More and more brands are exploiting the possibilities social networks offer for digital marketing. In today’s day and age, it is almost unthinkable for a company not to have a Twitter or Facebook account. Some brands go further than simply being present on Facebook and Twitter, creating digital video content they regularly upload to YouTube channels. Others pay to advertise on Facebook. All of these techniques are about identifying then taking advantage of the new and unique features of the internet as marketing possibilities.
On one of our blog articles, Harnessing the Crowd: Advertising on Social Media, we explained how social networks provide companies with new marketing opportunities. Using Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to promote new products or services is a highly effective way to get in touch with potential clients and to create a buzz. One of the obvious advantages of marketing on social media is that one person’s “like” on Facebook or their retweet on Twitter immediately opens up that person’s network of kin, associates, and acquaintances to the company. Their Facebook friends and Twitter followers are likely to have similar tastes, making the marketing campaign that much more effective.
Ads on social networks can suggest to people that they need a certain product or service, the same way traditional advertising does. Advertising on social media has an advantage, though, compared to traditional advertising. People are often influenced by their friends or family, and there is no reason to believe that the internet, or social network, fundamentally alters this pattern of behavior. Seeing one’s network of Facebook friends or Twitter followers interact with certain brands (for example, “liking” the brand on Facebook, commenting on its recent activity, or retweeting a post by the brand on Twitter) reassures the consumer that what he is choosing is desirable among people he knows.
However, quantifying the buzz generated by marketing strategies on social media is not always easy. Data from a report co-published by Facebook and social statistics tracker Comscore entitled The Power of Like Europe: How Social Marketing Works for Retail Brands shows that marketing on social media is indeed effective. The report focuses on trendy European retail brands such as ASOS, La Redoute, H&M, and Zara. It showed that these companies have the ability to spread advertisements to up to 44 friends of fans, with a fan being someone who “liked” the company. Also, the report determined that paid advertising on Facebook increased purchase behaviour on the ASOS website by 130 percent during the four weeks following exposure to ads, compared to customers who were not exposed but had a similar affinity for ASOS. This shows that marketing campaigns on social websites not only work, but can work incredibly well.
This is another piece of evidence in support of the argument that social media will be incredibly important to the future of marketing. In fact, such marketing could become increasingly effective as social networks and human participation within them are normalized within society. To wit, if it becomes normal to “like” brands, more people will do it, which would lead to more potential consumers being exposed to advertising. So, for companies who aren’t advertising on social networks yet, just a word of warning: those who don’t change with the world are frequently left behind.