Is Social Media Marketing Really That Powerful?
We are inundated with stories making claims that social media is spreading fake news. Claims that elections are being swayed based on Facebook ads and even more horror stories of a supposed "fake news" epidemic. With so much attention focused on digital marketing, the question remains, is it really that powerful?
Is there a Difference Between Social Media and Digital Media?
When the internet was first becoming a phenomenon, social websites, search engines, and even business sites all occupied different online niches. Each sector of the internet had its own purpose. Some websites existed to host information while others were built to facilitate communication between people. Facebook has led the charge in turning nearly every website into a social media platform with other websites like Tumblr and Twitter creating their own social instruments. Even Google is trying their search algorithm to the popularity of posts via social media. Google yourself to see which one of your tweets are the most famous.
Understanding this brief history of social media evolution will hopefully convince you that social media is digital marketing. The metrics collected through the various social websites and apps are now the standard for online marketing. How powerful has it become? With more than 3 billion people on the internet, understanding individual surfing patterns makes online advertising the best option at reaching the masses.
- Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a powerful and cost-effective tool for having your message reach targeted demographics. This method of advertising allows the marketer to target people based on age, gender, race, and even geographic location. Facebook knows everything about its users, which it sells to the highest bidder.
Creating targeted local campaigns that can reach a large percentage of the community is easy to do. For businesses, it makes creating local campaign a simple process to help spread their message. For political organizations, dispelling various stories espousing a certain set of beliefs has never been so easy. As for the public? Never has it been more important to critically think about what we read.
- Facebook accounts
If you thought Facebook ads were the only way to engage the public, you would be wrong. Creating a Facebook account for your business is simple to setup and just as easy to run as your personal profile is. It also allows for strangers or potential buyers to follow you to see your most recent updates. Facebook users have the potential to make as many accounts as they want. While this is frowned upon and fake accounts are blocked, if it's done correctly, a fake person will appear real if they post frequently enough.
- Facebook groups
Trying to start an online forum for your industry? Are you a delivery driver trying to network with other delivery drivers? Facebook groups make it fun to create private and public discussion groups. During the 2016 election cycle, Bernie Sanders supporters created several Facebook groups to support their candidate. These groups were so powerful that the Hillary Clinton campaign bought admin profiles to control what was being posted.
Creating Facebook groups can become a powerful marketing tool, especially if they go viral. Think about creating an industry-related group to better brand your own business.
Creating Ads with Social Media in Mind
When creating ads for your business or service, remember where people will be viewing them. Most likely, your ads will appear next to a friend's post or an acquaintances profile.
Why is context important?
Having your business appear next to someone's friend group gives your marketing team the responsibility to gain a reader's attention. Potential leads are in socializing moods, they are looking for a distraction (most likely). Turn your business into a value-adding distraction that solves a problem they have.
Create a valuable ad
This is inbound marketing after all! Instead of inundating someone's Facebook feed with boring "in your face ads". Draw them to your website with appealing visuals or videos. Offer information that solves a user's initial problems. What does your product or service offer users? Focus on solving the initial question most customers ask, leading a first-time visitor into your sales funnel. Social media offers enormous potential for your business.