Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a type of internet marketing. It is a way of marketing your business over the internet specifically on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Social media marketing basically covers the activities like sharing of videos, images and contents for the sake of marketing.
The “Social Media Revolution” which print media brands feared was right around the corner and it started became unavoidable.
Social media also plays a crucial role in helping users research, discover and share information about brands, products and services. Studies have shown that 60% of all users looking for products/services through several online sources came to know about a particular brand or service provider through social networking sites.
The Disadvantages of Traditional Advertising
Little to no interaction with your audience
In the case of print media, there was negligible contact between the editor and his audience. Print media was more of a one-way communication, where the content creator was acting like an information provider, trying to build a brand reputation.
Generally, the cost varies from publication to publication and on the size of your order (flyers, newspaper ads, radio commercial etc). Depending on the complexity of your requirements, design and the set-up process, the cost may skyrocket thereby making such advertisements costly for small businesses or startups.
Results cannot be measured
While there are few tools available online to measure and monitor the various metrics (volume, reach, amplification, retweets, comments, replies, shares) of SMM campaigns, the same cannot be said about traditional techniques. This ultimately makes it difficult to track the progress and calculate the ROI of a print media campaign.
Difficult to receive feedbacks from the customers
As there are a select few channels of communication between the author and his audience, it is difficult to provide channels for receiving regular and consistent feedbacks from the readers to measure where the author can improve his work or get access to better sources for future articles.
High bounce rates and poor conversion ratio
Unimpressive conversion ratios further added to the worries of marketers, further making marketing a challenge for them. Conversion was unpredictable as there was no way of measuring how many users noticed the advertisements and wished to engage in business activities with the brand.
Now that we’ve talked about the shortcomings and drawbacks of traditional marketing techniques, let’s talk about the advantages of SMM over other forms of marketing.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing (SMM)
It is easier to know your audience
SMM has made it fairly easy to know details about your audience by making use of the different tools available in the market. Moreover, multiple social media login and sharing options have made it possible to collect data from different social profiles of users to have a better understanding of their buying behavior thus allowing you to develop targeted ads.
Audience targeting made possible
As gathering information about users has been made easy, we can now quickly know about the likes, dislikes, interests and hobbies of users with just a few clicks. This allows you to devise marketing campaigns specifically tailored for your target audience to ensure high conversion rates as your ads will be inclined with the users’ interests.
As compared to print media, where your reach is limited by geographical or monetary restrictions, SMM allows you to reach out to almost everyone with an internet connection. The best example of a platform with world wide exposure is Facebook, which has managed to bring more than 2 billion users together, allowing them to share content with one another.
We already know that distribution of print media is a costly affair and somewhere down the line, you will face financial troubles. But with SMM, the scenario is different as you only need an internet connection to publish and share data as most social media sites do not charge the users any money for sharing content. Also, ad and PPC campaigns cost a lot less than splurging on traditional marketing channels.
Developing a solid fan base of loyal customers
SMM has enabled brands to publish content created by them across different channels and interact with their customers and fans on a regular basis. The customers follow accounts of their favorite brands to get the latest updates and receive promotional news and coupons.
Establishing authority in the online domain
When brands post latest news, updates and industry insights across different social media channels frequently and before anyone else, the users start seeing the brand’s accounts as the “go-to” destination for latest factually correct news. This gives credibility to the brand and helps establish a commanding authority in their respective domains. A good online reputation also helps directs traffic and increase a brand’s sales.
Quick feedback and customer service
SMM has revolutionized customer support as a user can connect with the staff at any time of the day from anywhere. Brands can now offer personalized support to their customers and improve customer retention rates by making their customers feel valued.
This has to be one of the most pristine advantages of SMM over traditional marketing. It fosters a sense of belonging when following social media accounts of various brands and increases the overall engagement offered to users.
Sharing (content) is much faster
Sharing print media content with others was a challenging task as one had to physically take the piece of content to show others or send it via post to their friends and (or) families thus spending unnecessarily for the purpose of sharing.
Since social media channels do not charge the users any fee for posting and sharing content, SMM is favorable to users and retailers with a tight budget. Cross channel posting has even made it easier to reach out to different audiences and direct traffic to your website with just a few clicks.
Easy measurement of ROI
SMM has allowed for easy measurement of ROI for all your campaigns by giving solid figures of different metrics such as customer acquisition, lead generation, clicks, revenue, contest entries, etc. depending on your goals and helps you choose the best platform for maximum ROI. Based on these results, you can then make the required changes and improve your approach towards targeting your customers.
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