Over the past year and half a shift has been felt in the behaviour of social media users. This shift has had a significant impact in the way that brands and businesses interact with their audiences on social media. Ornico Group hosted a virtual panel discussion on their Annual South Africa Social Media Landscape Report. In the riveting in-depth discussion, the panel provided insight on the latest social media trends shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic. Below we have highlighted the panel’s findings on how brands are engaging their audiences on social media.
PANDEMIC DRIVEN DIGITAL CHANGE
Covid-19 has had a lasting impact on how businesses operate. Brands have had to urgently pandemic-proof themselves with fresh and innovative ideas to ensure they stay alive. Social Media has undoubtedly played an enormous role in the survival of many businesses. Businesses have taken advantage of this and heightened their marketing strategies. According to the World Wide Worx, South Africa’s e-commerce sales increased last year by 66% to more than R30-billion as the result of the pandemic because South Africans were opting to buy goods and services online. The South Africa Social Media Landscape Report 2021 found that the top five social media platforms that brands are highly active on in SA are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. A trend expected to be seen in the next 12 months is the presence of more brands on Corporate Blog, Clubhouse, TikTok, and WhatsApp just to name a few. Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx says the big move to a platform such as Clubhouse will be felt in South Africa now that the platform is available on android, it was previously only available on IOS, while TikTok’s user base is evolving fast making it difficult for brands to keep up with it. Another trend is the increase of live streaming that experts expect to continue rising.
GROWTH OF SOCIAL MEDIA USERS
We have been hearing about the growth of social media users but what do the actual numbers look like? According to the South Africa Social Media Landscape Report 2021, the DataReportal’s Digital 2021 – Global Overview Report indicated that by January 2021, 4.66 billion people globally were using the internet. This is a growth of 316 million (7.3%), and 4.2 billion social media users, growing by 490 million users (13%) from the previous year. The report further indicated that for the same period, the number of internet users in South Africa increased by 1.7 million to 38.2 million users (4.5% increase). It further shows that in the past year, the number of social media users in South Africa has increased to 25 million which represented an increase of 3 million users (14% increase). It is also important to note that there are 24.63 million number of social media accessing via their mobile phones. A total of 98.5% of social media users access platforms using their mobile phones in South Africa.
ADVERTISING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
While TV and radio are still seen as the rulers of advertising, it has become clear that social media has “entered the chat”. Businesses are not only realising the importance of advertising on social media, but they are realising that it’s not as simple as posting a picture on Facebook and hoping that your audience sees it, unless you kindly ask Beyonce or Kim Kardashian to post your product to their millions of followers. Even then, an actual social media strategy is needed. The truth is brands are already occupied with the day-to-day aspects of their businesses that they do not have the time nor possess the skills in place to leverage and manage social media effectively to properly execute social media strategies. According to the South Africa Social Media Landscape Report 2021:
- 9% are ill-quipped
- 7% are less equipped
- 30,6% have an adequate skillset
- 49% have a good skillset
- 12,6% have an optimal skillset
The biggest trend seen in business is brands turning to social media consultancies, marketing agencies, and PR teams for a helping hand. Brands that take their businesses seriously have a set budget purely for social media. The advantage that comes with advertising on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc is that you get more for your buck! Social media advertising enables a business to reach an audience that they would not have been able to reach before at a lower price compared to traditional advertising. 49.5% of companies in South Africa are spending less than R10 000 per month on social media advertising. 1 in 5 companies are spending more than R50 000 per month, and that figure is expected to increase in the next 12 months.
THE RETURN OF INVESTMENT
The return of investment (ROI) that brands are seeing because of social media can be difficult to pinpoint however the South Africa Social Media Landscape Report 2021 finds that several businesses say the highest level of investment they have seen has “come in the form of brand awareness, sales, and customer insight”. They have also seen a greater appeal to targeted audiences, improved search ratings, greater cost effectiveness, improves brand loyalty, inbound traffic, increased market share, and better customer satisfaction as brands are easily accessible making communication between the two more effective. “This should be a wakeup call to brands who are not focused on sales, who don’t have an effective social media presence, that this has a direct impact on the bottom line if they do it right” says Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx.
CHALLENGES FACED IN SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
Social Media data has played a significant role in the relationship between brands and their customers. Businesses have been given a front row seat in getting to know their behaviours and preferences. This powerful data has enabled businesses the ability to build strategies based on the insight they have received directly from their customers. Because of this reason, businesses have been able to evolve in the ever-changing landscape of social media as the behaviours of their audiences evolves too. This has consequently [for businesses] resulted in the App Tracking Transparency. This basically means that social media platforms such as Facebook will have to ask users using apple devices with the new iOS update for permission in order for the platform and advertisers to track their behaviours. Should users opt for their data to not be collected, advertisers will no longer be able to track customers. According to the South Africa Social Media Landscape Report 2021 “the best way to propel a business forward into the digital future is to ensure that we fully understand the digital customer through multiple data points and analytics”. Without the ability to track and measure this data, could pose a challenges for brands on the platform.
If your business needs support with its overall digital strategy, paid media, content creation or community management, get in touch with one of our digital specialists CLICK HERE or mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the years, businesses have enhanced their digital footprints tremendously. Social media is undoubtedly one of the best vehicles that brands can use to drive their business objectives and achieve their goals. With that being said, not all businesses achieve success through social media. Here are a couple of things that you can do to gain an edge over your competitors.
1. CONTENT THAT DRIVES BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
Social media is not fluffy, it is a strategic tool that can be used to drive tangible business value. These objectives could include (but not limited to): brand awareness, building a database, increase app downloads, registering for an upcoming event or driving traffic to your online store. Whatever your objective, it is important to create content that provides value to both the business as well as the customer.
2. UTILISING THE RICH PLATFORM DATA
The various social media platforms have gathered an incredible amount of user data, by utilising this data you are able to communicate directly to your ideal customer with little to no wastage. You are able to target your ideal customer based on demographics, interests or behavioural data. Thus, allowing your business to speak to the right person, at the right time, with the right message – at scale.
3. SUPPORT THE ENTIRE CUSTOMER LIFE CYCLE
Social media can support the entire customer life cycle all the way from brand awareness through to the actual sale and even after sales support. With the data contained within the various social media platforms you are also able to track and retarget users with customised content based on where they are in the sales cycle and to support them throughout their customer journey.
4. CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT DELIGHTS
Customer service online should not just be a box that needs ticking. It is important that when your customers reach out to you online with questions, queries or complaints you are able to respond quickly and effectively. There is nothing more frustrating than reaching out to a brand online only to be redirected to a dusty email inbox. It is important that your community managers are empowered to solve issues in real-time.
5. PEOPLE DON’T HATE ADS
People don’t hate ads; they hate irrelevant ads. Social media allows brands to connect and advertise directly to their ideal customer solving real problems, offering solutions and adding value. Make sure to customise your content and messaging based on your target audience.
6. CONTENT SCHEDULE
It is important to keep track of your digital marketing strategy. A good way to do this, is by preparing a monthly / weekly content schedule. Not only is this for time management, but this allows you to have a bird’s eye view of your key messaging, content and publishing dates.
7. LESS IS MORE
The saying ‘less is more” is oh so relevant on social media. The notion that businesses have to post every day is flawed. Content creation is expensive and takes a lot of time and resources, thus you have to ensure that you’re getting the most value out of the assets that you have created. Focus should be on quality over quantity. This is where utilising paid adverting can be useful in terms of extending the longevity of your posts.
READ MORE: 7 SOCIAL MEDIA SINS EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD AVOID
If your business needs support with its overall digital strategy, paid media booking, content creation or community management schedule a free call with one of our digital specialists CLICK HERE or mail us at: email@example.com
Social media has increasingly become a powerful tool that businesses in various industries have tapped into as means to drive their business objectives. With that said, some businesses are unaware of the social media sins that they are inadvertently committing that could be hindering their success. Here are Social Media 101’s 7 social media sins that every business should avoid.
1. WASTING TIME GROWING FOLLOWERS
Over the years, social media platforms have throttled the organic algorithm. This means that the organic reach is now limited to 1-5% of people who follow your page and have opted in to hear from you. The days of posting and expecting your entire audience to see your posts are in the past. Paid advertising is a must for every business on social media. It allows you to reach a wider audience than just the people following your page. The advantage that comes with paid advertising is the ability to target your ideal customer based on their demographics, interests and behaviours. This ultimately gives your business an edge over others that have not yet tapped into this social media function.
2. ONLY FOCUSING ON ENGAGEMENT
While engagement looks good on your business and personal page, does it drive business values? Engagement is a vanity metric that gives the business social clout however there are other metrics that you should be focusing on to measure true business value. Tracking metrics that drive business objectives should be the number one focus. Metrics such as ‘Traffic’ lead potential customers to the website, and more often than not turn into sales, while ‘Reach’ helps businesses get more eyeballs on their content. It is important to track the metrics that directly relates back to the business objective that you are looking to achieve with a post. Ask yourself the question “does this metric support my business objective.”
Running a successful social media campaign can be tricky. Below we have highlighted the most common mistakes that brands make on social media and how to avoid them.
1. INCONSISTENT POSTING:
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. Similar to traditional marketing efforts brands still need 6-8 touch points on social media in order to convert their prospective customers. It is therefore important to share regular updates that help build brand awareness and trust – so that when your customer is ready to buy, your product or brand is top of mind.
2. POOR QUALITY CONTENT:
Social media is all about snap judgments and just like in real-life first impressions matter. Before a customer will buy from you, they will do some product research. Whether that is checking out your catalog, website, or social media pages. If you content is badly sized, not legible on mobile, pixelated, or blurry it will leave a negative impression. Business owners spend a lot of time making sure that their in-store experience is positive, but often forget that the same principles and attention to detail is required for their online presence.
3. ADDING NO VALUE:
There is nothing more annoying than brands that take, take and take. When building an online brand it is important that business’s focus on a healthy value exchange. Content shared on social media should add value to both the customer and business. Successful brands keep their audience updated and engaged with valuable content.
4. OBSESSING OVER PAGE FOLLOWERS:
Historically having a large audience allowed you to share regular updates with customers who have opted to follow and hear from your business. Unfortunately, as the platforms have evolved organic reach drastically decreased and social media now is a pay to play platform. Page followers have become a vanity metric. Having a large audience makes you look good, but contributes very little to your overall marketing success, because you are no longer able to speak to them.
5. NOT RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS, QUERIES AND COMPLAINTS:
You would not turn your back on a customer in real-life, so why do it online? We are always shocked to see how many customer questions go unanswered. Customers are the life force of any business, without them there is no business. It is important that brands respond to customer questions, queries and complaints timeously.
If your business needs support with its overall digital strategy, paid media booking, content creation or community management schedule a free call with one of our digital specialists CLICK HERE or mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer Service Versus Customer Experience: The term “Customer Experience” or CX is often mentioned in business – more so over the last couple of years. But what exactly does it mean? Is it just another way to describe customer service or is it something else altogether? In this article, we look at what Customer Experience is all about, what sets it apart from customer service and what significance it holds for business. We explain why your organisation should adopt a CX approach, and also provide practical solutions, like social media techniques, to help kick start this transition. Intrigued? Let’s get started.
CUSTOMER SERVICE VERSUS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Customer service, customer experience – Aren’t they the same thing? Not quite. Both concepts deal with the interaction between brands and consumers, but the way in which this takes place differs from one approach to the other. Customer service generally refers to actual tasks and actions related to serving and servicing customers. Customer experience, on the other hand, focuses on public perception of the brand in its entirety. It is important to note that customer service remains a key component of customer experience. The difference is that with a CX approach, customer support activities form part of an integrated client-focused business strategy as opposed to being an independent department or set of tasks. Each term can be defined as follows:
> Customer service refers to support provided by a company to its clients. It generally includes services such as responding to queries (e.g. product price and stockists), sales support (e.g. sales consultants in-store) after-sales assistance (e.g. technical support) and complaint resolution.
> Customer Experience (CX) encompasses the entire journey or sum total of experiences that a client has with a brand. It includes everything from the first point of contact (such as seeing an advert on social media or a product in-store) to post-sales customer relationship. It not only includes physical factors such as the quality of a product, but also emotion-based elements such as customer perception and brand sentiment.
Customer Services versus Customer Experience – As a quick reference, here’s a comparison between customer service and customer experience, highlighting key characteristics of each approach:
WHY CHANGE TO A CX-BASED BUSINESS APPROACH?
The answer to that lies in understanding why the CX approach emerged in the first place. The customer experience approach was developed as a response to changing consumer demands. Recent changes saw purchasing behaviour being influenced by client-centric elements at an increasing rate. This shift in consumer behaviour led to companies changing their business models to suit these demands. The result was a highly customer-centric approach that not only catered to these client needs, but also the changing business landscape in terms of digitisation and alternate media. This was termed the Customer Experience approach. In the current market, convenience, user-value, personalised communication and brand image are slowly overtaking price as decision-making factors by buyers. In fact, according to statistics, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better brand experience (www.qualtrics.com).
So back to the question: Why change to CX? Well, it simply comes down to supply and demand. Customers demand a CX approach – and the better a brand supplies this demand, the higher their success potential. Studies show that this shift is not just a passing fad – they indicate that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator (www.econsultancy.com). This is further backed up by Deloitte who state that a consumer’s decision to buy a product or service is impacted by their overall enjoyment of their experience. (www.econsultancy.com). In a consumer-driven business environment, failing to meet customer demands will not just lead to unrealised sales potential, but inevitably, losing market-share to competitors that satisfy said demands.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP YOU TRANSITION TO A CX-BASED APPROACH
By design, social media platforms are ideally suited to a CX-based approach. Below is a list of business characteristics for a strong customer centric approach and details on how social media supports each element:
> Convenience: Consumer research shows that the preferred brand platform for communication is social media. This communication includes sales & marketing content, as well as customer-service-based interactions such as queries, complaints and technical support. Most web-traffic being mobile-based, and as social media is highly mobile-optimised, this increases convenience for customers.
> User Value: Customers support brands that provide some sort of value for them. Social media supports value-rich content such as articles, blogs and surveys. The ability to upload different media types (e.g. images, videos and slideshows) also boosts entertainment and enjoyment levels for consumers.
> Responsiveness, adaptability & interactivity: Clients expect quick turn-around times, responsive service and personalised two-way communication. Social media promotes all this and more. Brands can interact on a one-on-one basis with clients, as well as provide personalised marketing messaging to different client segments. By nature, social media response times are much faster than most traditional customer service methods. Brands can even change their native content in minutes should there be a serious negative response by consumers.
> Positive Brand Image & Affinity: Social media allows brands to position themselves in a desirably manner to boost sentiment. This can be done by increasing user-value through content (as mentioned above), as well as by highlighting positive elements such as a business’s community work or social responsibility projects.
> Customer Journey & Relationships: Social media supports the entire customer journey – from the first point of contact to every other interaction thereafter. This includes brand awareness, sales, marketing, technical support and after-sales communication. It also allows for consistency of experience throughout this journey.
> Quality Service: The combination of the above factors, along with other related functions, means that social media helps improve the overall quality of service that a business offers. This ties in to the overall experience that a customer has with a brand, which is what CX is all about.
To summarise, the core goal of the customer experience approach is to promote positive brand perception that leads to long-term customer relationships. This in turn helps achieve brand objectives such as sales generation, customer retention and business growth. CX is rapidly becoming the primary factor influencing purchasing decisions and customer loyalty. For business success, it is imperative for companies to implement a CX-based approach as part of overall business strategy. Social media is excellently suited to support customer experience and business goals. It is also a cost-effective and non-disruptive way to transition businesses from a purely customer service approach to a customer experience approach. And in a relatively short period of time.
Need assistance with your CX-based activities? Social Media 101 can help with customised solutions to suit your unique business needs. CLICK HERE to get in touch with Social Media 101.
At a recent roundtable discussion comprising marketing professionals from a range of industries (including hospitality, music and banking), we investigated the challenges faced regarding social media marketing. We asked marketing professionals what their single biggest problem was when it comes to marketing their brand on social media. We expected responses such as “understanding algorithms” or “measuring return on investment”. Instead, the leading answer was (surprisingly): getting approval for a social media budget. Some marketing managers had difficulty getting sufficient funds allocated towards social media activities, while others struggled to get a budget at all.
Most of the marketers surveyed attributed this problem to their organisation’s decision-makers’ lack of understanding regarding the business value offered by social media. The rest simply didn’t know where to start in terms of approaching their business’s CEO/Director/Owner/Financial Manager about investing in social media. Based on the insight provided by this focus group, we have put together some tips to help marketers when it comes to getting your social media budget approved.
Getting your social media budget approved – tips for marketers
Before approaching your company’s decision-maker about social media budgets, make sure that you have the required information and insight at hand. These are some tips and techniques designed to help you motivate your case for social media investment:
Take an integrated approach: Instead of approaching social media as a separate marketing component, integrate it with your overall marketing plan. Social media has the capability to support virtually any other marketing activity. For example, driving foot traffic if you have an in-store sale or boosting awareness and ticket sales for an event. It should therefore form an integral part of your marketing mix. Presenting a well-designed marketing plan that includes social media may be more favourably received than a separate social media plan in isolation.
Do the research: Social media is able to support your brand’s needs, wants and priorities. Shortlist your company’s business objectives and look at how social media can promote each of these goals. This includes tangible factors such as sales generation, as well as promoting goals such as increasing brand awareness or positive affinity. Both short- and long-term company goals should be taken into account when ascertaining how social media can be used to benefit the business.
Do the legwork: Consult with social media specialists to gain insight into solutions that would work best for your brand. Speak to more than one expert so that you can get a balanced idea of the options that you have. Thereafter, get quotes that are in line with an appropriate social media strategy for your brand. By doing this, you will be able to explain how the requested social media budget will be spent, as well as the underlying rationale of the plan. If hiring an in-house team is not a viable option, look at outsourcing this function. That way you can get the benefit of excellent social media management without the hassle of employing more people. This will save time, effort, money, company resources and other overhead considerations. Read more…
Rands and Sense: Social media has the potential to provide high return on investment. Again, this is both in terms of bottom-line results as well as factors like brand positioning or customer satisfaction. It is an efficient, cost-effective marketing method. A well-executed social media strategy is one that is highly result-driven. This means that funds allocated towards social media should be viewed as an investment in the business, not as an unnecessary expense.
It’s all in the numbers: Most decision-makers are fans of reports and statistics. While traditional marketing does provide some data, social media does not shy away from the numbers and is rich in qualitative and quantitative metrics. Social media platforms are able to provide measurable results, accurate data, comprehensive reports and even information like insight into consumer behaviour and market trends. Emphasise the science behind social media, and how it can improve the business in general – not just marketing tasks. This alone may be the key to winning over the financial gatekeeper.
Re-allocate Marketing Budgets: If your company has budget restrictions and simply cannot increase marketing spend, consider re-allocating existing budgets. Analyse the returns you are receiving from your current marketing platforms (e.g. billboards, television and print). Then look at re-allocating some of these funds to social media activities.
Additional points to support social media investment:
To substantiate your “pitch” for a social media budget, these are some of the additional benefits offered by social media:
> It offers custom audience targeting – meaning that there is little to no wastage on unsuitable consumer segments. This makes it a highly targeted and cost-efficient marketing method.
> It is versatile and supports different media types (image, video, slideshows etc). You can also provide value-rich content (such as tips, articles, insight) in addition to marketing content.
> You can interact directly with your clients as social media supports two-way communication, which is great for improved customer support services.
> In today’s digitally rich business environment, it is imperative that brands have a strong social media presence and are active and agile to respond to comments, queries and complaints which assist in reducing risk for the company.
The key to getting senior decision-makers to invest in social media lies in demonstrating the business value offered by social media. Also, social media is not a passing fad – it is here to stay. Therefore, not being on social media leaves a business at a disadvantage. This is both in terms of competitors, as well as business progression. Social media is no longer a “nice-to-have”, it is a “must have”.
We hope that the above points help with the challenge of getting social media investment – both in terms of finances and interest. For additional insight and advice, get in touch with the Social Media 101 team. We can also assist with effective social media strategy planning and execution, as well as platform management. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101.