Social media has clearly changed the way we live our lives. It has modified the way we communicate with others, entertain ourselves, and even purchase goods and services. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have partly become digital marketplaces. They are allowing us to both choose and buy products by simply tapping on our screens. Therefore, social media marketing began to rise and, since then, it has undoubtedly transformed the consumer’s relationship with brands. But how have companies adapted?
Sure, ads prevail in between Instagram stories and Facebook posts. Along with Youtube videos are plagued with commercials, and influencers are paid to promote a large range of products. However, these strategies are not innovative. They are simply translations of older marketing methods, which originated in traditional media.
Yet social networks are brimming with new opportunities for companies to profit from. More and more brands are investing in developing their own social media presence. That’s because about 88% of marketers believe such marketing strategies to be positively influencing their profit. But why exactly is that? What do social media strategies offer which traditional marketing methods don’t? How is social media marketing a game-changer?
What Brand-Customer Relationships Are Lacking
To understand this, an essential aspect of marketing must be considered: the relationship between the customer and the brand. According to Edelman’s 2016 Earned Brand Study, the stronger this relationship, the more positive the customer’s attitude towards the brand. Indeed, a strong brand-customer relationship translates into customers actively supporting the brand in question, in multiple ways. For example, in such scenarios, customers are more likely to pay more for the brand’s products, try new ones, stay loyal to the brand, recommend it, advocate for it, and defend it against criticism. These are obviously desirable outcomes, which will help a brand increase its profits, allowing it to expand. How exactly brand-customer relationships might be strengthened is the question.
Edelman’s study shows that a great number of brand relationships fall short because companies fail to engage in three main activities. They are acting with purpose, listening and responding openly, and telling a memorable story. Acting with a purpose implies a certain socio-political engagement.
Customers want to see brands using their reach to make the world a better place. In other words, to stand up for what is right. Listening and responding openly points to the customer’s desire for personalized customer service, as well as to their longing to play a part. Telling a memorable story suggests not only that customers want to be entertained by brands, but that they also want them to have some sort of heritage, a DNA that makes customers proud.
Social Media Marketing: The Perfect Tool to Bolster Brand-Customer Relationships
It’s here that the importance of social media becomes evident. It’s where engaging in all three of the mentioned activities is not only possible but also simple. The politicization of social media platforms, which first became apparent during the 2020 rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, has transformed the way in which both brands and individuals take political action. Though by no means a sufficient strategy, posting Instagram stories informing the public about the ongoing issue and the ways to help, is a simple way in which brands can show their support for political causes. Social media thus allows brands to act with purpose.
Listening and responding openly is also greatly facilitated by social media platforms. In fact, they are the number one medium through which brands connect with their customers. Responding to comments or private messages is an easy way to communicate with clients. With that, that strategy also provides personalized customer service. That means reassuring customers of the significant role they play in deciding the company’s course of action.
Entertainment in the palm of your hands
Finally, social networks being considered a source of entertainment amongst youths, such platforms seem to be especially tailored for brands to tell a memorable story. Creativity is king in social media, as many sites focus on the sharing of inherently artistic creations such as videos in the case of TikTok, pictures in the case of Instagram, writing in the case of Twitter, and all of the above in the case of Facebook. Thus, the simple fact of having a social media presence ensures that brands take on the role of entertainers.
By allowing brands to act with purpose, listen and respond openly, and tell a memorable story, social networks provide the perfect medium to strengthen brand-customer relationships. Social media marketing is, therefore, an essential tool for the prosperity and expansion of brands. However, the effect these platforms have is not reduced to their effect on brand relationships.
Smooth transactions increase the likelihood of purchase
As was previously mentioned, some platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow brands to directly market products on the application. This means that there is less time between your customer seeing a product and deciding to buy it, and actually buying it. This more continuous, straightforward process allows for a smooth transaction, without bumps in the road to give the customer a reason to rethink their decision. Social media hence makes purchases more tempting and therefore more likely.
Boosting site traffic
It is by no means easy to get your website to be seen. Search engine algorithms are difficult to master. They are constantly being refined and complicated, making Search Engine Optimization techniques less reliable and more difficult to implement. But social networks provide an alternative. They allow brands to direct traffic to their own websites, boosting their influx of websurfers. This is particularly beneficial for brands that use their private platforms to sell their products.
Understanding your customer better
Social media allows brands to peek into the lives of their customers. Through their comments and posts, brands are able to better understand the wants and needs of their customers, as well as their behavior as consumers. This has obvious benefits. An increased understanding of your customers means not only that you can specifically tailor your social media marketing strategies to them, but also that you can create products that directly tap into what they desire.
Cost-effective and with more benefits
The reach of social media marketing is unparalleled. Also, compared to other marketing mediums, it can be deployed at a lower cost. Social media marketing, therefore, allows you to get more for less. This doesn’t necessarily mean that sizable amounts of engagement will come instantly and with little effort. But it does mean that it can do much for small brands that lack the means to advertise in more traditional manners.
What to take away?
Social media marketing evidently confers some serious benefits. It not only allows you to bolster your brand-customer relationships but also facilitates transactions, increases traffic in your private websites and allows you to understand your customers better. All of it for a relatively low cost. It is, therefore, no wonder that 93% of marketers consider social networks to have accelerated industry competition. Social media is a marketing game-changer, and if you want to expand your brand, it is most definitely the tool for you.
Did you like this article? Check out how to build strong storytelling marketing for your brand!