Social media is everywhere and it is changing the way consumers interact with friends, learn new things, follow news stories, and make purchases. Social media will also change your marketing tactics, but in order to adapt your marketing strategies, you need a good understanding of how it has evolved.
What Is Social Media?
Social media is the use of mobile and internet-based technologies to create an interactive dialogue. The key word there is interactive. Social media is about more than writing an article for a blog or posting a photo—it is about creating a conversation about that article or photo.
Social media has been around in some forms for decades, but it has become prolific in recent years. Savvy users aren’t just using one social media outlet; they’re using Twitter for some conversations and Snapchat for others. They’re sharing artwork with other artists on Tumblr, asking questions to their favorite YouTube stars, planning future purchases on Pinterest, and researching companies on Facebook. For many people, social media is a major part of their relationships, a source of entertainment, and a place to research and make purchases.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Marketing has been around for centuries, and it has always been focused on the same thing: getting the right message to the right people at the right time.
Social media marketing is not that different than other forms of marketing—it still serves the same purpose, getting the right message to your target customer at a time when they’ll be most receptive. In many ways, social media makes this easier because you have so much more information about your target audience.
The key difference between social media marketing and other forms of marketing is interaction. Whether you like it or not, your customers are already online having conversations about your brand. You’ll be much better off if you are a part of those conversations.
Recent Trends and Changes In Social Media
Social media continues to grow and change, and to be successful, marketers need to understand these changes.
- Mobile use of social media is up. More and more people are visiting social media sites from smartphones and tablets. One study found that the 31% of all traffic to the top 10 digital properties came only from mobile. Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook are some of the big names among these top ten properties. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are using sites like Facebook and Twitter on desktops less frequently—it simply means that social media is now also with consumers everywhere they go instead of only when they are locked down at a desk. People can access online media almost anytime and anywhere they want.
- People are using more social media outlets. In 2013, 36% of social media users were only using one site. In 2014, that number dropped to 28%. As of 2014, 24% of internet users surveyed were using two sites and 16% were using 3. The number of people using 4 or 5 sites also increased.
- Visual content is still crucial. According to Kissmetrics, nearly 66% of updates on social media are visual content and 50% of internet users have reposted a photo or video found online. In most cases, visual content creates more engagement including getting more shares and likes. It is also easier for people to understand and connect with people quickly on an emotional level.
Adapting Your Marketing Strategies
Social media is going to continue to evolve and that means your marketing strategies need to adapt. Avoiding social media engagement simply isn’t an option—instead, you need to use networks like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to your advantage.
- Engage with users: People use social media websites because they want interaction. Don’t just post links and photos—respond to comments, ask questions, and strive for interactions that humanize your brand.
- Use multiple sites: With more people using more sites, it is important for your brand to be represented in multiple places. In many cases this isn’t much more work on your part. For example, it is easy to share the same image on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook—just be sure that the content you are posting suits your chosen social network. Snapchat is often used for telling stories, LinkedIn is used for sharing professional industry insights, and Facebook is used for a lot of interaction.
- Make your website mobile friendly: If you’re using social media with the goal of driving traffic to your website, your site should be ready to receive that traffic from a mobile device. If your site loads too slowly or is difficult to navigate on a phone or a tablet, you’re going to lose the opportunity to engage customers.
- Create and share visual content: Since visual content is still popular and effective, you need to be sharing it.
Your business needs to be on social media, and your marketing strategies need to evolve as quickly as technologies change. If you don’t have the time or resources to stay up-to-date and on top of the ever-changing social media landscape it may be wise to contact a digital marketing agency.