What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing can be understood as the use of social media platforms and websites for marketing purposes. It is one of the most effective tools for building brand awareness in the present scenario.

Social media and its marketing strategy

In general, marketing includes creating, delivering, and promoting a product or service of value such that it satisfies the target audience. Traditionally, marketing was limited to specific ways such as advertising campaigns on television, public events, conferences, advertising campaigns in print media, attendance at trade shows, and so on. However, with the advent of social media, marketing adapted as well and the current scenario allows even small businesses to market through social media platforms, saving them a few dollars. One of the most commonly visible examples of social media marketing is the YouTube ads that pop up while you are enjoying your video. So, the Doritos ad that pops up while you are watching a cookery video is an example of well-targeted social media marketing.

Social media marketing is a part of digital marketing. Digital marketing, or online marketing, involves the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers via the internet and other forms of digital communication. Perhaps social media is constantly evolving, but the recipe for success is the same. The steps involved in digital marketing are similar to a traditional marketing strategy, although more narrowed down to a specific channel- social media.

A targeted strategy is a key to good social media marketing because it helps you increase brand awareness by directing customer traffic directly to your product or service. Some features of an efficient social media marketing strategy are mentioned below:

  • It specifies a relevant target audience: It is important to know your audience as the social media strategy will be aligned according to the taste of the audience. By studying the presence of the target audience over different social media platforms, you can identify which social media platform to focus on. For instance, if your company sells trendy or customized t-shirts, you might classify your target audience as millennials or gen-Z who are drawn to such styles. Therefore, the strategies henceforth to be formulated will be done so keeping in mind the millennials and the gen-Z.
  • It increases the brand’s awareness: A strong social media presence has the potential to reach millions of potential customers. It has been proven that social media boosts brand awareness by driving up engagement. Such engagement includes comments, likes, shares, reposts, and so on. The brand can build strong and loyal customer relationships by engaging with its social media followers. This can be done by interacting with the followers over posts, responding to their queries, replying to comments, and providing them with any help they may need. You can also get feedback from the followers.
  • It is feasible: The goal of the social media strategy should be attainable. It should be specific such that it can be expressed clearly and can also be compared numerically. For example, the goal can be to increase post views by 50% or increase followers by 60%, or any such goal that can be expressed numerically.
  • It must have a time limit: The social media strategy must specify the time limit under which the goal must be obtained. Time limit is necessary to keep the focus on the goal. Also, organizing a schedule for posts on social media platforms can be understood as a part of a well-planned and timed strategy.
  • It leads to an increase in conversions: The social media strategy focuses on converting followers into customers. It can also generate further leads as the people engaging with your content are the ones who opt for it. For instance, many brands conduct giveaways regularly. It is a convenient strategy to lure in more followers and convert more leads. Some of these businesses include links to the website and offers in the bio sections to sell products through social media channels as well.

Benefits of social media marketing

Social media marketing can be beneficial in many ways. Some of them are mentioned below.

Reduced marketing costs

Paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheaper. The reach of social media is huge. A platform like Facebook can reach over a billion members which can prove very cost-effective when used properly. It is one of the reasons why social media marketing is popular among small businesses.

Increase in brand recognition

A targeted social media strategy can reach a wide target audience as the platforms are available throughout the world. Therefore, It provides more opportunities to engage with potential customers worldwide and also gives a higher number of people available for conversion.

Improvement in search engine rankings

SEO (search engine optimization) is effective in getting relevant traffic from search engines. Most search engines calculate rankings using social media presence as a significant factor. Thus, it is beneficial to be active on social media platforms.

Better customer experiences and insights

Social media is a worldwide communication channel. It can help you gain feedback from customers throughout the world and improve customer service levels, thus making the relationship with your customers even stronger. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Facebook, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly and take immediate action.

Social media platforms

Some of the prominent social media platforms include:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Quora
  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp
  • Reddit
Image consists of blocks of puzzle where each block represents popular social media company like Youtube, whatsapp, Facebook etc.
CC-BY | Image Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Today Testing

These platforms have a large number of active users who visit the platform daily. The above-mentioned platforms keep engagement high by facilitating content based on users' interests. Other than their global reach and wide user base, some of these platforms have built-in social media analysis tools. The analytic tools help you understand your audience growth rate, post reach, engagement metrics like applause rates, and many others.

Context and Applications

Social media marketing is a division of digital marketing and a sub-division of marketing that conducts marketing via social media. It is mainly used by businesses around the world to reach out to potential customers about their brand products and services. Social media marketing is now a key subject matter in marketing as well as management studies.  

  • Bachelors in Business Administration (Marketing)
  • Masters in Business Administration (Marketing)

Practice Problems

1. Social media marketing is a part of which of the following?

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Offline marketing
  3. Social marketing
  4. Traditional marketing

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Social media marketing is a part of digital marketing. Digital marketing is a kind of marketing technique followed by companies to reach customers through the internet and digital technologies.

2. What can an efficient social media marketing strategy boost?

  1. Price of the product
  2. Conversions
  3. Competition
  4. None of the above

Answer: Option b

Explanation: Social media marketing strategy, if executed efficiently, can boost conversions of followers into customers.

3. Which of the following is not a benefit of social media marketing?

  1. Increase in brand recognition
  2. Better customer insights
  3. Reduced market costs
  4. All of the above

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Social media marketing helps brands increase brand recognition, gives a better insight into consumers' behavior, and can prove to be significantly cheaper. Therefore all of the above options are most suitable.

4. Social media marketing is studied under _____.

  1. Marketing
  2. Management
  3. English
  4. Both (a) and (b)

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Social media marketing is studied in both marketing as well as management studies.

5. Which of the following is not a social media platform that assists in social media marketing?

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Github

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Github is a platform used to share programming content like codes. The platform is not presently used as a tool for marketing.

  • Marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media platforms
  • Social media metrics
  • Social media data analysis

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