Table of contents
  1. 1. Definition of social media marketing
  2. 2. Overview
  3. 3. Advantages and disadvantages
  4. 4. How you can benefit

The internet was once so illegitimate that only scams found ways to generate leads for brands and agencies. However, there have been a lot of changes in the online marketing sphere recently. The ways we get the consumer online involved is now more sophisticated and exciting, and one of the methods is social media marketing.

We saw the potentials of running ads as well as using influencers on social media to engage with billions of netizens worldwide. The power of communication and influence is now shifting, and this shift puts a great deal of leverage into the hands of professionals who are able to master their social media accounts as well as to perfectly execute the social media campaigns. Thus, it's crucial for marketers in the internet era to understand the concept of social media marketing, especially in connection with influencer marketing. 

 

Definition of social media marketing

Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing and advertising that focuses on utilizing social networks as the method for execution. Every SMM campaign has one simple target: producing useful and compelling content which is able to convince users to take action or to share within their networks. This will help companies increase their brand exposure as well as broaden their customer reach. Influencer marketing, accordingly, is a part of social media marketing. But instead of using the advertisement service provided by the social media themselves, brands choose to select the attractive social media accounts and use them to connect with the other users by portraying the products and services they offer. 

Social media marketing requires a decent level of interaction and engagement to be able to turn a follower or audience into "believers" and potential customer in the future. This is similar to the goal of influencer marketing and influencer management. Brand content needs to grab people attention as well as to build the right narrative that social media users can believe in. 

 

Overview

1. History

Social media has captivated the public since options like MySpace. Just like this site’s name, the personal display of oneself brought a revolution to offline and online identity. After that, more social networks have shown up on the market. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users around the world, following by Instagram - the global leading platform for influencer marketing -  in 2010. These giants remain the dominating social networks on the internet. Other sites like Tumblr, Foursquare and Pinterest also start popping up to fill in specific niches.

From the marketing point of view, it's not too hard for marketing professionals to acknowledge the impact of social media on our daily behaviors. This might be the trigger point for influencer marketing as well as the reason why content curation on social media is now managed with intricate algorithms, such as likes, shares, and comments. According to the report and prediction by Statista, more than 17 billion U.S. dollars will be spent on social media marketing activities in the United States in 2019. 

2. Current status of social media marketing

Marketers usually compare the influence of a piece of content on social media to a successful blog post. Since people consume a large amount of content on social media, a social media marketing campaign also works to syndicate the right content for the right person. Starting from just texts and photos, nowadays most social networks allow (and encourage) users to create more attractive content presented in various formats (videos, stories, audios, podcasts, etc.) 

By providing eyes-catchy and useful content on social media, marketers can expect to have the following results: 

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Creating conversion/ lead generation
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Creating a brand identity and positive brand association
  • Improving communication and interaction with key audiences

3.  Future of social media marketing

Social media marketers expect to see more real-time content tools that work with video and that integrate with the opinions of social media users. These technologies are likely to leverage the behavior of users and put more weight on measurable interaction such as likes, shares, and reactions to the content. We can also expect to see social tools adapted to how people are rating the content showing up on their newsfeeds. 

Content is now rated on social media in a way that appeals to each individual profile/ user. Customization and personalization is the current trend in SMM. Thus, the content needs to be specific, valuable and authentic enough to be able to convince the audience to take any action (e.g. like, comment, share, download, etc). This is currently the biggest challenge for social media marketers, which also makes room for innovation such as chat bots, AI-driven content or influencer marketing. The more customization that users want to see on their social media feeds, the more competitive SMM will become. 

 

Advantages and disadvantages

Social media is great, but marketers, in order to create a successful marketing strategy, have to be very realistic while assessing this marketing approach by recognizing both of its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at the major pros and cons of SMM and how brands can get the maximum benefit out of it: 

Pros 

  • More and much more people will start and continue using social media 
  • The better way to distribute content and reach out to the potential customers
  • Social media metrics that help you evaluate your campaign and understand market behaviors

Cons 

  • Getting more and more competitive   
  • Difficult to manage multiple social media accounts at the same time 
  • The content needs to be beneficial not only for the brand but also for the audience

 

How you can benefit

The benefit of social media comes from the relationship and engagement. It's the people, not the content who decide to support or demur your brand. Therefore, in order to benefit from social media, brands need to build and maintain a positive relationship with social media users, especially their target groups. Here are several suggestions to help marketers engage, communicate and convince people to take action on social media: 

  • Active listening - use social listening tools to get noticed whenever someone mentions your brand on the internet. 
  • Be positive and opportunistic when communicating on your social media channels
  • Have a clear call-to-action 
  • Establish multiple touchpoints to keep engaging with the audience
  • Reward loyalty and referral
  • Leverage influencers to expand your brand reach