Do you recall Uncle Ben, Peter Parker’s uncle, and the father figure in Spider-Man (2002)? Well, if not, we are certain you remember his dialogue — “With great power comes great responsibility”. This oft-quoted line is valid in life as well as in the way social media works today.
Presently, social media is one of the most effective digital marketing methods used in businesses. In fact, today, if your business is not on social media, you don’t exist. But then, the power of social media should be used responsibly and also purposefully.
In the digital social sphere with the rapid proliferation of social media platforms, let’s admit usage of social media is increasingly getting complex. A new study by Siegel+Gale reported that social networking platforms are becoming too complicated. This, truth be told, is making the job of the digital marketers tough.
Despite the fact that it sounds cliché, social media has a lot of power to influence people and their decision. You can directly communicate and engage with your customers, take instant feedback and improve your product and services, increase brand recognition, increase inbound traffic and improve brand loyalty. But then, overuse of social media at times can be detrimental to your business. In simple terms: if overdone, it can have a boomerang impact on your business. If you don’t have a planned social media strategy in place, it can complicate your presence in the online world and may not serve the overall purpose.
Santanu Mukherjee, head of Digital Marketing, Indus Net Technologies, admits social media is getting complex. Like most digital marketer, he echoes similar sentiments that “social media is an essential piece in the digital marketing mix today”. He also informs that handling social media is comparatively easier than other digital marketing tools. But he gives a warning too. “We are aware of almost all the social media platforms that can work for our businesses today. We have our presence in most of the social media platforms. However, this is the most confused part. While we feel using social media is simple, we try to overdo it and this is where we go wrong,” he says.
Having said that, social media is still, and will for quite a while, remain a dominant tool in the digital marketing mix. Hence, if utilized properly, organizations can continue to reap maximum benefit from it.
Mukherjee, who has over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, explains in 3 simple points how to make social media effective and purposeful.
Identify the target audience and the social media platforms that work best for the audience
But then again, social media today is filled with noise and wading through this noisy and cluttered world is an uphill task for every digital marketer. If a marketer can rightfully identify the key audience for the business, the job becomes easier. Then he/she can come up with clearly-defined strategies to target the customer behaviour.
Mukherjee admits identifying the ideal customer base for the business is the most complicated part of social media. “In social media, you have direct interaction with the audience. So, how you present your brand and business is how you are perceived on the digital medium. Hence, you cannot go beyond the boundary,” he says.
But let’s not forget that just because you have access to all the platforms doesn’t mean you will jump on all the platforms. Overuse of social media platforms can jeopardise all the digital marketing efforts.
Indus Net Technologies was in charge of the digital branding and sales for Baidyanath, a century-old Indian pharmaceutical firm. Indus Net Technologies studied the target audience and devised an exclusive digital marketing strategy to increase their sales. Baidyanath achieved 253% increase in sales and 20x growth in brand engagement among the target group within a period of three months of engagement, through digital channels like social, content, search and e-commerce marketplaces.
Mukherjee says there are innumerable social media platforms today to promote your brand, products and services. “This makes social media marketing messier. Not all platforms will suit your business purpose. If you have proper digital marketing plans, you can come up with tailor-made content to attract your audience. If you are into B2C branding, then probably Facebook will work better than the other social media platforms,” he says.
He goes onto specify that for a B2B section, Twitter and Linkedin play a key role. “After defining the right audience, you need to define the content bucket. If the content is not related to your brand or business, then probably you are misguiding the audiences. This can be catastrophic. In this case, social media is complicated and not serving the purpose,” he says.
To know about the most influential brands on Facebook in 2016, click here: goo.gl/LP7HG0
Establish yourself as a thought leader and built trust
Another crucial area where social media can come to immense use is establishing your brand or business as a thought leader. In fact, if you can successfully present your brand as a thought leader, it can pave the way for innovative marketing strategies and drive sales too.
If you want your customer to engage with your brand or business online, you need to develop a virtual yet strong and genuine connection with customers. Here, thought leadership can play a significant role. Clients and customers will trust you more, and you can become a useful resource for them. As a thought leader, you can inform your customers and clients the best practices in the industry, showcase your knowledge in a particular subject, offer more customer-centric and business-centric solutions and also warn the clients and customers about potential challenges in the industry. In simple terms: you can become “a problem solver”.
But becoming a thought leader is not everyone’s cup of tea. You require years of experience and learning on a particular subject. Also, you need to address the practical solutions to a problem. Thought leaders need to ceaselessly provide new insights on the subjects too.
Then again, being a thought leader doesn’t mean over-burdening the customers with information. You need to circulate pragmatic, essential and solution-centric content (videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, blogs, newsletters, white papers, ebooks and etc) through the social media channels in engaging formats.
Mukherjee says winning confidence and building trust are the key factors which are required to build a foundation of any business. And social media can be of great help in building a ‘concrete relationship’ with the consumers. “So, whichever trade you are in, social media is a platform where you can easily spread the amount of knowledge you have on a particular subject to a wider audience. And once you show them or share with them the expertise, they ultimately start believing in you. Here also, you need to have a proper social media strategy in place,” he says.
Goodricke, a leading India-based tea producing company, tasted omnichannel eCommerce success through Indus Net Technologies’ advanced marketing plan. Goodricke tasted e-commerce success through dedicated traffic to their store, and online marketplaces. However, Indus Net Technologies’ engagement with the company was beyond campaign management. As a thought leader in technology, Indus Net Technologies also guided them through the digital landscape and the formulated a strategy for success.
Want to know who are the top 15 thought leaders in social media today? Click here: goo.gl/GrYnm3
Today, it’s paramount for your business to integrate social media and if you can triumphantly engage your customer and client on the social media, you will see the outcome. Did you know that among the top 100 worldwide brands, particularly B2C, YouTube is the most extensively adopted social network? Twitter is embraced by 98% companies and Facebook by 96%. According to Dazeinfo, Instagram is adopted by 85% companies, Google + 78% and Pinterest by 67%. Now, can you realise the true potential of social media, if effectively put to use?
However, user behaviour is constantly changing and if the digital marketers can swiftly change their social media campaigns, then the emotional connection can be even stronger.
Around seven-in-ten Americans utilize social media to connect with one another. According to TNW News, 61% of startups use social media for marketing. However, social media should be carefully put to use. It’s better if you don’t always try to sell your products or services through your company’s social media profiles. Customers and clients get irritated with brands and business which try to get noticed through continuous sales pitches on the social media.
Credit: Buffer Blog
Indus Net Technologies handled the digital marketing and social media marketing of Siddha, one of the premier real estate developers. Indus Net Technologies helped the group to go mobile for better engagement with its customers and also established and strengthened their social media presence.
Siddha went onto set a new benchmark in real estate industry by generating 10k leads per year through digital marketing at an extremely favorable Cost per Lead (CPA). In this process, we engaged 3 million users to build a stronger online brand to complement their offline efforts.
A simple adjustment in attitude can make a lot of difference in the way you build up an association with customers and clients. Mukherjee says there’s a thin line between pitching sales and engaging and a lot of companies blend the two, thus ruining the relationship with the audiences.
“Encourage your audience to respond so that you can engage in a conversation with them. Once you develop an emotional connection with your virtual crowd, they will trust your brand. It will be a long-time association then. So, whatever you are posting on social media, it should touch the emotional cord of your consumer or client,” he says.
Mukherjee also informs that running contests or quiz on social media help you to bond better with the virtual world. “Social media provide a human face to your company and brand. So, you need to be extremely careful about the way you engage with your customers and clients,” he says.
TNW News indicated that 43% of digital marketers believe social media is one of their most effective tactics. However, 49% think it is one of the most difficult. Now and again, marketers also complicate social media when they try to equate it with ROI. Did you know 60% of marketers recognize “measuring ROI” as one of their main three social media marketing challenges? Also, 46% of B2B marketers say they don’t know whether any social channels have generated revenue for their businesses.
Many marketers treat social media as a “lead generation machine” too. Well, yes, social media do help organizations in closing deals, but it is not a ‘lead vending machine’ only.
Mukherjee strongly believes that social media should be used to establish contacts. “It should be a by-product, and not the only essential thing in digital marketing mix,” he says.
He also informs there are occasions in business when you cannot quantify ROI. “There are several intangible ROIs. One of the biggest returns of social media is “top of the mind recall”. You are engaging with your audience via social media every day. Now, if they see an off line ad and your sales person approaches them with a brochure of your company, they recognize the brand. That’s also ROI. You cannot measure it or put a value to it,” Mukherjee explains.
Having said that, social media still remains an integral part of every digital marketing mix today. No business today can survive without powerful social media marketing strategy. As per the CMO Survey, the share of marketing budgets spent on social media is expected to be more than double in the next five years, from 11% presently to 24% by 2020. Again, the power of social media will be tested. So, brainstorm and survey before coming up with a compelling social media roadmap to achieve your business goals. Once you develop a close relationship with your online customers, it will make the road to success a smooth ride.
Reference: Forbes, Adweek, Social Media Today, Huff Post, Hubspot, Entrepreneur, Statisa.