Marketing isn’t the same as it used to be 10 to 15 years ago!
A drastic change in marketing strategies was evident ever since the advent of social media. As of now, as expected, social media has revolutionized the dynamics of marketing. It has helped evolve conventional marketing practices for the good.
Today, thanks to the various platforms of social media, an apparent change has occurred in the way marketers and consumers used to view consumer products and services. The way consumers now perceive a brand is more sophisticated than before because people have become more aware of products, brands, their uses, merits, and demerits. This is why the trend of impulse buying and trigger marketing is gradually diminishing. In short, modern consumers are making informed decisions because of social media!
It’s not as if traditional marketing concepts and tools have gone extinct. They still exist. But the truth is that social media has opened new doors and has created numerous exciting opportunities to engage consumers and sell all kinds of products and services.
This article extensively studies the ways in which social media has altered the conventional marketing strategies. How it has influenced companies to focus on social media marketing and why is it so important for brands to have an effective social media marketing strategy.
1. Consumers Now Have the Power!
Social media is such a pervasive force that it has given consumers the power to control brands. Yes, it sounds a bit strange but that’s what has happened. With social media, dissemination of information has picked up the pace. It has empowered consumers to share their brand stories with the rest of the consumer base. You can very well imagine that this means the fate of brands now lies in the hands of consumers. Or should I say in the hands of consumers who have had not so good brand experiences. Modern marketers admit that the control over brands has slipped out from the hands of companies. Consumers now own brands. They literally have the power to modify your brand perception. All they have to do is share content on social media!
2. The Broadest Customer Base
Social media platforms provide marketers the broadest customer base to target. Their communication can reach billions of people within minutes. Today, there is no other way to reach out to an audience that big and diverse. All marketers have to do is share a post on social media and it gets viral among the audience connected through families, friends, and common interests.
3. The Influential Use of Human Voice
A modern consumer of today understands how traditional marketing used to work. Companies used to engage consumers by the means of advertising that showcased the emotional and functional benefits of a product or service. In most of the cases, those highlighted benefits turned out to be a trick to sell a brand. But not anymore! Now, consumers trust other consumers. Social media allows human voice and words to come into play and build a brand’s perception. Consumers don’t have to trust what companies have to say about their brands. They barely pay any attention to the sanitized messages of the corporate world.
4. Immense Improvement in Customer Service
One of the key areas of marketing is customer service. And social media is like a bridge between corporate management and consumers. Consumers can now reach out to companies whenever they want, and companies cannot get away without responding to consumer feedback. This exchange of communication via social media has shifted the rules of customer service big time. Not only social media facilitates easy communication but also builds a stronger relationship between consumer and corporate management. Companies are now in a better position to tackle customer issues.
One of the best features of social media is that it turns complaints and negative feedback into a positive conversation. There are so many companies, like Delta Airlines, that use their Twitter account to communicate with their customer base. Whenever the management makes amendments in its strategies, a lot of upset customers begin to protest on the company’s Twitter page. If you look at Delta Airlines’ newsfeed, you’ll see how often the company solves consumers’ problems and apologizes for the inconveniences caused. Thus, social media provides companies an opportunity to establish the image of a caring brand. This was not possible with the conventional marketing tools.
5. Social Media Has Improved Segmenting and Targeting
The very basics of marketing involve segmentation of the market to determine the target audience for a particular brand. The traditional methods of marketing included time-consuming ways for that, like market research. But with social media, segmentation and targeting have become easy and more effective. Moreover, social media has proven to be quite effective for micro-segment and niche targeting because it’s easier to reach out to an ultra-specific audience and collect data pertaining to demographics, psychographics, and purchase behaviors.
6. Social Media Has Made Marketing More Creative
The environment that social media provides for communication purposes is very comfortable for both customers and companies. It’s creative and flexible as well. Here’s how social media has impacted marketing:
- Quality Insights – owing to social media, marketers have access to an unimaginable amount of data and valuable insights coming in from consumers. Marketers use that data wisely for analytical purposes to make inferences that were not possible before. In other words, social media has provided marketers with an opportunity to study consumer behavior for long periods of time with almost no disturbance. Marketers can gauge consumers by their profile information, liked posts, and shared content. All this is done to devise highly effective marketing campaigns.
- Highly Organic Marketing Campaigns – The best marketing campaign is the one that doesn’t remind consumers it is a promotional activity. In the past, it was a difficult tactic to master. But with social media, marketers are able to devise ubiquitous campaigns which don’t feel like advertising at all. If truth be told, with social media, brands have become an active part of consumers’ social experience.
These days, social media and marketing are considered synonymous to the extent that many companies have made departments for social media marketing. The job of these departments is to interact with more and more consumers on different social media platforms on a regular basis.
7. The Impact of Social Media on Advertising
Marketing has never been considered complete without convincing and impressive advertising. And guess what, social media has altered the norms of advertising as well. Someone who has the basic knowledge of marketing would know that traditional marketing used to play with the famous and well-known 4 Ps – Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Social media has added another P to the list, i.e. People.
Social media platforms have a global reach. And platforms like Facebook and Twitter have so much useful and informational data that marketers can safely invest millions of dollars in running meticulously targeted advertising campaigns on these platforms. Today, Facebook is no longer a fun place to hang out. Not since 2013, when Facebook partnered with data brokers like Epsilon, Datalogix, and Acxiom. Courtesy of these partnerships, Facebook has more than 500 million active users with each user having an average of 1,500 data points. Thus, Facebook has a huge audience worth advertising for.
If a user just got married, Facebook would know. If a user is jobless and looking for opportunities, Facebook can easily inform you. If a user is suffering from cancer, Facebook is definitely aware. There’s no limit to what information Facebook has about its users. And for advertisers, it’s like a dream come true.
Do you see how social media has changed the advertising game?
Advertisers can select the niche on Facebook they want to target and advertise their product or service to that carefully selected niche. For instance, a fancy toy store owner in New Jersey can now display its ads to parents living in California who earn $45,000 to $70,000 annually and have children between the ages of 6 to 13.
If this isn’t a game-changer, what would be?
The Future of Social Media Marketing
As social media continues to evolve and become stronger with each passing day, the one thing that’s certain is that factors like consumer influence on brands and interconnectivity will be focused upon more in the modern marketing mix. With new video-based social media platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope, gaining a lot of traction these days, video marketing is expected to become the latest standard for customer service and advertising.
Another cool thing about social media is that it’s highly unpredictable – in a good way! The only direction social media is expected to move in the future is forward. That much we know. But it’s difficult to predict what kind of advancements it will bring in the world of marketing and advertising. All we can say at the moment is that social media has grown to become extremely vital and necessary for businesses. It’s about time businesses realized the importance of social media and invest heavily in this highly rewarding medium.