Attract Customers through a Better Social Marketing Strategy

“Social media marketing is about identifying the essence of engagement,” – Edgerank Checker

Social marketing represents the latest trend in brand marketing strategies in the connected world we live in today. This poses no surprise when we consider the fact that social media technologies have become ubiquitous and are uniquely engineered to help brands to boost their visibility and attract new customers. The high visibility of social media platforms makes it imperative for brands, both major and minor, to operate a competent presence on said platforms. Brand owners and brand managers should work to develop a social marketing strategy in the interests of targeting various customer segments. In this regard, we must note that social media platforms represent a (relatively) young medium of communications, as opposed to print, outdoor advertising, television, and online advertising. Businesses and brands can target huge swathes of emerging demographic segments by creating and deploying appropriate social marketing strategies. These strategies can be created after taking into account customer information such as age, occupation, income, habits, interests, and motivations.

Businesses should gauge the pulse of the market and customers before they create an elaborate social marketing strategy. To achieve that, a brand may choose to engage in a direct conversation with its customers. This course of action helps the brand to connect directly with a huge consumer base and form a detailed picture about consumer preferences, tastes, aspirations, and challenges. The said information may be deciphered and evaluated in an attempt to create a genuine social media identity for the brand, as opposed to a cultivated social persona marked with artifice. For instance, a fast food brand or a quick service restaurant can invest serious effort in its social marketing strategy in a bid to connect with core customer demographics. As part of this strategy, the brand could present small tattoos to customers on, let’s say, St. Valentine’s Day. The customers may be encouraged to record photographs of their forearms adorned with the tattoos and upload these images on the brand’s social media handles. This content-driven approach to social marketing can help the brand to enhance its market mind share, attract new customers, and resonate with key audiences. We note that geography may have a role in creating certain differences in the brand’s strategy, but the overall strategy should be designed to help the brand to connect with the targeted demographics.

Every brand is at liberty to create its own social marketing strategy but the business should introspect regarding optimal methods to implement the said strategy. We note that social marketing essentially hinges on social media, and therefore every brand would be well advised to leverage the services of ‘digital natives’ in its pursuit of social media driven campaigns. For instance, brick-and-mortar business enterprises may choose to enrol the services of young citizens to drive a social marketing strategy. While the business targets, desired outcomes, overall direction, and brand strategy should emanate from senior management personnel, the operational aspect of the said strategy can be entrusted to young, social media savvy citizens. We could state that this involves a leap of faith on the part of the business enterprise, but the chances of a successful implementation remain high. Using the services of a young workforce can help the brand to establish its ‘culture’ and ‘tone’ on social media, drive consumer awareness, converse with key customer segments in a language they are familiar with, and elevate the standing of the brand among online audiences. The energy and enthusiasm that youngsters bring to the campaign may also help the brand to achieve priceless brand mileage and online recognition. This is in addition to igniting conversations around the said brand in social media platforms.

Conversations with customers remain a key aspect of crafting a social marketing strategy. This stems from the fact that conversations can inform, enlighten, delight, and enthuse customers about the key value proposition of a certain brand. To that end, a brand must present a unified brand image to all customers, while taking care retain the elasticity that allows it to pursue a social media conversation with fans and customers. Brands can also leverage their social media handles to poll customers on current and future products. For instance, an ice cream and soda maker can post high quality images of (possible) versions of product packaging that the business is considering for launch in the market. As part of its social marketing strategy, the brand may choose to request social media customers for feedback on the said images, while inviting suggestions and inputs. This part of the brand’s strategy may inaugurate a conversation that could continue at length, therefore offering the brand valuable external feedback. We could say that the brand is leveraging its social media followers as consultants that are helping to design better brand packaging. In addition, this approach to driving an online conversation can afford the brand an opportunity to read the minds of customers and gain a deeper understanding of packaging designs that appeal to the market.

Every brand must remain serious about brand ownership in social media. This implies that the brand must exercise tight control on its social media handles and only authorized personnel should operate said handles. We note that online security remains a major plank of a social marketing strategy, because any malfeasance can result in a disaster for the brand, leading to drastic erosion of the brand’s reputation. To that end, brands must conduct periodic audits of their social media business in an attempt to ascertain the numbers and the facts. The primary objective of such audits is to help the brand realize its current standing on social media vis-à-vis the competition, make an assessment of referral traffic, monitor an analytics dashboard, measure the efficacy and return on investment of its social marketing strategy, checking the customer response rate, and weeding out (any) online imposters. Software tools and the services of professionals can be leveraged in the interests of conducting a deep audit of the brand’s social media presence. Interesting facts that emerge from the exercise may be used to inform brand and corporate policies, thereby helping the brand to elevate its use of social media in the pursuit of business outcomes.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various mechanisms that can be leveraged by brands in order to create a superior social marketing strategy. Social media allows brands to get closer to the customer and therefore brands must leverage this attribute to create and sustain business advantages. Social media is a more immediate medium than competing media such as a website or email. Social media is also an active playground for young citizens and young adults. Consequently, this power should be harnessed to create and strengthen a brand image, expand the customer base, and to decimate the competition. In addition, brands would be well advised to note that a clear marketing edge on social media can multiply the brand’s return on investment manifold. This also implies that brands and their parent businesses must invest much thought and effort in using social media to engage and sustain customer interest in the brand. A well-crafted marketing strategy bears the potential to create outsize gains for a brand and its business.

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