The explosion of the internet in the early 2000s transformed the ways brands engage with consumers. The rise of social media has only further shifted engagement models from focusing on television, print, and radio ads, to investing more in social platforms. In the past, brands used traditional marketing channels to deliver a single ad to millions of people. The migration of consumers from television and print to digital has led to a surplus of customer data that can be used to develop hyper-personalized ads that can be delivered to the millions of customers active on digital channels.
The advent of social media has completely revolutionized every facet of marketing communications. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has prompted companies to meet consumers where they "live," optimizing advertisements for such hand-held devices. Consumers are spending more time on social networks, with the average user scrolling through 300 feet of content per day on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
With ad spending on social media increasing by 30 percent in 2019, per Smartly.io, more brands are optimizing advertisements to be delivered on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Considering that many social platforms are accessed via mobile device, marketers need to design ads with a digital-first approach to ensure each ad delivers a unique branded experience for both customers and prospects.
Paid social campaigns are significantly more cost effective than traditional marketing channels, such as TV and print. They also offer marketers more precision, enabling brands to target users based on interest, demographic, age, and through which channels they like to communicate with brands.
Cultivating a Growing Field
Social media marketing is more than a platform for executing media buys on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Brands can also leverage customers, employees, and social influencers to serve as brand ambassadors. What's more, brands can also publish user-generated content on their social channels, repurposing information "from the field," to drive better engagement for little to no cost. This "human" workforce in many cases has even greater potential to drive awareness than media buys and automated display marketing campaigns.
But social media is so much more than a marketing tool. It empowers brands to deliver high quality, personalized offers to consumers and gives customers a platform in the fight against mediocre services, products, and customer support. People can endorse companies by highlighting exceptional customer service experiences, sharing branded content, and giving positive product reviews. On the flip side, social media can just as easily be used to criticize a business, whether about a product, service, or response to a crisis.
Social media affords brands an additional avenue to communicate with consumers, even when they aren't trying to sell them something. For example, brands can respond to customer inquiries, and join trending conversations in real-time. In times of crisis, business can use their social accounts to issue statements immediately, letting people know where they stand on social issues, faulty business practices, and/or hot-button issues.
Social media networks also empower customers by enabling them to publicize their support — or contempt — for a company. Consumer feedback provides good brands with social proof, while negative feedback gives brands an opportunity to improve their products and services as well as messaging strategy.
"The Intersection of Social Media and Influencer Marketing." Insight Brief written by Dominick Fils-Aime, Manager, Content Strategy, Marketing Knowledge Center, ANA. Creative Director: Erin Becker, Marketing and Communications, ANA. Editor: Matthew Schwartz, Senior Manager of Marketing Communications, ANA. © Copyright 2020 by the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. All rights reserved.