What is Social Media Marketing? Benefits and tools
Social Media Marketing or SMM is the process of deploying social networking websites to increase brand awareness, reach and organic visitors to a brand own website. The objective of social media marketing is to generate user-specific content which increases brand consideration and followers. Today, one way or the other, each one of us surrounded by at least one social media platform. It is a great platform for brands to interact with its existing users and potential customers, that too with just a click.
With the rise of Digital Marketing, it is inevitable for brands to skip social media marketing from their advertising campaigns. Social media platforms today have inbuilt analytics tools, which brands can leverage to execute consumer-centric campaigns. This helps the brands to measure the campaign performance very effectively. To effectively utilize social media platforms brands must promote user-generated content in form of posts, re-tweets, like and share options. However, the downside is that the posts also need to be curated.
Globally, a lot of brands/initiatives have utilized Social Media platforms for gaining maximum reach and coverage. For e.g. save the tiger campaign back in 2010. The campaign was initiated by Aircel and NDTV after Tiger reserves started losing their tigers to Poaching. The campaign gained a lot of signature responses to attune of more than a million. The total revenue collected was INR 10 Crore which is a tangible amount to save the tigers. The best part about the campaign was that the number of tigers rose from 1411 in 2006 to 2226 in 2014.
The 2008 US presidential election was again a classic example of an optimum use of Social Media. The then-presidential candidate Mr. Barack Obama used as many as 15 social media channels to have a dialogue with all the voters. The result saw Barack Obama witnessing a landslide victory in the elections.
There are many social media platforms which brands can utilize to promote their products/services. This post covers major platforms which have largest users base.
As of December 2017, Facebook had around 2.2 Billion users worldwide making it the most popular social networking site globally with a 22.9% percentage usage. India ranked the highest country with 250 Million users followed by the USA with 230 Million users. Facebook allows its users to post long updates, detailed brand pages right from founding dates and milestones. The Facebook brand page allows videos, pictures, and testimonials, ratings of the product/services for others to see. As of December 2017, more than 95% brands were present on Facebook to promote their product/services.
Twitter is the shorter version of Facebook. There is a character limit to post an update. The post-update on twitter is known as Tweet. Earlier the character limit was 140 characters which now have been increased to 280. This character limit includes text, images/videos/gifs, product re-direction link to website, hashtag. Twitter is a great platform to promote a product since it’s a short, crisp and quickly accessible. A lot of brands also use Twitter as the after-sales service provider since its available 24*7.
Although Instagram started out as just a photo-sharing platform, over the years its popularity has soared leaps and bounds. As of 2017, Instagram had more than 800 Million users worldwide. The user engagement rate for Instagram was 15% higher than Facebook and 25% higher than Twitter. Instagram acts as an interactive platform which allows the brands to showcase their products through stunning visuals and imagery. A plus point for Instagram is that it is majorly accessed through smartphones, giving the marketers a chance to create a one-to-one dialogue with its customers with just a thumb swipe. Many brands are using this mobile phone app to mass reach out to its existing as well as potential customers. Instagram also acts a very big platform for brand tie-ups and bloggers (Vloggers).
More than 70% of the brands have jumped into tie-ups bandwagon. According to a study, marketers are spending as good as a billion dollars to promote their products on Instagram. According to a study conducted by simply measured, by end of 2018 more than 85% of brands will utilize Instagram as a tool to promote their products. Instagram is one platform which is mostly user-generated in most of the sense.
A vlogger posts a picture of a pizza; it’s a win-win situation for both the pizza brand and the vlogger. The pizza brand will get a larger reach and the vlogger will get a chance to interact with pizza brand fans. Instagram also provides attractive filters to make the visuals more appealing and eye-catching. The app also promotes hashtags a lot. Apart from filters and hashtags, Instagram also has a 15 sec video uploading feature in form of stories. Recently, Instagram has added one more feature of following hashtags on its platform.
LinkedIn is social networking website mainly used for professional networking. It is an ideal platform for a candidate to demonstrate his/her professional abilities. Organizations are always on the hunt for best candidates to join their organization. LinkedIn is one such platform where lots of professional tie-ups and collaborations happen. Organizations also use this platform to voice their working culture, current job vacancies, CSR activities that they might have recently completed and showcased their work/awards for users to consider joining their organization.
Youtube is a great medium to engage with your target users via videos. It is estimated that per any given second more than 200 hours of videos are getting uploaded to Youtube. Ads on youtube come as pre-roll, mid-roll or end roll videos. Usually, the ads played on youtube pre-rolls are similar to the video being played.
Google+ is more or less similar to Facebook with certain added features. It enables integration with google search engines, Google Adwords and Google Maps. It’s a great platform as users can even rate or review a company on the search engine. Company details can be synced with the search engine. However, this platform is not as popular as other social media platforms.
Internet runs on content. The better the content, the better chance a brand has on the search engine. Today, a lot of brands make use of blogs to describe their product/services. Blogs usually comprise of about the product, how to use, benefits of the products/services and testimonials. Marketers take a conscious effort to be a part of online communities where they can frequently post about product updates. Many a time, a blogger can provide a useful testimonial to a brand which is considered more credible than an advertising campaign.
What started as an alternative to SMS services has not extended as a platform for sharing texts, videos, images, voice messages, documents, locations, voice calls and multiple other elements to share. Today WhatsApp has a daily user base of over 1 billion people in more than 180 countries. Brands have even started sending personalized messages to its users. For instance in India, MakeMyTrip sends any booking details to its users via Whatsapp. With the addition of Whatsapp for businesses, users can now even transfer their money, receive, and make payments through Whatsapp.