Marketing has been around for decades. Marketing practices have been used not only in businesses but also in politics.
But, as with everything in this world, things change with time. The same has been the case in marketing. Large-scale marketing campaigns limited to a few multi-million dollar companies are getting scarce day by day.
As the world progressed, the marketing industry underwent a revolution of its own. The marketing techniques used before started becoming obsolete, and new trends emerged to take over.
One of the most significant steps forward for marketing was the influence of social media in daily life. Social media has become an integral part of our life, and thus it holds the power to influence our everyday decisions.
The Covid19 Pandemic Effect in Marketing
The pandemic also played a significant role in revolutionizing marketing and businesses as a whole.
People realized they were so focused on worldly pursuits that they ignored the importance of family, friends, and genuine human connection. But when the world went into lockdown, they realized how much they wanted to connect over every other thing.
No one cared about the new sneakers their favourite brand launched or what product their favourite influencer was promoting.
The marketing landscape changed from consumers wanting to get good deals on products to preferring companies that thrived on making and maintaining genuine connections with their customers. They enjoy interactions with your brand that makes them feel closer to you and your brand.
When everyone was forced to live separately in isolation, no one searched for new offers or sales. No one cared about good bargains. Instead, everyone was looking for a way to connect with family and friends.
We were focused on the people of the world, their problems, and the setbacks they were facing. We spent to provide food for the poor instead of buying ourselves a lavish meal.
We supported brands focusing on bringing comfort to the communities instead of those who promised to save us money.
The pandemic proved to be the death of conventional marketing.
Conventional Marketing is Dead
The marketing landscape has been shifting away from conventional means for quite a long time now. Even if it was not a sudden change, it was inevitable, slowly but surely drifting away from the days of T.V. and magazine ads. Social media is the new marketing tool now.
To get a better perspective of the power of social media marketing, let’s play a little game. Try and think about your purchasing history in the last year. It is most likely that you have been involved in one, if not all, of the following trends.
- You invested in cryptocurrency with no prior knowledge because Elon Musk talked about it.
- When the GameStop shares skyrocketed, and everyone was talking about it, you opted to invest some of your money as well.
- You participated in the “10 Year Challenge” and “Ice Bucket Challenge” because your favourite celebrity posted a video of them doing it on social media.
- You downloaded a song because it was in the Instagram story of your favourite influencer.
These are only a handful of scenarios that show us the power and influence of social media over our day-to-day lives. Social media used to be a leisure tool, but now it is an integral part of our routine. We connect with our friends and families. We discuss our hobbies. We gossip about celebrities. And most important of all, we purchase stuff online as well.
There is a chance you were eager to buy your favorite streamer’s merchandise. You also encouraged your friends to buy those without even any incentive in doing so. You did this because you feel close to the streamer. You are a part of that community. You are a part of something bigger than yourself, and you want it to be successful and turn into a larger community. Your connection with the streamer encouraged you to “advertise” their merchandise in your circle of influence. This is the power of social media marketing.
Power of Social Media Marketing – Fyre Festival
Fyre Festival was a scam musical festival founded by con artists named Billy McFarland and Ja Rule. The festival was created to promote Fyre’s music app that was designed as a way to book musical talent. The festival was scheduled to be held on the Bahamian Island of Great Exuma. Although the festival itself turned out to be a massive fraud, its marketing campaign taught us the effectiveness of influencer marketing and its effects on the lives of the common folk.
The festival was promoted as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a musical extravaganza with celebrities, models, and influencers on a remote island. Many renowned influencers and models endorsed the festival, including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin. Kendall Jenner was compensated $250,000 to promote the festival on her Instagram story. Even though the festival was cancelled, the whole incident shed light on the power of influencer marketing and how people gravitated towards online life more than their actual life.
Millions of people spend a big chunk of their day online, not because they are extroverts and want a bigger social circle, but instead, it is to escape the reality and the responsibilities of their real life. People can be what they want other people to know them for on the internet. Social media is not real life, but it is enchanting enough to make people want to live that life more than their actual one.
And this is just one of the many incidents where social media started massive movements among ordinary people.
All the “challenges” in 2020 are proof of that. Almost all of them were for noble causes, i.e., to help the needy and devastated people of the world. 2020 was a challenging year, and celebrities used their influence to encourage people to help their fellow human beings.
Let’s also not forget the World Record Egg posted on Instagram three years ago. It was done as a social experiment to try and made a picture of an ordinary egg the most liked photo on Instagram. And in the end, the experiment was successful, and it is still the most liked picture on Instagram.
This experiment shows the reach and influence of social media. Most people probably did not care about the image, but they still went on and liked it because “everyone was doing it.”
The Shift of Marketing and Communication
The success of a business or startup depends greatly on communication—the communication between the brand and its customers. The shift in the modes of communication resulted in the change in marketing trends.
A few decades ago, communication mainly was face to face. People discussed matters over a cup of tea, during their lunch break, or rarely over a phone call. Arcades and clubs were the cool places to hand around. Children showed off their new sneakers and clothes to their friends. Everyone had a small social circle where they held varying influences.
But now, social media groups and Reddit forums are where all the kids hang around. Even the in-game chats are a place that sees an enormous number of consumers—gamers chatting during a gaming session about all sorts of stuff. These communication means also provided a platform for two-way communication. Unlike traditional ads and pamphlets, social media allows people to listen to your offer and voice their concerns as well. This two-way street helps build a strong bond between the brand and the consumer.
People don’t like sales pitches thrown at their faces. A proof of this is the use of adblockers when surfing the web. Instead, they look for connections with brands and products. They respond to empathy more than marketing techs. The brands are no longer buildings and products but humans themselves. The more human you can make your brand, the better customer response.
The Decentralization Of Influence
Social media is a tool that does not belong to anyone and is available for everyone. For example, Instagram is probably tied as the biggest social media platform, alongside Facebook. But the most followed Instagram account does not belong to Instagram or any other big company. Instead, it belongs to influential athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi or world-famous singers like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.
This does not mean brands have no chance on social media at all. Instead, it means that there is no monopoly over social media.
Everyone can be an influencer, and everyone can be a brand. Social media is a ladder that everyone can use to get to the top.
Strategic Checklist before Investing in Social Media
- Why am I on social media?
- What do I want to accomplish (i.e., brand awareness, leads, etc.)?
- What platforms are my customers on?
- What is my competition doing well versus what I am doing well?
- What do I want to see as a consumer from the brands I follow?
- What value can my brand give my audience?
- What purpose does my content serve?
- What are my key performance indicators (KPIs) (i.e., website clicks, views, new followers, etc.)?
- What is my current advertising spend?
- Who is influential to my brand?
In essence, the world has become a digital village in this current era. It is a place where everyone has a voice that they can use to influence public opinion. It is a place where everyone wants to be part of a group. It can have both good and bad effects on society and individuals, but one cannot deny the power of social media.
If businesses want to survive and grow in this social media era, they need to adapt to the new norms of marketing. Engagement is the name of the game. Suppose you can establish strong communication with your targeted customers and think about their needs and ease in your campaign.
In that case, you will not only sell your services to a pleased customer base but also have an ever-growing list of marketers who would spread positivity about your brand in their respective social circles. Brands need to have a face that will make them relatable to their consumers.