Social Media Marketing – a new business reality

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In the last few years, social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Just a few decades ago, cafés, restaurants and other public places where the to-go solutions to make new friends, or reconnect with old colleagues. In the very present day, however, the interactions in such venues are merely a consequence of an acquaintance or a quick online chat after a Facebook friend request.

The means of social interaction have changed. And for businesses this means that they have to be where their clients are and more importantly, to speak their language. And today’s customers are not only online, but communicate predominantly via their smartphones.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is like a rock concert – you (the business) are the center of attention, and the numerous audience (the clients) is right in front of the performer. There are even people outside the stadium who know about the performer and are listening for free. The goal of the artist is to play their best works, to be the best in the eyes of his fans, and to make those who are listening outside regret not buying a ticket.

Social network marketing is a powerful weapon for attracting and retaining customers and followers, because as with any other community, in online circles you can control people’s attitudes.

Facebook – The Holy Grail of social media

Facebook is the world’s biggest social network, which has proven its leadership not only because it has enabled users to share everything that happens in their lives, but also because it has created a favorable environment for business growth. Thanks to Facebook new companies can build their reputation and brand, at a level that can rival those of the largest modern companies.

Facebook has over billion daily active users. 72% of them are adults willing to shop online. It appears Facebook has infinite potential, right?

However, things aren’t that easy. If you want to extend your online presence to Facebook and you’re not running a business for mass market products (like Coca Cola, for instance), then your target audience will be far less than a billion users. Moreover, only 5% of your Facebook fans can see your posts in their news feed.

All in all, Facebook is not a cash cow for e-businesses, but simply a social media where everyone can share what they want. This doesn’t mean it’s not an appealing market for online advertisers, though.

Facebook Marketing is based on a few very basic rules:

  • Your company’s Facebook page is like an office in the virtual business center of Facebook, where you control your activities in the social network.
  • Before you publish a new status or a new picture with a famous quote, you need to ask yourself whether or not your audience will respond to it favorably.
  • A negative reputation on Facebook is even worse than one in the real world. Therefore, if you can’t deal with managing your reputation in social networks on your own, it is best to hire an expert.
  • Be prepared for changes – Facebook is probably the fastest changing social platform in the world.

Twitter – size does not really matter

Even if it’s a smaller social network, Twitter brought a cultural revolution to the world. It turns out that for many online users out there, the 140 character tweets are more attractive than the long Facebook statuses. This is more than just a favorable opportunity for businesses, because there is nothing better than a short and clear marketing message. Just imagine what you can achieve with a message of 140 characters able to reach millions of users around the world.

It is important to note that your Twitter activity will have even more impact when it is skillfully combined with the power of Facebook.  This way you can easily get a return on investment as soon as possible.

Instagram – Facebook’s adopted child

Only in 5 years, from merely a photo app, Instagram became the global leader in photo sharing, surpassing rivals such as Twitter, Flickr and 500px. What makes Instagram so valuable to consumers and businesses alike is that it made sharing images online significantly easier. Actually, it made it so easy, that Instagram even got integrated with other social platforms.

But how can businesses use Instagram to fulfill their needs? Every Instagram user would spend hours at a time looking at beautiful photos. Imagine each one of those pictures carrying the message of your brand. Thus, Instagram images become a great advantage, especially when some of the most famous Instagram bloggers advertise your product.

And here are the most important rules to follow for a successful marketing campaign on Instagram:

  • Since Instagram is not an advertising agency, the approach towards the audience needs to be personal. The users are accustomed to looking at selfies and photos of culinary works, not logos of brands. That is why you need to balance your presence with personal photographs and images with wise thoughts. A beautifully designed quote is a good option to engage your followers. Be creative!
  • Keep in mind that short video content (15-30 seconds) is suitable for Instagram as well.
  • Don’t be afraid of hashtags! They are the key that lets Instagram users find out more about your brand.
  • Instagram opens more possibilities to advertisers. Take advantage of them!

Google+ – the brave lone warrior

When it comes to innovation, Google, Microsoft and Apple are among the world’s biggest leaders. But no matter how successful a global company is, its influence never extends to all areas of the life of its customers. MacOS is among the operating systems with the lowest global market share; Windows Phone is like an alien among mobile users] and Google+ will never become the new Facebook.

But no matter how empty Google+ might look, it has a very important advantage compared to other social networks, which is: if your business is on Google’s social network, then you can expect ranking at least several positions before your competition in the search results of the giant.

Although being relatively unsuccessful among mainstream users, Google+ is one of the best moves by the Mountain View company. Google has provided businesses the opportunity to use the resources that can actually help them rank better absolutely for free. This model will continue to evolve because the fight for the coveted first place in the SERP results won’t stop.

Here are some tips when it comes to working with Google+:

  • Fully completed profile and compliance with the Google+ layout are essential prerequisites for a better ranking.
  • Posts in groups and communities associated with your business area, and the creation of collections do not only allow you a more precise segmentation of your online target audience, but the pay a heavy influence on improving your online reputation, and getting higher positions in search rankings.
  • Be careful with the type of content you share. If the Google bot finds out that your page contains illegal or immoral publications the chances of your brand emerging on top in any search engine will be reduced to zero.

Do we need to combine different social networks in our online marketing effort?

Absolutely! After thoroughly researching what social media your clients use, your activities in each of them must be carefully planned and carried out in sync. You must strive to successfully prompt your Twitter followers to take action on your Facebook page, or to engage them through your Instagram photos, for example.

What can you expect from social networks in 2016?

Social networks will be among the fastest growing online areas in 2016. Here are the main things that we expect to occur this year.

  • Facebook’s Instant Articles will give you a greater flexibility in creating your content directly in the largest social network.
  • The upcoming Facebook Reactions means that likes will no longer be just likes. Adding emotions to the routine activities of Facebook users will bring about a clear understanding on what type of content works and how effective it is.
  • The buy buttons will take over Pinterest. Pinterest is a platform that continues to surprise us and has already attracted our attention by introducing the “Buy it” feature. The mobile users of Facebook and Pinterest, who see a product in a paid publication, can now buy that product with a single click. It is expected that other social platforms (including Instagram) will follow this good example.
  • Video content is SMM’s new gold mine. After seeing a rapid increase in 2015, video content will continue to conquer the social media, creating new opportunities for video advertisers. YouTube isn’t enough for them anymore and that’s why Facebook is aspiring to create its best and most efficient YouTube alternative.

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