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Guest Column: Social media now more about value than volume: Ashish Bahukhandi, AppsDiscover Technologies

25-May-2017
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Guest Column: Social media now more about value than volume: Ashish Bahukhandi, AppsDiscover Technologies

Advertisers and media planners always look for innovative methods to promote their brands that will present them the most effective means to connect with their consumers. And, ‘Social Media’ is definitely the blue-eyed boy for today’s advertisers and media planners. Recent data says there are nearly 2.56 billion global mobile social media users now and that tantamounts to almost 34% penetration. This year the tentative number of online buyers worldwide will touch 1.61 billion, which will be equivalent to nearly 22% penetration. No one can ignore this huge pool of consumers and this says why advertisers and media planners are all heading towards social media and other digital marketing platforms. After the declining trends of banner ads they have the only option of moving towards social media.

With the advent of social media, brands realised that traditional methods of marketing will no longer garner the same rewards in the new marketplace. Consumers are now ready to sacrifice brand loyalty for the ‘best deal’. On the other hand, social media helps businesses in finding new potential customers with the help of the information that they have shared voluntarily. With their basic details available, one can identify their interest area. Advertisers can reach only to the relevant users rather than targeting every user who used a keyword to search for some information.

Social media is the only channel where one can target their audience depending on a wide variety and not on general demographic or geographic information. In other words, one can now target their customers on the basis of their interest, behaviour, connections and lookalike (similar profile) connections.

Few other objectives of advertisers in using social media are to create awareness. SMM is never about hard selling. Advertisers aim to develop a community of satisfied customers and engage them continuously. Social media now has become more about value than volume. Brand managers explore and exploit this channel of advertising even to decide on new products.

Media gurus are of the opinion that brands that can harness their customer’s view and use device insights (read analytics) that can be successful in delivering truly connected campaigns. They therefore advice brand managers to adopt a 360° integrated campaign approach in which social media and other digital platforms of marketing are integrated with conventional marketing strategies to have multiple touch points for their consumers.

Customer engagement

For advertisers, delivering interesting and engaging content is the only option. Social media gives them the opportunity to broadcast compelling content without thinking about precious ‘air time’ rate and compromising on truncating the length of the content. Moreover, creating non-textual content, primarily visual and audio, has become easy and pitching it to the right segment of the consumer is simple with the help of social media.

The upsurge of social media is a direct outcome of increasing use of mobiles. Mobile social media users grew by almost 30% in 2016. Mobiles are now fully ingrained in the lives of our consumers. Advertisers and media planners have exclusive strategies for those mobile users who don’t need a TV or a desktop/laptop to consume content. So, how mobile users use their device is constantly researched by marketers in order to decide on their marketing strategy.

Advertisers now have content marketing plans and budget focused specifically for mobile users who access social media using their smartphones. As a result of this you see such interesting image-based or video content constantly being published through mobile apps. Making purchase or transactions is much easier using an e-wallet app over traditional or even net banking. Such useful features in the apps keep the customers loyal to a particular brand.

Scope of personalisation of content is another advantage of social media that makes it even more impactful. You can entwine your viewers into visual storytelling that is targeted towards their personal liking and preferences. Short videos or real-time images will surely have greater impact on the consumers’ mind over text-based content and brands will be successful in experimenting with creativity. Tracking of conversion rate is also quite effective with social media marketing and naturally advertisers spend wisely and develop or modify their marketing strategy as per the tracking results.

Building trust and credibility

By publishing meaningful content, brand managers can set industry trends and thereby build trust and develop credibility for their brands. More than 60% of digital marketing managers now allocate more budget to social media marketing instead of traditional offline marketing. With a small budget you can use the paid marketing options in these social media channels. In India, 72% of the brands now have a mobile app and a website that is mobile ready. In order of popularity, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the top four social media platforms that are explored rigorously by advertisers. As per a recent survey, popularity of Instagram has increased among consumers and it is therefore not surprising to find that more than half of the leading brands actively participate on Instagram to popularise their brands. There are still a few media planners that consider websites to be more effective to promote their brands but then also they incorporate social media icons in their websites.

Challenges for advertisers

The challenges that advertisers face for social media-based marketing are generating effective content, sustaining the level of engagement or increasing it and finally measuring effectiveness of their campaigns. Social media is highly evolving and therefore defining the target audience or rather straitjacketing it is not easy. Lack of ‘earmarked’ budget for these channels of advertising is another challenge faced by marketers. But, as the comparatively lower spending generates measureable results, media planners are making a beeline for social media marketing.

(The author is Founder and CEO of AppsDiscover Technologies)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com 

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