Basics of Social Media Marketing – An Introduction
Social Media is one of the technological advances of the modern times. Being able to connect to anyone in any part of the world without leaving the comfort of one’s home is something that looked straight out of science fiction a couple of decades ago. But, the last two decades have produced a new social phenomenon known as Social Media. Driven by the internet and communication technology, social media connects people from different parts of the world and allows them to communicate with each other in real time.
Various social media platforms have emerged due to the developments in information technology. Names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram are known to billions of people in the world. Social media is a generic term and platforms like these constitute social media. These platforms allow an instant access to people to connect to one another and share information, communicate with each other and access a vast pool of resources.
The advent of social media and the ability to connect with anyone anywhere as given rise to a new method of marketing known as social media marketing. One of the hallmarks of social media is that it allows markets to directly communicate with the potential customer base in a personalized manner. Traditional marketing techniques used mass marketing methods. Even if they targeted specific niche, it used to be much broader. Social media marketing makes it possible to customise the marketing campaign that are highly personalized and customized. Social media marketing analyzes the social media habits of individuals and based on this data and its further analytical evaluation, positions specific solutions to the users.
With billions of people accessing the internet and using social media platforms, it is the biggest channel for marketing. No other traditional marketing method has ever been as comprehensive, broad, customized and efficient as social media marketing and the results generated by the social media marketing techniques are the evidence of its usefulness and efficacy as a mode of marketing.
One of the most important elements of social media marketing is the content. Social media marketing encompasses generating meaningful and useful content, which is capable of delivering a solution to the consumers and using it as a method to attract consumers. Social media marketing also encourages the users of social media network who access the social media platforms to share the content with their social network. The combination of these techniques results in a highly synergized method that helps promote or market the products or services in an exponential manner.
Marketing through social media is also similar in its approach to the word of mouth publicity of traditional marketing methods; except, the extent of the spreading of the message by the users of social media is much wider than the word of mouth publicity which was limited to the spreading of the message among a small group of people.
Internet allows access to the entire virtual world and social media marketing capitalizes this opportunity to ‘spread the word’ to any person, in any part of the world. There is another important factor that makes social media marketing an effective marketing method. It is a common fact known by all the marketers that when consumers receive information from sources that they consider trustworthy or credible, there is a much better chance of them considering using the products or the services being promoted by such medium.
In the instance of social media marketing, one of the most important method used by it is to encourage the users to promote the products or services to their social network thereby making them the brand ambassador of the company. Since the people in the social network of these consumers would trust them, there is a better chance of the solution being acceptable to them, resultantly increasing the possibility of them buying the product or the service.
Social media marketing uses several techniques to deliver results to the marketers. With the improvement in the field of information technology, social media and social media marketing are growing at a relentless pace. Social media marketing is a technological disruption in the domain of marketing and has created a level playing field for large, medium and small businesses. The cost of marketing through the social media is much lower than the traditional marketing methods and the expected Returns on Investment (ROI) is much higher. There are newer marketing techniques such blogs and influencer marketing that are being developed and used by the marketers.
Social media marketing has changed the way products and services are marketed and it in turn has enabled the marketers to generate far superior results from their marketing efforts than ever before. Advancements in the field of mobile devices has made it possible to access the internet from smaller devices like the smartphone and tabs making it possible of the users to access the internet on the go. Majority of the users access their social media accounts from smartphones. It has increased the social network even further, both in terms of number of users and frequency of access. Social media marketing has grown on the back of these developments and will continue to be the most effective marketing method.
With the growing acceptance of information technology and internet not only in the developed countries but also in the developing countries and the initiatives taken by companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Samsung to provide cheap and easy access to the internet through micro satellites, drones and high altitude balloons, the use of social media is only going to increase thereby allowing marketers even better opportunities to use this medium for their main marketing effort and integrating it in their marketing strategies.
Some interesting facts and figures about Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is a growing field of marketing and is now adopted by a very large number of marketers. Its acceptance is even wider in Business to Business marketing. Around 84 % marketers now use social media for their marketing activities in the Business to Business segment. A similar percentage of marketers, around 83% state that using social media is essential for the success of their business and over 59% of the marketers spend at least 6 hours a week using social media for their marketing activities.
There is however, no unanimity in the way the efficiency of the social media marketing methods is measured. Different marketing managers use different matrices and then interpret the observations to determine the effectiveness of the marketing measures. 96% of them consider the number of followers on social media as a reliable indicator of the efficacy of the marketing activities that include brand promotion, content marketing and influencer marketing among others. 89% marketers analyze the traffic on their contents and around 84% evaluate how frequently the content is mentioned by the persons visiting the content. The information on how many users shared their content on their social network is considered by 55% of marketers.
Although social media marketing is a relatively recent phenomenon, some of the number as staggering. In terms of lead closure, social media is successful 100% of the times as compared to the traditional marketing methods. In the United States, 80% of the social media users use Facebook for accessing information about the brands. Websites that add a share button to their contents, have a much better chance of them being shared. 72% marketers prefer content marketing on social media platforms as compared to direct marketing and advertising. According to an article in Forbes stating the trends of social media marketing in 2014, 66% marketers believe that social media marketing directly or indirectly improves the performance of their business. In 2015, around 38% marketers planned to shift to digital advertising methods, including social media marketing from relatively traditional marketing methods.
Apart from the use of computers and smart phones, consumers are increasingly using other devices to access the internet. These device include Smart TVs – used by 34%, Smart Watches – used by 9% and Smart Wristbands – used by 7%. It is an important fact for social media markets since it allows them to develop content for users who prefer these devices and market their products or services through these modes.
Social media marketing is the most important marketing method in the United States and the trend is catching up in other parts of the world. It is estimated that by 2019, the spending of the corporates on social media marketing would reach US$17.34 billion. 97% of the businesses in the US use social media marketing platforms and 92% use Facebook as their primary marketing platforms.
89% Marketers believe that it is the level of exposure that social media marketing gives to them which makes it an efficient marketing tool. Unlike other marketing methods, which have limited scope and can reach only a limited sets of clients; social media marketing methods have a wider reachability as there are no physical, geographical or demographical boundaries. The ability of the social media marketing to reach a much larger pool of potential consumers makes it the most desirable medium of marketing. With further advancements in information technology and computation devices, social media marketing is set to grow exponentially for several years to come. The statistics speak for themselves and the businesses that are yet to adopt this mode of marketing may either soon adopt it or cease to exist due to intense competition. Social media marketing gives a competitive edge to businesses and its importance cannot be ignored or underestimated.
The above mentioned statistics indicate how social media has grown in the last few years. There are newer platforms that are being developed and these are changing the way marketing strategies are implemented. While the existing platforms continue to dominate the digital marketing space, new platforms could bring more unique features. These will affect the way marketers plan their marketing strategies. The future could witness using more than one social media platform for executing marketing strategies. This trend is already visible and in the future, more and more marketing managers will use multiple platforms to market their products or services.
Top Social Media Platforms
Social media marketing encompasses using marketing platforms to position the products or the services to the potential consumers by developing and promoting relevant and useful content. The choice of the marketing platforms depends upon the type of content and the nature of the products or services. Also, the popularity of the social media platform affects the selection.
There are several different platforms with varying degrees of differences among them. A marketer may choose to use any one of them or a combination of them depending upon the marketing strategy, business requirements and marketing budget. The characteristics of the offerings also influence the selection of the social media platform.
Among the most commonly used social media platform are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr. There are several more platforms that are gaining in terms of popularity and acceptance among the users worldwide. However, they are yet to reach the level of popularity that the aforementioned apps have gained. For this book, the above 8 social media platforms are discussed in detail in the subsequent chapters. Their features, use and application for businesses are discusses in length in the following chapters.
All these platforms offer unique features and businesses are increasingly using them. Marketing through these platforms has now become on the most widely used marketing method and these platforms deliver substantial results in terms of lower costs and higher ROIs. Some of these platforms offer more than one unique marketing solution when combined with different digital marketing methods such as blogs, targeted marketing and content marketing. It further increases the efficiency of these platforms resulting in a highly unique and value driven marketing model that yields significantly superior results for the marketing managers. Different platforms offer different benefits and it is how they are used in conjunction with one another will be the key to gaining a competitive edge for the marketers.
When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook undoubtedly leads the pack. Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has grown exponentially. In a little over a decade, the number of active users in a month has reached 1.55 billion. These are the figures of the third quarter of 2015.
The number of active Facebook users is phenomenal. With a monthly active user base of 1.55 billion, Facebook has more users logging into it every month than the entire population of China that has a population size of around 1.35 billion. If Facebook were a country, it would have had the highest population in the world. These statistics show how powerful Facebook has become. Since its inception in 2004 to reaching a subscriber base of 1 billion in 2012 and now achieving a number of 1.55 billion active users per month, Facebook has crossed several landmarks.
The importance of Facebook increases further if the other social media services owned by it are considered. These platforms are discussed in the subsequent chapters. Facebook is also planning a vast expansion in countries of Asia and China by offering services like Free Basics that are aimed at providing free basic internet services in the areas with little or no internet connections, such as the rural regions. The revenue of Facebook was US$12.47 billion in 2014. The major part of this revenue was generated from advertisements. Facebook is not just a platform for people to connect with one another, it is also a vast repository of information regarding the users such as their preferences, habits, likes, dislikes and social network activities. This information is highly useful for marketers as they can identify their potential consumers’ base, analyze them better and offer solutions to them based on their personal preferences.
Information about the users of Facebook also allows marketers to generate contents that these users will find informative, interesting and useful. It results in larger sharing of such contents by the users of Facebook to their contacts and people in the social network on Facebook, consequently resulting in a marketing strategy that is quite similar to the word of mouth publicity, except, the sharing of the content is much larger than any word of mouth publicity. Consumers too prefer buying products or services that are recommended by their friends, families and acquaintances. Marketers can, therefore, leverage the analytical data provided by Facebook to convert their consumers into brand ambassadors capable of sharing the content and information about the products or services with the other people in their network. Simple Like and Share buttons of Facebook are capable of generating far better results than any other traditional marketing strategy. Using Facebook marketing techniques along with other digital marketing methods such as content marketing generates significantly high results. Facebook is also planning to become a platform for blogging. Combining methods such as Facebook advertisements, content marketing and blogging will facilitate marketers to develop efficient and successful marketing strategy.
Signing for a Facebook account is simple and does not incur any charges to the users. It is completely free and individual users as well as businesses can create their accounts and user profiles in a few easy steps. A user needs to open the Facebook website and need to fill a user form mentioning details such as username, password, email id and other credentials such as date of birth. Once the login is created, the user can create a profile and fill all the required details. Users can also create a company profile and details of the company on the company page. It can then be used for marketing purpose through Facebook.
To market a product or service on Facebook, a company profile page plays a very important role. It is the primary source of information about the brand and its products and services. A social media marketer must seek to divert traffic from Facebook to the company profile page. Hence, it is important that the page should have necessary information. The links to the blogs should be made available on this page so that the visitors can access to useful content from a single page on Facebook. Marketers can leverage Facebook as a platform for promoting their brands by empanelling the services of Influencers, who would endorse the products or services of the company to the people in their network. Companies can also use Facebook as an advertising platform, but using Influencers and loyal customers to promote their brand on Facebook is much more cost efficient and effective.
LinkedIn is a social network platform that is intended for professionals. Unlike Facebook, which is for everyone and where people can share their personal details, thoughts and opinions, LinkedIn is for professionals to access pools of resources that are useful for their work and profession related requirements.
LinkedIn was established in 2003 and has grown rapidly among the professional circles. Several businesses use this platform to hire employees and there have been instances when people form business alliances with other individuals resulting in formation of new companies. One of the most important features of LinkedIn is that it allows publishing and sharing of blogs and other contents. LinkedIn has around 500 eminent people from different domains who write blogs under the category of Influencers on this platform. It includes the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates. Other industry experts too use this platform to share their thoughts.
When it comes to developing social media marketing strategy, marketers can easily use this platform to develop and share contents either directly or through other influencers (although these usually are not those from the prominent 500 people mentioned above, other influencers could too exert significance influence). Several individuals on LinkedIn have professional title called “Influencer” and these are experts in different industries. They have their own set of followers and connections which in several cases runs into thousands. By publishing business content either directly or using the services of these influencers, marketers can easily reach a large number of serious and professional potential customers. Influencers can be selected on the basis of their industry specific expertise or general professional expertise. Consumers prefer buying from brands that are supported by the industry specialists and hiring Influencers on LinkedIn is a great way to position a product or service.
LinkedIn, in the third quarter of 2015 had a user base of 396 million which was an increase of 32 million from the previous quarter. LinkedIn is one of the most efficient and effective platforms for social media marketing. This platform offers services in 20 different languages and has a user base spread over 200 different countries. LinkedIn has the largest number of users in the United States with around 107 million users, followed by India (28 million) and Brazil (19 million). Even relatively smaller countries in the word such as Malaysia, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden have more than 1 million LinkedIn users each.
Apart from individual users who can create their own profile pages, businesses can also open the pages about the companies. It helps market the brand easily and position it to a large base of consumers. LinkedIn offers a basic account that is free of any charges and users can register by filling up the basic details and signing up for the basic services. There is also a premium service that is paid and users who subscribe to these services can enjoy several benefits that are not available to the users of the regular accounts. The premium service includes an access to analytical data that can be of tremendous help to the marketers who would like to use this platform for marketing their products and services.
Creating a LinkedIn account and a profile page is easy and businesses can combine several features of LinkedIn, such as company page, content and Influencer blogs to promote their products or services through LinkedIn. LinkedIn generate a revenue of US$1.53 billion in 2013, which increased to 2.21 billion in 2014. This revenue is generated primarily from business contracts and a large part of it are the marketers trying to promote their brands on LinkedIn.
Just like Facebook, using the network of loyal customers and Influencers is an efficient method to generate significantly superior results via LinkedIn. LinkedIn can also be used as a platform to publish content like articles and blogs. They can be used to disseminate the information about the products and services to the potential consumers through a network of loyal brand followers and Influencers.
Twitter is another major social media platform. It is a micro blogging site that allows users to share their content in 140 characters. It is the niche and the unique feature of this platform that allows it sharing information in a few words known as Tweets. The Tweets can be specific information or the introduction or the title with the link to connect to main content hosted outside Twitter.
Twitter is used by most of the industry leaders and also political leaders globally. Even heads of states use Twitter to communicate with their “followers” on this platform. Several marketers use Twitter to either promote their brands directly or by sharing their contents with links to their blogs or websites. Many of them also use Influencers to share their content on Twitter among their followers in order to draw more topic to their main contents.
Twitter has fast grown from 30 million users in the first quarter of 2010 to 307 million users in the third quarter of 2015. In 2013, the most followed business on Twitter was Starbucks which had more than 4 million followers. Twitter earned 89% of its revenue from advertising services which is an evidence of the acceptance of Twitter among the marketers as one of the most used social media marketing service.
Twitter has proven that to market or promote a brand, even a few words can suffice, if those few words have the right reachability among the global audience. Twitter entities have flowers distributed globally in different parts of the world and these followers represent different cultures, geography and demography. Through its Retweet feature, Twitter users further Tweet the content shared with them on the portal. It further helps the businesses by promoting their brand among the social network of Twitter user giving a further advantage to the marketers promoting their brands.
One important element of Tweets on Twitter is a #tag (Hash Tag). #tags are the ways to find Tweets on Twitter. Including a #tag in a Tweet would mean that anyone searching for a keyword will type the word preceded by a “#” and it will display the results of all the Tweets with the term and #. For example, if someone wants to search for Tweets regarding an incident, like a football world cup, the way to add it in a Tweet is by writing “Watching #footballworldcup live in Brazil.” Anyone searching for #footballworldcup will see the results that will include every Tweet with this #tag. It is an effective tool for marketing on Twitter as the marketers can add a key term about their business preceded by a #tag. It is important to note that if the Tweet does not include a #tag, it will not be displayed in search results.
For someone planning to use Twitter to promote something, using a #tag is a viable option. It allows them to specifically highlight a Tweet and link it a specific term. Like in the example cited above, when someone Tweets about football, adding #footballworldcup will make their Tweet relevant in the context of the World Cup. Hence, the Tweet gets a contextual support instead of being a standalone statement. A #tag can be used as efficient marketing and promotion tool. It allows Tweets to be found in specific keyword searches. Businesses using #tags in their social media marketing campaigns derive better results than those who ignore it. The key is to identify the right #tags and include them in the Tweets.
Twitter is also helpful in enabling the marketers to gauge the existing trends and accordingly develop their marketing strategies. Using Twitter, it is possible for the marketers to understand the market trends and patterns and accordingly plan their strategy. Creating a Twitter account is very easy and does not incur any cost. Individuals and businesses can fill the sign up form and get their accounts activated. Twitter is not just a medium to disseminate the information, it is also an efficient analytical tool that helps marketing managers with the necessary inputs to manage their social media marketing strategies.
Google+ (Google Plus) is a social media platform that is accessible to anyone with a Google account. Google+ allows publishing content and sharing it with the people who are added to the “Circle”, the term used to refer the social media network on Google. It also features a messaging app like Facebook known as Hangouts. Hangouts can be accessed either through a Gmail login or through Google+. It makes the messenger easier to access as the users can either access the messenger from the mail or Google+.
Of all the internet users, 54% have a Google+ account. It is because for accessing Google+, a separate user account is not required and the users can use their existing Google accounts to access its services. Google+ is an integration of messaging and content publication and sharing service. Users can easily create and share content with the other users in their circle. They can publish blogs and share the links for other contents.
Google+ is among one of the widest used social media service. Marketers use this platform frequently, as a standalone service or in conjunction with other services to share their content and generate the traffic for their websites, blogs or other contents. For promoting a business, Google+ is a useful tool. It can be used to share useful information in the form of blogs, articles and other content.
YouTube is a video sharing portal and app that enables users to share their content in the form of videos. Whether YouTube should be considered as a social media platform is doubted by few, but it possess every characteristic of a social media portal. It allows publishing content, sharing it and the users can also comment on the contents and further share it with their social network on several different platforms.
YouTube is the most popular video sharing service and marketers use it frequently to publish their online advertisements that are generally played before a video. YouTube is a large repository of videos including full length movies, informational and educational videos, private videos and business and commerce related videos. It is one of the most feasible and viable methods for social media marketing.
The platform even allows launching channels and allowing users to subscribe to them. Many of these channels are paid for which users pay a specific fee to gain the access. However, most of the videos can be accessed for free and have advertisements playing before the videos. It is a highly effective medium for marketing on the social media especially if it is synergized with other modes of social media marketing. A video on YouTube can be shared by the marketers or even other users on a platform like Twitter or Facebook along with several others.
YouTube was originally incorporated in February 2005 and was acquired by Google in the month of November 2006 in a deal amounting to US$1.65 billion. Since then, due to the support from Google and its own features, YouTube continues to be the largest video sharing website in the world. Every minute hundreds of hours of videos are uploaded on YouTube making it one of the preferred channels for social media advertising and marketing. YouTube can also be accessed by installing the YouTube app on the mobile devices allowing users to view the videos even on their mobile phones or tablets, apart from the desktop website.
A large portion of the revenue of YouTube is generated from in-video advertising. Businesses prefer YouTube for displaying their video content or advertise through the in-video displays. Creating and accessing a YouTube account is easy and can also be done by using a Google+ account, although it is not mandatory. Viewers can also watch most of the videos on YouTube without the need to create an account or logging into their existing account. There are however exceptions to this and users require creating an accounting for accessing the video contents such as the paid channels or adult content, which mandates that the users confirm that they are adults and can legally view such videos.
The ability to access most of the content without logging into YouTube makes it an even more feasible option for marketers. Since, users do not have to possess an account, the content can be easily viewed by even those who do not want to have a YouTube account thereby further increasing the reach of the content.
YouTube is one of the best online resources for marketing. Marketers can easily upload videos of their products and service, start their own channel or publish their advertisements that are usually played by YouTube before other videos. Not only can YouTube be used for advertisements, it can also be used as a medium for dissemination of knowledge. When users find value in a content, they are motivated to explore the associated products further. YouTube is one such medium that allows marketers to promote their offerings in a holistic manner.
Instagram is a social network which allows sharing photos and videos through mobile phones. Users can click photographs using the camera of their mobile phones or record videos and share them instantly. Videos of up to 15 seconds can be shared using this app. The term Instagram was coined as the original app converted the photos to the traditional shaped square Polaroid images which were shot by Kodak Instamatic instead of the aspect ratio of 4:3 of regular mobile phone cameras. However, now the app supports sharing images with any aspect ratio.
Instagram was founded in October 2010 and in February 2012, it was acquired by Facebook in a US$1 billion deal. It is one of the most preferred social media services of the businesses. In 2014, around 67% of luxury brands used this platform to market their products. It shows the power of Instagram and its viability for social media marketing campaigns.
The popularity of Instagram can be gauged from the phenomenal increase in its user base. In January 2013, Instagram had 90 million subscribers, which increased to 400 million in September 2015.
Instagram is a highly useful social media marketing tool. Marketers can either publish content directly on Instagram in the form of images or videos or can implement their marketing strategies that involve using Instagram along with other online content or social media marketing platforms.
To access Instagram, users need to download its app and can log into it either by creating a new account or via Facebook account. It is an easy and effortless process. Instagram is one of the few social media platforms that are designed primarily to be used on mobile devices. It also makes Instagram highly popular as the users can easily access the service from their mobile phones making Instagram an effective social media marketing option. By uploading the photographs of their products, marketers can use this platform to generate curiosity among the targeted consumers who are then enticed to know more about these products, thereby improving the sale conversion ratio.
Tumblr is a social media platform that supports short form multimedia blogs and other contents. It is a multimedia microblogging platform with a dashboard interface where the users can post their own blogs, change their settings and also follow the blogs of other users. Tumblr was launched in February 2007 and was acquired by Yahoo! on 20th June 2013 in a deal worth US$1.1 billion.
By April 2015, Tumblr had 106 billion posts from its users and the number of accounts was over 227 million, which were twice as many as a year earlier. One of the most important features of this platform is that it allows live blogging. Users can blog using the Tumblr website or app in real time as incidents take place. It is one of the most popular social media portal in the United States and even White House has an account which posts content that is of both – formal and informal kinds.
The maximum revenue generated by Tumblr is from advertisement revenues. It supports a large range of content and is mostly popular among the 25 to 34 age group. Tumblr has features such as reblog and like options and the users can also communicate with one another while using this platform.
Social media marketers use this platform extensively which is evident from the fact that a large part of its revenue is generated from advertisements. Tumblr allows easy sharing of content that can be further shared by the visitors of the content making it an efficient social media marketing tool. The large and young user base makes Tumblr a lucrative marketing proposition for the marketers who can expect high results from its services.
Currently, over 15 million users access Tumblr each day. The platform also allows sharing of contents from other sources such as YouTube. Hence, marketers can use the services of Tumblr as a standalone platform or can combine its services with other services. Signing up for Tumblr is easy and involves just few simple steps. Users need to give details such as their email id, password and the username.
Tumblr is an efficient social media marketing tool that can be applied subtly to the marketing strategies of a business. By publishing useful content in the form of multimedia files and microblogs, marketers can educate their audience about the benefits of their offerings. Users of Tumblr, who are loyal followers of the brand can be encouraged to share the content through rebologging to their social network on Tumblr and other social media platforms.
Synergizing Social Media Platforms
One of the major benefits of using the various social media platforms for marketers is the synergy they generate when used with one another. Most of the social media platforms do not restrict the users from sharing the content on one platform with another. It is possible to share a link of a video on YouTube on Twitter or Tumblr. Similarly, a post can be shared on Facebook and LinkedIn.
The benefits of marketing using social media platforms is commonly known to most of the marketers globally. However, now there is a growing trend of publishing and sharing contents on multiple platforms. It increases the presence of the content on the internet and also allows the visitors to the contents to share them on their various social media networks on different platforms.
It creates a synergized proposition for marketers who can leverage the features of several social media platforms. A marketer can now publish a text blog on LinkedIn, share it on Facebook, use Twitter to promote it and record and publish a video on YouTube. It increases the credibility and appeal of the content resulting in more organic traffic to the content.
Marketing Strategies and Digital Marketing Strategies
The term marketing gained prominence in the 20th Century when businesses began migrating from sales oriented approach to a marketing oriented process. Marketing is different from sales in the sense that it positions the product or the service, highlights its features and the value it delivers to the consumers and explaining to them how the specific product or service provide the solution to their needs.
Since the advent of information technology in the last two decades, a new type of marketing strategy – Digital Marketing Strategy has gained prominence among businesses. More and more marketers are becoming aware of the benefits of digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing strategies use digital medium such as the internet to market the products and services. With the rise of social media, social media marketing has become one of the most important parts of the digital marketing strategy.
Broadly, a digital marketing strategy includes using digital mediums such as emails, text messages, websites, targeted advertisements such as Google Adwords or advertisements on Facebook and social media marketing. Modern day marketers use several of these modes of digital marketing to generate a synergized result resulting in higher visit to their contents and consequently better sales numbers. Digital marketing strategies are also cheaper than traditional marketing strategies. It costs much less to place an advertisement on a web service like Google Adword or Facebook ads as compared to television advertisements and print ads.
Among the latest trends in digital marketing strategy is social media marketing that has become the primary mode of digital marketing. Some of the newest trends include content marketing and influencer marketing. Unlike earlier times when digital marketers often followed black hat marketing techniques such as simply adding keywords on the webpages to get a higher search engine ranking, the current digital marketing methods require marketers to publish original, relevant, useful and authentic contents that deliver higher value to the visitors of their content.
The term content marketing is not the most popular among the digital marketers and is the future of marketing on the internet. It is rightly said that content is the king. Consumers like to access good content that provides them with relevant and meaningful information. They prefer reading or viewing contents that give them value and information about the products or services instead of viewing advertisements that merely push the products. The digital age consumers are now more aware and knowledgeable and want to weigh the pros and cons of a product or service before buying it. Social media plays a very important role in this regard. Users of products post their comments and feedbacks on the various social media platform and share it with their social network.
Social media marketers publish content that seeks to provide the necessary information to the consumers and the products or services that are really useful get genuine positive feedback from the customers. These positive feedbacks act as catalysts for marketing the solutions further. Users of the products who are satisfied also promote them and the related content with their friends, families and acquaintances on various social media platforms. Social media and digital marketing strategies have changed the way products and services are marketed. Contrarily to earlier approaches to marketing that used aggressive methods such as frequent advertisements, modern day digital marketing follows a more subtle process that presents a product or service as a complete package that delivers solutions to the customers.
Content marketing and social media marketing play a major role in digital marketing processes. Another digital marketing method that will become even more prominent in the future is Influencer marketing. Influencers are individuals who have a high reputation and are followed by a large number of people. These could be famous persons or industry experts. When these experts publish a content on social media or share a content with their networks on social media platforms, there is a higher acceptability of the content among their followers. For example, if a doctor, who is considered an expert in the field publishes a content that points out positive aspect about a medical treatment or a drug, there is a better chance that this content will be considered as authentic and reliable by the followers of the doctor. It is easier for such prominent persons to influence people in their social network, which has resulted in the derivation of the term “Influencer” for such persons.
Social media marketers are increasingly using influencers as a part of their content and digital marketing strategies. It is much cheaper to hire an influencer to promote something through blog posts or other contents on various social media platforms including Facebook than to directly advertise through Facebook, which would cost the marketers more. Social media marketing is the present and the future of digital marketing and with new technologies, methods and channels, it is continuously disrupting older marketing methods.
Author: Saket Kumar Singh
A digital marketer and strategist by profession, I love writing and travelling. In the past I have been a Communication Engineer, Coder, Banker and Lead Consultant. Someday I would travel to explore the world.