Everywhere we look we are bombarded with advertising. Even in our daily routines of checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and more we are inundated with messages and pictures advertising for one product and service or another. But….why?
Social media is very important in any business’ marketing strategy. Every time someone sees the colors, logo or words of a company and they recognize it, they are seeing a brand.
To recognize a company’s brand, they are more likely to recall that company when there is a need. This is the next step before seeing a return on investment in marketing. Brand recognition is a goal that every company strives to reach.
A second goal that social media can accomplish is problem solving. It allows the customer service team among other departments to answer problems or create questions in which there is real time response. “When asked about specific types of interactions, Americans who use social media believe that: Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%), Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%), Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%), Companies should market to consumers (25%).” (Siricharoen, 2012)
It is much faster to respond to a challenge on Twitter or Facebook than having to put out a press release or TV commercial. By responding faster, consumers feel like they are being heard. This is a two communication instead of just shouting at customers.
The next two benefits of social media to companies on the list, but not far from the communication goal of above, is that social media can build relationships and engage with its consumers. In another article regarding why businesses should use social media, O’Malley mentions “52% of enterprise brands say social media is the top driver for [customer] relationship building and brand engagement.” Customers enjoy that two way conversation in which they can talk about pros and cons, and really feel like their words are being considered. Businesses are gaining new customers through word of mouth. People are sharing their experiences, both good and bad, to their networks online. Instead of sharing it one person at a time (like before Facebook and Twitter), just typing it once on these social media will share it with 100+ at a time.
Now that I have mentioned word of mouth, we come to using social media to grow a wider customer base. When I had an excellent experience at my wedding reception, I was more than thrilled to share it with my Facebook network. There are over 400 people on there. It was easier for people to see how happy my guests, my husband and I were through the photos and statuses I posted and I reached more in the first half hour than I could have by following the “I tell ten people and they tell 10 people to reach 100” theory.
And the big benefit? It is more cost efficient than traditional marketing efforts. Albert shares why small businesses should use social media “Engaging in social media efforts can help generate exposure and increase traffic for the small business at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing approaches. The main financial cost of social media marketing is the time it takes to realize the benefits of the effort put forth.” (Albert) For small businesses like myself, I am looking for the most efficient and most cost effective plan I can. Using social media and programs like Hootsuite I can save time (and payroll) and not spend as much money on traditional marketing like flyers, TV commercials, and magazine/newspaper ads.
So now that all of those points have been pointed out as to why social media is important, how can a photographer like me take advantage of my craft in the advertising world of social media? I mean, I want my business to stand out when people are scrolling on social media, so what can I do? By creating images that represent my business, I am more likely to help get my message and my brand across to consumers. I follow this thinking from Cunninham, “Image-based social media will influence buying habits.” If a customer sees a picture they like, they will stop. By stopping they will see the brand and the more they see it, the more it will become a forefront in their memory. These two comments will help express what I am saying very simply:
Victor in his writing “How to Use Internet Memes to Market Your Content, Your Products, and Your Brand” states that “Studies show that our brains are more efficient at processing images than words.” (Victor) and Abrams states “Data show that pictures significantly increase interaction on every social media platform.”
As both these comments show, the human brain and eye are attracted to images. But what is even better is when you add words over the picture, in what is called an Internet Meme, you can get both your message and the picture across. These are a fast growing way for companies to advertise. So what’s the next step? Find the photos you want to share, start posting them. Find the ones that you can lay a message over without ruining the photo, and then start sharing.
Other great reads:
The Value of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media, how does it work for business?
Small Business’ Best Friend: Images
Kevin Lee has blogged about images being so important too!
Category: Advanced Tactics