Social – Power Tool or Powerful?
Social media is a platform everyone is familiar with, and it’s as strong today as it’s ever been. All over the world, people use social media in all shapes and sizes, on a regular basis, as a way to connect. Through its evolution, it has also become a powerful marketing tool for brands to use to engage with their customers.
In 2014, a Hubspot survey found that 80% of marketers said social media increased traffic to their website, and more than half that have been active on social for over three years said sales have increased as a result.
So how do marketers become smarter with their social efforts? Yes having a large number of followers is noteworthy – but it doesn’t matter how many followers or likes brands have at the end of the day if those numbers don’t become valuable, loyal customers who are interacting and paying attention to their content. Likes and follows will never translate into commercial value if users are not engaged.
I like to think of it this way. Compare ‘Social’ to hanging a picture on the wall. Yes most people can do it. But nine times out of 10 they probably haven’t thought about the right spot, used the right tools or genuinely don’t have the time to spend getting the positioning right. Sound familiar to some social campaign’s you’ve seen? Build trust over time, and earn advocacy.
The Internet has allowed us to change the speed, scale and cost of communicating. Brands can send more messages and extend their reach – and do this more cheaper than ever before. It also allows them to increase traffic to their website, increase customer loyalty and improve customer service. And let’s not forget the customers – who are now more enabled and empowered to ‘share’ content with others, increasing brand advocacy.
But brands and marketers mustn’t simply dive in – they need to get it right. A lot of the time businesses have not thought about the right audience or channel and don’t have a clear strategy to define what they want to say. Couple this with a lack of dedicated resources to manage efficiently, and you’ve got an all-around ill-prepared campaign.
Social will be used differently today than it will tomorrow – you can’t wing it anymore! When so much of your business is influenced and dependant on your social success, having a clear plan is essential. Marketers must understand that brands need people more than people need brands – loyalty is fickle and people choose when to switch it on and off. This demands that brands create great experiences to keep customers loyal when they are faced with a tyranny of choice, often in the social sphere.
Social is a powerful tool to be embraced, not a power tool taken out every so often.