Social Media – Then and Now?
Looking back at the history of social media, it was loosely defined as a way for people to socialise on-line.
This definition has evolved over the years. More recently, according to Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, Professors of Marketing at ECSP Business School, social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”
But how does this ‘social media’ thing help you and your business?
In order to answer that question let’s try and get a feel for the social media landscape.
Social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to produce highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce considerable and pervasive changes to communication between organisations, communities, and individuals.
The above diagram, created by Brian Solis and JESS3, more than adequately visualises the current social media landscape, in terms of identifying which companies provide services across various social categories.
This visualisation tracks dominant and promising social networks and organises them by how they’re used in everyday life- its clear to see that in 2014 social media exists beyond Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Planning an effective social media strategy is a must for most businesses to compete in the digital landscape (subject matter for a following article), so assuming that you have one in place ( you do have one, right?), what are the benefits to your business?
Businesses can sell more using social media
More and more businesses now live on-line and get more sales and leads using the internet and social media in particular. There have been changes in platforms like Twitter and Facebook to accommodate this business use and are now becoming quite pricey compared to other social media marketing strategies.
The personal touch
Social media marketing enables users to ‘interact’ with your product or service and enables you to interact directly with your consumers. This interaction provides that ‘personal touch’, missing in traditional outbound marketing and advertising.
Better search engine rankings
Of the top 10 factors that correlate with a strong Google organic search, about 7 are social media dependent. This simply means that if your business is less active online, you are going to appear lower on Google searches. Visual sharing has shown to also have a higher interaction rate with consumers ( for example Instagram has a much higher interaction rate than Twitter).
Minimising costs while enhancing sales
The best way to leverage social media use for business is to build your own networks and use them to have a permanent advertising base that you can sell and provide information about your services and products direct to people interested in what you are doing.
Creation of these networks seems to be the greatest difficulty as it proves very costly to businesses. A Twitter and Facebook ad can range from 50p to over £2 per click which still does not guarantee that you will get any results.
This is where large promotional networks come in.
How you can benefit from large social media networks?
The best way to get the most out of your campaigns is to find content generators and influencers to share your content. This strategy is the most cost-effective. A good influencer would have a large follower base already and will be able to provide your content on their network, usually for a fee.
It’s always a good idea to create relevant, insightful content that drives leads and sales as well as exposure, this is the best type of content that you should have on your site, as this would increase chances of income. For this infographics are always a good idea.
If you compare the ROI of direct campaigns vs influencer marketing the costs per click would be a lot less going through an influencer and achieving the same result.
Building your social media network can also be a non-costly task if you use an experienced social media manager or company. This produces better results based on the extensive experience of good social media managers, so results are much easier to achieve at a lower cost.
If you need help with growing your social media networks as well as placing content with influencers, we can provide services to this extent to help maximise leads, sales and traffic for your business.