Social Media’s Impact on Supplement Business Growth

by Matt Weik

We live in a world where social media is used and abused—to a point. Sure, social media is great for staying connected with friends and family, but who would have thought the day would come when celebrities and athletes were no longer utilized to grow a brand? Not only is social media FREE, but you actually get analytics and data to show how posts are doing in terms of engagement and clicks. Athletes and celebrities shouldn’t quit their day jobs.

Free for all

Grabbing consumers attention on social media is one big free for all. Everyone is producing eye-catching creatives and images to pull in a consumer. How much does it cost to post an image or creative promoting your brand on social media? Nothing. That’s right, not a penny. You can have a free social media profile for your business on any platform you choose—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. Think about how much money it costs to run an ad on television, magazines, on radio, even on billboards. Now, think about the power you hold in your hand when you don’t need to spend a dime and you’ll get more eyeballs on your brand and products than those other advertising platforms. Soon, I believe those outlets will be completely obsolete with no one really utilizing television and radio. Print magazines barely even exist anymore today thanks to the digital age of online magazines. Heck, billboards (at least around Pennsylvania) are nearly gone these days. Maybe some digital billboards are being utilized, but that’s it. And the digital billboards are just a way for that advertising company to make more money by having revolving ads on the digital billboard.

Everyone wants to grab the attention of their consumer and the best way to do that is to fish where the fish are and get out in front of their faces—and social media is exactly where these people are. It even allows start-up businesses the opportunity to build their business without having to set aside a huge sum of money to invest into advertising and marketing. They are able to utilize that money in other areas of the business to keep it afloat.

Promotions and new product launches

What better way to talk about a new product launch than pushing it on a brand’s social media page? They already have thousands to millions of people following them, so it only makes sense to push anything new coming out on the platform. You’re able to showcase the label, the supplement facts, and the ingredients to get people excited to purchase the product. Add some cool creative and copy surrounding the post and people will be flooding their website to make a purchase.

Another positive associated with the social media platforms is the ability to push sales. Not transactions, I’m talking about promotions and discounts. Normally you would need to pay for an ad or hope people checked your website (or email if the brand sends out email blasts). Today, you can push a different sale every day of the week if you wished and never need to pay to get it out in front of everyone. Then with the ability for your followers to share your promotional and sale post, things can go viral and completely blow up your sales.

Social media post boosts and ads

If you want to put some money aside for social media marketing campaigns, more power to you. You can spend as much or as little as you wish on the platforms. One thing is for certain, the cost is a heck of a lot less than the other advertising channels out there today. People like to talk about Super Bowl commercials and most I think end up watching more of the commercials than the actual game. That’s honestly one of the worst investments ever. Sure, you’ll get a ton of people seeing your commercial, but at the cost, you better pray that is comes with an even larger ROI—which it will probably fall way short. Utilize that $1M+ elsewhere.

Coughing up a small amount of money (like what’s in your pocket), is enough to get your post or social media ad out in front of thousands of people. Social media platforms allow you to target certain demographics to ensure your ad is seen by the people you are trying to get out in front of. Ever scroll through Facebook and see a “sponsored post.” That’s a paid for placement and you were part of their targeted demographic. Now, there are good eye-catching ads and then there are ads with very low performance. The ads that generally do the best are the attention-grabbing visuals of the creative with a great CTA (call to action).

Influencer power

It’s interesting to see fitness influencers getting paid thousands of dollars per social media post to promote a brand or their product(s). Why? Because they have a million subscribers or followers who engage with them on a daily basis. They are able to get a brand or product out in front of potentially millions of consumers. With a single post, influencers can draw thousands to millions of eyeballs onto whatever is in their post. If they are talking about a new protein powder on the market, you’ll find people going out to buy it since the influencer recommended it. A problem arises when every post starts to look like an ad for a company and they start to devalue their own posts and influence on the market. There needs to be a healthy mix of both types of posts.

There are also some other negatives with influencers. Some influencers have no morals or ethics and will promote anything and anyone who is willing to sign a check, while others are extremely selective and therefore generally charge more because their followers know they aren’t simply whoring out every product under the sun to make some quick cash.

You could have scenario where an influencer is a “sponsored athlete.” I use the quotes because they truly aren’t an athlete. A brand is simply giving them the title to make them look fancy and as if they are a part of the team—yet they aren’t employed by the brand. The brand is simply giving them compensation (generally in the form of product, not money) for their willingness to push their brand and product line on their social media platforms. Honestly, this type of marketing in my opinion has been played out. When I see “sponsored athlete” in anyone’s profile, I already dismiss anything they say or post.

Most true influencers do not become sponsored or ambassadors because they know there are larger opportunities out there for them rather than tying themselves down to one brand. And these days, no one believes that these “athletes” are truly sponsored, many of them don’t even compete, and it’s clear that they are simply after free product because they are too cheap to buy it themselves. And many times, the “athlete” has copied and pasted the same email “I love your products, can I be a sponsored athlete or ambassador?” to just about every supplement company around the globe.

No one believes celebrities these days

For years we would thumb through our favorite print magazines (which are probably out of business or who switched over to a digital version) and see athletes and celebrities promoting brands on what seemed like every other page. Now, celebrities aren’t worth nearly as much. Everyone knows they were brought in to push a brand due to who they are and their status, and they also know that the chances of a celebrity or athlete using their product is slim to none—unless it’s a high-end product. It’s believable that Tom Brady wears a Tag Heuer watch, and that he promotes their brand because of it—it’s a status thing. Having an athlete like Phil Heath promoting a protein powder and saying he used it to get that big is simply a fallacy. Anyone who believes that is simply delusional.

Celebrities have overstayed their welcome in all industries and have been overplayed for years. Brands thought consumers were gullible and would believe celebrities promoted their products because they worked or that they solved a problem. The only problem it solved was how that celebrity was going to make some quick and easy money doing literally nothing other than taking photos or reading from a script—oh, and a smile.

Affiliate programs create a win-win environment

While some people can’t be taken serious because they are known for doing shady things for money, affiliate programs give honest consumers the ability to promote a brand and push sales of something they enjoy or use themselves. There are many different ways that affiliates can be compensated. Some affiliate programs pay out by giving away free product while others give monetary compensation through commissions.

Generally, what takes place is that an affiliate will promote products for sale on their website or blog and if someone makes a purchase through their link or by using their coupon code, it registers in the brands system and at the end of the month the sales are tallied and either commission checks are sent out or free goods are shipped. They also have the ability to push the products on their social media platforms to aid in creating sales.

Affiliate programs are like having a sales force pushing your brand without the brand actually paying salaries. This is great for brands large and small because they only need to pay commissions on sales that were earned. This prevents someone from taking advantage of the brand and collecting money for possibly working hard and investing time, but not bringing any new customers or sales to the brand. Their thinking is that they aren’t going to pay for effort, they only pay for results—which from a brand standpoint is ideal.

The nice thing with an affiliate program is that the affiliates can make as much or as little money as they want. The more they push the brand and convince people to purchase, they more money they put in their pocket each month. Some people even work a normal 9-5 job and then are an affiliate for a brand on the side for extra income.

There are so many ways that social media today is helping the supplement industry. From free marketing if they plan to do so, to pushing new launches and sales. With social media, it has created an easier way for businesses to get out in front of potential and current customers. I just wonder how long until these platforms start charging brands to have profiles?
 

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