The heart of every business’s success lies in marketing. A good marketing majorly covers advertising, promotions, public relations and sales. Rather stated, Marketing is a process in which a product or a service is introduced and then promoted to potential customers. Without marketing, your business may offer the best products or services in your industry, but none of your potential customers would know about it.
However, with increasing use of internet and social media, businesses have shifted their marketing techniques to an internet-based platform wherein they utilize social networking websites as a marketing tool. With the birth of social platforms, custom targeting of prospective customers has become easier than ever. What does Social Media Marketing mean?
“Social Media Marketing is a form of internet marketing that targets social media networks and applications to spread brand awareness or to gain traffic through such channels.”
One of the greatest innovations in technology is social media, not just in our ability to communicate but in our ability to market directly to those we want to reach. Maintaining a social media presence is now a necessity for the customer-driven businesses as it gives the impression of a more immediate connection between the customer and seller. However, by utilizing the social aspect of the web, social media marketing is able to connect and interact on a much more personalized and dynamic level.
If we see today, social media is all about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. but it had evolved much before these platforms came into existence. The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It allowed the users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today. After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances. It was by 2006 that Facebook and Twitter, both were made available to the people throughout the world.
Today, there is a substantial variety of social networking sites available which can be linked together, such that it helps people enable cross-posting. This creates an environment where users can reach the maximum number of people without sacrificing the intimacy of a personal communication.
Social media has become a revolutionary component of the average individual’s daily life. This reality continues to challenge the once dominant traditional media. There are various advantages of social media marketing over traditional marketing in terms of cost, reach, engagement, etc. Let us go through each factor to understand the same in detail.
Cost: Social Media Marketing is cheaper than any form of marketing available today. In terms of social media, the most valued platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are all completely free to establish a public profile. Facebook has a low cost of advertising which also offers the opportunity to distribute advertisements to the desired segment or the target audience.
Evaluation Metrics: Traditional marketing, however, fails to provide the accurate methods for evaluating the success or performance of any set campaign. Whereas, the social media campaign results are measurable, and marketers can take immediate action to spot trends and re-align campaigns.
Reach: With over 2 billion people using social media platforms, the community regarded is highly active and highly responsive to the campaigns. Also, social media provides a method to choose the target audience that results in delivering the right message to the right person. Whereas, traditional marketing is presented to the public in general and however, results in lower returns.
Engagement: Unlike traditional media, social media offers the marketing platform that allows you to engage and interact with your consumers – by creating a two-way relationship, which can be hugely lucrative for brands.
However, we can summarize that the future of marketing is moving from traditional mediums to digital ones rapidly for a simple yet essential reason as it offers the flexibility to create, optimize and promote the content on multiple platforms such as mobile, desktop and personal computers. Social Media Marketing has emerged as a more economical and powerful medium of brand promotion.
Considering the present trends, what to expect from the coming years itself is a question. However, a few predicted trends that we can expect to observe in the coming years are:
- A Video through which the content will be marketed to the public.
- Increase use of Voice Search might bring up some fire in social media too.
- The Chatbot Army is set to uptake in the coming years
- Influencer marketing will yet, continues to grow.
- Increasing levels of Real-Time Marketing will be observed.
The complexity of modern marketing is only going to keep increasing and if you look at how technology has moved through marketing, it has continued to move closer and closer to the actual planning and development of marketing itself. And it’s not much later that we would see technology complete this transition and become a part of the core fabric of marketing itself.