Social media covers a wide variety of website and apps that extend far beyond Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Their primary purpose is to enable users to effectively and efficiently share content in real-time. In the modern era, most people access social media through mobile devices, primarily smartphones. However, they can be accessed via any medium that allows users to access the internet, share content and engage with their audience.
As one of the best digital marketing companies in Bangkok, we recognise the importance of social media in promoting any website and include it forms an integral part of our marketing strategies for many clients. While most people understand social media to some degree, many people don’t appreciate how it can be utilised to promote their business. In this article, we will try to give you a great understanding of how it can be used as part of your marketing strategy.
How does social media work?
Although social media has many different forms, ranging from websites to apps, most have similar principles. While on some platforms, it is possible to remain anonymous, most involve creating a profile or username. To do this, you would need a valid email address, and you may need to create a unique username, although, with platforms such as Facebook, the username is hidden with, in most cases, the user’s actual name being shown. Accounts will be password protected.
Once the account has been created, accepted by the platform, and in some cases verified, users can start creating and sharing content. Content can be a straightforward as a profile picture or something that you have created yourself. Typically, people will search for other like-minded users whose content they want to share, follow, like or comment on. When social media is used for business purposes, you may “subscribe” to their page, so you receive regular updates and notifications.
Sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have “feeds”, which allow people to scroll through content that has been posted. As this is potentially one of the platform’s primary sources of revenue (Facebook Advertising), they use complex algorithms based on the user’s profile, previous browsing activity and
other factors to determine which content is visible. The content will include “pay to promote”, “friends”, and “followed” user’s content.
Forms of social media
One of the easiest ways to understand the various forms of social media is to put them into broad categories, although many fall into several groups. Here are some examples that may help you to understand.
Social media networks are what most people immediately recognise as being “social media”. They are a specialist platform that allows users to connect and share thoughts and ideas with similar interests. Social networks that are used for social as well as professional interaction include Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, other sites such as LinkedIn are focused on bringing business professionals together and are an arena to share ideas, thought and perhaps build business collaborations.
Media networks are viewed more as a platform sharing original ideas and thoughts and are a medium for distributing content such as pictures and video. Most people will be aware of Instagram and YouTube, which are perfect examples, but in the last couple of years, TikTok has become more widely used, particularly amongst users in Asia, but is now a global phenomenon. On all of these sites, users upload videos, and others can “Like”, “Dislike”, or add comments.
Individuals and multinational organisations, including mainstream news outlets, have their own channels that you can “subscribe” to. You will then see more content from these users as well as “suggested” content.
Social media is commonly used to spark discussions, find information or seek opinions. Reddit is a popular platform for posts that provoke discussion. The “comments” are usually more detailed and longer than those on social networks and media networks with other users joining the debate and responding directly to previous comments. The debate and discussion will grow naturally or “organically”, and debate can move on to other topics.
Blogging sites such as WordPress commonly include discussion network categories. Blogging and blog sites could be categorised as another form of social media or a sub-category with discussion networks.
Online reviews now carry a significant amount of influence in affecting buyer behaviour. Review networks that you will be familiar with include TripAdvisor or Yelp. Other users and the businesses offering the product or service can respond directly to comments, ask questions and leave feedback.
How social media can be used in a business environment
The initial concept of social media was probably based more with individuals in mind, but its popularity has increased exponentially in the last ten to fifteen years. As such, it has become an essential tool for marketers around the world. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes and is an excellent way of levelling the playing field. Still, it must be treated professionally and receive the same attention to detail as more conventional marketing mediums. Here are some points that you should remember when using social media to promote your business.
You need to immediately grab people’s attention
Sometimes referred to as “short attention span media”, it is vital that your content grabs people’s attention as they scroll through countless posts on their news feed. You won’t get the opportunity to post large amounts of copy or create detailed ad headlines – users will just scroll past them. Tweets, for example, have a limited amount of characters, so it impossible to create anything comparable with a traditional newspaper ad.
You must maintain high levels of activity
While many companies create social accounts, a common failing is that they rarely place posts or, worse, still don’t get involved in interactions with those leading comments. Not maintaining a high level of activity will quickly see your followers becoming “turned off” by a retailer and switch to following more active brands. It is far better not to have a social media presence than to claim to have one but it be almost impossible to contact and not engage with your clients or potential clients.
You must be customer orientated
Your personal social media account may be full of content that interests you and is relevant to your friends and family; it is unlikely to appeal to the broader public. Your content needs to what your customers and clients want to read, and you shouldn’t get drawn into solely promoting your products or services. It would be best if you tried to make you posting something that is relevant to your customer base, something that they want to engage with and even share. Yes, you want to drive sales, but that shouldn’t be the only reason you are on social media.
Try to make postings that engage your customers, and don’t be frightened to ask their opinion. For example, you could ask them what products they would like you to stock or run a poll between two items that you are considering. The more conversation, comments, and dialogue, the more beneficial it will be from an SEO perspective and from a real-life angle. You will be able to better understand your customer’s preferences.
Images are more important than copy
Images are the most frequently shared form of content, so based on this, it makes sense that your post should contain an image. Your objective is for content to be shared, as this is a far better barometer of how successful your social media campaigns are instead of just building up an army of followers that rarely engage with you. In many ways, this is similar to “word of mouth”, as users are seen to be endorsing you.