Digital Marketing and Social Media
Digital Marketing has been around since 1971 when the first email was sent it was between two computers sitting next to each other. It was the beginning of the Digital Marketing phenomenon. Today, there are many forms of Digital Marketing including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) , Public Relations (PR), Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC), Content Marketing, Affiliate Marketing etc. For many people Digital Marketing means Social Media marketing . Over one billion people actively use Facebook every month. What was once a platform used solely for connecting friends and family has expanded to become a major marketing tool for all types of business. Social media enables businesses to communicate directly with their existing customers and potential new customers.
Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
To use Digital Marketing effectively it is important to develop a strategy. The biggest mistake, businesses make, when deciding to use Social Media as a Digital Marketing platform, is to leap in without any thought. Social media is free, so why not join every platform? The problem with this approach is that it takes time and effort to mount a successful social media campaign, so why dissipate your resources by using the wrong platform for your business.
Decide what do you want to achieve
Decide what you want to achieve with social media, and then you will be able to measure how effective it is for your business. Typical goals might include:
• General Branding
• Marketing New Products or Services
• Increasing the traffic on your Web site
• Special Offers or Sales
• Establishing/Enhancing the reputation of your Business
• Market research about your Customers
Define your Target Audience.
Once you have set your goal you will need to define your target audience and understand which social media platforms they use and how they use it. For example, if you sell clothes, you might want to use Instagram or Pinterest to display photographs of the latest fashions, the same platforms would be of little use to a car mechanic.
Social Networking Demographics
The ‘Pew Research Center’ publishes information about social media usage. Although the research is primarily concerned with trends in the USA, you can use it to get a better understanding of your target audience and how they use social media in the UK .The ‘Pew Research Center’ describes itself as a non partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., that provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world.
The research showed that in April 2016, 79% of online adults used social networking sites. In terms of social platforms they found:
• 79% of online adults used Facebook
• 24% of online adults used Twitter
• 32% used Instagram
• 31% used Pinterest
• 29% used LinkedIn
How do people engage with Social Media
Forrester Research identified six types of social media user.’ Forrester Research’ describes itself as an independent technology and market research company that provides advice on existing and potential impact of technology. The six types of social media user are:-
1. The Creator – creates social media by publishing blog posts or web pages, uploading videos/images/audio and sharing content online
2. The Critic– responds to content posted by others. Posts ratings and reviews of products and services, comments on blogs and forums and contributes articles etc.
3. The Collector – organizes content for themselves or others using RSS feeds, social book marking and photo or page tagging.
4. The Joiner – joins social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter and maintains multiple profiles.
5. The Spectator – this type is probably the most common – they read blogs, view user-generated videos read online forums, listen to podcasts and search for user reviews and ratings.
6. The Inactive – they are online but do not participate in any form of social media. They Don’t post or read anything which is user-generated content. This type is becoming rarer as more websites integrate elements of social media into their website.
Which Social Media Platform is best for your Business?
A report published by ‘BI Intelligence breaks down social media usage by platform.‘BI Intelligence’ describe themselves as, a subscription research service from Business Insider, providing in-depth insight, data, and analysis of everything digital. ‘BI Intelligence’ found:
Pinterest was most used by women. Among US female internet users, 42% reported being on Pinterest compared to only 13% of men.
Instagram has become the most important and most-used social network for US teenagers. 32% of US teenagers cited it as their most important social network compared to only 14% saying that of Facebook.
Snapchat, Vine, and Tumblr had by far the most youthful user bases of the social networks. 45% of Snapchat’s adult users are between 18 and 24, followed by Vine (28%) and Tumblr (28%).
LinkedIn enjoys high adoption among highly educated and high-income users. LinkedIn is used by 44% of Americans with income of $75,000 or more.
The aging of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest is more apparent than ever. That’s especially true of Facebook: Less than two-fifths of Facebook’s adult user base in the US is aged 18 to 34.
To find the best social media platform for your business you will need to do some research. Decide on your goals and then focus your time and effort on the platform that your target market are using. And remember the more you use social media, the more feedback you will receive, to help you refine your strategy.