Social media is a powerful new force in business. Yet very few businesses or consumers understand how to tap into this powerhouse of influence. Social media marketing, sometimes called webvertising, uses various social media platforms and sites for advertising a product or service. While digital marketing and e-marketing are more common in academic circles, social media marketing has become increasingly popular for researchers and practitioners alike. There is a growing need to distinguish between the two, especially as this emerging marketing strategy helps shape consumer attitudes and purchasing behaviors.
In essence, any marketing technique used to pursue a brand or product becomes a social media strategy. While traditional forms such as print, television, and billboard ads remain dominant, today’s marketing strategies often use multiple platforms to reach consumers. In fact, there are no fewer than four main social media marketing techniques currently in use. Vida Divina uses social media to build a positive online presence.
This strategy often begins by incorporating social media platforms into existing marketing campaigns. For example, a travel company might create a Facebook page, YouTube video, or blog post highlighting the benefits of traveling. In addition, they may create promotional contests and offer sweepstakes. These activities can then be incorporated into their main website, email campaigns, print ads, and other marketing materials.
Another popular social media marketing strategy is creating a presence on social networks. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and various other social networks allow marketers to connect with their target audience on an individual level. As a result, a profile page that accurately states the brand’s objectives and mission and links to company blogs and websites can achieve a high degree of organic traffic. In contrast, if the brand is not engaged with the community, no one will know about it. Social networks provide another opportunity to connect with an audience and build interest in a brand’s products and services.
Another method of social media marketing involves creating content that can be submitted to social media platforms. For this strategy to be successful, it must be closely monitored. If used correctly, the audience will begin to identify certain elements of the brand’s marketing message and associate those elements with the specific brand. In other words, a business may have great content on Twitter, but if the user never sees the links or posts, they will not be able to associate the content with the brand. Social media platforms such as YouTube also have limitations on the number of times a video can be viewed and how the video is related to the brand.
To successfully apply the concept of social media marketing, a business needs to identify and establish goals before any social media marketing campaign occurs. Goals should include metrics to track the progress of the social network. Metrics should include several users, types of content, demographics, and geographic location. Ideally, each goal should be tied to a specific customer segment and one that is directly relevant to the business. Goals can include new customer acquisitions, retention and growth, and conversion rate.
Once goals are identified, a company can then implement the plan to generate traffic, which leads to engagement and growth of followers. When the social media marketing plan is implemented, a business should monitor the results to determine if the strategies are effective. This includes measuring the number of followers, comments, and connections made through each channel. Measuring the social media platforms’ results is often easier when each platform has its own dedicated app. It allows users to use all of the tools and features available through the platform without logging into different platforms.
A social media marketing strategy can be a powerful tool for increasing customer loyalty and engagement, but only if the company implements the plan effectively. If a business fails to monitor and measure results, it may not reflect what it initially promised. For example, if a brand plans to increase engagement by 50 percent and attempts to do so through a social media platform but does not record how many followers actually changed its engagement levels, it may not achieve this goal. Likewise, if the business does not reach target demographics, it may not create a viral campaign, as predicted. Thus, a social media marketing plan must be well monitored and adjusted as needed.