Social media marketing
Social media marketing is managing a brand’s social presence on different social media networks in order to build brand identity and spread brand awareness.
● Social media marketing includes everything from managing a blog, managing a brand’s social network pages, and engaging with the community through organic — or unpaid — efforts, such as employing social media marketers to respond to consumer comments.
● Social media is a way to make sure your brand isn’t losing customers, while also keeping an eye on customer sentiment about the brand and what people are saying about it. It’s the perfect way to collect feedback at an aggregate level to pass to other company departments.
● One of the best reasons to use social media over other platforms is the real-time engagement aspect. Social media also gives brands a way to customize and personalize interactions toward specific people.
Kimaya Chaudhary is a senior product marketing manager at Adobe. She is a strategy leader with experience in SaaS, B2C digital marketing, and B2B enterprise marketing, and focuses on product launch and market expansion initiatives. Kimaya has worked at Adobe for almost 4 years. Before joining Adobe, she was an MBA intern at Google.
Q: What is social media marketing?
A: Social media marketing is managing a brand’s social presence on different social platforms, in order to build identity, spread brand awareness, and drive conversions. This includes blogging, managing social media pages, using hashtags, etc. It also includes engaging with the community through organic — or unpaid — efforts. Anything from writing a blog post to responding to comments is considered social media marketing.
Q: What’s the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising?
A: The difference between social media marketing and social media advertising is very simple: if you’re paying to post your content, it’s social media advertising. Every social media platform has a paid feature for generating impressions and clicks for specific ads. Social media advertising is more scalable, because you can choose your target demographics. For example, you can choose to advertise to people who live in New York City, or those who follow recipe pages, or are male or millennials, and give them a targeted experience. The downside is that the content might not be completely personalized to a certain person and that person may be left with a negative experience with your brand because of the irrelevant content.
Q: Why is social media marketing important?
A: There has been a rise of social media platforms in the past decade, and brands have started taking notice — many B2C brands have built a strong social media presence.
Social media channels are also where consumers go to talk about a brand or service, whether it's complaining about something or just needing advice. In cases like this, a social media marketer can directly engage with customers through the social media channel and provide a lot of value through customer service and by directing them to additional resources, instead of leaving them to rely on other social media users to help them.
Social media is a good way to make sure your brand isn’t losing customers, while also keeping an eye on customer sentiment and what people are saying about the brand. It’s the perfect way to collect feedback at an aggregate level and pass it to other company departments.
Q: What are the requirements for social media marketing?
A: The biggest challenge with social media content marketing is having all the right resources — time, people, and social media marketing tools like Hootsuite. A brand also needs to have structure around what they’re hoping to achieve. If they want to have a strong community and maximize engagement on their pages, do they have the people who can actually devote time to building that?
A brand should consider their social media marketing strategy holistically. It’s not just responding to one-off comments, it’s also about establishing the brand's voice and communicating brand values to customers. Social media marketers should also relay any feedback they receive to the internal organization.
Q: In what industry is social media marketing most effective?
A: Social media marketing can be effective for all industries and businesses, but it’s especially good for businesses that have a consumer element — small businesses included. For B2C, social media marketing is almost required. B2C brands with products and services usually require a lot of activity on various forums. Business owners that employ social media marketers can boost a brand's value to a customer by offering more community and one-on-one touch points.
Social media marketing may be less important for B2B or enterprise types of businesses because these types of businesses don’t need to engage with a broad customer base. They may have a blog, but this doesn’t always fall under the social media umbrella.
However, these types of organizations can still have a strong social media presence. B2B brands need to consider the ways their customers might try to engage with them — probably less so on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, but maybe more so on LinkedIn.
Q: What are some innovative ways to use social media?
A: A really important and sometimes difficult thing to do on your social media platforms is having real-time engagement with your followers. Let’s say a popular fast-food restaurant chain asks their Twitter followers to retweet their post and suggest a limited-edition item they wish would be brought back. A customer reposts with a comment, thinking the fast-food chain has neither the time nor the care to respond — they’re just reposting so other twitter users can see their response.
But if social media marketers for the fast-food chain respond to as many comments as they can, cracking witty jokes and even having back-and-forth conversations with their customers, the customers could be pleasantly surprised by the humor and recognition. Other followers will see the restaurant chain responding in real time, and they too will appreciate the one-on-one interactions, even though they’re only witnessing them. All of these are positive interactions where the brand shows they care about their customers.
Q: What are the expectations that brands should have for social media marketing?
A: Expectations for social media marketing depend on the individual brand and the metrics they set. Certain brands might prioritize social media management and engagement and have a social media marketer who is expected to respond to every comment within a certain timeframe. This is a KPI that this particular company chooses.
For other brands, social media marketing might be less of a priority. The brand might monitor their social media content but not actively engage with followers or subscribers.
There aren’t any defining factors as to what a company should do. Each brand should set expectations that make the most sense for their industry and target audience. Of course, one thing that should be on every brand’s radar is the presence of their competitors. If their closest rival isn’t as active on social media, making social media marketing a priority could be an opportunity to increase awareness and loyalty and differentiate themselves.
Q: What are some other uses for social media platforms?
A: Social media can be a much more modern, intimate form of customer service. Say you’re a consumer who’s unhappy with a product and you leave a negative comment on a brand's Twitter post. If the brand actually responds to you, offering a refund, this can be a great resolution to a problem that might not otherwise get fixed. It’s easier for a customer who’s already logged into their Twitter account to write something there than it would be for them to take time to call a number and be the fourth caller in line.
If a company has customer service teams to respond to negative comments, that’s a big value add. Brands are more likely to receive more business if customers view them as receptive and know that it's easy to get in touch with them about issues. But this takes the right infrastructure to support and troubleshoot comments, and not every brand has that.
Q: Why would you use social media over other platforms?
A: One of the best reasons to use social media over other platforms is the real-time engagement aspect, like in the Twitter example above.
Social media also gives brands a way to customize and personalize messaging toward specific people. You may be able to achieve a level of personalization by using analytics tools and putting out a display ad, but an ad is obviously not a real, personal experience. Consumers know the difference.
Q: What will social media marketing look like in the future?
A: For brands, advertising integration into social media is going to be a big part of future social media marketing. Adobe is developing these types of integrations to optimize audience data for individual platforms so that there's more real-time outreach. When potential customers scroll through their Facebook feed and they see Facebook ads, these ads will be based on up-to-date profile information or other interactions in real time. Ideally, the lines of advertising and brand interactions will start to blur for a consumer. Paid ads won’t feel like advertising because they will be based on data that the brand is using in real time to provide the right experience. These experiences will feel much more organic and personalized than the social media ads we see today.