on purchasing something from and give them a follow. The company still benefits from that. Any kind of engagement it could be in the form of a follow, like, share or something else gives them some recognition and also a potential. You may not want to purchase their product now but you never know when you are going to need it in the future. Or someone else around you may need that kind of service.
The verbal aspect works best when it comes to creating content themes. This helps you not only with SEO but also in categorization and organizing your products. Allocation of this type is why hashtags are as big of a deal as they are. And it is easy to customize the tags the way you want or need. Being exclusive about everything you do is the key here. Even if something is trendy using it regularly and keeping the consistency can actually come in handy in making it exclusive for your brand.
Social media is called so because essentially it is very much about everything concerning society. What are the current issues, what is going on around your or on the global scale, what does the future look like? Being socially aware will help with the directions you should take. Awareness creates a certain context or your brand. In creating your content you should take into consideration several factors such as distribution and being able to connect the dots. This includes being adaptive to different and changing environments and audiences. Here, you need to be able to operate across platforms.
Tracking should also be taken into consideration. If you abandon measuring your progress you won’t be able to make decisions for the future. This can be done in various ways. And using the generic analytic tools is one of them even though it is not advisable unless you have no other option.
You can set up a custom tracking system that will be specifically catered to your content goals. Pace also being important you can connect it to the calendar with the metrics. Does not matter whether you own a large or a small business or you an individual building your brand numbers matter and you should treat them seriously.
If you are a business owner investing into the advertisement via an influencer that already has an audience one which you have run a background check on, you may consider giving their platform a boost as a payment or a bonus. Similarly, you can do this if you are an influencer looking for ways to grow the overall number of engagements on all of your social media platforms.
It is important to leverage between sales and marketing. It is not only about the content it is about the right kind of content and being able to package it. And social media has enabled creators to do just that.
Even for the absolute newbies who may not even be sure about who they want their audience to be, social media offers easy ways to find them fast. Think about how Pinterest, for example, asks you about your interests when you are signing up and gives you a suggestion of dozens of accounts afterwards. That is your audience and the people you want to reach out to. Tik-Tok For You page, trends on Twitter that you can customize, advertisements you come across on Facebook that feel like the platform has read your mind. The algorithm behind all social media is built that way.
And lastly, everyone from your competitors to your colleagues and your audience is on social media. It is a place where you can make meaningful connections and get the direct feedback fast. Social media is certainly a serious platform and should be treated accordingly. Do not let an intern run your social media account unless they are super skilled and fit for the job. Invest into your social media presence by hiring professionals or taking the time to work into building up your brand online. There may be risks on the way but a little bit of experimenting is necessary to see what works and what does not.
Investing on social media does not always include money. It could be your time or your energy but that makes social media marketing cost-effective. You can share posts as many times as you want and unless you specifically sponsor it, it is completely free on most platforms.
To summarize everything shortly as of 2020, 74% of all global marketers are investing in social media marketing and the number will only continue to grow in the future. Especially now when everything, even the traditional ways of education, is moving towards being virtually operated. Social media marketing will definitely never decline.
You need to be able to share and distribute the information about yourself and your brand, connect with right people be it your target audience or those who will help you in running your business or advertising it; you need to constantly promote and be able to keep everybody’s eyes on you; you need to be able to network and get feedback as effectively as possible.; no matter what kind of business you run you either take on the responsibilities yourself or outsource them. Investing into social media marketing checks all of the points.