Last Updated: July 27th, 2016
Social media has become so much more than just networking.
From advertising a product, to actually selling it online, social media is used for a variety of marketing purposes today.
So much so, that it has become absolutely necessary to focus on this area of marketing, if you run a business or company of your own.
Therefore, in order to highlight and simplify the latest social media advertising trends for budding entrepreneurs, we decided to write a blog on the overall picture of social media marketing in the country, with special focus on the strategies you can use to run your own campaign online.
To start with, here’s a small brief on what social media marketing really is.
In simple terms, social media marketing refers to the process of gaining more visitors or customers by marketing services or products through social media platforms.
The whole idea behind social media marketing revolves around creating content in different forms, that can be liked and shared by social media users within their networks.
With the increase in the accessibility of internet through mobile devices, the concept of social media marketing has really gained steam, as it is a fairly inexpensive and effective way of reaching out to the target audience.
Some of the social media platforms that are used worldwide include;
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest
Before we discuss the current scenario of social media marketing, lets have a look at some of the best strategies you can use to drive your social media marketing campaign.
Bonus: Download free ‘The Ultimate Guide – Social Media Marketing’ PDF that will show you how to tap into the 15 strategies on social media items listed here.
Before beginning your social media campaign, if there is something you need to understand and learn more than anything else, are the strategies that are commonly used by companies for their marketing campaigns through social media.
Here is a list of some of the most effective and popular social media marketing strategies;
You have an instructional article which is explained in two different formats- As a lengthy article, and in the form of an explainer video.
Which one are you likely to refer to?
That’s right, the explainer video!
Currently, where majority of the people don’t have time to read a lengthy article, an interactive video or an eye-catching picture is more likely to get shared and liked than written content.
This has resulted in good quality content not being restricted to readable articles, and getting more focused on multimedia content, in the form of images, videos and audio files. So much so, that most of the popular viral content on the internet is in the form of videos and images.
Which is why, more number of Indian brands are now focusing on generating content for platforms like YouTube and Instagram.
Have you ever wondered why we have so many different social media platforms on the internet today?
It’s simple, because we want to experience the best of internet in every form possible.
When we want to watch a funny video, we will inevitably head to YouTube. And if we want to read about the latest trends in the world, Twitter will be our go-to place.
In other words, every social media platform has its own kind of environment.
Which is why, a good social media marketing strategy should focus on generating customized posts for every social media channel, and not circulate the same message on all the profiles.
This will help your followers across all platforms to judge your credibility and convert them into loyal brand advocates.
Contests are always fun.
Especially if you are promised any kind of reward in the end.
This is exactly how a social contest or campaign can work wonders in acquiring new followers and subscribers, especially if you have made sharing the post, a compulsory requirement.
When you create a contest related to a popular or “hot” topic on any of your social media profiles, you are inadvertently creating an opportunity for individuals to participate and interact based on a shared interest.
In other words, you not only engage with your target audience, but also lure them into buying from your company.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram have become household names.
However, there are several other social networking sites that are not as popular as these, in our country yet, but are slowly gaining momentum in their niche environment.
Exploring both big and small social media platforms will help you create a base for your company at the macro as well as the micro level online.
You will agree when we say that LinkedIn is the best professional networking website on the internet.
While it is mainly used for creating a professional profile for oneself, you can also use it to create a profile page specially for your company.
This not only proves your company’s credibility, but also creates a perfect base for publishing news and content related to your services or products. Here is how the company page on LinkedIn looks like:
If you are a start-up, then creating a brand identity should be among the top priorities in your agenda.
And you will be pleased to know that social media sites can be the perfect platforms for that!
They give you the option of creating a complete profile with a name and logo, such that you can establish a credible online presence for your new brand.
Setting up social profiles for your brand immediately after you launch it, gives it a good boost in terms of visibility and credibility. This way people will remember your company from it’s name and logo, right from the beginning.
One marketing strategy which is tried-and-tested and has worked wonders for many people, is that of creating (closed) groups on platforms like Facebook.
Why does it work?
It’s simple. Because a closed group cannot be accessed by non-members, it creates a sense of curiosity among people to join the group and find out what’s on offer.
And when you are regular in posting fresh, engaging content/offers on your group, your members will stick around and gradually convert into customers.
Then, once you have enough members in the group, you can also conduct events on a regular basis to ensure maximum participation from your followers.
The first manner of marketing for many companies starts with offline campaigning, through radio, television or newspapers.
And why not? It is quite an effective way of creating awareness about your brand.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, this strategy can be extremely beneficial for companies investing in social media marketing.
Moreover, it also opens up the possibility of merging these offline marketing strategies with the online ones. This can be done by including the link to your social media profiles into the print or television ads.
This will help people in remembering your brand and drive them to check your online presence, thereby increasing their trust in you.
Integrating both offline and online marketing strategies can also help in building communities.
Then you will love the Facebook Offers feature!
With the help of this feature, you can create an ad for any kind (both offline and online) of business and set it up from your Facebook page itself. This method works best for companies who wish to generate leads through attractive offers.
The impressive thing about Facebook offers is that, they appear in the news feed, rather than the ad section on the right hand side, which increases the chances of them getting noticed by the target audience.
Also, when someone clicks on such offers, they are sent an email with your website link, to their registered email address outside of Facebook, again improving the chances of your brand getting noticed by the right people, both on and off Facebook.
In simple words, it’s like killing two birds with one stone!
Social media marketing is an extensive advertising strategy.
Which is why different social media platforms come with certain tricks, which when used correctly, can help in improving the visibility and popularity of your business.
You can use any or all of these social media tips pertaining to different platforms and give your overall social media marketing strategy a boost.
If you have ever been active on any social media channels, then you know how nice it feels if your comment gets a reply from the concerned person.
That same rule applies to your company’s social media profiles.
If someone leaves a comment or query on your profile, it is your responsibility as the owner to respond to the comment as soon as possible.
Even if the comment is a grievance, you must apologize and assure them you are working on the solution.
This will prove your sincerity to your customers and convince them that you take their complaints seriously, potentially converting them into loyal brand advocates.
Need some opinion from the common folks regarding something new you are planning?
Then help is on the way, through Social Media!
One of the best means of connecting with your target audience and getting their views, is by conducting polls or surveys online, and literally asking your followers for their opinions.
Online polls on Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, would show your customers that you value their opinions, while also solving the purpose of getting their point of view regarding your brand.
Just like doing everything else in life, there should be a best time for posting content as well.
If you post your content haphazardly at anytime in the day, it may not get noticed by the right people. Which means, it will not get the desirable attention right away and therefore, will not be favorably noticed by Google.
Moral of the story– Publish your content or update your profile at a specific time, at regular intervals.
Based on the amount of activity observed during a certain time period, there are specific time intervals in the day which are ideal for posting blogs or uploading/tweeting any news.
Once you start following a systematic schedule for posting on your social profiles, your followers will know when they can expect an update from you, and hence, will see/read your updates more diligently.
Here are some ideal posting times for some popular social media sites;
Planning your marketing strategies is definitely important.
However, it is also equally important to pay attention to certain metrics which can help you in understanding which of your strategies are working and which are not.
Some of these metrics include;
Finally, if you want to attract more followers/fans and keep the existing ones interested in your brand, you must share your progress with them in some form.
For that, you will first need to track your progress and gather some quantitative results from metrics, like the ones mentioned above, and then represent them in the form of a blog (with pictures and graphs) or a nice infographic.
Measuring such metrics also gives you a clear picture of how well your company is doing.
When you share such data or results with your followers and customers, it helps in creating a bond of trust between the two parties, while also showing them how well you are doing as a brand.
In other words, its win-win for you both!
Phew! So these were some strategies which you could try if you are planning to start social media marketing for your company, or are looking to modify the existing approach.
Now, lets move on to the current situation of the social media marketing scene in our country.
Now that you know how social media marketing works, lets see how Indian companies use social media marketing to connect with their potential customers.
India is one of the leading countries when it comes to the number of Facebook/Twitter users in the world.
That’s why it only makes sense that Indian companies and brands use these social media platforms to market their services and products to their target audiences.
Keeping this idea in mind, more and more number of Indian brands are now allocating a substantial amount of budget to social media marketing.
We all know how social media works.
You create and share quality content, in order to make it go viral, so that more and more number of people like and share it throughout their respective networks.
But how do big brands and companies use this to their advantage?
According to the report by Ernst & Young, the companies they surveyed had certain set objectives with which they ran their social media campaigns.
These objectives were:
Apart from these obvious choices, many companies also cited other reasons for investing in social media marketing. These included;
From the above objectives, it is clear that majority of the companies in India feel that advertising through social media is one of the best means of creating wide-spread awareness about their brands.
Which is probably why 2014 saw a substantial rise in the percentage of budget that was allocated by these companies towards social media marketing.
And this number is only expected to rise in the current year, which proves just how efficient marketing through social media channels has become in India, especially in the past few years, such that companies are willing to set aside a good chunk of their budget for this alone.
Now that we have covered the objectives and budget allocations towards social media marketing, the next question which we would like to address is:
Did you know?
India offers one of the largest markets to social media giants in the world, with approximately 302 million active internet users!
This itself is enough to compel Indian brands to invest in social media marketing more rigorously.
And when it comes to the best social networking experience, we can all agree that Facebook takes the cake.
This is why majority of Indian companies consider Facebook to be the most important platform out of all, when it comes to marketing through social media.
This may also be because, India has one of the highest percentage of Facebook users in the world.
The order of importance of all the social networking channels with regards to Indian brands, is as follows;
So if you are planning to begin your social media campaign, you now know which platforms to focus on more.
It is important to note here that, due to the increasing demand and popularity of image and video-driven content, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are expected to become the top social media channels for marketing in the future.
Now that we know which are the best social media platforms to start with, the next thing you need to focus on are the challenges that are generally faced by Indian brands when advertising through social media. So our next question is;
The main reason behind addressing this question is to give you an idea about the kind of hurdles you can expect to face, as a start-up which is looking to invest in social media marketing.
By understanding the key challenges that Indian brands currently face with regards to advertising through social media, you can gain insight into the kinds of challenges you may face with your social media campaign.
To begin with, lets discuss the biggest challenge that majority of the companies face, i.e.
To summarize all the challenges that are currently faced by majority of Indian brands, here is a list in order of significance;
Social Media Marketing is here to stay.
We know for a fact that it has great potential as a means of advertising a brand to a widespread audience.
Which is why, it is important for companies to come up with new ideas and changes every once in a while, to take their online marketing campaigns to the next level, and ultimately ahead of the competition.
Bonus: Download free ‘The Ultimate Guide – Social Media Marketing’ PDF that will show you how to tap into the 15 strategies on social media items listed here.
There you have it, a comprehensive guide of the latest Social Media Marketing scene!
If you are a startup or an already established enterprise looking to start or invest in a successful online advertising campaign, this guide will help you in understanding the nitty-gritty of social media marketing.
So that, you can be fully prepared to launch your own campaign and take your business to new heights through the most popular advertising platform, i.e. Social media.
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