Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to promote a product or service. Most social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter have built-in data analytics tools, which enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Exclusive PR Solutions prefers to focus firms on user-generated content (e.g., online comments, product reviews, etc.), also known as "earned media," rather than use marketer-prepared advertising copy.
Social networking websites
Social networking sites act as word of mouth or more precisely, e-word of mouth bringing the ability to reach billions across the globe and the ability to rapidly change buying patterns and product or service acquisition or activity to a growing number of consumers. This is defined as an influence network. Social networking sites and blogs allow followers to "retweet" or "repost" comments made by others about a product being promoted, which occurs quite frequently on some social media sites. Through the use of new semantic analysis technologies, marketers can detect buying signals, such as content shared by people and questions posted online. An understanding of buying signals can help salespeople target relevant prospects and marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.
Social media, blogs, content communities, and forums are platforms where individuals share their reviews and recommendations of brands, products, and services. Businesses are able to tap and analyze the customer voices and feedback generated in social media for marketing purposes; in this sense, social media is a relatively inexpensive source of market intelligence that can be used by marketers and managers to track and respond to consumer-identified problems and detect market opportunities.
For example, the Internet erupted with videos and pictures of the iPhone 11 SE "comparison test" controversy created confusion amongst customers who had waited months for the launch of the latest rendition of the iPhone. Unlike traditional market research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and data mining which are time-consuming and costly, and which take weeks or even months to analyze.
Social media can be used as communication channels targeting very specific audiences with social media influencers and social media personalities as effective customer engagement tools. It is a recent social phenomenon where people engage online in communities that do not necessarily revolve around a particular product but serve as meeting or networking places. This online engagement has brought about both the empowerment of consumers and the opportunity for businesses to engage with their target customers online. This tactic is widely known as influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing allows brands the opportunity to reach their target audience in a more genuine, authentic way via a special group of selected influencers advertising their product or service. In fact, brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates.
Digital Tools such as Google Adsense, advertisers can target their ads to very specific demographics, such as people who are interested in social entrepreneurship, political activism associated with a particular political party, or video gaming. Google Adsense does this by looking for keywords in social media user's online posts and comments. It would be hard for a TV station or paper-based newspaper to provide ads that are this target.
Social networks are, in many cases, viewed as a great tool for avoiding costly market research. They are known for providing a short, fast, and direct way to reach an audience through a person who is widely known. Facebook and LinkedIn are leading social media platforms where users can hyper-target their ads.
Hyper-targeting is also the ability on social network sites to target ads based on very specific criteria. This is an important step toward precision performance marketing. Hyper-targeting not only uses public profile information but also information users submit but hide from others. There are several examples of firms initiating some form of online dialog with the public to foster relations with customers. Using customer influencers, for example, popular bloggers can be a very efficient and cost-effective method to launch new products or services. /Among the political leaders in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the highest number of followers at 40 million, and President Donald Trump ranks first in the US million followers.
Engagement with the social web means that customers and stakeholders are active participants rather than passive viewers. Getting consumers, potential consumers or citizens to be engaged online is fundamental to successful social media marketing. New online marketing concepts of engagement and loyalty have emerged which aim to build customer participation and brand reputation. Engagement in social media for the purpose of a social media strategy is divided into two parts:
The first is proactive, regular posting of new online content. This can be seen through digital photos, digital videos, text, and conversations. It is also represented through the sharing of content and information from others via web links.
The second part is reactive conversations with social media users responding to those who reach out to your social media profiles through commenting or messaging.
Businesses can follow individuals' social networking site uses in the local area and advertise specials and deals. These can be exclusive and in the form of "get a free drink with a copy of this tweet". This type of message encourages other locals to follow the business on the sites in order to obtain the promotional deal. In the process, the business is getting seen and promoting itself and creating brand visibility.
Small businesses also use social networking sites to develop their own market research on new products and services. By encouraging their customers to give feedback on new product ideas, businesses can gain valuable insights on whether a product may be accepted by their target market enough to merit full production, or not. In addition, customers will feel the company has engaged them in the process of co-creation—the process in which the business uses customer feedback to create or modify a product or service the filling a need for the target market. Such feedback can present in various forms, such as surveys, contests, polls, etc.
Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, also provide an opportunity for small businesses to find candidates to fill staff positions. Of course, review sites, such as Yelp, also help small businesses to build their reputation beyond just brand visibility.