Social media seems like it’s ubiquitous. It disseminates news and emotions and, in turn, creates news and emotions. It is a key cog in the revenue machines for many brands, international and local. In Q2 2020, spending for social market marketing increased after it had dipped – returning to its previous level. Cost-per-click for paid ads increased too, suggesting the campaigns are reaching their intended audience.
What is likely to happen is that the spending further increases. Digitization has been in gear for the best part of half-a-century and will not slow down. Businesses’ budget shifts will likely continue to reflect this. Solutions are essential as digital traffic replaces footfall traffic.
Facebook has recently shown a renewed interest in the world of gaming. Many of us remember the old days, when their offerings were limited to free titles such as Farmville but, as the gaming world takes on ever more significance and weight, it seems as though the social media giant is preparing to ‘up its game’, so to speak, within the industry.
The competition will, of course, be incredibly tough. The world of browser-based gameplay is dominated by a few long standing powerhouses, such as the digital casino, which has modified its approach to players by offering attractive deals — even those that allow fans to play without a deposit, which gives them considerable weight within the free-to-play landscape.
Similarly, Facebook’s interests in game streaming will pit them directly against firm-favourites such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming, which means that only time will tell whether they are able to gain a foothold in either niche.
Social media marketing is flexible. It can accommodate a variety of approaches. Each platform has its own nuance and campaigns tend to be designed to maximise these nuances and to achieve a business’s goal. The fundamental goal, though, is to generate leads and traffic through the business’s website or desired channels.
A platform’s demographic is a key factor, and there are notable differences between each. For Facebook, in the United States’ case, there is an even spread of usage across all ages, more so than there is for Instagram. Twitter has more male users than female ones. LinkedIn’s users are located in urban and suburban areas rather than rural.
Each platform offers different mediums: permanent posts, stories, and live streams. Content can be used cross-platform as platforms share similar mediums. For instance, brands tend to use similar story content for Instagram, Facebook, and, if it’s applicable, Snapchat. (Filters have been a noticeable strategy across these three platforms.) Facebook and Instagram share similar posting functions, but demographics, as mentioned earlier, are different. Twitter is a different beast. It is more attuned to a forum and has character limits of posts so the content must be adapted.
Paid ads are a major tool. Via focused campaigns where specific customer groups are targeted, paid ads will appear on social media feeds. These are an effective means to generate leads.
The potential for virality – intentionally or not – is a huge positive. Intentional or not is an important caveat. Content produced by the brand going viral is the dream (with the risk being it goes viral for the right reasons, not the wrong ones). There is also the chance that the content produced by someone not affiliated to the brand goes viral, which enables the brand to capitalise.
A recent example is TikTok user’s @420doggface208 video which involved him riding down an LA highway on a skateboard during early dawn while he swigged from a cranberry Ocean Spray bottle and lip-synced to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’. The clip went global. Resulting in TV appearances for ‘doggface’. Ocean Spray gifted him a truck and plenty of their beverage.
Brands become personalities too. Not only do they, via this persona, interact with customers and followers – especially on Twitter – they also have banter with other brands. An example would Wendy’s, the fast-food chain in the United States. They perform all the customer service aspects expected, while boosting interactions by making the most of meme trends, roasting other brands, and doing their best to be funny and engaging. The goal of this, as always – more so for non-fast-food chains – is to increase traffic through the company’s website, and social media is a great way to achieve this.
Having celebrities become the face of brands is nothing new. However, what is new are influencers. People whose own brand can be directly aligned with businesses. There are, for instance, beauty influencers who do make-up tutorials and recommend products, and there are lifestyle influencers who cover a wide range of day-to-day bits and pieces and, again, recommend products and services. Utilising popular influencers, businesses are able to tap into a portion of the market very directly, gaining an immediate degree of trust.
Social media is part of the life blood of contemporary culture. Maximising it is essential for the future.