As social media proliferates (and indeed, reaches saturation) its uses expand drastically. Smart and agile brands and marketers are already making use of social media as a platform for growth and engagement, but since its inception, given that social media has become a near-indispensable part of everyday life for most people, it has now become indispensable as a tool for digital marketing as well.
Marketing strategies are growing more sophisticated and creative every day Adobe, notably, has apparently concocted a plan to introduce marketing to your car, for the purpose of targeting radio ads and collecting data, likely about your driving habits and places of travel. For instance, the technology could play an ad for a fast food restaurant’s new promotional deal as or before you drive past the local restaurant. This method seems to be long way away from real implementation, and regardless looks unlikely to produce real results or a good return on investment.
Digital marketing is still the best way to reach and engage potential customers, and when it comes to digital marketing, nothing is more powerful or effective than the reach and potential for organic engagement than social media. Many companies have taken advantage of social media’s many capabilities and this kind of investment will pay off dividends as the digital landscape continues to grow and evolve.
Take LaCroix, manufacturer of lightly-flavored carbonated water, and the massive success they’ve found through social media and word of mouth. The key to their success is predictable to anyone familiar with tried-and-true marketing strategies: they effectively targeted a customer base, and found a way to insert their brand into an ongoing social media conversation in such a way that their customers would begin engaging with the brand and doing a lot of the legwork of advertising the product via their personal accounts.
This kind of organic publicity is key to finding success through social media as a digital marketing strategy. It’s still useful – maybe even more than ever – to hire an agency with expertise and resources, because finding a way to insert your brand into a viral conversation can sometimes mean navigating a difficult or fraught political discourse – take Pepsi’s disastrous protest-themed ad, for example.
The best idea is to take an ongoing or growing conversation with a strong likelihood to go viral and attract a lot of attention, and find a way to integrate the brand with that conversation, but in a positive way. In order to do this, it’s important to know what your desired customer base looks like and wants – this would be very different, say, for a company that sells motorcycles as opposed to one that sells knitting products. Learn what the prevailing ideologies and opinions are, and then, ideally, you can position your brand as a solution or contribution to that group’s key issues.
Sometimes this can mean alienating potential customers (although it doesn’t have to!) but major brands have been doing so with resounding success – Nike and Gillette have both recently opted to take some kind of political stance in a fairly high-profile way, angering some potential customers, but likely attracting even more due to their positioning on the issue. Of course, the most important step is understanding the market and being confident that the risk will pay off – just another reason to be familiar with recent social media trends.