This article shows what social media means and why social media marketing is important and why many companies should increase their involvement in social media marketing. This is based on my work experience in online marketing, 2019.
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Social Media Marketing Importance
In the course of social media marketing, companies try to use social media (also called social media) to achieve their own marketing goals. The term social media subsumes online media and technologies that enable Internet users to achieve online information sharing and collaboration that goes beyond traditional e-mail communication. Social media includes social networks, media sharing platforms, and messenger services as well as blogs, online forums, and online communities.
The enormous importance of social media is shown in the below image. It shows that, for the first time, all sections of the population and all stakeholders of a company have access to extremely powerful, high-profile tools for evaluating and using services as well as for establishing direct contact and thus for dialogue. Therefore, it is important to note that social media can have value-creating as well as value-rendering content – and it depends to a large extent on the company’s own commitment, which content dominates!
There is different type of social media exchanges. This can be based on the same interests, a comparable professional environment, common projects, similar opinions or political attitudes. By exchanging information (such as comments, ratings or recommendations) and sharing their own achievements (eg self-written texts, still and moving images and audio productions), social goals are often pursued with priority.
It is, for example, about recognition, networking between the people involved and/or simply the exchange of different content. Commercial goals tend to take a back seat among private users of social networks. As a result, companies and in particular purely advertising messages do not initially play a dominant role in social media – from the user’s point of view.
This is made clear by the following quote
Instead of providing relevant information in context, specifically answering questions and being helpful, many marketers use the spam slippers on Facebook, Twitter & Co. and are surprised that their measures are not pay off
Businesses should avoid turning Facebook and other social media into such a spam slam if they want to build and maintain the attention and trust of their target people over the long term. Therefore, one thing must be emphasized at this point:
Understanding of Social Media
Social media should not be misunderstood as another pure sales, advertising or PR channel. On the contrary, social media open up interesting new opportunities to enter into dialogue with stakeholders, to involve them in creative and evaluation processes and to provide one-to-one services – and, of course, to inspire their own offers.
When creating a social copy, keep in mind that it’s all about keeping brands and businesses engaged with their prospects, customers, and fans. In order to achieve relevance of one’s own messages, the following aspects have to be considered:
- The content should be useful/educational/ informative, exciting and/or entertaining/humorous for readers to read and ideally be reprimanded, shared and/or commented on.
- Essentially, it’s about the conversation. Therefore, the content should always be something more personal, authentic and appealing than classic copy writing.
- On dominant sales-oriented content is to be renounced. Very few users expect messages such as “bananas, now only € 0.99 a kilo!” In social media.
- A transparent content calendar has to be defined, which regulates which topics should be recorded by whom, and when contents have to be deleted due to obsolescence (the latter is still too often neglected).
- Communication in social media should be based on clear – external and internal – social media guidelines.
But what motivates consumers to connect with companies through social sites? In sum, the following areas of a content strategy for social media can be defined as relevant.
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- General and exclusive information about products, services, the company and/or the industry (for example by referring to websites, blog entries or forums)
- Information about new products/services (eg new launches)
- Beautifully staged texts, photos and videos on products / serviceOpinions on current products / services (eg as a dialogue platform for exchange with other users)
- Participation in events (including invitation to product or company presentations, eg fashion shows)
- Be Connected (Be Part of a Larger Fan Community)
- Expressions of ideas for new products / services (eg idea competitions)
- To belong to a community
- Discounts (including special price advantages, limited offers that can be adapted to different target groups)
- Purchasing (eg through links to online shops or references to stationary shopping centers)
- Reviews and product rankings
- Customer Service
Caring About Users
The above user expectations must be taken into account when integrating social media into corporate communications. After all, social media is essentially about an interaction between online users – combined with the exchange of information and user-generated content. This can only take place between private individuals and companies.
The far-reaching possibilities to place your own “works” on the Internet and communicate extensively with others are based on the applications of the Web. On the hand, social relationships arise between the users, who meet at the same hierarchical level. This also applies to the encounter between quite “normal customers” and companies – an exchange at eye level.
On the other hand, opinion leaders can develop relationships that concretize in the joint creation, development, and distribution of content, for example via blogs and communities (keyword: Influencer Marketing). The low entry barriers when using social media – such as low costs, easy uploading of content, ease of use (also called usability) – promote their dissemination.
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