The Evolution of Social Media – Why Your Brand Has to Be Flexible
Over the years, there have been many different Social Media channels – some have faded away from popular use, whereas others are an everyday fixture for many internet users. According to Status Brew, there are over 3 billion active Social Media users – with a new user signing up every 15 seconds.
The potential for advertising and marketing your brand is enormous – but only when you reach the right people, at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. Your brand needs to have an effective social media strategy that takes into account the needs of your audience, the strengths (and weaknesses) of your product, and knows how to adapt to the changes brought about by evolving consumer expectations, and what the platforms themselves are doing.
Social Media Marketing is a highly effective tool for interacting with your loyal customers, and gaining new interest. But if you promote your business without understanding how using social media works, you will not benefit as much as you should.
Social Media Expectations Are Constantly Changing – Are You?
There are a number of different actions your brand can perform when using social media for business, but do you know which ones resonate with your audience – and what their expectations of a good experience are?
In a recent survey, 51% of consumers said they would unfollow brands on Social Media if they posted irritating posts – with 27% going as far to mark / report the brand and page as spam, and block them. (SmartInsights)
People are increasingly using social media for their customer service needs, they want to be able to contact you on the platform of their choice – whether that’s through a messaging app, direct message, comment or tweet – and they expect you to answer them. An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues, and nearly 70% of consumers have said that they’ve used social media for issues to do with customer service on at least one occasion. (Social Media Today)
When looking at what prompted consumers to purchase, the following actions were rated as important:
- Being Responsive (48%)
- Offering Promotions (46%)
- Providing Educational Content (42%)
- Sharing Interesting Visuals (38%)
- Being Funny (36%)
- Offering Exclusive Content (35%)
- Providing Behind the Scenes Content (27%)
Facebook recently made changes to their algorithm that prioritises quality content and genuine engagement in an effort to make their platform more of a community, rather than an advertising platform. There is a strong customer-centric trend growing, and businesses that don’t evolve their marketing strategy will soon find that their social media strategy and marketing plan won’t work.
This is why it is so important that you not only have a social media presence, but that it’s an active and interesting one – people don’t want to be spoken at; they want to be engaged with!
You Absolutely Must Have a Strong Social Presence
Technology such as Smart Phones, mean that people can connect to the Internet almost anywhere and whenever they want, it’s made the sharing of opinions and information much easier to access, and for businesses so much more important.
Potential customers will see you before you see them and if you’re not showcasing the best of your brand – they will go elsewhere. 56% of consumers are influenced by their friends and peers on their purchases, and 70% of Millennial Consumers are influenced by recommendations of their peers in their buying decisions.
As a business, it’s your responsibility to find a way of balancing your channels to fit the needs of your audience, and the algorithms of the site. You need to promote your business, but also offer valuable, interesting and engaging content, and a customer service experience that satisfies your customers.
‘There is a 92% retention among companies with a well-crafted customer service approach.’ (Aberdeen)
It is not enough to simply be online – you must take an approach that is both pro-active and reactive.
You need to determine who your audience are, which platforms they use – and make yourself available on these sites. You need to take ownership of any reviews or information available on services such as TripAdvisor, Zomato and Google Maps.
Your Social Media strategy will be influenced by your Marketing Plan and should work together with your Reputation Management strategy.
If you are taking a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to your Social Media strategy – then you can forget about seeing any real results. The only way for an optimised social media plan to work, is to have one that is monitored, maintained and flexible enough to contend with changing customer expectations and the way social media sites work.