Does social media actually benefit us?
The rise of social media has seen advancements in information sharing, whether this be about an impending doom lurking over the country, or whether Dave enjoyed his lamb bhuna from the local curry house. Each post on social media can have a significant effect on the audience and this translates to purchase intent as well.
Each day, over 3 billion people use social media, and how does it affect them as customers? Customers can talk, see personal reviews from each other and speak to organisations themselves in public. But how can we manipulate this? How can we manage what perceptions are drawn about us? Putting the communication aspect aside, social media platforms offer significant data collection opportunities.
The main reason organisations use social media is due to it being a powerful branding tool. It gives you the chance to put yourself out there, consistently. Tesco Mobile used Twitter in an ingenious fashion where they abolished certain negative perceptions of their brand, as a cheap poor performing product, while going viral and raising their awareness substantially. They used a sense of humour in a reactive way:
An injection of humour, which utilised the two-way flow of communication, helped Tesco Mobile to inject a new perception of the brand. This injection of personality made them more approachable and prompted customer feedback through this channel. Other companies took note, and replicated this strategy with varying success.
This demonstrates the varying potential of the channel, great benefits, or dangerous consequences.
The opening of this channel also provides a significant amount of marketing opportunities. We’ve all been swayed by an influencer in our time, and a targeted ad but why is this successful? The main reason is due to the depth of the information an individual displays; I’m sure you’ve put out a couple of opinions on Facebook right? Also when you sign up, you input a date of birth, gender and can then add further information, such as your school or job title and place of work, which “helps you connect” with others, whilst also giving companies the potential to use this data, to send you targeted information. From a marketers point of view, this is amazing, we have reliable data inputted by the customers themselves and the platform to target them.
Once the customer segment has been identified and profiled, the marketer needs to decide what campaign is appropriate. Are you going to combine multiple strategies to target customers at different levels of cognition? Or is a more basic strategy more effective?
Influencer marketing is a common strategy which focuses on the endorsement of the product. The influencer transfers their values and beliefs onto the product, in the eyes of the customer.
Content marketing is another predominant aspect of each customers timeline. The majority of timelines are populated with companies trying to get you to read this or that because it will help you in this way. These strategies focus on getting you to the website, where hopefully they can then push you to purchase.
Social media may be used by billions of people worldwide, but it is nowhere near optimal use; we’ve got a long way to go yet.