The Role of Social Media in Online Marketing

From Hollywood celebrities to corporations and small businesses, social media is crucial in order to properly compete in today’s online marketing world. Because the consumers of the world are online now more than ever, that means marketing has to meet them there, as well. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with social media. What started out as a way to connect with friends and family has become a major marketing tool any business can use to engage customers and promote their brands.

The beauty of social media is that anyone can use it to promote their business. If you are a new, small business, but do not yet have the financial means of hiring an advertising company or professional marketing team, you can access social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This can easily get the word out about who you are, and the services you provide. Not only is it an affordable method of marketing, but you have the ability to reach a much-larger audience, regardless of your business’ budget. While businesses can pay to create formal social media promotions, it’s also important for companies to remain active, consistent, and creative when it comes to their social presence. The ability to provide fun, engaging social media content that drives traffic is one of the greatest assets in today’s online marketing world.

While other forms of traditional marketing, like commercials, are still commonly used, social media provides a unique opportunity to interact with your current customers, as well as the audiences you aim to target. Consumers want to feel they can trust a brand, especially if it is new to them. Social media, in itself, is already a very personable platform due to its original purpose of connecting with friends and family. Because of this, businesses now have a fantastic opportunity to build a personal relationship with their audiences. Popular hashtags are a great way to locate consumers who have a built-in interest in the services and style of your businesses. A travel company, for example, can use a hashtag such as ‘travel’ to find Instagram users who are on vacation. By interacting with these users through likes, comments, and follows, that company is using social media to create a more personable connection with their target audience.

Another important aspect to consider is the free publicity from the consumers themselves.. Many frequent social media users enjoy connecting with businesses they have used on their own personal accounts. A woman dining out with her friends may take a photo during their meal and want to tag the restaurant. If the establishment has a social media account, not only will they get free publicity from the patron, but by liking, commenting, and following this woman, the company is building a relationship with her. If no social media presence exists for a customer to do this, it becomes an unnecessary loss of opportunity for easy advertising.

Many companies also collaborate with social media users who already have large followings to become formal brand ambassadors for their company. In these cases, the social media user will feature the product or business in a particular post as a form of advertisement for the company. When that happens, your company is not only reaching your own followers, but also the followers of your brand ambassador.

Social media has become such a necessary marketing tool that even Google, one of the biggest search engines in the world, includes social media content in its algorithm for search results. Because of this, a company that is not on social media may see a stark decline in their standing with the popular search engine. In a 2017 report from the Content Marketing Institute, business to business – or B2B – marketers have said social media platforms are now used most frequently.

The power of social media in the online marketing world cannot be emphasized enough. The positive benefits that social media provides, in not only building your business, but developing your brand are worth it to any company, large or small. Basically, there’s a reason everyone is on some type of social media.