10 ways to leverage social media: marketing and branding
Want to market your brand? The first thing that comes to mind is social media. It has become so addictive for this generation that it has rendered not only traditional methods of marketing obsolete but also mobile marketing methods such as email. The reason behind this may be that social media is more engaging; with visuals and audio, as well as being an interactive platform that allows freedom of expression and globalization in the selling and buying of goods thus aiding businesses in marketing their products. The following are 10 ways to leverage social media to promote a brand:
1. Know your market: To achieve successful marketing and promotion, a brand must target the right audience and know its consumers well. Social media makes information easily accessible, so e.g. businesses can look up consumer profiles on Facebook or Twitter to get an idea of their likes and dislikes. This helps to create a more segmented market strategy that focuses directly on customers’ needs and wants.
2. Contests: A common way of increasing customer base is running social media contests. This applies to all kinds of businesses e.g. the beauty blogger and now billionaire Huda Kattan, founder of Huda Beauty runs several contests on Facebook and Instagram for makeup enthusiasts to win her products. All contests usually follow a similar procedure: like the page, tag three people in the post and ask them to like the page and share the post on your timeline. Consumers are tempted to take part in the hopes of winning free products/services, whereas businesses increase awareness of their brand. This is an effective way to leverage social media for marketing a brand.
3. CRM: Another beneficial way to leverage social media is by improving CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Customers are more influential in the buying process nowadays because they have several options to choose from. This pushes businesses to provide more than just a good product; an intimate buying experience. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be used to respond to customer queries, complaints, feedback, and other relevant questions.
4. Ads: Billboard and TV advertisements cost millions of dollars. Gone are those days when only big corporations could afford to market their brand effectively. Social media platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook have introduced ads that make it possible for small businesses and entrepreneurs to advertise their brand without exhausting all their resources. The best part about this is that ads can be targeted to specific individuals within the market segment to elicit a better response. The response rate can easily be tracked i.e. a number of individuals who viewed the ad, duration of ad watched etc. to generalize whether the advertisements are effective or not; and all this at a mediocre cost.
5. Groups: One of the best ways to leverage social media in order to create brand awareness is by making a social media group e.g. a local food chain owner can make a Facebook group for food lovers, bloggers, enthusiasts etc. to share their opinions and recommendations, as well provide his/her own professional viewpoints. This increases the number of people willing to try the brand as it is portrayed in a positive light, thus proving to be a simple way of attracting new customers. Groups can also be used to post updates and offers.
6. Go viral: What’s the fastest way to get brand recognition? A viral post. Be it a video, picture or written piece, all it takes is one post to get the ball rolling. co has become famous worldwide due to its tempting and perfectly timed food videos. Statistics also show that the most viral content on Facebook was food related posts. That’s good news for all the restaurants out there but fortunately, this concept can be applied to all kinds of businesses. All it requires is a little bit of creativity and skill.
7. Quality vs. Quantity: It’s a rule of life; quality over quantity. Similarly, when it comes to posting on social media, it is not the number of posts that matter but in fact the quality. Consumers will not be bothered to read posts if they are irrelevant to their needs and wants. Anything updated on social media should be of importance to the target market of the brand i.e. offers, updates, general information etc. Hence, this way to leverage social media can prove to be game-changing because a consumer is most likely to unfollow a page that posts too much unnecessary information while subscribing to one that posts updates which are of value to the consumer.
8. Team up with influencers: A very clever way to leverage social media in order to get brand recognition is by marketing it through another brand/individual. This applies to influencers on social media such as entertainers, bloggers, and even celebrities. Many companies pay influencers to review their brand e.g. a famous Pakistani entertainer Danish Ali has begun to promote local Pakistani brands in his blog videos. This generates high long-term profits as consumers are much more likely to be influenced by individuals that they look up to or are fond of.
9. Contacts: Networking is very important for a business to promote its products. Shamsossadati, the founder of a brand selling iPhone covers on Instagram, sent out courtesy phones to famous Instagrammers knowing they would show up in the feeds of thousands of people. The brand now has over 2 million followers. (Source: Entrepreneur)
10. The last (but not least) way to leverage social media is to not put complete focus on promoting but instead using social media platforms to simply create value for customers by helping them, interacting with them and satisfying their needs.
These 10 ways to leverage social media can prove to be very effective and can be seen as a factor that increases profitability and social image in the long run.