By: Ashley Alves
Social Media is a big part of our lives. Most of us wake up in the morning and check our social media feeds before we even brush our teeth. This is the norm. Thousands and thousands of images and posts are on our screens every day. It only makes sense to tap into these portals for marketing purposes. More and more businesses are using social media for marketing purposes because studies show that customers that are connected with businesses through social media come into those businesses more often and also contribute more to their bottom lines.
In From Social to Sale: The Effects of Firm-Generated Content in Social Media on Customer Behavior the authors looked at the effect of social media on three key customer metrics. Those three categories were: customer spending, cross-buying, and customer profitability. They also looked into seeing if there was any increase in the effect of social media content when it was paired with television advertisements and email communications. The study showed that social media content had a positive and significant effect when television advertisements and email communications were also taken into account. The effect is greater for the more tech-savvy demographic of customers. It makes sense that the effect of marketing through social media would be the most effective on the population who uses social media the most. If a business is on multiple social media platforms, chances are that consumer is connected with the business on all fronts, equaling more exposure not only for that particular consumer that is directly associated, but also with that consumer’s friends, and his/her friends’ friends, and the list goes on and on. That is why this study shows that combining social media with marketing through television advertisements and emails is what is effective. The more of a relationship you build with the consumer the more invested they will be with you as a company.
Worldwide, more companies are investing their time and money into social media. Total spending on social media advertising is increasing every year. However, the majority of marketers are concerned about the return on investment because they are not sure how to measure this effectively. I think that this is a risk that marketers need to take. Sure, it is somewhat difficult to track, but still very doable and worth the risk. Social media should be thought of much more than just a marketing platform where companies can promote products. It also is for engaging and nurturing profitable relationships with their customers. Relationships between businesses and consumers through social media interactions are mutually beneficial. The consumer gets the sense of a community out of being a part of the social media network and they feel well informed about this business that they follow. The company is able to communicate their current product offerings, prices, and promotions through social media so they are able to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time.
More companies need to embrace social media. Businesses need to embrace social media marketing in order to communicate and nurture relationships with their customers in order to create a more positive customer experience. People like to have their voices heard and feel like they are a part of something and social media allows for this. When companies use social media for marketing purposes they need to incorporate both promotional and non-promotional material. This makes the social media pages of the companies more intriguing. If businesses are constantly trying to sell things through social media, and never post anything else, the consumer is going to get bored and lose interest. Marketers must create an ideal balance between promotional and non-promotional material in order to properly engage the customer.
Investing in developing a social media community with a dedicated fan base can significantly strengthen relationships between businesses and their consumers and can lead to a positive impact on the business’s revenues and profits. This, of course, may take time. In order to influence customer purchase behavior, you must first build a relationship with the consumer. However, the larger the social media community is for a business, the larger the influence it has on the customer’s purchase behavior. Many businesses try to sell additional services and products to customers through social media. This is a very common cross-selling approach used by marketers. This is effective because customers who buy across several categories have greater switching costs, longer retention costs, and help increase revenues and profits. Marketers need to take the leap into social media if they do not want to be left in the past. Those who are still skeptical about using social media platforms for marketing should look into articles such as From Social to Sale: The Effects of Firm-Generated Content in Social Media on Customer Behavior. The results speak for themselves. Combining social media marketing with other more traditional marketing tactics such as email communications and television advertisements will give you positive results on sales, revenue, retention, customer satisfaction, and much, much more.