Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the process of gaining website traffic or content marketing through social media websites. The objective is to create content that attracts reader attention at an efficient cost. 2016 is the year of social media marketing, as businesses are discovering how effective it is to reach a vast amount of potential customers with just a single post or tweet.
Social Media Marketing is a necessity, as most networks severely suppress the amount of organic (free) reach a company can acquire. Since we all know Facebook is a public company, their primary job is to answer to the investors. How do they do that? They deleverage free social media reach until it comes to a point that companies are forced to invest in their content. The result? They manage their earnings quarter-to-quarter with a simple tweak to advertising algorithms.
Take, for instance, Qatar Airways, which leads the airline industry with almost 11 million Facebook fans. Without the support of a promoted post, the airline may receive 220,000 impressions of its best content... yes, just 2%. This is a common problem with all companies using social media as a marketing channel, even the real stars, such as Coca Cola. So, what must a company do? They can either create content and let 98% of their fans miss it...OR, invest in Social Media Marketing.
With Social Media Marketing, companies can connect with the elusive 98% of their fans. They can finally connect with all their social media followers directly. The numbers are far less pronounced on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, but even these networks are hardly as effective without the aid of Social Media Marketing.
The power of the boosted post is great. It allows followers to “retweet” or “repost” comments made by others about a product or service. Social media really begins to work when people participate, create and share the content they see.
Here are 7 ways social media marketing can be used to get more from your content marketing efforts.
- Promotion and Branding: Social Media Marketing helps brands increase upper-funnel awareness and exposure through hyper-targeting capability. Marketers us SMM to promote goods, services, ideas, products, etc. through social media channels because most social media unit costs are oftentimes less than other online channels. Though social media used to be generally considered "free," the incremental costs of Social Media Marketing are worth it, depending on your objective and type of content.
- Targeted traffic: Social media sites give marketers a treasure-trove of targeting options, helping them increase the effectiveness of every ad dollar. Because of this targeting capability, we believe Social Media Marketing is effective as a marketing tool for all stages of the marketing funnel. Smart companies have turned to Social Media Marketing as a primary means of driving traffic to their company website or blog.
- Measuring Social Media Exposure: Social media analytics are better than ever, giving marketers almost immediate insights as to how many people can be reached with a message through social media. They include the number of visits, views, followers, fans, brand mentions, etc., and furthermore, the tools are often free! These metrics helps brands build and measure micro-KPIs to determine the success of their efforts and value for money. If you combine this reporting with Google's URL builder, you can also measure your macro-KPIs and arrive at your ROI.
- Measuring your influence: Influence metrics look at the effect your Social Media Marketing is having on the engagement of your brand. Whilst the engagement metrics you can discover on social media can be quite subjective, they are a useful tool to determine the company’s overall perception in the market, be it positive, neutral or negative. So, if you don't have thousands to invest in commissioned brand research, simply stop, look, and listen to what your customers are telling you. Also measure how many comments and forwards you are getting. This will quickly guide you to becoming a more influential brand, using better content, smarter timings, and more laser-focused ad targeting to get the results you think you deserve.
- Research and competitor monitoring: Social media marketing is quite pervasive, and there is a high likelihood that your competitors are already on the case. So, why not make it a practice to monitor the habits of your primary competitors to know what is working and what is failing? It always surprises me how little research is done by social media teams on their competitors. Teams tend to get so myopic they forget how much information is waiting for them. So, take the time and research your competitors and learn! With some proactive detective work, you can quickly modify your SMM strategy to focus on what is working across your peer-group. Create your own social media vibe, but don't live in a vacuum, like many social media teams I have observed.
- Social Care: Social media as a customer service channel has been very slow to develop in Qatar and a few other countries in MENA. With the proliferation of SMM, the volume of social care opportunities has exploded well beyond a critical mass. Yet, some companies (without naming names) continue to keep their head in the Arabian sand. A good rule of thumb is that you need to spend at least 20% on social care infrastructure that you are spending on SMM. Given that your company's staff are on social media longer than they are on television each day, it shouldn't be too difficult to staff a small team of social care specialists who care about your company that are ready to help your company provide customer support around the clock. The rewards are great to the brands who get it right.
- Cost effective marketing: SMM is considered highly cost effective (for most B2C marketing goals) and quite easy to execute. Furthermore, with some savvy bidding techniques, you can practically steal traffic at a fraction of the cost of ad networks or publisher-direct media buys. So, before you sign that $30,000 insertion order for some other online media channel, ask yourself, first, if you have maximized your use of the lower-cost online media channels. Remember, you are buying audiences as opposed to specific placements. That simple change in view will change your buying habits.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the best way to promote a business on a budget, and will continue to be in 2016. If it's not a part of your budget, it needs to be. Keep an eye on emerging players in the region for Social Media Marketing such as Instagram and Twitter. SilverFox predicts pretty large upside for businesses in these properties.
ABOUT SILVERFOX DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
SilverFox Digital Communications, is a Dubai-based Digital & Social Media Agency with an array of clients around the Middle East and Asia. Its executives bring digital experience from mega brands like: Southwest Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, UBS, Orbitz.com, and more. Its origins date back to 1997 in Dallas, Texas.
FREE DIGITAL MARKETING AUDIT