By using social media for marketing, in recent times business has become more transparent and engaging, creating several new challenges and sales opportunities. Gone are the days when an organization could depend on the informative press releases or flashy ad campaigns to communicate with the clients, and often in an attempt to convince the target audience that it is offering the best products in the respective fields. But now the whole picture has changed radically. People now want to maintain a more transparent and honest relationship with those companies with which they are doing business.
Now it’s possible to compete with any business, regardless of its size with a very strong social media marketing lead generation strategy for a minimal cost because it has the potential to replace the costly advertising channels such as radio, television, newspaper, or magazine.
Below mentioned are the top six shifts that social media is causing in businesses:
1. From ‘ Pitching to Sell’ to ‘Developing Connections’
Social media websites like Facebook or Twitter have changed the context of the customer relationship from trying to sell something to seeking to connect and engage with clients. The most famous brands tend to post on social media less about their products and more about the things that help their customers to know about their brands and personality of the companies. So here the objective is less about ‘selling’ and more about ‘connecting. And as a result, through this kind of engagements, people do business with the companies for comfortably.
Let me give you an example to explain the benefits of social media marketing. Big companies like ‘Dell’ have created multiple accounts in Twitter, a network of blogs and is very much active in Facebook. It is also one of the very few companies which publicly state that they got returns from the investment made on Twitter. Apparently by using social media for marketing, ‘Dell’ helped itself to create 1 million USD in revenue.
2. From ‘Tough to Reach’ to ‘Available Everywhere’
To connect with your customers, it is no longer enough to have only an email address and contact number on your website. Now days a good amount of the time people spend on several social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc and wish to communicate and engage with businesses via these channels of communication.
Here the fact is, when customers can communicate with a company on the same networks on which they are already active, make them feel more comfortable in doing business with them. One thing here works on their mind-that is if they face any issues, there will be someone from the company with whom they can communicate via those channels.
Let’s take the example of ‘Ford’. As per Mr Scott Monty, the head of social media marketing at ‘Ford’, it had started using Twitter when he came up with the idea to tweet on behalf of ‘Ford’. Actually he wanted ‘Ford’ to get the benefits of social media marketing. He harmonized all the accounts means every account starts with @Ford. Right now it has 730K followers in Twitter.
3. Interact with your target audience through Social Media
Small businesses can use social media as an incredibly flexible platform to promote themselves. The key to success in social media is interacting with your audience on a regular basis. So if you can’t spend time to personally respond to the customers on a regular basis, designate someone else to do it for you. Customers feel good when you value their concerns and inputs. So a simple response to a Facebook post or a tweet on Twitter can have a very strong impact on customer loyalty and satisfaction. In addition to that, you will get valuable insights on the impact of your postings like total no of many likes, post reach, comments, page visits etc. which will give you the chance to improve your products and services accordingly.
Facebook also enables companies to add the online live chat button on their respective Facebook company pages from which they can talk to their Facebook fans. They can manage the whole process from a single live chat dashboard.
4. Opt for social media marketing campaigns
To build the brand recognition and more sales conversions, paid advertising on social media can be one of the most cost effective ways. The paid social media marketing campaigns offer one specific benefit- the chance to narrowly target your audience and analyze the impact of your ad campaign in real-time. For example, Facebook paid ad campaigns allow companies to mention precisely how much they want to spend per click or per 1,000 impressions.
This paid advertising also works as a super effective local ad campaign much like television, or billboard ads. Even paid ads can be focused demographically, such as per your local city or country.
Here I want to give the example of the Cola-Cola ad campaign. Though the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is rooted in the physical product, the popularity and people’s reaction about that ad on social media made it a big hit. Cola-Cola changed their traditional can design for 250 of the most famous teens and millennial names in the United States. Fans proudly shared the pictures of the bottles on social media, particularly on Instagram and made it a big hit. This #ShareaCoke campaign was so successful that the total sales of Coca-Cola rose to 2%.
5. Use YouTube as a strong weapon for social media marketing
You can strengthen your marketing activities on social media by creating a YouTube channel and connecting with other video publishers and channels on several appropriate topics. After uploading the video on your YouTube channel, you can share the same on your blogs, and other existing social media channels like Facebook, twitter etc. You can also mail the same to your existing clients.
In this era people trust those companies for doing business who are honest and transparent. We can’t deny the fact that traditional advertising and press releases are still important, but websites like Facebook or Twitter allow you to start a whole new kind of communication with your customers that was unknown before to most of the businesses. Companies who will choose not to adapt this new culture may face several obstacles as their customers will slowly connect and build personal relationships with their competitors.