Analyzing Social Media Marketing Strategies
By definition, social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that utilizes social networking platforms to increase brand and product exposure, and cultivate relationships with consumers.
A little history of Social Media
Social media came into existence when platforms like Friendster, MySpace and LinkedIn launched in the early 2000s. By 2004, when Facebook launched for college students, behaviours that were once relegated to IRL were commonplace online – everyone was collecting digital friends, then sharing their “status”, photos, and comments for everyone to see.
After the launch of YouTube and Twitter in 2005 and 2006 respectively, brands were quickly trying to figure out ways to engage these burgeoning audiences in an authentic way. Facebook soon responded to this business need by launching Pages and ads, and other platforms followed suit with their own advertising offerings as well as verified and business accounts.
Social media users began to regularly leverage the platforms to share their support or air their grievances about brands, forcing brands and businesses to pay attention and recognize the value of social media not only for marketing but for customer service also.
With the launch of Tumblr, rich media began to take precedent in 2007, later becoming king in 2010 with the launch of Instagram. In 2012, social media marketing swelled – Facebook saw the value of visuals and purchased Instagram for $1 billion while also solidifying itself as the leader in the social media space with 1 billion users. All the while, 2012 also marked the launch of visual purveyors Pinterest and Snapchat.
Now with so many platforms on which to split their time and attention, social media users began to value shorter, more snackable content that was easily consumed via mobile device whilst on the go. Platforms like Vine capitalized on this with their video content maxing out at 6 seconds in length and was subsequently purchased by Twitter. Instagram later added video as well and now, content that is useful and provides value is table stakes in order to achieve engagement.
In the beginning one’s “friends” were the centre of the social media universe, now, social media is more self-centered than ever as users demand hyper-relevant, personalized content from brands and cutting edge technical innovation from platforms that enable them to augment their own content through filters, lenses, and 360-degree angles. Who knows where the next 15 years will take us…
Social media marketing has many benefits, chief among them, the ability to build relationships with new and existing customers. The agility of social media enables brands to leverage these relationships as a real-time focus group for new ideas and products creating a nearly instant feedback loop.
The adaptiveness of social media allows for flexibility with your creative – because of the aforementioned feedback loop, you will know very quickly whether or not your creative is resonating with the desired audience.
Lastly, due to your ability to build meaningful relationships, quickly adjust creative, and target for optimal relevance, social media generally yields a higher ROI than most other marketing channels.
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