It is no secret that at least half of the people you know are users of one social network or more. In the last 2 years, there has never been a more profound development in technology in bridging people together. People are social animals by nature and the need to interact is what it is all about. Deep down, no one likes to be always alone.
Social media now lets people connect and share their lives. The beauty and power of this is control and exclusivity. You have the power to be as open or as private as you want to be. You choose what content you want to share and who you want to share it to. You also control who you want to know more about.
For marketers, it has long been the norm that advertising and communication is targeted at a demographic or social profile but never has it be as easy as to interact on a personal level. The social media opens up possibilities that is not available before. So before I go further, I would like to share a chart to you made by FredCavazza.net
If you realize, social networking is not just Facebook. Sure most people are on-board the social networking wagon today because of Facebook and Twitter. Mind you they are indeed at the forefront but the scope is much more than that. Games have their own online ecosystem in MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games. Blogs has their own niche and readers, YouTube channels has made instant amateur celebrities, the list goes on.
So definitely, as a marketer, you cannot afford to not be involved as you competitors will be. The question is, where and how? Its all too many, its all too new. That is what I often hear from my friends and my clients.
So, to keep my article at reasonable length, I will just tell you ‘why you should do it’ and save the ‘how’ for another article.
1. Its not just about friends. This is one of the common misconceptions marketers make. They think social media is just about connecting with friends, sharing photos and making comments about each other. Yes, it is about that, but it is so much more.
Research has shown that people will like and follow a brand on social media for several reasons:
- To show their support for a brand
- To find out about the latest promotions
- To get exclusivity
- To get customer service (though this is mostly bottom of the list since most will use email, then the phone, and save social media for last resort)
Given that people will be willing to follow your brand, shouldn’t it be your duty as a good marketer to give them something worthy of their attention?
2. To get found, to get viewed, and to get heard. Since it has been established that almost everyone interacts online in one social media or another, it is where people are when they are online. Not exactly all the time but very likely, a person will check his Facebook, Twitter, Forum, Blog, or others at least once a week. Probably more than that. If they are there, you should be there as well. Its the perfect opportunity to let them know you exist, and that you have something they could be interested in.
The key though is content. Social Marketing is not about SPAM. It is not about unsolicited messages. Remember, people have control and they can just as easily kick you out. It is very important to always give good content. Ask yourself this, is my content going to be interesting? Is my content going to be of value? Your content should be something you would be willing and wanting to get yourself at the minimum.
3. Build relationships. Foster brand loyalty. When customers voluntarily like your brand on a social media platform, they are already giving you a chance to build a relationship. If you take care of that relationship, you have a genuine opportunity to become a ‘friend’ of that customer and not just a cold-hearted corporation. You can interact with them on a conversational level, share content that will be valued. Do all this, and in return, you will gain brand loyalty.
Simply put, Social Marketing is here to stay, its a great tool to build your brand. If you do not start getting on it, your competitors will. Can you afford not to?