In 2019, an estimated 2.95 billion people, or 77.0% of internet users globally, use a social network at least once per month (Karin von Abrams 2019) which equates to just about 40 percent of the world’s population. As much as there is a large number of social media users we must first understand what social media is and who is on social media. Social media can be defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. With that definition, it is easy for us to understand why social media marketing works.
Most marketers agree that the benefits of social media have been vastly overlooked. Small business owners, however, benefit the most out of social media, reasons being:
- Cost-effective method of communication.
As the world is going digital faster than we could have imagined, for businesses to continue being a step ahead from their competition they need a way of communicating as much information as possible to their audience in the most effective and efficient way without budget constraints. If you had to ask us what that means we would clearly tell you that, those are some of the benefits of social media marketing. Social media makes this possible by being an inexpensive alternative as compared to traditional marketing. This can be easily explained with this scenario Below;
With the traditional methods of communication, brands had to print out a large number of flyers or find billboards where they can place their ads to communicate information. This was labour intensive and could be very costly. With the Social media marketing approach, brands can now relay the same amount of information to their specific audience through the use of PPC campaigns which are way inexpensive as compared to the traditional approach of billboards and flyers.
This Scenario clearly explains the importance of social media marketing in a nutshell.
- Results are instant
In social media marketing, results are quick and measurable whereas in traditional marketing it is very difficult if not impossible. This can easily be explained in this scenario below;
If you spend R5 000 on flyers passing them out to people, you cannot be sure how many people will read it and how many will actually be compelled to take action.
This can be very frustrating to marketers. With PPC campaigns you can track the number of people to whom the message has reached and how many people have actually read it.
- Brand Authenticity
Customers are becoming more and more reliant on the reviews your current/previous customers have left behind. This has the potential to influence the next customer that is looking forward to making a sale with your brand. Social Media has the power to make your brand look authentic and the power to make your brand look as bad as your current/previous customers have labeled it.
Brand authenticity is one of the pros of social media which must be protected because it is the first thing that creates interest and is still the same factor that can make a customer not even show up to your storefront.
- Cost-effective support (Community Management/Public relations)
Social Media marketing can be used as a tool to provide customer support. This is particularly important as it strengthens your brand relations with your customers as you are readily available to respond to their queries and complaints retaining their loyalty. This tool comes as a cost-effective method of customer support as the brand does not have to spend a lot of money on customer support as compared to traditional marketing where marketers had to use telemarketers, as a way of maintaining their current customer catalogues.
- Social Media helps you understand your Audience
What makes social media the best marketing tool is that it allows you as a marketer to get to know your audience at a personal level for instance; Their interest, hobbies, websites they visit, what products they buy and what kind of content they are most likely to consume and react to. This is commonly known as customer/consumer online behavior. A good digital marketer who is armed with this information can thin out their audience and market content which is more relevant to their audience.
In conclusion, social media marketing possibly is the most cost-effective part of marketing. This is due to regularly interacting with your audience which will improve your brand presence and authenticity building credibility. Customers are more likely to trust a brand they connect with and understands them. As much as social media has its pros, the point still remains that it has to be managed by experts who will be capable of retaining brand authenticity and brand credibility. This is because social media is a very sensitive platform to be on and when mismanaged it can destroy a brand’s credibility.
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