As the world of social media changes quickly, brands are using social to interact with customers differently today than they would have months ago, which is why traditional marketers should pay attention. This is due in large part to the growing expectation that new technologies and platforms, as well as seemingly endless streams of data, should be at our fingertips. That’s the consumer expectation.
Social media is the hub for shifting organizations that want to become more customer-centric. And as social media develops, marketers need to consider if they are developing at the same rate alongside these platforms. In a study, at least 90% of marketers cited using social media to reach customers successfully. It’s important to examine how to elevate your social media strategies. In doing so, you’re boosting growth that not only reaches new customers but also lives up to expectations.
Topline sales are undeniably affected by social media, which is now the primary force behind all website referral traffic. U.S. social commerce sales, or purchases directly from social media posts, increased from $3 billion in 2012 to $14 billion in 2015. That number only continued to grow and has reached $46.39 billion as of 2020. It is estimated that this number should reach $79.64 billion by 2025.
In 2016, the amount spent on social media ads reached $31 billion, nearly doubling what was spent just two years prior. By 2020, that number reached $40 billion and included paid advertising on social networks as well as games and applications on social media. As of 2022, advertisers are expected to spend more than $56 billion on promotions through social networks. Meanwhile, Facebook takes the lead on these expenditures by more than 80 percent. LinkedIn and Pinterest follow with four and two percent, respectively.
Some marketing executives are unsure how to take social media to the next level and show a measurable return on investment. A minuscule 16.3% of CMOs cite having the quantitative results of social media’s impact on their business. However, they expect to increase social media spending by 89% within the next five years.
Consider these strategies to take your social media marketing to the next level:
Marketers on social media can use first-party data that enables them to effortlessly and cheaply absorb data in numerous ways. Some examples of this include Facebook’s custom audiences and Snapchat’s Snap audience match. In this sense, campaign objectives are aligned by the audience within these platforms. This is done by either offering ads that reintroduce the brand to audiences that haven’t purchased from that brand in six months to a year, or by generating dynamic product ads that introduce new products and increase purchases. In doing so, targeting produces a better return on investment. Marketers can look for similar audiences or audiences that have similar characteristics to your top customers.
Beyond tracking engagements such as shares and likes, there are now ways to report on business goals achieved through social ad spend, which are usually sales and in-store visitors. Even if analytics and tracking have been put to proper use, measuring offline conversions within social media platforms can be a relatively difficult task. Thankfully, there are several social media sites such as Facebook Insights that provide built-in analytics tools, which track engagement, shares, likes and more. However, these social media tools may be good for measuring performance within the platform, but they don’t often show how social media affects your bottom line or conversions. This usually occurs outside the platform on your official site.
The evolution of social media platforms is important to digital marketing because businesses no longer use social networks solely to communicate to audiences that already know them. With the ability to use first-party data for targeting and measurement, brands can not only reach current customers but find new ones and more frequently. It’s an aspect that, when combined with social media driving more direct sales, ensures social platforms’ influence will continue to grow.
Traditional advertising has shown the value and limitations of paid media, but social media comes with fewer limitations. With social media, which is shared content, brands are able to reach consumers in numerous ways, including through organic or paid content and re-promoting earned and owned media. While each media type is crucial to the process, social media managers should promote various types of media on their platforms and tailor content to each social media channel. Clever brands take a multichannel approach, which ensures they are engaging with customers on the appropriate channel.
Brand awareness means targeting audiences, which means it’s not just about how you’re marketing, but who you’re marketing to. In a study, social media was the number one channel for brands to connect with customers, and at least 51% of consumers say that their relationship with a brand begins with the brand understanding their needs. Moreover, your brand’s campaign can go unnoticed if seen by the wrong people. Audiences want ads that speak to their needs and who they are. By defining who your target audience is and targeting them directly, you’ll increase brand awareness in an efficient and long-lasting way.
Social media is an environment that changes quickly and requires marketers to adapt alongside it. It’s all about brands interacting with consumers, current and new. There is an expectation by consumers that brands are going to understand their wants and needs prior to marketing to them, which is why targeting is just as important as measurement. Keeping your audiences aware of your brand is another aspect of social media marketing that requires data to target the correct audiences across all channels.
Trevor Ballanger is a Copywriter at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Melbourne. He enjoys writing B2B content in a way that’s both entertaining and informative.