What is Social Media?
Social Media is one of the most popular ways for people to interact, communicate, and stay connected online. The reason it is called social media is that users get a chance to socialize with individuals and groups from all parts of the world.
This includes commentary, conversations, and other user-engagement interactions. And while this gives a great opportunity for people to get their social life up and running, it opens a doorway for businesses of nearly all types to spread like wildfire.
Over the last decade, we have seen a massive increase in the number of social media sites and business pages in Pakistan. The primary reason for this boost is that publishing content has become simpler. Even those web-users who lack technical knowledge are now easily able to create and publish content on numerous social media platforms.
Businesses, today, are easily able to enjoy a wide variety of opportunities and responsibilities with the increasing trend of social media usage. Moreover, as social media allows businesses to stay connected with their customers 24/7, they are able to make lasting relationships with their existing customers.
To get an edge over the competitors, companies, especially those nearly entirely dependent on social media, have to offer the best of deals and services to their potential customers. Social media is a place where people talk about your business, making it mandatory for you to be a part of this forum.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the promotion and advertisement of products through various social media platforms.
Today, social media has become a widely used marketing medium among small and large businesses. The main aim of social media marketing is to boost customer reach and increase brand presence. In this fast-changing world, social media sites provide an opportunity to business owners to not only expand their customer base but also monitor the progress of their marketing campaigns.
Through social media, companies can target a large group of stakeholders. These mainly include potential and current customers, prospective employees, and primarily the general public. This helps businesses find new markets and reach out to new customers.
However, it is essential that businesses learn the ways of using social media effectively.
A firm can only get its desired results if it produces posts that are both attractive and informative.
Apart from providing the customers with the right information, companies can give customers the option of having access to product reviews and online comments. In addition to primary businesses, a significantly large number of government and non-profit organizations are also making their way to the market through social media marketing.
Social Media sites including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest and others, have a very large number of users from all over the world. According to a recent research, out of the world’s population of 7.5 billion, more than 2 billion people actively use Facebook.
All of this can be supported by a number of statistics that focus on the scope of social media marketing, today. According to a study in 2015, almost 71% of the total consumers recommend brands based on their experience. Moreover, Facebook has also played an essential role in influencing customers, and 52% of all purchases can be credited to it. Furthermore, almost 78% of users use Twitter to determine the value of a specific product through communication. In 2017, it was seen that more than 50 million businesses marketed their products or services through their Facebook pages.
Social media has been a key source of attraction for people and businesses in Pakistan. According to the latest research in November 2017, there are nearly 44 million social media users in Pakistan, 30 million alone of which are active Facebook users.
In Pakistan, social media is used by the public for many purposes such as keeping in touch with family and friends, discussing important issues regarding socio-political activism, and keeping up with their favorite brands, among other reasons. With the availability of 3G and 4G, the numbers have only increased.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing in Pakistan
Companies enjoy a multitude of benefits when they start advertising their products and services on social media.
Brand Awareness in Pakistan
Social media plays a significant role in boosting brand awareness. With Facebook having almost 2 billion users, which constitutes a very large part of the world population, it provides an expansive audience reach. Businesses that choose Facebook as their means of marketing can implement different strategies to reach out to these users. This helps to build a strong brand awareness among a vast target audience.
For instance, Furor, a clothing brand in Pakistan, resorted to social media to spread its name and expand its customer base. Being entirely new to the industry, the company had a lot of rivals to overcome. It overcame the competition by reaching out to two of the most recognized and followed Vloggers in Pakistan, Irfan Junejo and Taimoor Salahuddin (Mooroo) and in no time, the brand gained an edge over most of the competitors.
Website Traffic in Pakistan
The content, mainly images, audio, and videos that are shared by businesses on social media, attracts their target audience to the site, increasing website traffic. This means that social media not only increases brand awareness, but also paves the way for more opportunities. Once people are taken to a company’s site via a social media platform, the company experiences improved sales as well as a better ranking on search engines.
Brand Loyalty in Pakistan
Social media is the cheapest and the most efficient way to connect with a large number of people. This is the platform where people discuss your brand. There were times when people used to buy products based on word-of-mouth brand promotion, however, those days are long gone as people now go through the customer reviews before any purchase.
A recent study shows that almost 35% of customers make decisions about purchasing products after referring to the online reviews. Thus, it is imperative for companies to build a solid reputation to increase brand loyalty. Moreover, the quality of your product can be determined by the messages your customers pass via social media. Being in control of this will definitely help you create a positive image of your brand.
Incredible Customer Approaches
Businesses marketing their brand through social media also enjoy an excellent source of customer insights. There is no platform better than social media to learn about the behavior of your target audience. The best way for a business to excel is to listen to the queries and problems of customers and then make enhancements to suit the customers’ needs.
Businesses can get fruitful results by creating targeted ads. You can reach out to your audience based on their interests, behaviors, and other relevant details. You can directly reach out to those customers who you think are interested in and are willing to buy your product.
Solutions to Customer Problems
Unlike most marketing mediums, social media is a two-way source of communication. What this means is that it is not only the company that gets to speak; customers also get to have their say. This allows you to get instant feedback from your existing and potential customers, allowing you to shape your product or campaigns to meet their demands or requirements.
Social Media Marketing Trends in Pakistan
Like other countries, the main source of information for people of Pakistan is social media. Almost all brands market their products through social media to reach a large number of customers. Over the last few years, there has been a drastic change in the number of people using social media platforms; this is expected to increase in the years to come.
Let’s have a look at the prevalent marketing trends in Pakistan.
Promotion Through Videos
In the past, companies used to advertise their products on YouTube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion. However, this has changed now and large firms have shifted to advertisements on Facebook. There are numerous social media marketers in Pakistan who have employed different marketing techniques such as video marketing. They mostly use platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter which have thousands of users all across the country.
Those of you who are in some way or the other related to the social media marketing industry are aware of the fact that almost all businesses are fan hungry (follower hungry). Companies are in a race to get more and more likes on their Facebook pages, and followers on Twitter. This behavior of businesses makes it evident that in the years to come, there will be an increased trend of advertising and paid marketing through social media. Twitter is going through this phase. Recently, ‘KHAAS MIXED CHAI’ by Nestle Every day was made to trend on Twitter according to a targeted budget, which is expected to be increased in the future.
Purchasing Through Social Media
The buying patterns of people have changed over the past few years. Facebook has introduced the option to buy products through company pages. Similarly, many the other social media platforms will give this option to their users in the near future. The ‘BUY’ button is used quite frequently by customers to purchase products, as it makes their life easy. According to sources, Facebook might also introduce a ‘SELL’ option for individuals who are willing to sell their products. If this happens, buying and selling will both become more convenient than ever.
Increasing Trend of Twitter
Over the last couple of years, there has been a major increase in the activity of marketing on Twitter. Many brands try to engage Twitter users all over Pakistan. Whenever you read a post on Twitter, you will notice the increasing trend of hashtags used by companies to market their products. It can be speculated that in the future, more and more companies will follow this policy to make their brand stand out.
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
For nearly all new businesses, there is a lot to achieve with a limited number of resources. Marketing through traditional methods can create cash-flow problems. Social media marketing is a much cheaper option, and there is a high chance that your business gets new customers quicker than you expect. You have to be smart to achieve your desired results with the available resources. Here are some tips for new or small companies regarding social media marketing.
- Plan before implementation: There is always a fantastic marketing strategy behind a phenomenal social media campaign. Therefore, the best tip for small businesses is to do a fair bit of homework before taking any decision. Most importantly, define your audience according to gender, interests, and age, among other factors. Ask your target audience what issues they are facing, welcome opinions, and ask about their social network preferences.
- Connect your social channels: It is crucial for you to have coordination among your social channels. Your networks should work together to achieve results, as a stand-alone approach is likely to be less effective. Your goal should be to bring people to your website through your social media page, because your site is considered as the business’ own product. An online car accessories store in Pakistan, Sehgal Motors, marketed all their products through their Facebook page. They got a lot of fame through the platform as thousands of car enthusiasts started following their page. The best move they then made was to create a link between their page and website. This redirected the customers to the website where they could get all the information they required. It was also beneficial for the company in the form of organic traffic on the website.
- Do not start too big: Once you know who your target audience is, the next step should be to get You will need to invest time and energy to get going with social media, therefore, start on a small scale. Invest time in making sure your company’s name appears on every potential customer’s news feed.
- Resolve issues: Social media is the best way to get to know what people think about your brand. If, for instance, people are posting negative comments and have issues with your product, try resolving them at the earliest possible. The best way would be to comment there and then to create a positive impact in front of other users. If the issue does not get resolved through discussion, try reaching out to them individually.
- Analyze Results: There comes a time when you think you now have a grip on your social media engagement. This is the time to boost your pages through paid advertisements. This will bring in more people, expanding your customer base. You will also be able to track results, and have a closer look at which tactics are working and which ones aren’t.
Which Social Media Platform is Perfect for Your Business?
As a business owner, once you have decided that you will market your brand through social media, the next big question that arises is, which platform is the most suitable for your business? There are many factors to consider in order to determine the perfect marketing partner for your business. Here are some of the major elements that have to be considered before you make a decision.
It is vital for companies to know which social media platform their target audience is the most active on. This will help them to reach out to the public as well as convey their message directly. The best way to do this is to conduct surveys through questionnaires. Some of the main questions that can be asked in this regard are ‘Which medium do you like the most?’ or ‘Where do you spend your time the most?’ among others.
Before starting to implement a marketing campaign, a company should know what exactly it is hoping to achieve by it. Some businesses have the primary aim of increasing engagement, some want to improve brand image, and some are simply looking to increase website traffic. Once all these questions are answered, you will get a better idea of which platform suits your needs best. If you still have a bunch of potential social media outlets at your disposal, start experimenting with different platforms. Choose the platform that gives you the best results, and invest money and time in it accordingly.
As an established business, another major point that has to be considered is the activities of competitors. The marketing manager of a company should be aware of each and every activity conducted by its major competitors. Most importantly, the primary focus should be on their posts, engagement acquired through different sites, and repetitive publishing of the content. Keeping all these elements in mind, a business must always try to make enhancements and encourage customers to engage with your content in order to bring them closer to your product.
Management of Channels
It often becomes difficult for some businesses to manage numerous social media channels, as they do not have specialized managers for the job. In any case, it is recommended to use at least two platforms. This is because, if all of them are chosen, it becomes difficult to invest time in each one. In case any one of them is not adequately taken care of and the customers face issues, it might have a negative impact on the business. Make sure to use relevant marketing management tools to schedule all the work and keep track of each and every activity on different social media platforms.
Rules of Social Media Marketing
Social Media is not just about sharing content about your brand in a persuasive way, but specific rules have to be followed to get the desired results. You, as a business owner, must keep in mind that there are certain dos and don’ts that you have to keep in mind. Discussed below are some of the key points one should keep in mind if they want to reap the true benefits of social media.
Since social media has come into existence, it has been victorious. The main reason is that it allows people from different walks of life to connect and communicate with each other. It is essential to respect the rule of listening, which is crucial for marketing through social media. This means that you should listen to what your target audience expects from you. You must get involved in all the discussions on social media, make sure to solve all the issues customers are facing, and always welcome feedback. Doing this will help you to get positive results.
Another reason why the influence of social media has increased is due to reciprocation. In simpler words, social media has changed the way companies used to talk to their customers by giving rise to a two-way channel of communication. This means that customers can also tell you about their likes and dislikes. This will make the bond between the brand and customer much stronger, which will, in the long run, benefit the business itself.
Famous personalities on social media play a critical role in attracting the audience towards a product, service, or ideology. All these influencers can become your target audience as you can market and promote your brand directly to them, expanding your customer base in the process. The best tip is to reach out to the people directly and invest effort and time to create a distinctive image in the market. This will help you to get significant benefits from each other.
In Pakistan, many companies market their products through influential personalities. Comedian Danish Ali has been seen to promote products like Cadbury 5star and Axe body spray in his comedy videos that go viral on Facebook and YouTube; this results in their sales experiencing a massive boom. Similarly, Mooroo and Khujlee Vines have also marketed various brands through their video blogs.
It is not always enough to have hundreds of thousands of likes on your business pages; it is better to have quality followers that will actually benefit the business. Moreover, it is essential to have a smaller target audience to market correctly as this may help you to get productive results. This will improve the customer engagement and help to build long-lasting relationships.
Social media marketing nowadays can increase the value of a particular brand and extend its market share. However, this is only possible if you have chosen the suitable marketing strategies and the right social media platform. Customers are always more interested in a focused plan and strategy, not one that is all over the place.
Social Media Marketing Plan
A social media marketing plan refers to all the activities that will be carried out by a business to get fruitful results. The primary process is to create accounts on the selected platforms, using various resources, and reviewing existing profiles.
Most importantly, businesses should make sure that they are aware of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific) technique during social media marketing. Precise boundaries are to be kept in mind while setting SMART goals.
Before you start, it is vital for you to set goals that are attainable, and not include anything that is impossible to achieve. It is better that your aims are in line with the company’s mission statement. A major mistake that most businesses make is blindly following the methods used by competitors.
While it is important that you are aware of the marketing strategies of your rival companies, you should try and stick to your plan. The reason for this is that not everything that works for one brand will work for another. Work with an optimistic approach, and you will definitely get good results. It is recommended to try and achieve specific goals at the beginning, mainly sales, and creating brand awareness, etc. This will give real-time results with room for improvement.
Step by Step process of forming a Social Media Marketing Plan
- Reviewing Social Media Network: The essential step in creating a solid marketing plan is to properly audit existing work on social media. This means that you should have a look at the audience engagement, and competitor actions. This will help you analyze the relationship between the business and its consumers on social media platforms.
- Setting Goals According to SMART: Most businesses have the primary aim of profit maximization. Therefore, it is vital for a company to set all the targets according to SMART, e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-oriented. A business owner should not look at what other companies are doing and should try to establish goals according to their own business requirements.
- The Increase in Social Media Accounts: The third step is to make the existing accounts better. Moreover, established businesses should try and create new accounts on different platforms to increase customer reach. However, companies should be quick to make decisions so that if any platform does not prove to be beneficial for the business, they can try investing their time and effort in another. In this way, you will be able to determine which social media site is the most suitable for your needs.
- Forming a Content Marketing Plan: Content is one of the most important things in a robust marketing campaign. The key to success is using quality content. Create a plan that includes all the content strategies, content creation, and content calendar-building aspects and follow it religiously.
- Social Media Editorial Calendar: The next step is to create a social media editorial calendar. The calendar will include the schedule for publishing various videos, photos, blogs, and links on different social media platforms.
- Don’t lose hope and keep trying: The sixth and the final step in creating a social media marketing plan is to continue trying. This process is continuous and you should keep on testing your plan and keep analyzing the campaign results and reach on a daily
Social Media Marketing in Pakistan is considered a marathon, not a sprint. This is what business owners should always keep in mind while using social media as their marketing tool. As discussed above, you will be successful in marketing your brand if your target audience is defined and you are aware of the best platform for your needs. Moreover, keeping track of your activities and their effectiveness will also prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Furthermore, many business owners make efforts for a limited time span and then give up. To be successful in the social media marketing arena, you have to resort to the most effective tools and go with the trends, but most importantly stay focused and determined. Following these steps will surely help give a boost to your business.