The past couple of years have seen the exponentially expanding technology bubble that has allowed small business owners to really embrace social media. Instagram has created Brand Pages, Pinterest has rolled out Advertising, and Facebook continues to gather powerful data levelling the playing field between big brands and mom and pop shops. It’s truly remarkable how technology has taken off, and how many ways in which we can utilize it.
As more and more folks shift to the online world and become active in social media (and upon last estimation 78% of Americans ARE active on social media), small business owners are taking notice and turning toward these platforms for growth. However, some entrepreneurs want to put a definition-restriction around social media by labeling the marketing conducted through this platform as “social media marketing” in opposition to plain old “marketing”. Here are some reasons that thinking may not be conducive to your business, and why relevance is key to success.
Social Media Marketing Becomes, Simply, Marketing
Over time more efficient systems replace less efficient ones. Consider: Cars were once horseless carriages. Locomotives once operated on a steam engine. Billboards used to be cutting edge. People used to read Newspapers daily. Now, none of those things have strictly gone out of use, but a new method of approach has by and large replaced them. Certainly, there are horse-drawn carriages for recreation. Steam engines have a similar occupation. Billboards still get play, though the rate game has changed. And most Newspapers are still around; though people read them and buy them for different reasons now, going to the internet for swift updates. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn–social media in general–have all by and large replaced the Newspaper. Modern media is literally crowd-sourced, and any cogent marketer must take advantage of this.
Social media isn’t constrained to a locality defined geographically or legally. There are many social media accounts with international “Friends” on them from countries across the globe. When something is marketed through social media, it impacts not only those in the immediate community, but it collaterally has an effect on untold masses elsewhere also. This means it is integral as a marketing tool because its naturally inexpensive and universal nature predicates quantifiable success.
Marketing requires consistency
For many businesses, using social media to market their brand has been a challenge. In recent years, the public has not only grown savvy to established marketing techniques employed by companies but has also almost become immune to these tactics. Ads, leaflets, direct mail and email just don’t have the same impact as they used to have. With this awareness increasing amongst target audiences, companies have to come up with new ways to make an impression and differentiate themselves from the competition.
One thing’s for sure: by using social media, brands have the chance to create a strong media presence by interacting with customers online. Social tools can also help to strengthen brand perception by communicating core values to a wider audience. This, in turn, opens up the opportunity to start conversations, grow business partnerships and expand the online community to win new followers and potential customers.
To do that, however, it is key not to fall into the same trap as with traditional marketing tactics – repeating the same old strategies over and over again. Businesses need to harness the possibilities online platforms have to offer and present the audience with fresh and original ideas. It is important to consider that, after several years of social media, people have grown accustomed to the new media.
Today, one of the most characteristic traits of both social media, and its users, is its fast-moving nature. Organizations today know that is no longer enough to tweet every so often or update their Facebook page with their latest press release. The audience consistently craves news and innovation.
It’s not that social media marketing is separate from regular marketing, it’s that in the modern world, marketing now requires social media to be effective like older marketing methods used to be. So use Facebook! And, if you get stuck… reach out!