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For quite a long time, search engines were the one stop place for content marketers, and brands which wanted to reach a huge number of people, and have that international audience. As a matter of fact, search engines still rule when it comes to content marketing, but the tide is slowly changing. A few years ago, very few people would have predicted that the dominance of search engines would slowly but surely be taken over by a more dominant force, but that is now the reality. Social media is gradually taking over, and according to some experts, this comes as no surprise. This is because search engines have shifted from a place where people would get quality content, to a well of multiple ads and optimized content, which is hardly readable. People are interested in reading interested pieces of information, either to make them laugh, educate them or just entertainment them. Consumers will always go for something that adds value to their lives.
The pie chart above is based on a research that was carried out in the US, whereby top-notch company marketing executives were asked about the role of social media, and whether they thought it played an important role in brand marketing. From the results, it is quite clear that social media marketing has been embraced, and this is expected to increase even more in the near future.
Reasons for the increasing popularity of social media
Social media is a place where creativity blossoms, because there are no rules or boundaries pressing resistance to such creativity. One important lesson that History has taught us, is the fact that creativity operates well in freedom. The freedom to express oneself beyond imagination and this is what great minds and visionaries like Leonardo Davinci were made of. Search engines come with rules and boundaries that people must conform to, call it regulation or control, but sometimes they contribute to watering down of creativity. It is true that their intention might be completely harmless, or a mere attempt to keep things in order, since without them the situation might end up being completely chaotic, but real creativity needs space to breathe, and this is what social media offers; a wave of fresh air.
For content to gain considerable buzz on Google and attract a high amount of traffic, there are certain things that content marketers need to fulfill with regards to search engine optimization. This includes link building andkeyword optimization. Even for veteran content marketers, this is always not an easy thing, because what worked for you yesterday might not work today. You have to keep on re-inventing your strategies, to ensure that you always remain at the top, because search engines are constantly releasing updates, so as to level out the playing ground. This sometimes results to seo specialists looking for alternative means to increase their traffic and rank high, which might not always be ethical, and is quite unfair to those who are playing by the book. Such people are known as Black Hat SEO specialists, and the demand for their services is at an all-time high, because every other site wants to get to the top as quickly as possible, and shortcuts are much welcome. This, therefore makes it hard for uprising brands to get easily recognized, because they probably don’t have the resources to hire either the Black Hat or White Hat SEO specialists. It also takes a bit oftime to master the rules and regulations pertaining to search engines, and time is not a luxury that anyone out there can spare.
On the other hand, social media marketing is totally different. Even though there might also be a little link building and optimization, it is generally straight forward. Here, content is king. If you have something nice to offer, people will definitely appreciate great content through hits, likes, comments and positive feedback. Soon enough, what was a little unknown brand, becomes a household brand. This is the power of social media. If you have great content, whether it’s a great article, video or even a meme, it will create a buzz on social media and sooner than later, you will not even be able to catch up with the likes and shares. Authoritative websites will want to link back to it, and what’s best is that Google and other search engines will soon notice this and give it high rankings. Notice the difference? While others are producing average content, and spending even more time to come up with strategies to increase traffic, looking for websites to link back to them, purchasing link building software, keyword optimization and such strategies, yours takes a completely different path. You spend more time creating quality content that peoplelove, and that becomes your only challenge; as for the rest, you only have to sit back and leave it to the power of social media. The same search engines that otherpeople will do anything to get recognition from, will come looking for you. This explains why the tides are changing, all in favor of social media.
What will social media as a marketing avenue offer?
Recent research shows that people are spending more and more time on social media, than the time they actually spend watching television especially in more developed countries. There is an ever growing demand for what social media has to offer, and for any smart business person, thisis a great opportunity. It is all about making that hay while the sun still shines. The most interesting thing is that this demand is expected toincrease even more in the future, yet this marketing avenue offers an untapped potential. There are rough diamonds beneath. This therefore shows that marketing through social media will give you an even greater audience and it is therefore even more rewarding.
Another important aspect about social media marketing (SMM) is with regards to cost. Social media offers a relatively cheap marketing avenue, which cannot in any way be compared to the benefits that you are deemed to gain from it. Additionally, as an emerging brand, you get to connect to a huge network of people, most of whom are professional in a similar field as yours, and you therefore get to learn a lot from them.
Social media also offers an outlet for direct sales, and your friends, family andcolleagues are normally your first customers. This avenue provides upcoming brands with a great opportunity to post and share photos, videos and podcasts, which are easily shared out and people get to know who you are and what you have to offer within the least time possible.
Interestingly, social media allows you to measure the response/reception that your brand is receiving among consumers, which makes it easier to plan your next move. If you have a website, linking it to social media will greatly increase traffic, which will ultimately improve your rankings.
While social media might be an easy marketing avenue, you have to be aggressive and also do your research and plan in advance. Knowing your platform well, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other will also make it easier for you to capture your audience.
Why social media is the marketing avenue for the future
- There are no rules
- It offers unlimited space for creativity
- It offers a new way of doing things – a wave of fresh air
- Ultimate freedom