Which marketing medium is right for you? Which one should you choose to make the maximum impact in your sales as an online retailer? Let us clear an important misconception about the internet first, before getting into these questions – the internet is not a network. It is a network of networks, both in the physical sense in terms of its server connections, and also in a very social, intangible sense. While posting something online does mean that it would probably be there forever, it would also probably be lost and deserted, like the millions of inactive blogs and websites that make up most of the internet.

To successfully navigate the internet without getting bogged down and confused by the sheer amount of data that is accessible, we have to change the way we look at it. Break it down into smaller networks and treat these individual networks differently. But how does this help?

Every time you post a status message on Facebook, it does not reach all of your thousand friends’ feeds. Instead, Facebook applies a highly advanced algorithm which takes into account your behaviour, your interaction with specific friends, etc. to guess who might be interested in your status message, and only those friends would see it immediately. This is true with most social media channels. The sheer amount of data flowing from one screen to another is so huge that the social media interface has to curate it for you. Therefore, if you are looking to maximize reach through a social medium, then the first step is to understand it.

Choosing the Right Marketing Medium for Online Retail

1. Medium is the Message

Canadian philosopher Marshall Mcluhan came up with this epithet – ‘Medium is the Message’. ( He is also famous for coining the term ‘global village’). Think about it for a second – I am on Facebook. On Instagram, I might post a photo once in a blue moon. On Twitter, I have an account but I rarely open it. I am not on Snapchat, I tried Vine for a few days and it was fun, but then I stopped. These days, I am quite active on Youtube. I do not watch TV. My lifestyle dictates which social media platforms I engage with, or is it the other way round?

Some of us like certain social media, others don’t. There seems to be something inherent in the particular social medium itself that we love or hate – might be its accessibility, crispness, control over privacy, look, interface, or even the fact that most of your friends prefer it, etc. The point is that even though they all are clubbed together as social media, each of them is a very different beast. It is a well-documented fact that newer social media like Snapchat attract more youngsters than Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, think about your market, because it exists as a network waiting to be unearthed somewhere on the internet.

2. Social Media Language

There exists a language of social media, which I have never been able to master. But it is easy to see that it exists. Memorable social media posts have something to do with the structure of its language. Hashtags are the best examples of this. Hashtags, which were introduced by Twitter, have now become a ubiquitous part of the internet language, as a way of tagging and archiving your social media posts. It can be said that every social media channel has its own dialect. Likes, followers, wall, feed, double tap, hashtag, etc. these are just some examples of these dialects. Some only speak in visual language through images, others only through video. The point is that while choosing the medium of your choice, think about the language that you would use to say something on it.

3. What are You Selling?

Let us shift gears for a second and look at your product, rather than the different marketing mediums that you could choose. So, what is it that you are selling? Who are your buyers? Do they have access to the internet? What age group do your customers belong to? What time do you think they would generally be active on social media? These are the questions that you have to think about to understand more about your product, who would want it, and how to reach them. Certain social media are really fast in their engagement time, others are slower. Snapchat for example, will automatically erase the image/video that was broadcast by you to your followers. So a fun and creative unboxing video will be more engaging on such a channel, than a dry text about the benefits of your product.

4. Social Media Analytics

Collecting and analyzing data is the most important part of your social media strategy. Some social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide their own analytics tools. There are also a plethora of third party tools, software and apps to choose from when it comes to data analytics of social media platforms. Try a few of them out and find the tools that you would be comfortable with. Use the interaction data that you collect to create better ways of engagement in terms of language, timing, promoting your posts.

5. Participate in the Social Media Experience

Finally, an important word of advice. Social media are first and foremost spaces of interaction and engagement, and then advertisement. The more friends you make, conversations you have, posts you publish, hashtags you popularise, conflicts you resolve, images you are tagged in, the more you are going to understand how to sustain yourself in the ecosystem. Therefore, don’t be afraid to make some mistakes. Just make sure that you make new mistakes every time.

That’s what we have on choosing social media for marketing. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts, and we are always happy to help.

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