Despite the recent controversy with Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook, social media is a valuable asset to companies as a marketing tool. Social media helps to grow brand awareness, create brand personas, encourage engagement, drive purchase behavior and foster brand loyalty through rich content. It is also an effective means of targeting ads to a market by interest and demographic data.
Point 1: Brand Awareness
Social media gives brands an opportunity to have an online presence – with personality! As you may already know, brand awareness is the first step in any marketing process. In order for any person to pursue your service, they must be aware of what you are offering.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat all function as useful platforms for audience members to discover your brand. By providing thorough content on social media platforms, users can travel through the sales funnel, discovering information they need to help them make a purchasing decision. If your brand has an active presence on social media, it creates a greater likelihood of the potential prospect becoming aware of the services you offer and purchasing from you.
According to Business Insider, nearly 20% of total time spent online in the U.S. across both desktop and mobile devices is on social platforms. Facebook alone makes up 14% of the total time spent online. With the vast majority of the population in the U.S. being online, social media is essential for creating awareness of your company’s brand image.
Point 2: Brand Persona to Buyer Behavior
Social media is not just about having an online presence, it’s about having a voice online. Creating a brand persona with social media content is easy: Just spice up posts with personality! Self-image is an appeal tactic used as an identifying factor that encourages likability, credibility and trust among potential prospects. By having a voice on social media that one can relate to with a similarly strong self-image, the potential for converting customers is much greater.
Celebrity influencers, macro influencers, and micro influencers are another great source for capturing the attention of potential customers through social media marketing. Businesses can reach out to these social influencers in an effort to to tap into their social following and capitalize on their personas.
This gives your business immediate credibility and likability, as they are being utilized by a reputable source. This has an immense effect on sales conversions; nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.
Aside from copy and visual content, companies can use colors to represent their brand image and to add to their brand persona. Repetition of those brand colors increases brand recognition, allowing for the company name to enter a prospective customer’s long-term memory – an essential part of the purchasing process.
The goal is to be in a person's evoked set when making a purchase decision. How to achieve this goal is dependent on their opportunity to see your brand, which in return relies heavily on a strong social media presence. And “74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media,” according to Sprout Social.
Point 3: Engagement
Interacting with your audience has never been easier than it is today with social media. In general, social platforms facilitate the communication between audience members and companies through the ability to like, comment, share, retweet posts and leave reviews. According to the PwC total retail survey 2016, 45% of global respondents said that reading reviews, comments and feedback influences their shopping behavior.
The direct messaging feature on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allows for potential customers to reach out to your company directly with specific questions related to a product or service.
On a more creative spectrum, contests and giveaways can push for engagement by creating a call to action that requires commenting, sharing or tagging others in a post. These types of posts tend to perform exceptionally well, and serve as a great source for obtaining new customers through expanded reach as a result of the campaign.
Social media is key to creating an interactive brand experience. Customers want to feel a sense of authentic helpfulness from companies. In order to provide that, companies must be regularly engaged on their social platforms or hire a marketing agency to do so.
Point 4: Brand Loyalty
Reinforcement and repetition of a brand via exposure on social media will increase likelihood of credibility and likability based on informational and expertise content produced by that company and/or brand. Credibility and likeability are crucial to creating and maintaining relationships that form brand-loyal customers.
Brand loyalty hinges on social media engagement. According to Adweek, “On social media, that loyal customer is more likely to comment, share, follow or post user-generated content to your brand’s profile over another. Overall, social media stimulates word-of-mouth marketing, an organic form of influencer marketing. In terms of conversions from brand loyalty, 80% of consumers are likely to purchase an item based on friend’s suggestions. That behavior thereby extends your business’s reach and impact on social and beyond.
Businesses have an opportunity via social media to connect with micro-influencers who share engaging content published by companies with their audience. This type of activity could be compared to a referral program in which one customer refers another, except with no monetary incentive, since intrinsic motivation is driving behavior.
Point 5: Advertising
Social media is the new age for advertising. Advertising on social media is a cost-effective and efficient way to obtain potential customers through compelling and relevant advertisements. Localized targeting tactics have made geotargeting ads a breeze. In addition to geographic targeting, social media also allows for businesses to target ads based on demographics and lifestyle trends.
The Facebook fiasco with the Cambridge Data Leak has had marketers across the nation up in arms. However, what businesses need to know is that the data obtained from Facebook to assist in targeting ads is not the only means of efficiently reaching the segments of your target markets on Facebook and Instagram.
By targeting ads based on PRIZM and VALS data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, you can pinpoint the segments of your market perfectly. These are especially effective when combined with value-benefit statements that draw real connections between the service being offered to the consumer. Ultimately, social media advertising is still a powerful tool that can be ethically utilized by businesses to obtain new customer acquisition through click-to-website and lead generation campaigns.
In totality, social media is a necessity for modern marketing. Where marketing once relied solely on print advertisement, then radio, then television, it is now reliant on social media. This is the evolution of marketing, and the revolution of new age advertising. Despite the controversy that currently surrounds social media marketing, it is where the soul of marketing lies in the twenty-first century.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat all serve as a valuable asset for businesses to create and foster brand awareness, engagement, brand loyalty and brand persona to encourage buyer behavior organically, or through paid advertisements.
If you are ready to take the next step in creating a strong, influential presence on social media, contact Page 1 Solutions by calling 800-368-9910 today!