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There is no denying that social media took the world by storm. New platforms are constantly popping up trying to challenge the current leaders. Why? Because there is money to be made.
Brands, organizations, and individuals all have the potential to advertise to a wider more diverse audience with social media. Done right, it can save a business or create influencers. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how social media has impacted how we have come to understand marketing today.
We can all admit that social media took off in a way that most of us could not have predicted. It has now evolved to what I would say is a utility of daily life. Often, I still hear the “back in my day, we used to talk in person” comments whenever the topic of social media comes into the discussion with some of the millennial generations and on. With it came an innovative method of marketing, social media marketing. Over the past decade, companies have invested a lot of resources into social media. There are a plethora of different tactics that can be taken with social media marketing, and it is exciting analyzing them. Social platforms are constantly changing as well: algorithms, services they offer, and terms of service. From my experience, it requires a lot of work to stay up to date with all the new changes. It is why I understand the point of view of their generations when it comes to social media marketing.
The idea of commercial advertising can be traced back to the early days of social media that predates platforms like Myspace, LunarStorm being the original. It was a Swedish developed platform released in 2000. It was the first social media platform that considered incorporating commercial advertising into its business model. That model grew in popularity as social media evolved; it is what runs most modern social platforms. LunarStorm had a surprisingly positive member count peaking at around 1.2 million members. It was only available to Swedish and UK residents. According to LunarStorm, it was also originally targeted at teenagers with 70% of their userbase being between the ages of 12 and 17.LunarStorm had to close in 2010 due to inactivity but their social media marketing undertakings live on with platforms today.
Company pages have been a social strategy that has been well adopted by countless brands and companies. They comment, answer questions, and advertise new products; some have developed personas that have and share their opinions on trendy topics. My personal favorite is Wendy’s. Over the past few years, the company has become notorious for its vicious roast and unapologetic attitude. A tweet that made me chuckle was their response to a tweet in 2017. A Twitter user named ceophono told Wendy’s that their food is trash. The account responded with “No, your opinion is though”. Data by Simply Measured showed that the continued pattern significantly boosted the company’s online engagement. The public was loving what they deemed as “sassy Wendy”. Love for the reinvention of the social media account was shown in their financials as well. They started around early 2017, later they announced that the company’s net income grew by 49.7%. Seeing the success, others followed.
This strategy has become a trend among a multitude of companies. Fruit Roll-Ups and Gushers started posting memes on their Instagram pages. Slim Jim hired a fan to run the company’s Instagram page. Andy Hines turned an account with only 5,000 followers to 1.2 million in 2 years. Taco Bell is another notable brand that has adopted a witty and edgy social media attitude. They found their audience and have found the perfect approach to communicating with them. All said and done, in my opinion, Wendy’s remains atop the throne.
Direct social media marketing has been more apparent in the last decade. Social media platforms invest a lot into developing new ways to advertise. Snapchat created a page dedicated to advertised content. Tinder has ad cards that automatically take the user to the advertised product upon a right swipe. It has been profitable for all parties involved. This has been Facebook’s primary model since its launch. In their 2020 financial report, Facebook reported 29.1 billion dollars of net income. 98% of the revenue came from advertising. Often caught in controversy typically, regarding the privacy of consumers. Facebook isn’t a stranger to that aspect of it either. Facebook data leaks, which now feel a little too common, can pose a problem for the future of this model. A survey conducted by The University of Sydney analyzed the publics' opinion of trust in social media companies and their data. Facebook garnered the most distrust followed by TikTok. Except for LinkedIn, 40% of all the participants felt concerned about the other social platform's uses of their data. The European Union has already placed certain limitations on it. In 2018 the EU passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is currently the most severe privacy law in the world. Fines for violating the new laws could reach 10 million euros or close to 12 million USD. Facebook has already reported how the new laws have hurt its profits. I imagine it also impacted the financials of other social media platforms. The EU is still in an ongoing case with a couple of social platforms, so there is a high probability of more change. Even with all that legal business social media marketing is still the preferred method of modern marketing.
The world of social media marketing is a vast one. It continues to expand, change, and unfold. People in my life that operate small businesses often note the complexity of social media marketing. My advice is, while it can seem daunting, it can be as easy as coming up with just one unique idea. The high risk does not always equal a high reward in this space. The “sassy Wendy” social media page idea could have easily been negatively received. There is still a chance that Wendy can tweet something that the public might consider is too sassy. Failed social media campaigns are nothing new. A majority of the time they can be simple human errors that could leave the viewers confused; Chick-fil-A was guilty of this when a response to a client on Twitter hinted that Alaska was not part of North America. This only ventures into the social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. More unique forms of social platforms exist such as YouTube and Vimeo that present a slew of different issues, but that is a discussion for another blog. The more severe failures have led to boycotts or government intervention. The success and failures of those companies should serve as a guide to navigate through marketing. Cautious creativity is the key to the game, after all, we all know anything posted on the internet is never truly gone.
There are endless approaches to social media marketing. To learn more about it, please read some of the Hollywood Branded blogs below:
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