Where Should Social Media Fit in Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy?

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Where Should Social Media Fit in Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy?

Marketers have a wide range of options to choose from when trying to figure out which channels to include in their brand’s marketing strategy. Each organization should develop a customized mix and assign each channel a specific use. But how can marketers determine what that mix is, and how should they leverage it? And are all channels right for your brand?


Social media marketing is one option, and it’s an attractive channel. How many people do you know who aren’t on social media every day? But whether all those people use it to discover or learn about products and services in your category is a different story, and it might be one that surprises you. So throw out your assumptions and guide your investments, strategy, and tactics by listening to your customers.


Our Shopper Influence Research program kicked off with a study of 6,000 US-based recent purchasers across six different product and service categories. The findings include rich insights about who uses social media to shop, how they use it, and how social channels stack up against other options in the marketer’s toolkit. Here’s a preview of what we’ve published about these social shoppers in our Shoppers & Social Media Report, available now:


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Knowing that your shoppers are on social media isn’t enough.

A fully informed marketing strategy also must take into account whether the channel is actually influential in the shopper’s final decision. Identifying the channels that are generally used will tell you where your shoppers are, and that’s the first step. But knowing which are influential in the purchase journey allows brands like yours to target shoppers with the most important information at the most important time.


Usage + Influence = Value

To determine whether social media is right for your brand’s marketing, think about it this way: A highly-used channel that’s considered to be highly influential is also most valuable, both to shoppers and to the marketers seeking to reach them. At Alter Agents, we boil that down to a simple equation: Usage + Influence = Value. Channels and the individual sources within them that score high on value are where you should target your marketing spend.


Social Media’s Value Depends on the Category

Our research found that the value of social media to your marketing mix will vary significantly depending on your product or service category. Remember that Usage + Influence = Value equation? We plot it on a quad chart, comparing how often shoppers in the six categories used the channel on their purchase journey with how influential they said social media was.

For the categories in the top right corner, social media is a slam dunk channel and it demands marketing investment. For the folks down in the bottom left, other channels probably make more sense.


We can see that even products that could be just an aisle over in the store like Dog Treats and Coffee could see comparable levels of influence, but very different levels of usage. And products that are very different, like household cleaning supplies and home fitness equipment, also couldn’t be more different in terms of value. It all depends on what and to whom you’re selling.


Drill Down to the Details

Okay, you’ve decided that your category sits in the top right of the chart above, and you’re ready to greenlight investment in social media marketing. But how does your brand know which information to send to their shoppers on social media? Which messaging is the most influential in winning customers over? Should you invest in Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or all of them? What about an influencer campaign? It all depends on how shoppers act in your category.

So learn from the shoppers you’re chasing! Our Shopper Influence Research program can help guide you through the planning process to guide your business and nail your next campaign.


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