Although here in New Zealand we are almost easily fooled that everything is back to normal, the pandemic has changed a fair few things. One of them: how and especially how much people use social media platforms.
“Social media use increased with nearly half (47%) of New Zealanders using social media more, outpacing the U.K. (38%), Australia (38%) and the U.S (36%)” [Scoop Culture/Hootsuite] and “digital ad spend now represents more than half the total expenditure in New Zealand. It’s a trend that’s long been in the making, even if it did require a pandemic to reach the tipping point.” [socialmedia.org]
With stores (and borders) being closed social media is the tool to engage with friends, family, celebrities but also brands. Companies that have a strong and frequent presence have had a major benefit during the last year. Marketing had and still has to be done a little differently. But that shouldn’t scare you off, let us tell you how and why you should think about your social media strategy as a solid part of your marketing mix.
Social Advertising in 2021
Smartly.io and the eTail conference series have conveyed a survey within 300 leaders from retail organizations around the world asking about their social media advertising. 14% of shoppers buy products and services through social media, and this number keeps growing. So it is not a surprise that 74% of the questioned companies allocate a third of their marketing budget towards social media. The predictions for the following year(s) are further increases on ad spend mainly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How to use Social Media to your advantage
But let’s start with the “How?”. It doesn’t matter if you are already engaging on social media or if you are just about to get started. The first question you have to ask yourself is: Where is my target audience? Like every other marketing action, you have to be where your prospects are. And in terms of social media you have to literally meet them there. That does not only mean deciding on the right platforms for your messages, that also means finding your voice within those platforms. A tip from us: don’t have too many different people writing for your account, or have clear guidelines on how your company sounds. No matter what kind of product or service you offer, remember you are using SOCIAL media. So yes - you might need to be very formal and correct in some areas of business, but you are still engaging with humans on platforms made for connecting and inspiring.
That leads us to another factor, try to go with the time. Trends on social media can be a great way to stay up-to-date and in your prospects awareness. Surely you have to pick the trends you follow wisely, but you can use current topics within your target audience as inspiration, and to make your company a lot more reachable and approachable.
The survey mentioned earlier also states that 72% of the questioned companies agreed that their social media advertising creation and delivery involves manual processes which are often very time consuming. We have listed a few tools to manage your busy social media schedule which are a great way to start automising the process. But if you want to start and become successful on this journey you need to be aware that it is a constant learning, adapting and creating. To get and keep the momentum going it requires continuous work. Though looking at the predictions for the future of marketing, it will pay off to get involved. According to research by Hootsuite in 2019 already 3.6 million Kiwis were active social media users and they spent about 2 hours on networks every day. By now 82% of New Zealand’s population is actively using social media (Statista). If you want some guidance on which platforms to choose: Socialmeida.org have updated their statistics which show the number of users by age group per platform in NZ.
Facebook is still the most popular platform with a market share of 72% (statcounter) the other top platforms are Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. When it comes to B2B Marketing you have to be present on LinkedIn and if your target audience is young, you should really consider TikTok. We have summarised a lot of useful information plus pros and cons for each platform on our Social Media Cheat Sheet.
In general your overall goal should be to increase your number of leads, that means the number of users ending up on your website and in the best case buying your product or service. To get there your goals are: increasing visibility and brand awareness. Create content that aims for engagement and is in line with your company’s voice, values and other marketing measures. Look at the creation process from two sides. 1) the inside as in your company. 2) the outside as in the platform you are using. Utilize the tools platforms provide and share content that captures attention. Facebook and Instagram are great for short videos. Pinterest for expressive photography. LinkedIn for sharing information. Be aware of the interactive tools they provide, they have evolved from a simple “like” or comment, so consider adding polls and live content. As said before - go with the time. We know it’s a never ending procedure, but once you get the ball rolling, the leads coming in and the community around your brand growing, it will be worth it.
What Social Media can do for your Business
Coming to the “Why?”. To break it down, there are a lot of benefits in utilizing social media advertising. A few examples:
- It makes you visible where your clients are.
Most platforms enable you to target ads with demographics, locations, behavior, etc.
- It increases trust and brand awareness and builds loyalty.
Engaging from a social account makes your brand reachable and you can easily get feedback and insights into what your clients want.
- It creates opportunities for your clients to share your content with their friends.
Brand ambassadors are the modern, online word-of-mouth that you do not want to miss out on. This way your content can “organically” reach more people. You just have to be good at what you are doing to get good reviews and be able to be tagged, shared and commented on online.
- It creates links to your site from all over the web.
SEO counts and evaluates your backlinks. They work like a recommendation, use this opportunity to generate them. Through boosting your SEO authority score, which in other words means Google thinks because of all the recommendations that you are trustworthy, it also brings down your ad-spend on Google Ads.
- It ultimately contributes to your businesses revenue.
Where to start your Social Media Journey
Highly likely you already have a presence on a few of the main platforms, but every now and then rethinking and reevaluating how you are using them is a good idea. Especially in times where circumstances push more and more people online and (marketing) trends and tools are constantly evolving. Looking at your existing accounts or planning new ones, you should ask yourself the following questions:
The task of social media management can seem very overwhelming, we hope to have given you some pinpoints on where to focus your energy and money on. Always have your goals in mind. Use brand ambassadors and pay-per-click advertising to reach beyond the community you already have and grow your following.
In basic marketing terms: potential customers are best reached when they are looking for their problems to be solved or needs to be filled. Social media can be of great help in predicting and finding those needs, as well as creating and awakening them. Offer value - in whichever form suits your brand best - make the first contact with your prospects and then build on that.
Download our Social Media Cheat Sheet to have a one-page summary of the most popular platforms to use including the pros and cons they have. We are constantly keeping up-to-date with the fast developments of Facebook and Co, so do not hesitate to ask us any questions. As said, social media is best done in house, as it has to portray a consistent brand attitude and image, but DMM can assist you in planning, composing, shooting and evaluating your content.