Social Media Marketing in the Hour of Social Distancing

What is Marketing?

If we see the exact definition of marketing, “It is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” From this, we understand that marketing is a wide concept and has various routes for promoting business. First, let’s understand the different aspects of marketing.

  1. Advertising
  2. Sales Promotion
  3. Public Relations
  4. Branding
  5. Market Research
  6. Communication

Now, let’s compare the above aspects of marketing with Traditional Marketing & Social Media Marketing.

Traditional marketing uses traditional mediums like TV, radio, pamphlets, billboards, newspapers, and magazines whereas social media marketing uses various social media platforms for business communication. If we were in the 90s, a traditional marketing strategy would have done wonders for the brand. But with the advent of technology and audiences slowly moving to digital platforms, traditional marketing has lost its charm. From a budget perspective, traditional marketing is way expensive as compared to social media marketing. And traditional marketing might not even cover all aspects of marketing, but social media will show those results in less time and a smaller budget.

In today’s time, social media marketing has become crucial more than ever. Due to social distancing and COVID 19 fear, people are restricted to stay in the boundaries of their homes. Now, social media is the only resort for entertainment and a way to stay connected with friends, family, and the world. The nationwide lockdown has forced many traditional forms of businesses to move to social media to evade the losses.

Why Social Media Marketing is necessary in the hour of social distancing:

  • Visibility: Since people are not stepping out of their homes, they need to see your business somewhere. And the new address can be social media platforms.
  • No human interaction: In traditional forms of marketing, the human interaction element comes through personal selling, or as simple as dropping off newspaper at the doorsteps. Social media marketing cancels out any possibility of catching the virus because the business is communicating with the audience through social media platforms.
  • No more losses: Let’s say, you have a clothes shop in Parel but your reach is limited to the people of the Parel area only which makes it a small audience. With the lockdown enforcements, you have lost the existing customers and incurred losses. But now, you have a presence on social media, where you are promoting your business online with safe deliveries. Here, you have not just reached out to the people in the Parel area, but also people from different vicinities or cities.

Different Social Media Marketing Platforms:

  1. WhatsApp
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Snapchat
  5. Email
  6. YouTube
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Pinterest
  9. Google+
  10. Instagram

In today’s day & age, when businesses are not operating in the public domain, social media has become a powerful tool to reach out to millions of people in no time. You might think, there are so many brands on social media, but only a few of them get recognition. This is because of a good social media strategy in place. An effective social media marketing strategy can make your business reach the heights of success.

What to keep in mind while making a social media marketing strategy in times of social distancing:

  1. Does your audience use social media? If yes, which platform do they use the most?
  2. What type of content engages them?
  3. Research on how the social media platform features can be used differently. For example, Ikea made their website catalog on Instagram in 2014 using the tag feature.
  4. What’s the purpose of using social media marketing? Are you using it for online business services, brand awareness, gain new audiences, or to promote sales?
  5. Design relevant content based on the above points.

Why is Social Media Marketing necessary to achieve business goals?

  1. Distant from the world, but not social media!

The strict guidelines for maintaining social distance while conducting business is not easy. All stakeholders of the business are at risk of contracting the deadly virus. For this reason, many businesses are shut and the businesses that are operating have less footfall of customers. Now, people are distant from the world physically but connected virtually through social media. When you have a traditional form of business, you don’t want the audiences to forget you because of a pandemic.

Having a presence on social media platforms will be a constant reminder for the public if they are in need of a product or service. The lockdown saw a surge in the usage of social media platforms with millions joining these platforms every day. This means, potential customers every day. A good social media marketing strategy can enable a virtual conversation with the audiences and convert them into loyal customers. The success story of Nykaa will tell you, how social media marketing can help a startup with small budgets gain popularity.

  1. Social Media Optimization

There are many social media platforms as mentioned above. But which social media platforms suits your business the most? Should your business just use one platform, combinations of 2-3 or all? This can be answered by a few questions:

  • Which platforms does your audience use?
  • Which platform has the most number of audiences?
  • What kind of content does the audience like – informative, video-based, or quirky content?

If you have answers to these questions, you can select the right platforms for promoting your business. The idea behind social media optimization is to generate traffic & leads to websites through social media. The aim is to provide the right keywords (hashtags) for the call to action.

Other than this, some of the basic tips to optimize your content for great visibility are:

  • Use hashtags
  • Schedule your posts
  • Use images as content
  • Post at least 1-3 times a day
  • Try to be active on more than 2 social media platforms
  1. Social Media Marketing Consultant

Social media marketing can be tricky sometimes as a lot of research and analysis has to be done before coming up with a strategy. If you are not a social media person and think your business needs social media marketing, you can always hire a social media marketing consultant. They will understand your business, its goals, market, and give solutions accordingly. Social media marketing consultants will keep up with the daily trends, competition, study your target audience, and propose strategies for different social media platforms depending on the budget.

These consultants can come up with various creative relevant ideas that would be engaging and will excite the user to buy or use the product/service. They can easily build a reputation for your business in the market with effective online reputation management where they tackle negative feedback & competition. Not just that, they can help in promoting the business by contacting various influencers on social media. Social media consultants can truly handle the marketing bit of the business. All you need to do is keep an eye on their strategies and what’s the result of it on your business.

For example, We all know Pidilite’s Fevicol ads for its quirky humour. Did you know that all the ad campaigns are done by Ogilvy and Mather?

  1. Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms act as a catalyst for your business to grow. Even if your business works on a traditional module, social media marketing can help in creating a buzz for the business. For example, a goldsmith has to operate physically to check the gold quality and look after the buying-selling process. But, having a social media setup can inform people about the business and what work is done. In times like COVID, it can inform people if the business is open or shut? If open, what are visiting hours? In some cases, the businesses are B2B, where the target audience is big companies. Our normal mindset would be, there is no need for an online presence. We can simply contact the companies and promote the business. If we look at this process, it would take up a lot of time, and the reach will also be less. If a social media setup was done, businesses in foreign markets could also have reached out to your business. Social media marketing provides endless opportunities nationally and internationally to grow your business.

  • Greater visibility of the brand on social media
  • Large audience
  • Brand awareness
  • Promotes sales
  • Goodwill
  • Brand equity
  • Tackle competition
  • Brand recall value increases
  • Less cost as compared to traditional marketing
  1. Ultimate Goal of Increasing Sales

The ultimate goal of any business would be to increase sales to gain profits. In traditional marketing, the call to action would be really less for reasons like communication didn’t reach the right target audience or the audiences were ignorant when the marketing was done. In social media marketing, it is easy to reach the target audience with the content they like. Since social media marketing offers two-way communication, it is easy to assess what the audience likes and dislikes. This helps in modifying content. The various social media strategies are developed to generate traffic and leads to the website through contests, free giveaways, discounts & offers. On many social media platforms, the audience doesn’t even have to go to the website to shop. A direct link is provided on the post or features like ‘Shop Now’ are used for instant buy on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Now, even when people are locked into their homes, their shopping needs will never be satisfied. Social media platforms are a route for profiting from the situation and satisfying people’s needs.

For example, Condom brands took advantage of the lockdown situation and started promoting intimacy on social media, as people are forced to stay in the house. Soon, there was a shortage of condoms in the market.

Looks like social media marketing is going to be the future of marketing and an inevitable part of any business. The ongoing pandemic has made businesses resort to social media. So, pull up your socks and be prepared with a solid social media strategy to create goodwill for the business before social media gets crowded with competition.

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