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