Social media is a growing platform for marketing. Post secondary schools including Fanshawe College offers a variety of courses involving Instagram and Twitter, two social sites that were launched 10-15 years ago. Jackie Westelaken is a full-time professor at Fanshawe College and coordinator of the college’s Corporate Communication and Public Relations graduate certificate program.
“It is everywhere. Every brand is on social media, they may not be on all platforms but they will choose a specific platform that reaches their audience. It’s not going away and it’s certainly going to grow.”
Social media platforms allow people to market their company or themselves in a quick and easy way. Westelaken says companies are competing for people’s time and attention.
“Even 60 second videos are becoming too long. Ours students just did a presentation for Snapchat, and they recommended four seconds for videos.”
Westelaken says although it is difficult to give whole messages in a matter of four seconds, it is important to keep things short and sweet in marketing.
“Our attention span is definitely shrinking, we need things in little chunks, we need something flashy, our eye has to be caught which is really unfortunate but there’s also an art to it and a challenge.” Westelaken adds, “the creativity can come out of it as well. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, for the purposes of marketing, it’s just a challenge.”
Aside from how short and sweet social media ads are, they are also cost efficient. Amani Assiri is a digital marketing student at Fanshawe College. During the course of Assiri’s digital marketing program, she says she worked with a variety of different social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook for campaigns and other companies.
Assiri says one of the biggest reasons why social media marketing is growing so popular is because of its cost efficiency. “We received a small amount of $10 to create our ads but received a huge response from people. Facebook let us choose a target age, location, and the time of day for the ad to come up on feeds. The most popular time was the weekend, Friday to Sunday.”
The convenience of social media makes it very easy for companies to advertise their products in a matter of minutes. Social media makes matters for the consumer easy as well, Assiri says.
“Shopping can be done online, grocery shopping too. At some stores like Loblaws or Walmart, you can do your grocery shopping online. Some will deliver to your house or you can order it online and pick it up. I have school from nine to five, and then I have work at night sometimes so I have no time to do groceries. If I order it online I can pick it up after work, which is very convenient for me.”
Westelaken says almost any social media platform has its own analytics and they will look at who is following you and who you’re following. She explains that social platforms like Twitter and Instagram have analytics of when followers are online, target audiences, location, interests, age and when it is a good time of the day to post. Westelaken goes on to say that every platform has the capability for analytics because while social media can be relatively low cost there is still a human resources investment. Companies, brands, and organizations want to be able to see that return on investment.
Professor Westelaken and Assiri believe because marketing through social media is simple, affordable and easily accessible, it is here to stay and will only advance.
“It’s hard to predict what’s next but we know there is a next.”