When the internet became mobile at the end of 1996 through the Nokia 9000 Communicator, the number of possibilities existing for marketers increased significantly, since reaching customers on their mobile devices opened up a new world of marketing strategies. With the development of smart phones, digital marketing exited the confines of emails and website pages, and entered a new marketing age—where offering customers a solution that is personalized and attune to on-the-go needs became mandatory for success.
In January 2014, mobile internet users surpassed the number of desktop users in the United States, thus making digital marketing that targets mobile internet a main priority for companies wanting to keep up with trends and competitors. Modern technologies and further developments in the mobile web sector have made it possible for mobile phones to become more powerful than the computers that took Apollo 11 to the Moon.
The main attractions behind using mobile web for marketing lies behind the fact that in a matter of seconds you can connect with anyone in the world, but also in the fact that most available applications and platforms are free. Therefore, companies are tempted to jump on the social media marketing wagon thinking they can make the most of mobile internet while also making a wise financial decision. In this article, we will discuss the dangers behind that approach, and why although mostly free for private users, social media is not at all a cost-effective marketing solution for companies, especially when brands develop a dependency on its use.
Social Media Platforms and Digital Marketing
Nowadays, when hearing ‘mobile internet’, most people tend to think of social media networks and of interacting with friends, family, or with favorite brands through social media applications. Yet even though social media platforms have indeed kept the headlines when it came to mobile internet, using them for important business communication and marketing has become a controversial approach, as it ends up offering outcomes that are different than what was expected.
Although used by a noteworthy number of companies and marketers, social media platforms rarely fit the profile needed for cost-effective and efficient digital marketing strategies. In 2014, Facebook issued an announcement regarding limitations imposed on promotional posts from brand pages, which led to a significant decrease in organic reach. Since then, brands and the customers who were interested in seeing news and offers from them have been affected by this decision, making the social media platform far less marketing friendly.
Further we are going to go over the main reasons why relying on social media marketing is a bad idea and what you can do to improve your digital marketing strategies for driving sales, reaching customers, and increasing brand awareness.
Why Relying on Social Media Marketing is a Bad Idea
Social media interactions come in all shapes and sizes—from simply going through the timeline during your morning coffee and browsing photos shared by friends, to rapidly scrolling on-the-go for promotions or information from the brands you interacts with. But in order for those posts to be visible to the people following their pages, a lot of things have to happen behind the scenes—and that’s not always a simple or practical process for companies. Moreover, when the digital marketing strategies of brands depend solely on social media, the aftermath of an unsuccessful campaign can drastically impact their budget.
Social Media Marketing Campaigns Are Not Free
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when they draft and implement social media marketing campaigns is thinking that simply posting on the timeline equals running a marketing campaign, therefore it is free and can also reach all those interested. Although yes, posting on the timeline is free, it takes up a lot of time if you want to maintain a regular presence, and it does not guarantee that your target audience will interact with your posts. In order to reach more people without having to do it manually, you will need to execute a social media campaign and pay for ads targeting a desired audience. Yet as previously mentioned, promotional posts from brand pages no longer have the organic reach they seemed to have had in the early days of social media, and they are also a strain on your marketing budget.
Social Media Marketing Does Not Reach Customers in Real-Time
If you are considering using social media marketing for a campaign that needs to reach your customers in real-time—such as a flash promotion—you need to know that social media posts and ads rarely reach people as soon as they are added. Nowadays, social media timelines are usually organized based on top posts rather than chronologically, therefore your message might not be seen in the timeframe that you need. If with text message marketing customers get a notification as soon as you message them, in the case of social media, if they are not currently using the platform, they won’t know about your campaigns.
Alternatives to Social Media Marketing
If you are currently relying exclusively on social media for your marketing campaign, consider drafting and implementing your campaigns through other channels, such as SMS marketing and proximity marketing. The advantages are numerous, as the ability to reach your customers in real time, to target audiences based on their proximity to your location—with these marketing solutions also being cost-effective and highly efficient, when implemented properly. Distributing information, updates, and offer through text message marketing has proven to be one of the most successful digital marketing solutions of our times, therefore it is of utmost importance to consider it when drafting your plans.
According to a 2017 statistic, people’s expectations from the social media pages of brands involve less the posting of promotional messages—since as previously stated, they are not always within reach in the desired timeframe—and more the reactions brands have to their questions and complaints. The numbers show that 50 percent of respondents mentioned that they boycotted brands that reacted poorly to their complaints on social media. Therefore, instead of spending time and money and focusing your marketing efforts on social media, make sure that you are catering to the needs of your customers by actively addressing their messages and offering the information they might require.
When it comes to digital marketing, companies need to choose the methods that best apply to their needs and to those of their customers, while remaining budget-friendly and up-to-date with industry trends. Using tools that allow you to build your own customer database will help you cost-effectively market to customers, and also offer you more control over your campaigns. Don’t forget that even though relying on social media marketing is a bad idea, your social media presence needs to be tailored to the expectations of your customers, and also needs to be a mirror of your brand identity.