Social Media Marketing

The term social media marketing (SMM) refers to all activities and measures that are used in social networks for lead generation, increasing the reach and customer loyalty. Social media marketing can be seen as both public relations and customer service. The first goal is to increase factors such as traffic, the CTR and reach. The next step is to build long-term customer loyalty, influencers and Viral Marketing. SMM can be part of Customer Relationship Management and also includes social media advertising.

General information

When social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Linkedin were set up, it was not yet clear that they would also offer themselves as PR and marketing tools. Social Media was considered to be unprofitable. However, with increasing user numbers, the significance of direct customer contact and ever increasing reach has become clear. The networks became more sophisticated and they increased in number - it is also expected that expenditure for social media marketing will increase. Today, very different social platforms are used in both the B2C and B2B sectors to achieve corporate goals.

Suitability for every company size

Social media marketing is an option for many companies and organisations. It is very likely that the target group uses social media in some way - whether with a smartphone or at home on a desktop PC or laptop. Portals such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram or Linkedin are among the most visited websites worldwide. Whoever wants to use social media marketing, however, should first define company goals and select a strategy. This includes appropriate platforms and networks, a content creation plan, and employees who can use social media as a customer service and communication channel.

Types of SMM

In social media marketing two basic strategies can be distinguished, whereby the passive variant is often regarded as a necessary component of each marketing:

  • Proactive social media marketing: Here, own content and user-generated content is created and distributed in order to achieve the company's goals. Active social media marketing requires not only the use of resources and budget, but, with a multi-channel approach, also includes the organization of different channels in order to increase the reach of .
  • Passive social media marketing: External content is used to achieve the goals. Activities of users and market facilitators are recorded and evaluated by means of monitoring. This data is additional information that can be used for strategic and operational decision-making.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

The above-mentioned basic strategies result in individual concepts that can also be combined. In practice, this is mainly about increasing awareness, improving customer loyalty, improving access to the target group and communication.

  • Direct customer contact: Social media can be used as a means of customer service. Customers contact companies by messaging, rating or posting a status. If the company reacts immediately or relatively quickly, there is a proximity to the customer that cannot be reached in other media.
  • Stakeholder building: Groups, blogs and forums can be used to create networks of common interests. Although this is only possible for certain products and services, such a meeting of users with an actual interest in the product and the possibility of exchange is almost only conceivable in social networks.
  • Events: Concerts and events are a popular means of reaching customers, especially in the catering trade.
  • Interactive campaigns: Sweepstakes, vouchers, game apps and surveys are ways to engage potential customers.
  • Sales and distribution: Sales of reduced products and other sales concepts can be realized here.
  • Reputation, image and authority: Expertise can be built up by providing sound information. Image and advertising campaigns serve to create a good reputation.
  • Viral Marketing: Certain content encourages users to share. This content is processed virally by being distributed by many users. This can also be done by so-called influencers.
  • Search engine optimization: With a presence in social networks, so-called [[Social Signals] can be sent to search engines. Profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Co. are usually indexed by search engines and displayed relatively high up in the SERPs. High Interaction Rates (Likes, Comments, Shares) are additional positive signals that let the search engines know that users find the offer interesting.
  • Social Media Monitoring: Numerous possibilities in the areas of reporting and monitoring are available to companies. This data can be used in many ways. For example, to better understand customers and increase customer loyalty, or to realize brand monitoring.
  • Traffic: Social networks are a great way to attract visitors to blogs or websites. A prerequisite for this is of course good content.

Significance for online marketing

Social media marketing is nowadays an integral part of the business life of many online retailers and companies - in some cases even as a stakeholder strategy within the scope of business plans. Especially in the consumer goods sector, almost every company has at least one social profile. The number of possible networks has also increased rapidly in recent years. Therefore, companies should find relevant platforms and fill them with interesting content. A multi-channel strategy is certainly advisable. However, this does not mean that all available channels must be used. Rather, it is the target groups and their usage patterns that are decisive for the choice of a platform. Methods such as targeting, segmentation and monitoring allow relevant target groups to be reached and thus avoid losses.

Companies usually have specific (offline) PR experiences. This know-how should be used, because the principles of successful corporate communication at remain constant, at least in the beginning - only the technology and the environment have changed. Aspects such as corporate design, branding or corporate publishing should not be neglected when the brand message should be received by users. A balance needs to be found between advertising and transparent, authentic communication or content marketing. Too much advertising discourages users relatively quickly. It is important to pick up the users at the right touchpoints with the right content and to establish a feedback culture. Success principles in social media marketing are very complex, but a little experimentation is definitely appropriate. Initial successes are often achieved after just a few months.

Influencers also play an important role in social media marketing. These are well-known people with a larger community who work for companies and recommend their products or strengthen brand awareness online. Influencers use their own social media channels such as Instagram, Snapchat or blogs.

Social media marketing can include or combine other forms of marketing. For example, content marketing or referral marketing is hardly possible without social media.

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