Social media has now taken on a life of its own and has grown into an area of specialisation under the broader fields of Marketing and Advertising. (GP)
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Facebook came on the scene in 2004 and when we ask most persons to define what social media is, a vast majority will usually default to a single word, “Facebook”. In 2019, Merriam-Webster defined "social media" as "forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”
Here at Nation Digital, we demystify social media by telling our customer that Facebook, LinkedIn and others are really software companies and this software is usually accessed via the cloud. All Mysteries aside, social media has now taken on a life of its own and has grown into an area of specialisation under the broader fields of Marketing and Advertising. According to Statista, one of the latest estimates (final quarter of 2018) states that “1.52 billion active users visited the social network [Facebook] on a daily basis.”[i] Now if that is not impressive, then what is?
Bringing it closer home to Barbados, we notice, almost weekly, that our local companies are now contracting Digital Media Specialists, or some other related job title, to take care of their digital marketing (which includes social media and website content management) and online advertising. As we say in Bimshire, it is better late than never and our companies are speedily adhering to these social media channels and platforms as another means to communicate with their customers and constituents. We also witnessed that during last year’s general election, social media rose to further prominence by political parties seeking to get their message across to prospective voters.
Our companies, therefore, now face the task of having to hire the requisite talent and bring them on board to handle their digital marketing or outsource this function to reputable consultants and companies.
Having managed and overseen the impressive growth of our own social media presence here at the Nation Publishing Company Limited, we can attest, first-hand, to an ever-increasing level of specialisation.
Here are some of the latest stats of the Nation’s digital platform:
- Website – www.nationnews.com – 72 000 return readers per month in Barbados
- Facebook – 180 000 followers and growing daily
- Instagram – 56 000 followers and growing daily
At Nation Digital, we do predict that larger digital marketing agencies and companies will soon have to sub-divide in three distinct skill sets, albeit still working in teams. In other words, the functions of today’s Digital Marketing Specialist is quickly splitting into three distinct but interconnected jobs; that of the graphics artist, the content marketer and customer service support. The below definitions will show why it is somewhat difficult for all these skills to reside in a single professional as the demand for digital marketing continues to grow at an exponential rate.
The role of the graphics designer is still central and critical to the social media space. Though we now have a proliferation of do-it-yourself cloud-based graphics programs that are purpose-built for ‘SoMe’ (social media), nothing beats the touch of a well-trained professional graphics artist handling your company’s brand and corporate image.
Content marketing and advertising strategy
The Content Marketing Institute defines “Content marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”[ii]
It is further defined as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that…is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”[iii] Social media, therefore, is an integral part of what is now known as content marketing.
The Content Marketer quite often doubles up as that person responsible for online advertising strategies, implementation and daily monitoring. This function also requires some degree of skill in Digital Analytics with the ability to present and interpret the data insights that are now built into all SoMe programs.
Finally, what we do notice occurring at an even faster rate is how Barbadians are now using messaging apps or the messaging utility of the SoMe programs to contact businesses. The demanding customer of our time, armed with the latest smartphone and Wi-Fi connectivity is contacting businesses directly through their SoMe sites and guess what? Your customer expects immediate or timely responses to queries or complaints. This discerning customer writes instant reviews on companies via the likes of Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor and others and expects equally fast feedback. When a company does not respond to its online messages, “it’s equivalent to calling that business and no one answers the telephone.”
Customers are now booking services online, making purchases directly from SoMe sites and making general customer service queries. We cannot help but agree with Adweek and Facebook, that “messaging is going to become your most important marketing channel.”[iv]
Nation Digital, with our team of highly trained and industry-certified Digital Marketers and Digital Media Specialists, is here to help you make your journey into this fascinating digital world.
Why not visit us online at https://nationdigitalcreative.com/ and take our free assessment and one of our Digital Media Specialists will reach out to you with a solution to meet your business needs. Feel free to contact us to schedule a visit and presentation at the new Nation Digital Creative Studio.