Take a look at mobile technology for example: smartphones and tablets are the most rapidly innovating section of the communications industry.
As mobile device ownership increases, so too does our immersion into the digital world. Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram benefited greatly from our collective desire to remain always connected, and have evolved into the tech giants they are today. There’s no foreseeable end to the social media tidal wave, it’s definitely not a passing fad.
But why does this matter to your brand?
The simple answer is: audience exposure. There are approximately 2.8 Billion social media users globally – That’s a massive potential market! In a world that’s forever being increasingly driven by digital interaction, your business will need to adapt and leverage these opportunities if it’s going to survive.
In our deeply connected digital world, cohesive brand messaging is crucial to success. At its core, social media is mainly a personal experience. We use it to connect with and message our family and friends. Audiences then extend this same personal space outwards as they begin interacting with brands – your brand. Consumers enjoy feeling like they are part of ‘your circle’. They connect with your social media because they’re seeking to know more about who you are. Ideally, you should be producing content that fulfills this need, and engaging with them proactively.
If your business doesn’t have a targeted social media marketing campaign, you are selling yourself short. Understanding your target market demographics and how to communicate with them is an important online sales tool. Today’s web users are always looking for more information on products and brands, and will engage your social media to seek personal connection with your brand. You need to be prepared to engage with them effectively, and here’s just a few reasons why:
Social Media is Free to Use
One of the best things about using social media to market your brand, is that it’s free to use. Although it may take a little more time, organic social media growth is achievable if you utilise the right strategies. This means you can get a great bang for buck from your social media if you don’t have a large marketing budget to begin with. The time cost however, means that it’s necessary to ensure your efforts are reaching the right audiences at the right time – guess work can be ineffective and costly. Make sure your communication is effective.
Two-way Communications with Customers
While on the subject of communication, another excellent feature of social media that companies can leverage is the ability to have two way interactions with customers. Actively monitoring your social media and participating in conversations lets your customers know that they are important to you. This gives you some degree of control over how your brand is being discussed and allows you to be on the front foot regarding any issues. Swift responses make users feel looked after and give you the chance to use your social media as an extension of your brand’s personality.
Shaping Brand Personality
It may be easy for potential customers to work out what your business is – say for eg. you’re a cafe. But how do they figure out who you are? Maybe you’re passionate about a local charity and run a fundraiser for them – share it! Your followers will appreciate the authenticity of knowing about your passions. One of your baristas just won an award for their skills in a national competition – share it! What a great accolade and asset to your business. Do you have dedicated regulars who would be great ambassadors for your business? Brand personality is a complicated concept, but when it’s done well, it is an irreplaceable asset. Expressing who you are on social media embraces the personal nature of the platforms and forms emotional bonds with customers. Brand identity goes much deeper than a logo.
It’s Now and it’s Next
Facebook has almost 2.5 Billion monthly active users. Slightly lower on the list is photo based social media platform Instagram which has roughly 1 billion active users per month. That’s 3.5 billion people talking, sharing, searching and reading on just two social media platforms – and those numbers are steadily increasing each quarter. In the same way that emails replaced faxes, social media is rapidly becoming a more popular way to contact businesses rather than phoning them. It’s a massive communication platform that is maintaining its growth and isn’t going away any time soon. Put simply – if you don’t already have a social media presence you are being left behind.
Information Discovery is a Two Way Street
Just as your customers are using social channels to learn about you, you can also learn about them – and your competitors! Using analytics tools on your social platforms can help you to uncover more data about your client base that can be used for your market research. Things like age demographics, active times of day, how many unique users you have reached. While you’re investigating, explore your competitors. How are they using their social media? If they aren’t using it well, there could be an opportunity for you to increase your market share by providing better services. If they are, it may serve as some good inspiration for how you can adapt and improve. Staying abreast of market trends and your competitor’s tactics can give you the cutting edge.
As Sprout Social points out, it may be beneficial to consider your different audiences on different mediums, and work on developing a consistent visual brand. Presenting a unified identity to your audience that is also engaging will be a great tool to help you establish a loyal audience. Demographics do vary from platform to platform, so understanding which customers you are targeting will help you decide what channels to use and how you’ll go about conveying your messages. Instagram for eg. is focused heavily on photos, where Facebook can be more focused on videos, links and information. One thing that doesn’t change however, is the fact that the quality of your content is essential for success, so no matter what you’re doing, do it well.