Social media marketing has been hailed as an integral part of any business’s growth strategy for years. This powerful tool has enjoyed so much influence over a company’s operation that most organizations like escape rooms have separate teams dedicated to just cracking the algorithm of different social media platforms and coming up with content strategies that can launch their brand directly into the feed of their target audience.
The major social media platforms that have been the common point of focus for brands include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There is also a range of social media management tools such as Buffer that help brands get the best out of the social media platforms.
So, if a marketing tool is this potent, why is its validity being questioned recently?
Besides being a marketing tool, social media is also an inseparable part of our lifestyle. And as it is with any media, social media platforms to come with their own set of cons. Recently, there have been conversations and criticism about how certain lifestyle platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook handle critical problems such as hate speech, fabricated news, and self-image dysmorphia. And some people have started to push back and cut out these platforms from their lives completely.
With the growing attitude of negativity surrounding social media, questions started to pop up whether it is a reliable marketing tool anymore. Are platforms where buying premium subscriptions or ads can get you more clicks (albeit most of them from bot accounts) authentic enough to advertise products?
Then, is social media marketing dying?
Cut to the chase; the answer is no. Social media marketing is very far from getting lost in oblivion any time soon. Despite the setbacks, the number of social media users has only gone up in the past few years, that too exponentially.
Let’s look at the numerical data to understand why social media marketing is still very much relevant:
- According to the stats of oberlo.ca, the total number of social media users in 2021 reached a whopping 3.78 billion. And the projected number for the year 2025 is 4.41 billion.
- The user growth rate between 2017 to 2021 has been 7.2% annually. Between 2021 and 2025, the expected number is 3.9%.
The numbers indicate that even moving forward, social media platforms will retain their value as a one-stop destination for brands to do targeted advertising on a global scale audience.
What seems to be the problem?
Despite statistics showing the growth potential of social media marketing, some businesses cannot help feeling as if it is a dead-end. Many brands have tried and failed to capture their target audience on social media; some succeeded momentarily, only to be wiped out by algorithm change.
So, it is normal to feel like social media marketing has exhausted its potential for your business. But that doesn’t mean you have actually run out of opportunities to push your business on social media. All you need is a better strategy with a more in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of this type of marketing technique.
Chances are, your existing social media strategies have not adapted to the new changes of the game over the years. So, here are a few aspects to consider while you try to figure out the sweet spot of social media marketing for your organization:
Social media is not an isolated entity:
The primary mistake that most organizations make while chalking up their social media plan is to treat it as a subsidiary. Unless you plan to incorporate it into your all-over marketing strategy, you might as well not do it at all. Social media, just like any other marketing tool, comes with its pros and cons.
You need to fit it into your larger marketing strategy and assess how it benefits from or be beneficial to the other components such as content marketing, online advertising, SEO, and traditional advertising mediums. Only when all the individual parts of your marketing planning work together with a synergy that your business will be able to benefit from social media.
Knowing your target audience is the key:
Organizations either try to exist on every possible platform or hyper-focus on just a few. Knowing where your target audience exists is also an integral part of the marketing plan. Instead of completely rejecting a whole platform, you could try opening a company account and try to find ways to connect the platform’s trends to your brand’s philosophy.
For example, if your target audience is the demographic of age 35-65, Facebook should definitely be the first priority. However, instead of completely rejecting a platform like Twitter where people in their 20s mark the majority, you could try posting twitter-worthy content to increase your brand visibility.
The land of social media is constantly changing, with new apps popping up every day with their own distinct flavors. Knowing how to adapt and leverage their benefits will certainly produce desirable results.
Social media is free, but not social media marketing:
One of the most common lapses of organizations in planning social media outreach is to assume that since the app is free for its users, it is also free for businesses. Yes, you can open a brand account without paying anything to the platform. But the moment the marketing planning starts to get executed; it is all about how well you can utilize your funds to get the maximum benefit.
First and foremost, you will need to spend on a social media strategist (or a whole team of them). Though externally, it might look like an easy job of posting content, in reality, planning, researching, and executing the content ideas regularly is a tough job. Plus, only a professional would know how to balance organic interactions and paid promotions well so as to get your brand maximum exposure without losing authenticity.
In terms of paid promotions, there are a few different channels you could utilize. You can either boost your content, or run a targeted ad, or even hire influencers to endorse your products directly. These come in different price ranges and with their specific sets of benefits. You can be flexible with your choice to a large extent.
Catch up with the trends
Just having a team curate regular content and post them on social media sites is not enough. Your content needs to follow the trend for maximum visibility. Trends change almost every day, so while planning your socials’ content ahead, it is important to keep enough space for reconsideration of a post viz-a-viz its current relevancy.
While staying on trend will get you a lot of exposure, staying true to your brand image while managing to execute those trends will bring you more brand loyalty. For example, on an Instagram reel, there are several video formats and songs that go viral all the time. If your team knows how to apply each trend in a way that represents your brand truthfully, then your chances of turning up on the TL of a global customer base go very high.
Lastly, one of the most critical aspects of social media marketing is maintaining an organic image. If you change your content style too much, it won’t do you any good. But if it is stagnant for too long, the effectiveness wears away quickly.
If you run too many ads, people will notice you, but they will probably also associate negative feelings of annoyance with the brand name itself. If the ads are too less, it will not produce enough clicks to compensate for the money spent. Knowing exactly where to let loose and where to rein in is not easy. But once you figure out this intersection, the world of social media will open up new doors for you!