In a world of increasing interconnection between businesses and customers, and just about everything else in between, there is plenty to be missed out in if you fail to make the most of the opportunities presented to your business by social media. Our team take a look at just how you can capitalise upon social media’s boundless opportunities to market your product to potential customers the world over.
How can you market yourself effectively and cheaply?
That social media can be utilised to heighten awareness of your products and services should by this stage come as no surprise. With around 28% of all online activity spread across various social media platforms, amidst reports from the US that 74% of online adults now use social networking sites, the capacity for incredible outreach for start-ups and small businesses via social networking channels by this stage requires little explanation.
There exists a range of social media platforms for use in the business world, from widely-popular and at time largely personal platforms Facebook and Twitter, to more niche and aesthetic platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest and the business-specific LinkedIn.
Should you resist temptation to spread yourself across too thinly across the internet’s overwhelming number of platforms, it remains possible to craft very personal brands and marketing messages unique to your business and customer-base.
BIG DATA: LOW COST, HIGH REWARD
Most importantly, this can come at a fraction of the cost of more traditional forms of marketing. For example, whilst potentially a free service, Facebook allows businesses of any size to pay to have ads target users with relevant interests and social networks to your business and existing customers of your products. As Facebook surpasses 1.65 billion active users each month, the ability to buy into specific aspects of an increasingly global online conversation presents a proliferating number of opportunities to simultaneously access a vast market yet do so in increasingly specific, targeted ways. More broadly, the growth of hashtags across platforms, from Twitter to Instagram, further allows businesses to tap into global conversations about relevant topics and trends.
This opens up marketing possibilities unavailable to businesses seeking to use more traditional forms of advertising alone, at a fraction of the cost of larger-scale ad campaigns, helping your business compete more readily with more established competitors in your field.
OPENING UP A CONVERSATION
The correlation between successful marketing and the eventual success of your product or brand requires little explanation to any successful business owner, and with the highly customisable and particular nature of each customer’s social network, targeting those whom you want to target has never been easier. So too has the process of refining your marketing as you respond to your target market’s wants and needs. What do your customers want? What do your customers need? Who else are they engaging with, and why?
All of these important questions can begin to be answered by opening up your business to the many varying opportunities presented by social media’s growing number of networks and channels, and even allows for increased interaction between businesses and customers directly.
This process is of course a two-way street; just as sites like Facebook allow you to use adverts which specifically reach target demographics, so too can potential customers find your business across social media platforms, reaching out to you directly. Marketing has traditionally been about reaching out to your customers, but now they can reach out to you. By marketing your products in unique and interesting ways, customers will respond to your message in a manner not previously possible through the relatively closed conversations engendered by more traditional advertising and marketing campaigns.
SHOW THE MEANING BEHIND THE PRODUCT
Ultimately, a direct conversation with customers is the best marketing of all. This is made infinitely easier by the potentially personal and highly immediate nature of social media customer-business interaction. Marketing experts frequently warn against the clichés and jargon which alienates and confuses, and social media is helping businesses to leave such dated techniques behind.
Increasingly, businesses without obviously marketable products can sell more than just their products – they sell stories. Customers are no longer merely interested in what you are selling; they want to know how you’re crafting your visions into products, and why you’re doing it. Even B2B businesses, who still overwhelmingly avoid engaging with social media marketing, are able to share highly visual, behind-the-scenes content, affording customers a human side to their products and services. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow for the creation of highly visual, behind the scenes content; this is a form of marketing so often overlooked, particularly by B2B start-ups and small businesses – social media helps you to overcome dated perceptions of dull and un-marketable ideas, allowing you to market the people behind the product.
STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
Remarkably, many small-business owners remain sceptical of the capacity for social media to market their products or perhaps more accurately, fail to grasp how effective a marketing tool it can be, and most importantly, how to do it properly. Whilst there are still holdouts who cling to the idea of social media as ‘just a fad’, even those who buy into the promise of social networks to boost online profiles and market products often fail to do so in ways which set them out from the crowd.
With so many people just like you, with a raft of interesting ideas and a burning passion to make them work, promoting your brand and products on social media is fundamentally about staying relevant. Social networking platforms – from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and LinkedIn – increasingly serve as entry points to businesses for interested customers themselves searching for the right product, and even just potentially receptive demographics merely passing through.
Marketing your products in interesting, new ways, and opening up more personal conversations with your customers, allows you to get ahead of the competition.
You’ve got your killer idea, now go and sell it to the world.