In the world of marketing, certain statements are just accepted. Social media is key for every business, and every business needs to be available on key social media platforms. Content is king. Native marketing is on the rise. While each of these statements are true, companies that are new to online marketing beyond paying for a few banner ads through AdWords can be confused about what they should do next.
Let’s take a look at each of these ideas, and better understand how they serve your business.
When the Internet was a lot smaller, companies that created blog or video content were in the minority. They could reasonably expect that their websites would be found and ready simply by adding a few keywords and backlinks to their posts.
That world is long gone.
Now, Google’s analytics have gotten much more complicated, and are much more difficult to game. Many more companies have active blog and content programs, so separating the signal from the noise is much more difficult for customers. This is where social media has become key. Social media is, if nothing else, a platform to “advertise” your content through shares and likes, pushing it to the broadest possible audience.
“Instead of old-school pop-up or banner ads, customers have vastly preferred native marketing”, says Ben Givon, the CEO of Baff Networks. “Sponsored search results and in-feed posts and advertisements are both less intrusive and more likely to be clicked and viewed.”
When companies want to increase clicks and reach new audiences, native marketing can absolutely move the needle.
This statement has been true for years, and the concept of thought leadership and information sharing as a vehicle to brand awareness is unlikely to change any time soon. When a customer perceives a business as an expert in their field, they are more likely to trust the products and services available from the business.
Since every company has substantial competition, content is a way to differentiate niche, showcase value statements, and generally build brand.
Should your business invest in social media marketing through boosted posts and paid advertisements? Should it purchase native marketing to show up in feeds and suggested content? What about hiring copywriters and blog experts to create a robust content program?
The answer is never simple.
What marketing you need depends on what you want to do with your business. It is entirely possible that you will need all three types of marketing at various points in your company’s lifespan. What does each type of marketing excel at?
· Social Media Marketing is primarily useful as a brand builder, especially used in conjunction with content marketing. These methods work to humanize a brand, connect customers with experts within the company, and show that the company is a thought leader or expert within the industry. For example, a customer service representative might monitor a company’s social media channels to find people frustrated about an experience or struggling with some aspect of an order. They can then reach out to the customer and connect them with the right person to help resolve the issue.
· Native Marketing is more useful when you want to get customers to do something specific. Push for clickthroughs, increase engagement with a particular service or item, or drum up enthusiasm about a new product with native marketing. Now, if you take a piece of content and boost the content through paid services on Facebook, for example, you have now blended all three marketing types. Companies that use these techniques well have seen unprecedented success in their marketing efforts.
The biggest potential failure of native marketing is bad targeting. If ads are served to targeted demographics on a platform, choosing the wrong demographics can cause the content or ads to be served to different groups than the ideal customers. This can be an inefficient use of company resources.
Native marketing also has the potential to be intrusive. On Twitter, for example, users are much more frustrated with native marketing than they tend to be on Facebook. Know what people on your preferred platform think of native marketing before you invest in it.
Use native marketing for its strengths; native marketing is unlikely to change brand perception or bring in a huge return on investment. It is, however, much more predictable and scalable than content marketing. Understanding what sends a piece of content viral, for example, is difficult at best and impossible at its worst.
What experiences has your business had with native marketing?