Social media has spread like wildfire to become a mainstay in our daily lives to the point that I think it is the best digital content marketing tactic. While it’s intended purpose was for people to share information about their lives, businesses eventually saw it as a way to spread the word about their company. Social media is a newcomer to the marketing world and it has changed how businesses operate by changing the way businesses interact with customers.
An example that I would like to reference is a local game store, Finch and Sparrow Games, I frequent that has taken over from the previous owners and grown immensely in the past year and a half thanks to a strong social media presence that I’ve seen. Where social media has downsides another form of advertising can make great strides as well: native ads.
Social media allows businesses to connect and communicate with consumers instantaneously. By being able to interact with customers quickly, businesses can receive feedback and fix problems that consumers have with speed and ease. This differs from before, where feedback would be nonexistent or sparse. This interaction is important to the business because the business feels more relatable to the consumer as well as it allows the business to get real feedback as how to satisfy and meet their customers needs better.
This method also beats cold calling customers to sell them products or to ask for feedback as many people, especially the younger generations, prefer texting over calling. The local game store has taken to this style of outreach by using Instagram stories and Instagram Live to ask the customers what new things they would like the store to offer. The most recent outcome of this campaign was a monthly subscription to a ‘Loot Box’ that comes with gaming supplies and random booster packs and special goodies to make gameplay fun.
By getting direct feedback from the consumers at Finch and Sparrow they can more accurately stock what the consumers want and therefore sell more product. Social media has also provided the ability for a company to be able to produce an ad or post and share it immediately whereas in the past a commercial needed to be recorded and edited and a newspaper ad had to be printed and distributed the next day.
While it is the newest and greatest tool for advertising, social media can have some drawbacks as all things do. If not properly formatted social media ads can come off as invading the user’s feed. One way around this is to create an ad that is targeted to the local area around the consumer. Ads targeted towards a local audience are extremely effective when considering the fact that many users search for and frequent local businesses services. Being able to use internet data of where users live provides an invaluable tool to provide locally targeted advertising.
When advertising on social media a company can be looser and more casual with its ads. Wendy’s Twitter account sometimes takes that to the extreme to where it has become less focused on ads and more focused on cracking jokes which don’t sell a product no matter how viral their posts are. Finding a balance is important and different for each business.
Social media has made advertising and sharing company content able to reach more people, easier and more cost-effective. Firstly, people check their social media at least daily, so when a company makes a post about something it will be seen and put a little reminder in the head of the consumer the next time that they are shopping. This improves upon the past ways of running a business by constantly reminding the consumer that a product or business exists.
Businesses need to be careful of posting too much content because this will often dissuade people from buying their product just like an annoyingly repetitive TV commercial. Finch and Sparrow use this tactic effectively by posting about new releases and upcoming tournaments; they use the Facebook events feature to help gauge how many people will show up to an event and to prepare accordingly.
Secondly, social media allows a business to inform the masses about the release of a new product or an upcoming sale. Finch and Sparrow posts sales several times a week which prompt people to pick up good deals. Before social media, a business would have to pay for and ad in a newspaper or on a TV channel that not many people will see, whereas they could pay for an ad on a social media site that is guaranteed to be seen by potential consumers where more information is just a click away.
Lastly, social media has made advertising more cost-effective.
While a business can pay for an ad to be placed on a social media site, it costs nothing to post on their own page. A larger company might be able to afford a social media coordinator who is in charge of posts and ads on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Having a person or small team dedicated to social media may be more inexpensive than a television or newspaper ad campaign that would normally be run several years ago. Being able to broadcast content in a simpler manner has changed hos businesses advertise.
Native ads are superior to banner ads because they don’t intrude on the consumer like other kinds of ads. People are blasted with advertisements daily and having an ad that feels like it is a part of the website that they are browsing will more likely get them to at least scan the ad. Users read native ads 53% more than banner or pop-up ads according to Outbrain.com; this is no small number and another reason why native ads are a strong choice to use for digital content marketing. Native ads may feel like lying to the consumer because they ‘blend in’ to the web page, there are many signposts that let the consumer know it is an ad.
The social media surge has caused an unforgettable impact on our lives and how we share information. It has also shaped business practices to be more friendly, quick and informative. While large corporations have made gains off of social media posts, the small businesses around us will forever be changed by social media.
Written By: By Jeremy A. Rodrigues