What is marketing? It seems like a simple question.
While some may believe that marketing is mostly comprised of ads that help companies sell products or services, the truth is that it’s more complex than what it appears to be on the surface. Marketing utilizes many different tools and builds upon various perspectives of expertise in order to help companies achieve success.
Throughout our What is Marketing? mini series, we’re diving into the four major components of marketing and how they all work together to form one cohesively powerful marketing strategy.
In this second section, we’re discussing how social media helps brands showcase their created content to their audience while cultivating loyal fans through meaningful engagement.
What is social media?
Social media is a series of online communities – realized in the form of websites and mobile applications – that empowers normal people from around the world to create and share content with each other. At its core, social media is intended to promote human-to-human engagement.
As we discussed in part one of What is Marketing?, shareable content can include a variety of materials, such as status updates, images, blog articles, and more.
How does social media impact marketing?
Thanks to advancements in social media, as ushered in by modern technology, today’s consumers love to express their thoughts online and feel that their voices are being heard. Also, as a result of these same digital innovations, brands are no longer locked behind television ads and billboard signs; they are able to utilize social’s human-to-human engagement roots to meet their customers on a more personal level.
Thus, when it comes to a brand – big or small – content expressed through social media is the great equalizer between professional entities and their fans. It serves as the digital bridge that once separated corporations and their customers.
What does social engagement look like for your brand?
Up until this section of our series, you’ve read the word “engagement” several times. But what does that word really mean when it comes to social media and your business?
At Seafoam, we believe that social engagement is comprised of these five progressive steps:
In this first phase of social engagement, a brand should make itself as relatable and accessible to its customers as possible. Start by optimizing each social media page you plan to use with the most up-to-date, pertinent information. Then begin to share content that your intended audience would enjoy. Remember to keep your tone warm and inviting; you want your audience to comment on your posts and share their own perspectives.
Yep, there’s that word again. Engage. In this second piece of your social strategy, it’s critical for your brand to take a true interest in your customers’ thoughts, feelings and expressions.
If customers post comments about how much they love your products/services, show them love back; thank them for their support and ask them what it is they love about what you do so that your company can continue to improve upon these results.
If customers post comments that criticize your brand, reach out to these individuals to show that you care about their disatisfaction. Survey these individuals to discover what you’re doing wrong and to identify how you can improve. After all, happy customers will only cultivate a healthier business.
3. Build Trust
When you reach out to your loudest fans and deepest critics, something magical happens; your brand transcends beyond a money-making entity, and customers begin to see it as a organization ran by people who care about people. Consistent engagement humanizes your brand, thus leading your customers to trust in the products, services and mission your company represents.
4. Earn Loyalty
This is the Holy Grail of running a company. Customers who trust your brand, its policies and goals will be more likely to purchase your products and services for the foreseeable future. As long as your company stays engaged with these individuals on social media, your customers will continue to invest in you.
5. Create Fans
Finally, the pièce de résistance… Fans are powerful. Their love for a brand’s products/services is so strong that it has the ability to make competing brands jealous; to do this day, iSheep and Fandroids still argue over whose mobile operating system reigns supreme.
Simply put: if your customers love you enough to be loyal fans, your company has a relentless path to success.
What is Marketing? | Part Three
As we mentioned at the beginning of this series, social media is only one piece of the larger puzzle that is marketing. Next week, we will discuss how search engine optimization makes your brand’s products/services more accessible throughout the web.
To ensure you have access to part three of our What is Marketing? series, bookmark Seafoam’s official blog, The Anchor, or save this link into your favorite RSS reader. Thanks for stopping by!
Seafoam Media is a full-service marketing consulting firm based in St. Louis, MO. We expand on the traditional best practices of marketing while delving into the deep end of SEO, web development, content creation and social media — all of which mesh to form a cohesive marketing strategy that helps our clients get discovered online and build everlasting relationships with their customers.