More important than all the tools and platforms that exist are the ways in which companies can use social media (social media) to increase the effectiveness of marketing programs, to generate new and relevant marketing opportunities, to serve and understand customers better and to become more valuable partners.
In order to do this, companies need to understand the essence of social media marketing and how to implement social media marketing strategy based on their customers, the business partner ecosystem and the sphere of influence of each social media platform. Social networks have brought significant changes in people's behaviour and in the marketing thinking of companies. The biggest changes have occurred especially in the way we interact, search for information and communicate.
However, it would be wrong to attribute all these changes to social networks only. However, what social networks did was to increase the speed with which these socio-economic changes, which were already happening, continued to evolve. So what is the essence of social media marketing and what are the main challenges they bring to companies?
1. Explosion of opinions, comments and reviews
People have always talked about the business, the products and the experiences they have had as customers. It is the essence of the word review. But since the advent of the Internet, these discussions, opinions and reviews have become public.
With the advent of social networks, all this has grown at an explosive rate and is shared in an instant in the online environment. Reputation, comments, opinions, messages and stories travel faster than ever. Word of mouth has found fertile ground in social media to increase its exponential impact.
What people say and share on social media about products, services and especially about the experiences they have had can have an extraordinary impact. Understanding this and greater transparency is a must for all brands. Simply letting things "happen" without at least being present and active on social media is a recipe for distrust and criticism.
2. Social networks bring customers and companies together
Today, for most companies, the website, online forms, interactive communication channels are essential for marketing and sales processes.
The growing role of the online environment in the way we do business is related to the characteristics that this environment has: real-time access to data, speed, etc. On the other hand, there is also the rapid adoption of the Internet as a means of information for people and thus for shoppers.
The goal of companies is to be found online and convert visitors into potential customers and ultimately customers. The main tactics to be found, to reach people online and to turn into buyers include content marketing, email marketing, reviews, SEO, etc.
People want to be prepared before they buy, they want to find the information and decide for themselves, because now they have online tools and social media platforms. And I use them! This has led to an increase in the pace of change already underway from sale to purchase.
3. Customer satisfaction leads to new customers
We've seen how fast customers' experiences, both "positive" and "negative" travel, and how they turn to social media and the advice of colleagues and experts to make an educated buying decision. The combination of the viral flow of information on social networks and the use of reviews and opinions shared on them, forces companies to focus fully on customer satisfaction and how it is generated throughout their organization.
The old saying that a satisfied customer is equal to two is not valid in a world of social networks. When a satisfied customer spreads his experience or becomes a fan of a brand, he brings more than two. Excellent customer service is key to improving your perception of the company. The result is new customers. The most satisfied customers will become lawyers for the brand and some of them will influence the purchasing decisions of other new customers.
4. Content and context rule
One of the main aspects of social media is the interconnection between different platforms and services, which allows people to share content, opinions, reviews between multiple networks and with different people.
Content sharing is one of the key elements of social media and the impact of "distribution" on content marketing. Obviously, the fact that people can now distribute content is not enough. They share the things they find on social media only if they think so.
The decision to distribute content, or not, is determined by various psychological and other motivations. In order to be distributed, the content must be at least relevant in the context of how people use it. Content and context are the most important elements for social networks, as they have always been in generating leads, email marketing, etc.
If the content, whether written or audio visual, is extremely relevant, it can become a story that spreads quickly. Moreover, user-created content can be just as valuable to a company's reputation.
5. Dialogue is the essence of social media marketing
It is visible that the media is losing more and more of its power in a world where people control the interaction and there is a certain tiredness and distrust of broadcasting and interacting with traditional advertising. Communication is by definition based on a two-way interaction. Companies have forgotten this essential aspect of communication in the media age and are now forced to change again.
Sending marketing messages works, but only if they are relevant and personalized. In email marketing, for example, the focus is increasingly on the recipient and their needs. Companies are starting to look at the people behind their email addresses. People have more control over the contexts of communication with brands and so companies need to open channels for dialogue instead of monologues. Social media marketing is strongly based on this. Social networks do not end direct marketing. It is the end of the dissemination of irrelevant information without taking into account the context and needs of the recipient. It's the end of the monologues. Listening and responding are essential, as is risk management on social media for a proactive approach, based on transparency, trust and authenticity.
About the author
Gabriela Streza has over 15 years of experience in marketing and business development teams of major multinational companies and family businesses in Romania, leaders in their fields of activity. Gabriela graduated from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and has solid expertise in marketing, communication, and business development during hundreds of successfully managed projects Gabriela also has a broad knowledge of public relations and high-quality professional communication in interpersonal communications, organizations and event management to generate awareness of the company's brand and business development. In recent years he has coordinated complex marketing and business development projects involving Romanian entrepreneurs, non-profit associations and multinational companies.
Valoria Business Solutions is a company providing training, consulting and executive coaching services. The company's mission is to transform the potential of teams and organizations into value. Competence, confidence, innovation, and passion are the values that sustain us in everything we do. We believe in people, in their aspiration for personal and professional fulfilment, and their willingness to accelerate their potential. Learn more about us at: www.valoria.ro