In an age where social media influences as many as 71% of purchases, strategies in this remit are now non-negotiable from a business standpoint. In this past year of increased online sales, especially, companies have been able to pull themselves through on social media efforts alone. That’s no small feat from a platform that previously formed a mere fraction of wider marketing efforts. And, companies hoping to continue these levels of success certainly need to continue flexing their social muscles to make marketing work.
Of course, this isn’t altogether a 2020 phenomenon, with social media having risen up the marketing ranks for over ten years now. That said, along with everything else, how companies find success on these platforms has certainly changed this past year.
Specifically, businesses are finding that stepping back from traditional advertising focuses has proven beneficial. After all, while they do still hold some benefit, social media ads are increasingly expensive, and pay-per-click focuses mean that companies could well end up draining their business bank account with no guarantee of returns. This is obviously not ideal, and it’s a technique that’s making way for more affordable social options.
In fact, far from the average $200-350 a day that businesses were previously spending here, many companies are finding that they can pull profits from social media by paying for nothing more than employee time. The following front-running techniques are certainly proving that often, spending less leads to more sales where a social media focus is concerned.
Engagement is #1
Engagement is, undeniably, the best business benefit of social media. The ability to converse and create relationships with customers was never possible before, but it’s now the best way to harness loyalty, respect, and increasing profits. With algorithms, especially, companies who interact with more than just their own posts can enjoy significant exposure. In fact, algorithms have so much favoured engagement this past year that businesses who spend but don’t interact have been altogether buried. Even outside of algorithm concerns, interactions, specifically those that involve sharing posts or supporting other businesses, can result in reciprocated shares that vastly broaden audiences.
The best part of all is that this focus ensures businesses can see far more social success while spending a whole lot less. In fact, excepting the costs of employee time, this method is 100% free. What’s more, engagement needn’t take long, with one person taking around half an hour commenting and sharing likely being ample to provide the aforementioned benefits. That’s guaranteed to work out at way less than you’ve spent on less impactful efforts elsewhere, meaning that you’ll gain maximum profits for this effort every time.
Content creates way more leads than ads
There have been a great many debates about whether or not content or ads are a more efficient selling method but, as social media usage and scrolling times have increased this past year, we’re seeing one clear winner for the first time. Of course, that’s not to say social media ads still don’t deserve their place. In fact, these remain the fourth most popular source of brand discovery. But, posting quality social content is cheaper and provides much the same benefits and some.
After all, much like traditional SEO, well-placed relevant social media content posted on a regular schedule can vastly boost your brand’s visibility, much like paid ads. Unlike paid ads, this content can appeal directly to your audience, without having to cost you a penny. Admittedly, video content on platforms like Tik Tok can be a little more costly to achieve. But, a simple Instagram post with an already-included filter can take next to no time or money, all while ensuring that you reap benefits. Even better, the speed and ease with which these options are available means that you can get your name out there on a far more regular basis, a step you’ll surely want to utilise as regular posts also boost algorithm attention. With the option of Instagram boosts on certain posts, you could even pair those advertising benefits with the free content that will, ultimately, lead you to modern social media strategies that drive your success.
Organic influencers always override paid mentions
Social media influencers have long proven invaluable, with the average influencer campaign pulling around $6.50 for every dollar spent. What’s more, recent surveys show that 49% of consumers rely on influencer mentions. Undeniably, then, this is an outlet that’s more than worth a company’s time.
That said, increasing requirements to state when a product is gifted or sponsorship has taken place has largely undermined the main influencer benefits on offer from a business perspective. After all, while any mention helps a company tap into the 4 in 10 millennials who trust influencers more than their friends, a ‘paid product placement’ tag does largely undermine the idea that an influencer genuinely backs your product.
This isn’t at all to say that influencers can’t still make a huge difference, but many companies are finding that organic influence is a cheaper and more lucrative route. As the name suggests, mentions like these happen on an organic basis, meaning that you needn’t pay or even send products to the influencers in question. Obviously, organic mentions aren’t always easy to achieve, so it is worth noting that you may need to spend some time here. That said, taking time out to regularly highlight or share @mentions of your products can achieve both organic benefits and the all-important engagement we spoke about earlier. Even better, you’ll be able to enjoy the added trust and transparency that comes when someone genuinely talks about your products from the heart.
Conclusion: knowledge is everything
Ultimately, success regarding social media campaigns is less about the money you spend, and more about the knowledge you have regarding what it takes to make your business stand out. These techniques, alongside the keywords and hashtags that you already use from an SEO standpoint, could see social media spending dropping a cliff, while the results you reap continue to grow.