Why is it so important to have social media as an equal to other platforms around the marketing family dinner table? Why do we need to ensure social media is considered alongside the rest of the marketing plan, that it’s fully integrated from day 1 rather than shoved in as an added extra if there’s time? Here are a number of reasons why social media is necessary and essential to all businesses.
1. It holds a world of opportunities for networking
You can get to people you could never reach before.
Need to hook up with someone important as part of your marketing? It’s pretty likely that someone in your network will know them on LinkedIn or you’re in a shared group if you’re using it properly. Conversing with them through Twitter you could strike up an alliance. Play the game of using hashtags and engaging in Twitter hours to support others in your sectors and you’ll increase reach quickly and efficiently through alliances.
Trying to target a specific type of customer with a niche message? Facebook ads, and Twitter and Instagram hashtags can get you directly in front of very targeted audiences to further increase your reach of your campaign, and to take it to a conversational level with your targets.
2. It provides an extra strand to your comms plans
We all know it takes several touch points with a prospect before they become a customer and with content marketing what we’re trying to achieve is more inbound leads. Social provides further opportunities to see and hear your messaging, it provides signposting to your other campaign content via mediums where your audience are already comfortable consuming and sharing info, and it provides the added benefit of peer to peer endorsement when others share or interact with your post in any way. When integrated properly it is a powerful comms channel that can really elevate a campaign’s message and boost its audience quickly. It is also, contrary to popular belief, very easy to track social media’s success so from a reporting point of view it can often provide the dream stats to report back on in board meetings.
3. It can play a part in Customer Service
If you are a business that relies on call centres you may be able to use social as a cost-cutting exercise, if you can encourage online interactions rather than phone interactions from customers with queries.
4. It gives you a voice and personality
Social gives you the chance to live the brand, illustrate the brand, have some fun with it. Through social you can really create a brand voice and tone, be conversational and tell the story behind the scenes – it’s what today’s customers want. You can show rather than tell them what you stand for, what your company is all about and invite them into your world, through a medium they are comfortable with, in their personal lives. Often social is used to illustrate CSR as part of a business’s marketing strategy. If you don’t take social seriously and just use it to post corporate promo content you will be missing out on how your brand can have an impact on people emotionally, which is hugely powerful.
5. Consumers demand more these days
If you don’t do any of the above and are simply using social as an additional channel through which to promote your products you might as well not bother. Social media is about conversation, it’s about building relationships, it’s about interaction – all the things that PR had done well and authentically. If you are not using social media as an integrated, respected marketing medium but rather in an ad hoc reactive manner people will see through this – it’s not what they want or will accept ultimately.
To engage with today’s customer you have to be real, and social enables this – here lies the opportunity for social media to shake off its underdog image and instead stride out ahead as the one everyone wants at their party…that we’d love to see.