Did you know? As of 2019, people spend an average of 145 minutes on social media daily. This is up 142 minutes from the previous year.
These days, screens are not just a means for productivity but are becoming our way of life. When you pick up your phone, you pick up the world. They’re calling to us, lingering in our pockets until we need that next dopamine hit. Social media, specifically, is shaping the way we long for our screens. The reason we choose to turn our notifications on is to use the messages as an excuse to open up our favorite apps again.
Social media is integrated with every part of our lives, and businesses are having no trouble adapting to the most widespread marketing tool. Here’s what social media provides businesses:
Build Connections with Consumers
On social media, businesses can reach over 3.6 billion people worldwide, a number that is expected to scale over 4 billion in the coming years.
Once you figure out your target audience, the possible consumers you can reach are exponentially greater online than in-person.
Think about it, how much time do people spend in a storefront browsing for valuable products? Sure, they spend most of their day shopping, but how much of that time is spent in your actual store? If they’re not in your store, do you think they’re thinking about it?
FYI: Women spend an average of 100 hours a year on in-store shopping. This is equivalent to approximately 16 minutes a day. Compare that with the daily average of 144 minutes that people are spending online.
Marketing on social media allows you to be remembered. By being a part of the online conversations, following trends, and building social status, consumers will not only be attracted to your profile and products, but they will remember to look for you on their next shopping spree.
Now, whether a small business or the leading brand in your industry, not all of these users will be attracted to your product. Gourmet chef users are probably not looking to purchase softball equipment, but with 3.6 billion users, there is a target audience for every business.
Since there are no boundaries on who will see and interact with your posts, who you can connect with, your business could potentially reach gourmet chefs after all. But that all depends on how you build your brand awareness, because online, it’s so much more than selling your product, it’s selling a feeling and an experience.
Build Brand Awareness
With a strong social media profile, consumers know exactly who you are and what you are all about. For businesses, this is the key to driving traction to your profile from a post or story, which supports the driven traction to your website, sales, and long-term consumer loyalty.
Paying a coffee shop to post a flyer of yours on a bulletin board surrounded by other businesses competing for the same, limited audience is always a gamble. Storefronts and coffee shops have limited hours, too, which means for most hours of the day, your audience is anywhere but where your flyer is posted.
On social media, not only are you reaching a significantly larger audience, but you are directly engaging with consumers, marketing more personally and effectively than a pinned sheet of paper. Not to mention they aren’t distracted by their coffee order.
In 2013, three years into Instagram’s launch and several years into the progressive social media monopoly, 83.6% of marketers were expected to use social media for marketing purposes. In 2021, that number is up to 91.9%.
The choice is up to you, but from what we’re seeing, setting up a profile is much more convenient than driving to a coffee shop and persuading the manager to pin your flyer to a bulletin board, and is significantly more effective in the long run.
Build Brand Voice
Social media is the place to build your brand voice. It’s the new word of mouth, the place where people are finding out about a brand’s new products, missions, and values. All of the chatter is online — if you’re not there, who’s going to talk about you?
You’re no longer competing with coffee shop flyers, you’re competing for relevancy where users are constantly active.
Take Patagonia, for example. They sell outdoor clothing and gear, but their profiles are so much more than the products. Instead of focusing their posts on the newest collections, they share captivating visuals from around the world and advertise their mission to help save the planet. By finding their brand’s voice online and targeting it in their marketing strategy, they stand out amongst competitors, and they are memorable among consumers.
Social media isn’t an add-on to your marketing strategy, it is your marketing strategy. The sooner you develop these components of your business, the sooner you identify your brand as a competitor to look out for.
Build a Community
As we mentioned before, social media allows a more personal, more direct form of marketing for businesses. Find your target audience, engage with them regularly, and build an online community that consumers want to be a part of because online, you are selling much more than a product, you are selling a feeling.
By inviting the audience to join the mission, they aren’t just supporting a business and keeping tabs on featured products, but they feel a part of the company’s success and want to be a part of the mission. Building a community where your audience feels connected to your business by more than just a product is an essential marketing strategy for developing long term investments from consumers.
You know what your business has to offer, and it’s about time the rest of the world knew, too. Welcome the essential and effective marketing strategy that is social media, and create a community that does more than just buy into the products you are selling, but joins the business that sells them.
Social Media Holistically:
As a business owner what does social media provide for you?
Connect with consumers
How does social media allow you to connect with your consumers
Unlimited amount of people (stats on users)
Connect with individuals, targeted audience/groups that you are marketing towards
Niches on social media, find target audience/demographic and connect with them
Walking into a store front, analogy to online business
Build Brand Awareness
No boundaries on who will see your posts, who you can connect with
Ex. fitness professional, only so many people going through the coffee shop that you paid to post a flyer, online unlimited audience that you are constantly engaging with
Strong social media profile = influencers tagging brands, drive traction to your profile → driven to website and create sales and long term investments
Build Brand Voice
Social media is the place to build your brand voice. How else are you planning to do so? This is the #1 way.
How social media allows you to develop a brand voice and why is this important
Selling your company is so much more than a product, sell a feeling, a mission, what you represent
Ex. Patagonia (outdoors, find an adventure, exciting life experiences) (very transparent, where they manufacture, their stance on human rights), Lululemon → buy into the company because of the feeling behind the product. Online showing them that feeling that comes with using the product
Ex. Ben and Jerrys, political activism, more than just an ice cream
How social media allows you to establish community and why this is important
Host on social media platforms, let consumers feel a part of your company and build a brand/mission that they want to be a part of
Cheap ability to reach large audiences
Increased loyalty, getting to know the brand first hand as opposed to seeing a general ad somewhere, feeling connected with the business