Finding the Right Balance – Social Media’s Role in Marketing Strategy
You see it everywhere—from influencers on the #gram to bloggers plugging their latest travel articles on Facebook to the newest dance challenge on TikTok. Social Media has slowly but surely invaded almost every aspect of the American consumer’s life, like it or not. It turns out, social media can be a fairly polarizing topic, especially among marketers sparing over its relevance and usefulness. The truth is, social media is simply another means to a common end. The question isn’t whether or not a business should use social media, it’s HOW they should use it.
The Buying Power of Millennials and Gen Zers
Tapping into social media platforms is a way to build content marketing into your overall strategy. What started in the good old days as newsletters later transformed to email blasts, and even further, took the form of tailored ad campaigns based on user data. To harness the buying power of newer generations driving the market, namely Millennials and Generation Z, advertisers and business alike must work to appeal to the emotive nature of consumers and curate tailored customer journeys as unique as they are. As Forbes is quick to point out, “Millennials and Gen-Z make up 64% of the world’s entire population.” We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, consumers today expect a tailored, thoughtful ad experience that speaks to their interests. Social media is one of many ways to get there.
Social Media as an Integrated Strategy
Kion Bakhtiari, contributing author to Forbes, makes a valid point— “Young people are not a monolithic marketing segment. To treat them as such says more about the prevalence of lazy marketing than it does about the audience in question.” To assume that all people ages 18 to 36 use social media alone to dictate their buying habits is far too vast a generalization to rely on. While social media has undoubtedly helped to shift buying habits, it does not have the wherewithal to effectively replace a diverse marketing initiative.
Marketers relying too heavily on social media blitzes without a thoughtful execution or a substandard customer journey leading to a poor web or person to person experience are virtually throwing money out the window. As Adam Grant, CEO of Campus Commandos, a top youth marketing agency targeting college students notes, “Millennials and their younger counterparts value authenticity. However, Gen Zers desire even more transparency from companies and distrust obvious forms of traditional advertisements.” It doesn’t matter how compelling your Facebook post is or whether or not your Instagram story is eye-catching if you plan to drive those users to a lackluster website or brick and mortar store. This not only shows a lack of foresight, but it also comes off as inauthentic and as pandering without payoff.
If you don’t have a plan to back up your social media persona, your posts aren’t likely to convert.
Curating the Robust Customer Journey
For a truly compelling social media campaign, you must first start with the ending. If your goal is to drive users to purchase a product online, make sure your website and eCommerce store meet important usability standards. If you’re looking to convert likes into business visits, make sure your staff is ready to handle an influx of traffic. So many times, advertisers and marketing departments get caught up in “the next best thing” on social media, that they forget about the basics. We’re not saying social media isn’t worth it—we’re writing this blog with every intention to post it across social media platforms. Still, if you don’t have a plan to back up your social media persona, your posts aren’t likely to convert.
If you’re looking to make social media work for you, define your voice, set your messaging, and create a genuine user experience that lives up to expectations of your brand. This means developing and maintaining optimized websites, curating a positive person-to-person environment, offering quality products and services, and creating tailored, diverse marketing campaigns that treat your customers like people, not like numbers. Keep your social media campaigns authentic to your brand, and don’t generalize your audience with cheap gimmicks. It’s easy to say, but harder to execute. Find a marketing team that understands your business and your voice and will work with you to optimize all your marketing efforts, social media included.