Ever since the rise of social media’s popularity in the mid 2000s, marketers have predicted that social media will play a major role in digital marketing, or internet marketing, as it was often mentioned back in the day.
However, as social media networks evolve, so does the role of social media in digital marketing. It has continuously evolved over the years. In the past, it was solely about promoting our brand, product, and/or service. But today, it’s a lot more.
Below, we will discuss 6 important roles of social media in digital marketing. How are you using each of these roles?
What is the Role of Social Media in Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
1. Cost Efficiency in Social Media Marketing
Social media is one of the very few digital marketing channels where you can promote your brand, product, or service for free, while still reaching a huge number of potential audience.
Yes, organic reach has dramatically declined in the past half decade or so, and social media today is increasingly becoming a pay to play platform where you need to spend on advertising and paid promotional options to reach your audience.
However, the fact remains that there is still the possibility of doing organic social media marketing for totally free. Yes, it will take longer and you will need to be consistent, but it is possible.
Social media marketing should be a combination of both paid and organic approaches, ultimately balancing cost vs time. In short, it’s a very versatile digital marketing channel where you can control your budget. In turn, it is also one that will reward your efforts in building consistent, genuine value.
2. Social Media is Where The People Are
There are almost 3.5 billion active social media users in 2019, growing by 9% in just a year. So, if you are not focusing your digital marketing efforts on social media, you are simply missing out on a massive number of potential customers.
On the other hand, being on social media today is no longer a luxury for businesses, but a necessity. With social media, people are getting all sorts of information all the time. This is why customers are really valuing social proofs as one of the key factors influencing purchase decisions.
Having a proper social presence is characterized by consistent, valuable posts to your profiles. When coupled with mentions from important influencers, media, and happy customers, social proof becomes extremely effective.
Social media is no longer a place where you simply promote your product and/or service. It is now a place to showcase your quality and personality as a brand.
3. Social Media as The Modern Customer Service Channel
A key innovation provided by the advent of social media is the availability of a real-time two-way communication channel between businesses that are free and transparent. That is, everyone can see your conversation.
This phenomenon, however, can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it can provide a more efficient and effective way to communicate with your customers while showcasing professionalism to others who see the conversation.
On the other hand, when someone posted a negative review of your product, or when you handled a situation wrongly, everyone can also see it.
Studies have suggested that consumers are more likely to engage with brands that frequently respond to complaints, including (and especially) the negative ones. At the same time, they are more likely to move to other brands (competitors) when they are disappointed with a brand over a social media conversation.
4. Social Media To Gain Customers Insights
On the previous point, we have briefly discussed how social media is a transparent channel where customers can observe various conversations.
However, this also works in your favor, as social media can be a major source to get customer insights.
By observing social conversations — whether manually or via various social media marketing tools — we can get various behavioral data from current trends you can capitalize, their specific problems, what they thought about your product (or your competitor’s), and especially their needs.
Analyzing this data, and how it changes overtime will be a very useful insight not only for social media marketing, but also the whole digital marketing strategy.
As mentioned, various social monitoring tools can help you in this aspect. Nowadays there are also various A.I.-powered tools that can analyze a huge amount of data in real time.
5. Social Media as a Branding Platform
With the size of audience in social media networks, and the transparency of communications—both we have discussed above—, social media has evolved to be on of the most effective branding tools available today, a way to stand out among your competitors.
The aim of branding on social media is obviously to boost awareness. However, given how saturated the social media platforms are nowadays, getting noticed amidst all the noises can be difficult.
So how should we do it? There are three main efforts to consider:
- consistency in your content (quality and quantity of your posts),
- consistency in engagement, and
- relationships with other brands and influencers.
While paid advertising and other paid promotions can help with brand awareness, ultimately it’s your organic efforts that are going to bring sustainability.
6. Social Media To Encourage Conversions
Social media can be involved in all the stages of the buyer’s journey. It can build brand awareness, as previously discussed, and convert visitors (both website visitors and visitors to your social media profiles) into prospects. Finally, social media can be used to educate prospects until they are ready for a purchase, converting them into customers.
Again, consistency is key here.
Practice all we have discussed above consistently. Engage with your prospects and customers, including and especially for negative complaints/reviews. Be consistent in your content quality, and consistent in brand messages.
Your main goal here is to persuade, either by touching the audience’s logic, emotion, or both. For example, excellent customer service in handling complaints and bad reps can encourage people to trust your business (playing with emotion). For some other people, a proper education about your product’s unique value can cause them to convert.
Social media should be a very important aspect of any digital marketing strategy for software companies, mainly due to the amount of people that are active in social media networks.
If you are not putting your marketing efforts on social media, you are simply missing out on billions of potential market that might be converted into prospects and customers.
This is a guest post by Mike Khorev, writer-editor of marketingunfolded.com.