Social media is the behemoth of connectivity, engagement and interaction that has become an essential cog in the digital marketing wheel. But it used to be very different than it is today — and it’s constantly changing. Just 10 years ago, marketers in all industries could simply create a business page on Facebook and post a bunch of cool stuff to increase followers. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy any more.
Consider this: 88% of companies use some form of social media marketing, and 62% of marketers expect to increase their social media ad budgets. Besides these numbers, there are many other statistics that gloriously reflect the ever-increasing popularity of social media as a marketing tool. But at the same time, it also poses a question: With so many companies inundating screens and news feeds, is social media relevant for businesses or has it lost its thunder?
Here, we’ll talk about social media’s relevance in today’s growing pet industry landscape. Read on as we discuss five reasons why a company, regardless of its size, should still seriously consider including social media in their marketing mix.
1. You can never really ‘exhaust all options’ on social media
One may think that they’ve done all they can on a social media platform, or that there’s just too much competition within a niche. The truth is, the world of social media moves fast, and new trends and best practices keep arriving, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to run out of options. There’s always something new to try.
A recent study by the Pew Research Centre found that Instagram has dethroned Facebook in terms of usage — 72% of teenagers polled for the study use it, as compared to 51% for Facebook. At the same time, new social media apps like Vero are gaining popularity, as they adapt to challenges of data privacy or algorithmic news feeds. Rather than getting crowded out, exploring changing trends and switching things around will help companies gain from early adopter advantages.
2. Social media presence builds trust
Digital marketing is an exciting but extremely dynamic field. Just as you wrap your head around the latest shift, you’re already behind on the next.
As we push the boundaries of engagement and experiment with new tools, social media allows us to present a consistent and familiar identity to customers. There’s no better way to build trust than just showing up and being there, time after time.
3. Social media still trumps most other advertising or marketing channels in engagement
Social media is a two-way street. It fosters and encourages direct interaction between company and customer, buyer and seller, contractor and client. It allows a business to take quick action when their customer service team has failed, and it enables buyers to educate other fellow buyers about the worth of a service or product.
Unlike traditional marketing mediums, social media allows you to hear back from your audience — did they like your product? What changes do they prefer? What questions do they have about your new pet beds or carriers? All of these are perfect discussions that can start and be carried out on your social media.
4. Social media influences buying decisions
More and more people are using information they find online to form impressions and make decisions. People now want to interact online with a company and hear their friends recommending it before they decide to try out a product or a service. Suzie will ask her Facebook friends for a recommendation on cat grooming in her local area. Derek might comment on his friend’s Instagram photo and ask where she got that ugly Christmas sweater for her dog. These interactions on social media are what drive companies to embed themselves into their customers lives, and their lives on social media.
5. There are ways to make your social media strategy more effective
If your business has been questioning the role of social media, perhaps you aren’t engaging in best practices.
Over the last few years, the face of digital marketing changed considerably to include a strong focus on content and its constant production and distribution. Did you know, for instance, that Sundays are the worst days to be posting content if you’re on Instagram? Similarly, you should be matching the platform to your product and content. So, pet-friendly yard or gardening ideas would do well on Pinterest and Instagram, but insightful news updates on dog CBD market would be a better fit for Twitter.
Social media is still a free way to reach customers and spread brand awareness. By ‘free’, we mean organic social media marketing, which is by far the most powerful kind. You can, of course, choose to invest in paid options to boost your content and visibility, which will increase your impressions and (if done right) your ROI. But with a carefully curated content strategy and a sharp eye on changing trends, social media can generate considerable ROI on its own, or with a modest budget.
You may have to shed some old school tactics and warm up to new ones to stay on top of your game if you want to make social media work for you. One thing is for certain — social media is no longer optional for businesses, and, most certainly, not a passing fad that’s on its way out. It's alive and kicking and it will continue to remain relevant for businesses.