The rise of social media in business marketing can’t be understated. In recent years, social platforms have moved from being a novel idea in marketing to an absolute one.
Beyond the social platforms, trends have also changed in terms of what users want, how they interact with brands and what is important for them. Customers have become fans with total emotional ties to brands that have built a solid presence on social media.
With focus and strategy, standing out online can attract the right customers and transform your business. Here is how to find the right online customers, with a deeper look into the demographics and changing trends.
Why market on social media?
It is a big buzz question in the digital space. As of April 2020, 3.8 billion people had access to social media according to statistics from International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector arm of the World Bank Group.
Laban Mawungwe, an IFC certified consultant, says to reap big from such a number, you should remember that you are in business to make money.
To optimise social media to reach a large audience and turn it into a good market; you need to take a look at the five stage sales funnel- which includes; awareness, interest, decision, action, and loyalty.
It is a journey to move a customer from awareness of a product to creating interest, making decisions to buy, and leading to loyalty for your brand. When you are in business, you need to move your product from being known to creating interest. In awareness, you want to pull the customer, but as a business person, you also have to be strategic by creating target customers.
“When finding target audience, you need to find a person who has the need or wants a solution,” Mawungwe says, adding, “But they should also have cash to spend on the product, or a solution they are seeking.”
After creating awareness about the product, Mawungwe adds, “You ought to develop interest among your online customers.”
This means the content developed to promote your product will determine your ability to retain customers. Therefore, product features matter since customers on social media make reviews and compare products before taking a decision to buy.
Depending on your product and target audience, you may need to factor in the type of gender, social platform, location and generation of people matter when scouting for online customers.
According to the IFC statistics, Twitter has high usage among millennials - a generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s, while Instagram with one billion users and a lion share of women at 51 per cent has high usage among millennials and Generation Z – a generation born mid- to- late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years. For Facebook which has the highest number of users at 2.5 billion it attracts mainly millennials and Generation X.
According the Forbes Magazine, millennials and Generation Z are poised to be the biggest spenders as they move into their prime earning and spending years with their purchasing power centred upon eats in restaurants, expenses on taxis and ride hailing apps, clothes, gas, electronics.
Millennials dominate conversations around product strategy, marketing, and the economy at large. This generation is different, and so brands must see and interact with them as a unique consumer to draw their attention and business.
At the same time, millennials spend less than older generations on television, travel, pharmacies, and furniture and building materials.
IFC statistics show that Uganda’s main social platform is Facebook which currently takes a lion’s share at 55 per cent, followed by Twitter at 14 per cent. YouTube currently stands at 8 per cent and Instagram at 1 per cent.
Each social media platform has a specific purpose it serves in promoting your business. Facebook and Instagram have been recorded to have a high impact in creating awareness to audiences to leading growth of brands and driving leads for high sales while YouTube turns customers into advocates by sharing product content.
To improve brand reputation, use Tripadvisor and Google Reviews, while for customer retention, using What Sapp and Twitter are highly recommended.
Youtube and Instagram improve the effectiveness of a product because both platforms are visual.
“When you want to enhance your brand reputation, you need to build positive reviews from customers,” Mawungwe says.
What do people want?
Films, funny videos, demonstrations or how- to- do videos and repeats of popular classic television shows topped the list that most internet users preferred who fell between the ages of 16 to 64 as of April 2020. At the gender level, 50 per cent of males to 47 per cent of females preferred films, while women at 34 per cent and men at 33 per cent prefer funny videos.
A sneak peek into the mentioned statistics demonstrates how to deal with behavioural, geographic and demographic market segmentation of social media audiences to achieve the main objectives.
“There are higher chances of having viewers when using short videos. If you are selling vegetables on social media, be creative and develop a recipe, the more people like it, the more they will likely buy the vegetables,”Mawungwe says.
Make short videos of less than three minutes on social media. If it is on Facebook, the longest should be one minute. While the best length for Twitter is 100 characters, using 80 characters will get you higher engagement.