Social media encompasses a set of channels that can be used as very high-impact marketing platforms. It offers one of the most engaging ways to interact with customers. The World Bank SME Finance states that SMEs constitute more than 90% of businesses globally. They tend to be very realistic in their cost-effectiveness and customer engagement. Online marketing research organization Constant Contact surveyed 2,000 Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). It found that 81% of them were using social media for marketing. This shows that social media marketing can be not just effective, but also a highly cost-efficient strategy.
Social media gives businesses direct access to prospective and actual customers. This expands the potential customer base globally. With innovations in payment technology businesses need no longer limit their target audience by geographic spread. With international money transfers it is possible to serve customers worldwide. This creates the ability for SMEs to compete on par with established global megabrands.
With social media marketing (SMM) businesses can create their unique voice and tone. Because of its wide reach SMM can generate vast amounts of traffic. Platforms like Facebook allow businesses to target their advertising toward a very specific audience. Most SMM platforms are either free or cheap. This makes them ideal for SMEs.
Another benefit of SMM is to obtain a lot of useful information via social media metrics. Businesses can know what their competitors are up to. It is possible to analyze the sentiments of the target audience. Such data allows businesses to fine tune their market strategy. Designing creative and targeted campaigns is central to the success of SMM.
Brand awareness and recognition is vital for a business. According to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” With a presence on social media, businesses can share up-to-the-minute information and take down obsolete data. Businesses exercise complete controls over the quality and frequency of their SMM communications. Engaging customers with the optimum frequency can build trust and loyalty. Social media is interactive, which allows business to respond to customer comments, issues, and feedback. This factor sometimes makes SMM engagements tricky. At the same time it also makes SMM a useful customer service tool. Providing consistent, relevant, and relatable content helps drive traffic and gain followers. This in turn increases a brand’s ranking on search engine results. Skilful SMM can bring a lot of high-quality and positive brand recognition.
The choice of an SMM platform is mostly a function of defining the target audience. Consider your SMM goals. Define whether the objective of the SMM effort is to drive more traffic to your homepage, increase brand recognition, or something else. Businesses must understand the target audience very well. SMM content can target potential customers by age, gender, interests, income level, education level, interests, and other criteria.
The right platform
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with over 2.23 billion monthly users. 53% of these are women. SMM on Facebook can exist as photos, videos, and text. It is a platform to build relationships and to keep in touch. Facebook is ideal for B2C firms to build communities, promote events, gain visibility, and increase customer interaction.
Twitter is best known as a source of insights on trending topics and real-time updates. It has 326 million monthly users, 53% of whom are male. Text dominates on Twitter, although photos and videos are also common. Consumers tend to use Twitter to communicate with the brands they follow.
LinkedIn has 590 million monthly users. It has a narrower focus, with emphasis on job searches and professional networking. Linkedin is great for B2B lead generation and for building professional connections.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.