The Rise of Social Marketing and Your Bottom Line

Written By: Zachary Jarvis

It seems like Social Marketing has been with us forever, but in truth, it’s been around for less than a decade. It’s all to do with the Smart Phone. It’s now ten years since the first iPhone launched, and even though Twitter launched a year earlier, it was the ability to keep people updated on the go that really helped the platform take off.  With the rise of Google and Android, It wasn’t long before smartphone use was widespread. Now it’s everywhere.

Facebook now has nearly 2 billion monthly users and a billion daily users. One in every six minutes spent on a mobile phone is spent on a Facebook product. People who could never afford a computer and an Internet connection can now connect over free Wi-Fi on a phone that can be picked up for $4 (The Freedom 251 from India’s ‘Ringing Bells).

The way that we interact with the world has changed. Go on a ‘digital diet’ and see how long you can last without a smart device. What was once the innovation is now an integrated part of our routine. If you took away a teenager’s Wi-Fi, they would claim that you are taking away a basic human right.

You are much more likely to check the news on your phone than you are to pick up a newspaper. Younger demographics are more likely to watch a TV show on Netflix or catch-up services than to tune into a TV show live. As for radio, why listen to a commercial station when you can stream from Spotify or listen to a podcast?

Social Marketing is now more important than ever. It’s not just the best way to reach a target audience, for some audiences it may be the only way to reach them. Print, TV, and Radio advertising aren’t dead, but they aren’t looking healthy either. When it comes to the bottom line, Social Marketing has a better return on Investment than any traditional media.

One of the reasons for this is that Social Marketing has been evolving at a staggering rate. Since the iPhone came out ten years ago, there have been ten upgrades of the iOS operating system and eight whole generations of the phone (more if you count the various iPhone S’s). Social media has been evolving at the same rate. Would you trade the smartphone in your hand for an original iPhone? If you said yes, you’re a liar!

Twitter had people sharing 140 characters at a time. Now Snapchat can share videos that use augmented reality to turn people into weird and wonderful characters in real time. You can now stream live online via apps like Periscope, but also natively in YouTube and on Facebook with Facebook Live. As these innovations have been going on, so have Innovations in Social Marketing.

Let’s have a look at some of these rising trends in social marketing, and their effect on your bottom line.

  •         Targeting

o   At the same time, mobile devices became popular, the rise in analytic computing power and cloud storage meant that people could track and gain insights into the huge amount of data that social media generated.

o   This big data doesn’t just let us look at trends, it lets companies like Facebook see what people have been doing and use that information to target them. Not just on sex and age, but from their activity, they can determine things like political affiliation – useful in the 2016 US Election.

o   Your bottom line: Rather than putting your message out on TV and hoping the right people see it, Social Marketing makes sure that the right people see it. Customers targeted on Social Media are more likely to become customers because they are being sold things they already like.

  •         Tracking

o   If you took an ad out in a local paper, then it would reach a local audience. To reach a larger audience, you would pay for a national newspaper, which would cost more. You might also put out a TV or radio ad.

o   With Facebook’s Atlas system, you can follow your customers whenever they see your message, and you can automatically chart their interactions with your company.  It’s like an ad written just for you tracking you from a local paper to a national paper and then even on a TV ad.

o   Your bottom line: Targeting and then retargeting an audience member provides an even greater chance of turning them into a paying customer. It’s another example of technology providing a greater chance of conversion and therefore a return on investment.

  •         Reach

o   Previously, the reach of your marketing would be limited to the areas you could afford to advertise in. On Social Media, you can advertise anywhere in the world you want as long as you can provide the service or good that you’re selling. Lookalike audiences allow you to find people who will like your product all over the world.

o   Your bottom line: Because you can target people based on the things they like rather than the things that are close to them, you can open up your business to a worldwide market.

o   Alternatively, you can focus your advertising to a specific geographic area, helping to generate brand awareness through digital word-of-mouth.

  •         Adaptability

social marketing

o   Rather than having to choose one concept and stick with it even if it isn’t working, sites like Facebook offer things like ‘dark posts’ and ‘a-b split testing’ which allow you to quickly tell if things work or not.

o   You can also provide more than one message in Ad Manager. You might want to market differently to women than men, or to people who have already bought from you before.

o   Your bottom line: Flexibility means that people suffer less ‘ad fatigue’ and like your brand more. It also means you gain Insights into what works and doesn’t work for your customers, increasing your conversion rate if you react in a timely and appropriate manner.

  •         Innovation

o   Not everyone is going to be able to afford a 360 camera or a VR rig, but Social Marketing provides ways to interact with potential customers that have never been done before. You can be cutting edge like Old Spice without having the Internet control a robotic squid creature.

o   Things like Facebook Live can show feeds in a store or restaurant, getting across the impression of how busy and lively it is. Auto-play videos and carousel ads stand out from other ads. Be creative if the technology works for your business.

o   Your bottom line: The more interesting your advert is, the more likely it is that your potential customers will be interested. A higher interest rating in an Ad from Facebook could also mean a lower process in ad auctions.

Social Marketing isn’t going anywhere. With Mark Zuckerberg talking about investing in Artificial Intelligence at the 2017 F8 Keynote, the only place it’s going is into the future. With its constant growth and adaptation, it will provide the best return on investment across all marketing (in most cases). We are evolving and adapting as consumers, and that evolution is taking place on Social Media. The bottom line is, can your business afford to be down the next rung of the evolutionary ladder?

Author Bio: 

Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.

Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.  On the very rare occasion, he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick. This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviors.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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