Social Media – Is It Here To Stay?
When it comes to global altering phenomena, social media platforms can be placed right up there with the combustion engine. Due to its incredible interchangeability, this particular phenomenon has retained and what’s more increased its impact both socially and commercially in spite of emerging technology, which is why brands who ignore it do so at their peril. According to EMarketer, even in the face of the recent Cambridge and Facebook privacy issue, advertising spending on networking platforms will overtake television ad spending by 2020!
The most headline-grabbing aspect of digital technology today may rest with the rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence but the swing away from desktop internet usage to mobile internet usage is no less rapid or impressive. In 2015, mobile users surpassed desktop users and they have done so ever since. What’s more, within the mobile-user platform, the most noticeable growth is in social media usage.
There are a number of indicators that point to the continued influence of these social apps on online marketing and top of the list is that posts on these platforms are extremely efficient at driving targeted traffic. Links to Reddit and StumbleUpon can increase visitor numbers to the thousands in a very short period of time, what’s more, most of the impetus behind the drive is voluntary and free. Lia Zneimer, a director at WeWords says: “Social media started because it was a conversation, and it was a way to react and respond directly—not only to your friends, but also to brands and to market influencers and celebrities. I think at the heart of it, there’s something about community and connection that paid [advertising] can’t replace”.
Current statistics show that people between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to do their buying online and as they mostly visit networking sites, that’s where they are most exposed to items of interest to them. Links embedded in their favourites sites exponentially increase their exposure not only to those items but more interestingly, to associated by-products or services, thus creating an ever-widening network of links.
Social platforms are, by definition, designed to create, promote, and enhance connections and therefore, brand awareness. People, trends, events, and brands play an intrinsic part of relationship building and being connected to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a direct channel to a pool of customers sharing their thoughts, opinions and details of their daily lives. Knowing what they bought something, why they bought it, where and how they spend their free time, what topics they are sharing and on which websites is a goldmine of free information on what makes a brand’s customers tick!
Social networking sites are efficient SEO promoters. Algorithms designed to identify high-traffic pages will zoom-in on a site that is attracting a lot of hits and quickly push it to the top of its ratings. Although content remains the main attraction of a brand’s visitor experience, promoting SEO is still the fastest way to climb search engine results pages (SERPs).
Brand loyalty is also in play when it comes to socialising sites. A study carried out by Texas Tech University found that companies most efficient at using Twitter were most likely to gain brand loyalty from those individuals (see How often to post).
Networking sites are great advertisers of events, particularly those related to fundraising, sports, and trade shows. Customers are more than happy to share event information as if they were personally invested in the occasion, a incomparable example of brand loyalty in action.
Of all the assorted options open to a brand when it comes to inbound marketingI (see Inbound Marketing,) social media platforms are still the unbeaten leaders in propagating a brand’s existence to the world. Without a presence on most if not all the networking platforms and without a regular exchange with followers, the media, trend setters and industry leaders, a brand’s internet presence will not survive.