The Value of Social Media Marketing for Businesses

The Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Marketing online program focuses on leveraging innovation and analytics to drive marketing strategy. Social media marketing is one of the most impactful components of analytics-driven, multichannel marketing strategies in the post-digital era.

BGSU’s elective marketing coursework examines social media in the context of consumer behavior, customer analysis and marketing strategy. Learning how to analyze social media data, apply gained insight to inform strategy development and employ social media marketing tactics is a must for today’s marketing professionals.

Why Is Social Media Marketing So Important?

Social media is a multidimensional resource for marketers. Business News Daily explains that social media offers businesses “significant value, including new customers, insights into your brand, and audience and engagement opportunities with customers and competitors alike.”

In terms of the potential reach and scale of this marketing channel, consider these statistics aggregated from several sources by Smart Insights:

  • Internet users spend an average of almost two and a half hours on social media each day.
  • As of October 2021, over four and a half billion people (roughly 57.6% of the world’s population) use social media.
  • Top regions for social media use as a percentage of the region’s total population are: Northern and Western Europe (79%), North America (74%), Southern Europe and South America (72%), Central America (71%) and South-Eastern Asia (69%).

These statistics demonstrate the broad, global reach marketing and building brand awareness that social media can provide. Marketers use social media platforms to engage customers where they spend their time in personalized, targeted and meaningful ways.

Plus, in-app purchase options can integrate marketing and sales processes within the social network environment. As a result, a customer’s journey through awareness, engagement, consideration, conversion and ongoing relationship management can occur entirely within the social media ecosystem.

What Kinds of Insights Can Social Media Analytics Provide?

Social media platforms collect and centralize massive amounts of user data regarding demographics, interests, activities, geolocation and consumer behavior. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube offer analytics services that help brands understand metrics regarding their audience, content performance and engagement.

This wealth of information supports precise yet comprehensive audience analysis. The insight gained from audience analysis helps brands better understand their customers. Hootsuite notes that defining an audience allows brands to create accurate buyer personas — an outline of the motivations, interests, buying habits and demographics of a brands’ ideal customer.

Brands use buyer persona insights to inform product development, identify efficacious marketing channels, craft personalized content and target new audiences. Analytics services like Facebook Audience Insights further enable audience expansion by connecting brands with more people like the brand’s current audience. Marketers can also research competitors through social media, improving responsive strategy and identifying potential customers.

One historical drawback of social media marketing is the difficulty in measuring the results of marketing efforts. The development of in-app purchase options can address this through quantifying the connection between social media marketing campaigns and direct sales.

How Does Social Media Enable Modern Marketing Tactics?

As noted above, analytics insights help brands target audiences with personalized content via social media. Platforms enable a greater degree of inbound marketing than website banner ads and popup windows. Inbound marketing draws customers in through engaging content, taking the customer-centric approach modern brand reputations are built on.

Social media platforms also allow brands to easily integrate diverse forms of content into their marketing campaigns. Professionals can use videos, articles, pictures and other types of content to appeal to and target different audiences according to their media consumption habits.

Professionals can use automated, sponsored ads and posts within social media streams to target audiences based on demographics, location, interests and relation to current audiences. This precision increases the efficiency and personalization of marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing is another marketing tactic social media facilitates. Consumers value and respond to the opinions and interests of friends and people they trust and respect. Therefore, engaging both small-scale and widely known influencers can build brand awareness and reputation within an influencer’s social media community. Similarly, encouraging and reposting user-generated content can increase brand loyalty and awareness throughout users’ communities.

Perhaps most importantly, social media platforms allow brands to engage with consumers directly, connecting with them on a person-to-person level. This direct communication can drive relationship development, build trust and guide the customer in their journey.

However, there is a balance, as direct engagement can backfire if it feels inauthentic or too “salesy.” The modern customer expects their interests to come first. Companies that fail to do so or that have forced or ingenuine marketing efforts can cause long-lasting harm to a brand’s reputation and customer relationships. As with many social media marketing tasks, direct engagement can be labor-intensive.

Marketers must consider all these facets while planning and executing marketing campaigns. The study of social media marketing, analytics and insight-driven strategy development through an advanced business program can help professionals balance efficiency and results, making the most of what social media can provide.

Learn more about Bowling Green State University’s online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing program.

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