Social media marketing presents one of the greatest opportunities for businesses of all sizes. For majority of companies across the globe, there is the slow realization that the traditional methods of marketing such as the newspapers, television and billboards are not effective as before. The rise of social media networks are greatly changing how things are done.
As of the first quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.19 billion monthly active users according to Statista. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed one billion, making it the first social network ever to do so. Similarly, Twitter has an average of 336 million monthly active users, and this number is expected to grow exponentially going forward. With this wide market niche, companies are realizing the extent to which marketing through these sites can help them strengthen their balance sheets both in the short and long-term. This is especially for small and medium enterprises, which normally lack adequate capital to advertise in the traditional platforms.
A survey conducted by Regus, a renowned firm offering workplace solutions for businesses across the world, showed that 43 percent of businesses in the United States have successfully used social networking sites to attract new customers. In Kenya, large and small companies such as Safaricom, Kenya Power and financial institutions have embraced social media to market and solve customers’ queries, thus greatly improving brand loyalty.
There are various ways in which social media marketing can significantly play a part in the success of businesses across the world.
High brand recognition
It is true that, each opportunity a business has to increase the level of visibility in terms of content is highly crucial. With this in mind, social media networks serve as perfect tools for which firms can increase their brand’s voice as well as content. Through this, it becomes easy for a company to attract new customers as well as increase recognition to the existing customers, a factor which boosts sales. For instance, in Kenya, institutions in all sectors of the economy have perfected this art, thus raising their brand awareness in a great way. Besides, social media presence is key in enhancing web optimization which contributes to better ranking.
Raising brand loyalty
As indicated in a report published by the Texas Tec University, USA, brands taking part in social media channels have improved levels of loyalty from their customers. In other studies, it was concluded that 53 percent of Americans following specific brands on the social sites are loyal to these them, thus increasing the sustainability of these firms.
Reduced cost of marketing
Unlike the traditional methods of marketing, sharing content on social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram is free. The sites also offers advanced, but affordable platforms to advertise or promote products or services. They are also effective since they have a wider reach and it is easy to target customers by the use of keywords, demographics as well as campaigns that are interest-based.
Richer customer experience
Just like other channels of communication such as phones or emails, social networks offer companies an opportunity to interact with their customers. Through this, companies can publicly demonstrate their ability to enhance customer experience. For example, if a customer complains regarding a product or service offered by a particular firm, it is important to take the right action as this may have long term implications.
Engaging with the audience
How a company engages with its clients online can make or break it. It means that there are numerous challenges which a business may encounter while marketing its products online.
While it may seem an easy issue to handle, there are protocols which companies should adhere to while dealing with its online audience. For instance, if the negative feedbacks are poorly handled, they may greatly damage the brand name, thus affecting turnover. With this is mind, companies should develop a well sound social media strategy in order to steer through the challenges.
Measuring the effect of social media marketing
While there exist elaborate methods to measure the impact of marketing through the traditional methods, they do not exist when it comes to social media. First, there is the challenge of turning followers into customers. Also, the best tactics to use in order to have a large market niche on the social media is a major issue. These challenges remain a headache, thus adequate research on this area ought to be carried out to help these companies. Other challenges include privacy issues, adapting best practices as well as the amount of time which a firm should devote to social media sites.
There is no doubt that social media remains a notable Marketing platform. If properly managed, it can greatly reduce the operational costs, as well as offer companies timely opportunity to interact with their customers. This will go a long way in improving the brand name, thus ensuring their sustainability both in the short and long-term.
By Peter Kamande