Social media is now an integral part of many people’s lives and over roughly 60% of the world’s population regularly use at least one social media platform.
Names like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are now staples of the public lexicon and people use social media in a variety of different ways.
Some stay connected with friends and loved ones through it, others use it purely as a form of entertainment while some utilise social media for keeping up to date with the latest news.
With so many people active on these platforms, brands and businesses have been using social media for advertising and marketing.
Part of the reason social media is so important when it comes to advertising is the sheer volume of users that log on everyday. Approximately 3 billion people worldwide use social media every month.
This creates an enormous audience that brands can try to tap into though, of course, they have to compete with an extraordinary amount of noise on social media platforms.
This pool of people means businesses have a space where they can increase brand awareness as well as generate leads. The beauty of social media is that it allows brands to get their content in front of people who perhaps weren’t aware of it beforehand.
For example, users sharing or retweeting content from a brand will show it to everyone who follows them, plus the algorithms for social platforms now also suggest content to users based on their previous activity.
Further still, brands can take advantage of this reach without spending much money at all. Social media is free to use and many businesses create engaging and effective organic content which increases their following, brand awareness and customer base.
Using effective SEO practices and a smart marketing strategy, brands can leverage the popularity of social media without spending any money at all. This is in stark contrast to other forms of advertising such as print and television, where brands have to pay money – sometimes a lot – to get their content in front of audiences.
This also means brands can be more experimental with their content on social, because it won’t cost them any money. A/B testing of content and other methods of trying out new marketing approaches are easy to implement on social.
Plus, given how quickly the world of social media moves, if a certain trial of content or tone of voice doesn’t work, brands can move on fairly sharply anyway, with no major damage to their image.
There is the option to use paid advertising on social media, and this can also be extremely impactful. These posts will be labelled as ‘sponsored’ and will appear in people’s timelines, even if they’re not following that particular brand.
The more money put behind a social media advertising campaign, the more people will see those posts. In many cases, this can be a cost-effective way of reaching potential customers and clients.
Virgin Games, for example, uses a combination of both organic and paid content on social media, producing some excellent results for the brand as a whole.
Social media also provides brands with the freedom to tell their own stories and express themselves. It’s up to them what sort of content they share and when they share it; this creative freedom means brands can carve out a niche and make a name for themselves on social media.
This can help change public perceptions of a brand and also enhance people’s relationship with it.
Social media is very data-driven, meaning businesses can look at raw figures and numbers to assess how their content is performing. Social analytics can go into extreme detail about how much traffic to your website is coming from social platforms, as well as highlighting the content that attracts the most attention and engagement.
This allows marketing teams and social media coordinators to get a firm grasp of what content is working best for them. From there, they can tweak and tailor their strategies to maximise their impact on social media.
Given its open nature, social media also allows brands to assess their competitors with ease. All they need to do is keep an eye on the accounts of competitors to see what sort of content they are sharing, and how it’s performing.
This makes competitor analysis much, much easier and can also help give brands an idea of how they can stand out from their competition.
Perhaps the most important impact social media has on advertising is that it is where customers are; billions of people use it every month, and a huge chunk of that number are on a social platform every day.
By having an active presence in this space, brands and businesses can advertise and promote their services or products to a potentially huge number of people at relatively low cost.
They can do so in their own way, adopting a tone of voice and sharing content that displays their values and ways of working. This can go a long way to increasing brand awareness and generating sales leads.