What is social media marketing?
Social Media Marketing, otherwise known as SMM, is the process of using social media platforms to increase exposure, sales, and website traffic. These platforms give companies the opportunity to build their brand’s character; be it through making pages, posting videos and photos, or by directly interacting with consumers.
Due to the lack of understanding and approval of the social media algorithm in Sri Lanka, many businesses tend to underestimate the power of using social media as an advertising platform, and stick to older, comparatively inconvenient methods.
Does your business identify with the one above? Keep reading, and we’ll tell you what you’re missing out on.
What will it give you?
In order to understand why we need SMM, we must first understand the magnitude of the audience it can reach. At present, a majority of your consumer base is bound to have access to a digital device, and thus to social media.
The Digital 2019 reports from Hootsuite and We are Social reveals that so far, approximately 45% of the global population can be categorized as active social media users. In 2019, Facebook alone has over 1 billion active users worldwide each day.
Thus, social media is an easy way to release your content to a large audience of people; increasing your company’s chances of making sales and profit through community engagement.
2. Cost effective marketing
Advertising on social media will prove to be a cheaper alternative to other methods. This is why it’s especially beneficial for small businesses due to economies of scale; unlike the large corporations- they cannot afford to spend great amounts of money on advertising.
This specific benefit is fit for Sri Lanka; where a majority of the businesses in the country are of the smaller scale.
The method of bidding on these platforms varies; the most common methods would be Cost Per Click (CPC), where payments are made to the publisher for every click on your advertisement, and also Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM); which is the cost incurred to reach 1000 viewers, readers, listeners or visits.
In addition to these two, Facebook also charges Cost Per Like (CPL) , where you only pay for the advertisement when someone likes your business page, and Cost Per Action (CPA), where you can pay based off of specific interactions such as making a sale or being clicked.
The amount of exposure you get depends on your bid, as there will also be other competing companies. So while there is a minimum, going above it would give you better chances of being seen.
3. A specific audience
One of the best things about social media is being able to target specific audiences; something which other methods of advertising cannot do. For example; while television advertisements are broadcasted to anyone connected, platforms like Facebook keep track of their users details in order to target specific customers with advertisements based on their browsing history, and other data collected.
Social media will also allow you to cater to very specific groups of people. For instance; if you were advertising an event on Facebook, you could choose who gets to see the advertisement and who doesn’t.
4. Evaluation Tools
The images above show some of the statistics that will appear on regular business profiles on Instagram, which many platforms will provide you with to show you how your social media accounts are doing, and give you an insight in to the audience you’re already catering to.
For example, while creating an advertisement on Facebook, you will also be able to see the amount of exposure you’ll get through the specifications for your target audience.
Keep in mind that each social media platform is dominated by a different age group. According to data about social media users in Sri Lanka from 2018, Facebook dominates the platforms with users that account for almost 30% of the population. The most common age group to be on here is between the years of 25-34, and majority of the users are male.
As for Instagram, it has a little over 1 million users; which makes up for almost 5% of the population. Again, the users are dominated by males, but this time the most popular age group is between the ages of 18-24; thus proving that the age groups may vary.
How you can do it
1. Choose your platform
The above graph is based off The Sri Lanka Social Media Audience Survey in 2018 by Seven Media Group. According to the above information, the main social media platforms used in Sri Lanka are Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.
So if you do choose to begin SMM, any of these platforms are recommended. Spreading your company name across multiple platforms will increase exposure to a great extent; however, you should always make sure that it allows you to reach your target audience.
2. Create your content
The above graph from the same survey shows what content the participants would prefer seeing from the brands they followed. From this, it can be gathered that many people prefer that the content they see is relevant.
This is an integral part of managing a social media account; as it gives consumers some insight in to what your brand is all about. This is where you build your company’s personality. Begin posting videos, photos and content that encourages people to interact with your page; whether it be through liking the page itself or by sharing a post.
Another important component of your content would be the language. As Sri Lanka is a trilingual country, companies should make a considerable amount of effort to make posts that inclusive of all languages of in order to gain a broader consumer base.
With new developments on social media platforms; companies are able to interact with their audiences to a different extent. For example, Instagram now allows users to post polls and questions, which encourage other users to respond to them with their own views and opinions. This is a great way to take suggestions and feedback from your audience.
Needless to say, your content needs be attractive; many pages on platforms like Instagram and YouTube even create themes for their accounts- making each visit to the page much more aesthetically pleasing. However, companies should also focus on providing any information that customers could possibly want.
3. Make your company discoverable
The most important step in making sure your company is identifiable on social media is making your account’s display picture a photo of your company logo, or a recognizable representation of the company. This will allow your audience to know who you are in just a glance.
Besides that, there are other ways for people to find your company’s profile on social media; such as hashtags. Whether it is on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook; once clicked on, hashtags aggregate all the content in the category in to one place- making it easy for users to search for specific content.
Thus, due to the reasons given above, more companies in Sri Lanka should take advantage of the ease and efficiency with which marketing can be done on Social Media.