Online marketing is big business. Consumers are online, and where consumers are, so goes advertising. But as web users have become more discerning, and more savvy, about identifying and responding to online advertising, so companies have had to engineer their online marketing strategies to meet this new breed of consumers head on.
Understand Your Customers and Meet Them Halfway
Advertising is no longer a one-way information street; consumers are now engaging in meaningful dialogue with brands, and their engagement (or lack thereof) can have a significant impact upon both visibility and conversion.
Discovering where your customers are and interacting with them on their terms should be an important part of any Ecommerce site’s social media marketing strategy. Ecommerce necessarily entails a shorter distance between marketing and sales, which can be achieved through a click of a button. This has both positive and negative implications; whereas the journey from marketing content to purchase becomes shorter, web savvy consumers may be less likely to click through because of the immediate association drawn between content and advertising. Thus, extra incentives are needed to create and maintain consumer traffic.
Creating and Maintaining Organic Dialogue
To negate the problem of negative association and potential ‘banner blindness’, or fatigue, successful media marketing should always be constructed in such a way as to promote dialogue between a brand and its customers, potential or otherwise.
In addition, content based advertising across social media networks should be deliberately timed, and should strike a fine balance between underwhelming and overwhelming; the former of which will have little or no impact, and the latter of which will potentially cause your customers to unsubscribe. Ideally, your social media marketing campaign will generate organic brand dialogue which occurs and grows independently of your brand itself.
To more fully understand the types of conversations which will encourage your customers to engage socially with your brand, you should begin by assessing the role which your brand already plays in their lives, how this role might be improved and expanded, and your long term objectives for maintaining this role. Examining existing interactions between web users and online content – what kind of content is involved and how conversations take place – will provide a useful insight as to how a brand role might be developed across various social platforms.
The Success of Social Media Marketing Strategies
The success of social media marketing can be measured statistically. Of all consumers who connect socially with brands online, approximately 70% of them will make a purchase from one of the brands they’re connected to, with 19% making purchases often.
‘Native marketing’ – which is essentially paid advertising incorporated naturally into social networking sites – is a popular choice for many Ecommerce sites, and spending in this area is set to increase to nearly $4 billion in 2016. This type of marketing allows for microtargeting, which other forms of social media marketing do not. And the greater amount of precision involved in targeted marketing, the more likely it is that it will generate improved ROI.
Positive interactions with customers don’t just have to be content based, although written, visual and audio content types have all been shown to increase conversion. An Ecommerce site might consider running promotional and exclusive deals via social networking sites, which offer consumers potentially lucrative benefits in exchange for organic promotion via shares. Research what types of advertising are offered by each social media network; for example, Facebook (social ads, display ads) or LinkedIn (display ads, recommendation ads, sponsorships, partner messages) etc, and target your marketing campaign accordingly.
Maintaining a Positive Social Media Presence
Unlike other forms of advertising, social media campaigns have the capacity to continue generating interest, and exerting influence, long past a brand’s direct involvement – one such example is that of viral marketing.
Social media marketing campaigns should be both proactive and easy to monitor, even if they are not entirely controllable. Company mentions should be tracked across networks and consumer feedback should be both listened and responded to appropriately and in a timely fashion. It isn’t enough to just set the wheels of a great campaign in motion – a great brand will remain active throughout its duration and monitor each campaign – this can be done easily with online social media management software such as Wildfire or HootSuite, or by employing the services of an experienced SMO company.
Amanda Revie is a search engine optimisation specialist at the Web Marketing Group an SEO and SEM company in Leeds, UK