Social media marketing is the utilization of social media technologies, channels, and software to create, communicate, deliver, and exchange offerings that have value for an organization’s stakeholders.
Social Media Marketing -Tracy L. Tuten and Michael R. Solomon
Social Media Marketing is the way products and service are promoted today using the world wide web. It has almost replaced traditional broadcast marketing. One of the main benefits is the fact that is can be targeted to the relevant audience when they are searching for your product so you get a qualified lead and better bang for your marketing buck. The main objectives of Social Media Marketing are
· Increase awareness
· Influence desire
· Encourage trial
· Facilitate purchase
· Cement brand loyalty
· Recover from service failures
With social media the Customers become engaged and participate in posts and ads rather than just viewers as in print or billboard advertising. The change from consumption to engagement can lead to high brand loyalty and increased sales.
Social media can be divided into three strands - Paid, Owned and Earned. Paid is advertising and promoted posts. Owned is your own generated content. Earned is where the customers create and share information. In many cases the Customers are willing to engage with you as well as about you in conversation. They can share your posts with their friends or interact and comment on a post. Use of competitions where you ‘like and share’ are particularly good for engagement. How you engage with Customers is very important in the social chat, some brands are too formal, or too defensive. You need to talk the language of your followers not just use corporate speak.
It is important to ‘Listen’ to your social channels. You need to monitor what the customers are saying to you and to each other. Responding to a critical review can turn a negative review into a positive situation.
One of the major differences between Social Media marketing and Traditional marketing is analytics. Before you paid for your advertisement in the print publication and hoped that it was seen by your intended audience. Today with Google Analytics you know exactly who you are reaching, and you can change your ad content, target audience and budget very easily to maximise your spend.
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is used to optimise your website so when the search engines crawl your site it will appear high in the results. The three elements are
· Technical configuration - your site must be laid out in a way it can be read and the information matched to the search query. Clear code is important.
· Content relevance – Google likes fresh content on a site. Keywords are very important and the use of them in your content improved SEO. Blogs are an effective way to get relevant content to your customers. To eliminate inferior quality sites in search results Goole introduced Panda and Penguin. Panda penalises poor quality content and Penguin penalises broken or irrelevant links or back links.
· Links – Internal links to pages are important. Links to other relevant sites are important too and good quality ones will improve your SOE ranking. The practice of ‘link stuffing’ or buying links now acts and a negative. Broken links or lack of redirects are also scored negatively.
Social Media Channels
The list of channels is growing with new channels being introduced. The popularity of channels also changes. Currently the top 10 Social Media Platforms shown below by Search Engine Journal is slightly different to the ones that are popular in Ireland, for example Reddit is not popular here. Facebook is still the leading social channel, but the demographic has changed from young student initially to the Silver Surfer user. Introduced in 2011 Snapchat has been adopted by the younger user. The channels are also used for varied reasons, YouTube is use for ‘How To’ information, Instagram by Fashion and Foodies, Facebook is community and SMEs.
· Launched: 2004
· Monthly Active Users: 2.7 billion
· Founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes
· Revenue: $86 billion (2020)
Facebook was started by Zuckerberg as a way of his college friends staying connected. The demographic has changed but many industries now use it to promote their business or service as well as people using it to stay connected with friends worldwide. The algorithms have changes recently with business posts and advertising not getting the reach it used to. Facebook control what you see, and you must interact with people to see their posts in your feed.
· Launched: 2005
· Headquarters: San Bruno, California
· Monthly Active Users: 2 billion
· Revenue: $19.8 billion (2020)
· Founders: Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley
YouTube is the main video channel and is the leader in the market. Many companies use it for produce information as video is better that text for ‘How to’ instructions. It is popular with the under 35s. In September 2005, a Nike promo video of Brazilian football star, Ronaldo showing of his ball juggling skills became the first YouTube video to get around a million views. It has since grown to become one of the most successful video distribution sites. YouTubers with interesting content can make a living by selling ad space before or on videos they create and upload onto the site.
· Launched: 2009
· Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
· Monthly Active Users: 2 billion
· Revenue: $5 billion (2020) estimated
· Founders: Brian Acton, Jan Koum
WhatsApp provides free messaging and calls worldwide. It is the most popular messaging app ahead of Facebook Messenger. Facebook owns WhatsApp. It is becoming popular for business to use as a marketing tool. WhatsApp's application runs on mobile devices but is also accessible from desktop computers if your mobile device remains connected to the Internet while using the desktop app.
· Launched: 2010
· Monthly Active Users: 1.16 billion
· Founders: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger
· Revenue: $6.8 billion (2020)
Instagram is an image-based channel where products can be promoted by the business for example a restaurant showing a menu item or influencers who get a reward for posting a product to their followers. There is a facility to shop online from a clickable link from the post or get more information. This has made purchasing very accessible and profitable for companies. The key demographic is under 35 and they are highly likely to shop online. the use of hashtags is especially important as that is the primary way to search Instagram.
· Launched: 2016
· Headquarters: Culver City, California
· Monthly Active Users: 689 million
· Founders: Byte Dance Ltd, Zhang Yiming, Toutiao
· Revenue: $35 billion (2020)
TikTok is primary a video channel where the post is removed after 24 hours. This channel is used by Generation Z. In 2017 it became the fastest growing channel. Now you see TikTok videos appearing on other channels as the sharing option is becoming used. The subscribers are very engaged and spend a long time viewing the posts. It has been used to create dance challenges with international reach.
· Launched: 2011
· Monthly Active Users: 433 million
· Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, Daniel Smith, David Kravitz, LN Katz
· Revenue: $911 million (2020)
Snapchat is used by the youngest age group with 13-year-olds spending approximately 30 mins a day on the app. It is primarily used to talk to friends, sharing photos, edit photos by playing around with lenses and filters to create amusing images for example putting rabbit ears and nose on a face, and sharing videos. It is used for influencer takeovers by brands.
· Launched: 2005
· Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
· Monthly Active Users: 430 million
· Founders: Steve Huffman, Alexis Ohanian, Aaron Swartz
· Revenue: $212.5 million (2020)
Not popular here in Ireland Alexa ranks Reddit as one of the top 20 most-visited sites. It is a channel of open forums where conversations happen on any topic. There are more that 150k communities covering everything from knitting to politics to news, technology, and pop culture. The users do not welcome self-promotion and can be extremely critical of a brand if they misuse the channel.
· Launched: 2010
· Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
· Monthly Active Users: 416 million
· Founders: Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp
· Revenue: $1,693 million (2020)
Pinterest is predominantly a female channel with many brides using it to ‘pin’ the items for their wedding to a mood board. It is reported that 86% of Millennials use it for inspiration and planning. The popular content also includes fashion, food, fitness, and decoration pins. Brands can upload their catalogue of products on Pinterest.
· Launched: 2006
· Monthly Active Users: 353 million
· Founders: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Noah Glass
· Revenue: $3.72 billion (2020)
Twitter is a micro blogging channel where each post is limited to 120 characters. It is easy to use and easy to find information on a topic using a hashtag to search. Twitter can be used for a conversation or to ‘watch’ at event like a rugby match. Twitter is where all the journalists hang out and search for information. Tweets relating to entertainment, sports, politics, tech, or marketing get tremendous engagement on Twitter. Google reports why people use twitter as -
On Twitter, brands have an opportunity to craft and hone their voice – there’s room to be clever and personable in addition to informative and helpful. Many brands use this channel for Customer service or to keep customers informed ie @LUAS will tweet delays.
· Launched: 2003
· Monthly Active Users: 310 million (estimated 2019)
· Founders: Reid Hoffman, K Guericke, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Eric Ly
· Revenue: $8.05 billion (2020)
LinkedIn is like Facebook for business. It is where all the professionals' network and share business information on their companies. It is used by recruiters to search for candidates for open positions. It is extremely focused on business and is a powerful tool if you want to reach decisionmakers with your product or service. LinkedIn has introduced hashtags and can now be used to search or follow a conversation thread.
Search ads or Paid Search ads are the method Googles uses to place relevant advertisements into the search engine results when a user searched for a product or service. This is known as Push advertising and provided quality leads for your business. These adds are paid for in an auction and receive a ranking score to decide what ad gets shown when. They can be set for a time, location, age, gender, or interest. You can also set the price you are willing to pay to have your ad displayed. These ads are displayed in the top 3 results at the top of the organic search results.
There are tools to allow you to create and test your ads before you launch them.
Google Ads provide analytics and results. You can edit your ads as the campaign runs, this allows for maximum return, and you can A/B Test and stop the underperforming ad and increase the budget on a well performing ad.
A Blog is an informal page that is published as part of a website. It is often used for additional information on the website's topic. Blogs can be used for business, personal, news or promotion. Companies often give Bloggers with a large following new product pre-launch to test and write about. This was popular but the Blogs can be biased because the blogger is getting rewarded for the piece. Google treat blogs as fresh content and will rang a website higher if there is regular fresh content.
Using video to promote your product or service is very engaging. It can help increase engagement on your social channels. Many companies use it to educate their users – for example with ‘How To’ tutorials. YouTube videos tend to be longer that the ones in TikTok and serve a different purpose. Video can give a better connection to the content being consumed. It gives an opportunity to showcase your product in detail very quickly. The video can have cartoons, music and graphic to add interest. Charities have used video very effectively for events like the Ice Bucket Challenge. This spread around the world and raised millions for the Motor Neuron Disease.
Often dismissed, Email marketing is an immensely powerful tool. It is a direct marketing tool that can promote your product or service. When using tools like Mailchimp you can analyse the effectiveness and it calculated the opening rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes ect. It can be used to personalise a message to each customer which can build the relationship. However, it is very important not to overuse email or with will be considered Spam.
Pros and Cons of Social Media Channels
- No 1 for reach and has the broadest age range of audiences
- Has the best targeting options in online advertising
- Good for B2C and B2B marketing
- Wide range of ad formats and placements
- Detailed analytics
- Now has almost zero organic reach since FB changed the rules on who see what posts.
- Not as popular with Gen Z
- Posts need to have visual content to get interaction
- Growing audience
- Excellent targeting options with post promotion and hashtag use
- Users are highly engaged
- Popular with millennials and Gen Z
- Good for visual branding
- Content creation is demanding
- Content visual must be high quality
- Minimal organic reach
- Highly-engaged audience
- Always on
- Great platform for promoting lead generation content and customer service
- Quick reaction to posts from users
- Engagement involves conversation
- Organic reach is effective if content is interesting - not entirely dependent on ads
- Popular with Journalists
- Easy to search with hashtag
- Few ads so good return on ad spend
- Twitter is busy and your message can get lost
- Tweets have short lifespan
- Twitter traffic is mainly interest not with purchase intent
- Requires consistent content
- Limited analytics
- Everyone has a voice which can be negative
- Popular among under-25s
- Engaging ad formats
- Strong targeting options
- Good for visual content
- Weak search options
- Features have been copied by Instagram which has led to drop in engagement
- B2B platform
- Business focused users
- Good targeting options of content and advertising
- You can target decision-makers
- Written content has reach and is not so visually focused.
- Particularly good for recruitment
- Advertising is expensive
- Limited analytics
- Could have a more intuitive UX
- Users are crowding the feed reposting and sharing posts for personal reach and attention
- Most downloaded app
- Used by Millennials, Gen Z and younger
- More popular in Asia than the west
- No advertising
- Few decision makers