Social media is a behemoth of connectivity, engagement and interaction that has become an essential cog in the digital marketing wheel. But it used to be very different than it is today — and it’s constantly changing.
Ten years back, marketers could simply create a business page on Facebook and post a bunch of cool stuff to increase followers. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy any more. Plus, social media platforms are overcrowded today with businesses of all shapes and sizes scrambling to broaden their presence.
Consider this: 88% of companies use some form of social media marketing, and 62% of marketers expect to increase their social media ad budgets. Besides these numbers, there are many other statistics that gloriously reflect the ever-increasing popularity of social media as a marketing tool. But, at the same time, it also poses a question: with so many companies flooding screens and news feeds, is social media still relevant for businesses or has it lost its thunder?
Here, we’ll talk about social media’s relevance in today’s evolving business landscape. Read on as we discuss five reasons why a company, regardless of its size, should still seriously consider including social media in their marketing mix.
1. You can never really ‘exhaust all the options’ on social media
One may think that they’ve done all they can on a social media platform, or that there’s just too much competition within a niche. The truth is, the world of social media moves fast, and new trends and best practices keep arriving, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to really run out of options. There’s always something new to try.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Instagram has dethroned Facebook in terms of usage — 72% of teenagers polled for the study use it, as compared to 51% for Facebook. At the same time, new social media apps like Vero are gaining popularity, as they adapt to challenges of data privacy or algorithmic news feeds. Rather than getting crowded out, exploring changing trends and switching things up will help companies gain from early adopter advantages.
2. Social media presence builds trust
Digital marketing is an exciting but extremely dynamic field. Just as you wrap your head around the latest shift, you’re already behind on the next. For instance, you may have just figured out how to go mobile-first, when you realize the digital world has shifted from text and visual content to primarily video content. And oh, you haven’t set up a chatbot for interactive voice assistance yet? Raise your hand if you’ve been there.
A lot of these disruptive and game-changing trends are taking place at a lightning fast pace. As we push the boundaries of engagement and experiment with new tools, social media allows us to present a consistent and familiar identity to customers. There’s no better way to build trust than just showing up and being there, time after time.
3. Social media still trumps most other advertising or marketing channels in engagement
Social media is a two-way street. It fosters and encourages direct interaction between company and customer, buyer and seller, contractor and client. It allows a business to take quick action when their customer service team has failed, and it enables buyers to educate other buyers about the worth of a service or product.
Unlike traditional marketing mediums, social media allows you to hear back from your audience — did they like your product? What changes do they prefer?
4. Social media influences buying decisions
According to a recent study, global social media usage increased by 13% over the past year. More and more people are coming online, and using information they find to form impressions and make decisions. People now want to interact online with a company and hear their friends recommending it before they decide to try out a product or a service. As such, social media is a great way to disseminate information that may influence purchase decisions. You can also use social channels to gauge interest among new consumer groups or in new geographic markets.
5. There are ways to make your social media strategy more effective
If your organization has been questioning the role of social media in your business, perhaps you just aren’t doing what you should be. Over the last few years, the face of digital marketing changed considerably to include strong focus on content and its constant production and distribution. But that’s not all. Did you know, for instance, that Sundays are the worst days to be posting content if you’re on Instagram? Similarly, you should be matching the platform to your product and content. So, home decor ideas would do well on Pinterest and Instagram, but insightful news updates on the stock market would be the perfect fit for Twitter.
Last, but not least, social media is still a free way to reach customers and spread brand awareness. By ‘free’, we mean organic social media marketing, which is by far the most powerful kind. You can, of course, choose to invest in paid options to boost your content and visibility, which will bolster your returns, but with a carefully curated content strategy and a sharp eye on changing trends, social media can generate considerable ROI on a modest budget.
You may have to shed some old school tactics and warm up to new ones to stay on top of your game if you want to make social media work for you. But one thing is for certain — social media is no longer optional for businesses, and, most certainly, not a passing fad that’s on its way out. It's alive and kicking and it will continue to remain relevant for business.