Today, as in 2020, it’s estimated that 3.80 billion people will use social media networks worldwide. That’s almost 48.7% of the globe’s population. With these arrays of figures, it isn’t a surprise that businesses put intense effort into social media marketing. Social media is a staple area of digital marketing for businesses of all shapes and sizes, industries and audiences. However, with updates and new releases making it an ever-shifting landscape in social media marketing, brands need to keep up to date with the latest developments and changes to the space to benefit from their social channels.
In fact, chances are you’ve tried some social media posts for your business in the past – maybe even had a few Facebook ads running. But you’ve let it fall to the back burner if you pay attention to it at all. But it’s time to start paying attention again – don’t let past inexperience, disinterest – or even failure – stop you from taking advantage now.
Let’s look at understanding Social Media Marketing, it’s benefits, it’s effective use, strategy and more!
What is Social Media Marketing?
With businesses searching for the finest ways to reach their customers, social media marketing has rapidly become one of the convenient and most cost-effective alternatives.
Social media marketing enables businesses of all sizes the opportunity to reach consumers where they are spending an increased amount of time — social networking sites. Social media marketing involves marketing or aiming to sell a commodity by advertising on social networking / social media sites, for instance Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Social media marketing revolves around creating original, free, content on the sites to generate buzz about a brand. The objective is to create content that followers will find interesting enough to share with their friends in family. The end goal is to produce a larger circle of consumers taking interest in a business.
What does social media marketing involve?
Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach their prospective and current customer base. The beauty of social media and how people interact with it is that the platform is a destination most people visit on average five times a day, actively seeking out content to entertain and inform them.
If you’re not putting your message out there, you are missing a great opportunity. A strategic approach to marketing on social media can bring great results for your brand, grow your audience and generate leads and sales. In this blog, I will go through what is involved with social media marketing so you can better prepare yourself for success with these heavily populated platforms.
Start your social media plan by considering these questions:
1. What are you anticipating to accomplish via social media marketing?
- Increase in website traffic
- Customer engagement or lead nurturing
- To raise brand awareness
- Create a community and advocacy around your business
- Improve communication with your existing customers
- Sales, leads and conversions
2. Who is your target audience?
3. Where would your target audience spend their time online and how would they use social media?
4. What message or messages do you want to communicate to your target audience?
5. Which social media platform should I start with?
What are the 6 types of social media?
There are various types of social media platforms smart marketers and business owners use to reach a wider audience. We can name at least six different types of social media for you. Let’s find out.
- Social networking sites : Most of us are familiar with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms help us connect with friends, family, and brands. They support knowledge-sharing and incorporate all regarding private, human-to-human interaction. Here, users can communicate thoughts, generate content, upload pictures and videos, build groups based on interests, and contribute in lively discussions.
- Social review sites: What’s one of the first things you do when planning a trip or buying a new product? Well, we guess, you’ll head straight to the reviews.
Review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor present reviews from community affiliates for all types of locations and know-hows. This eliminates a lot of the guesswork that goes into booking a restaurant or hotel.
Businesses can indeed benefit from evaluating their reviews, the good & the bad. It aids them with the following pointers:
- Understand the customer’s perspective: Reviews tell us about the customer experience from their own point of view. Use this to identify what’s working and discover areas with room for improvement.
- Solve problems: Reviews are an opportunity to engage with reviewers and solve any potential challenges before they become a huge deal.
- Image sharing sites: Visual content such as images, illustrations & info graphics seize our hearts, eyes and thoughts. Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are designed to amplify the power of image sharing.
Users here can create, curate, and share unique images that spark conversation and speak for themselves. Indeed, a picture can be a thousand words to your business.
- Video hosting sites: YouTube revolutionized the way we watch, create, and think about video. It transformed the medium into something accessible. Video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo help creators put together content and share it to a platform optimized for streaming. This accessibility makes video a super important medium.
- Community blogs: Sometimes an image or post isn’t complex enough for the message you’ve got to share, but not everyone on the internet wants to run a blog from a self-hosted website.
- Shared-blogging platforms like Tumbler provide individuals with a space to display their thoughts and support towards connecting them with readers.
These community blog sites allow an audience plenty of space for customization and expressiveness.
- Discussion sites: While most of us have seen many heated discussions happen on Facebook, discussion sites like Reddit and Quora are specifically designed to spark a conversation. Anyone is free to ask a question or make a statement, and this attracts people with shared interests and curiosities. However, in contrast to Facebook and Instagram, users tend to reveal identifiable information on a much lesser scale.
So how can these platforms help your business?
Research: Reddit is created out of diverse sub-communities. With a bit of research, you can find and engage people in your field, discover what they’re asking, and use this as a starting point for your content marketing strategy.
Answer questions: Quora users ask all sorts of questions. Answering them can help establish you as a thought leader and drive more traffic to your site.
Why is social media so important?
Nowadays, consumers often experience interactions with companies that are not face-to-face, hence shifting focus to social media has become an ideal way to actively engage with customers. As a result, many businesses and brands understand the importance of social media and how it adds value. Let’s get to know those factors, a bit deeper.
1. It Shows the World Who You Are:
With social media, you could highlight all the best aspects of your business with one click. Social platforms provide an opportunity to legitimize your brand. Social media allows you to demonstrate your expertise in a variety of ways along with the ability to write staff bios, share posts and produce content that can creatively highlight your company’s core values, brand voice and unique qualities that your services provide. You can use social media as a platform to distinguish your brand from competitors, too.
2. Target and Attract Your Audience
With the advancements of social media, getting to reach and interact with your audience has never been easier! Social media is vital as it permits you to reach individuals locally, domestically, nationally and internationally. If you recognize the traits of your target audience, you will be capable of customizing your messages to relate with that potential target audience more suitably. For instance, how you converse with a teenager online is not the exact voice you would utilize with a growing baby.
3. Embrace Diversity in Your Content
While social media increases your ability to connect, social media’s importance is also seen by allowing you a variety of options when evaluating which channel is best for you. Having diversity in your social media content (through varying topics, content structure, etc.) is a valuable way to connect with your target audience and maximize your return on investment. Although maintaining a presence on a variety of platforms is important for your image and branding, you don’t want to be confused and direct energy into an outlet that isn’t effective.
4. Easily Track Campaign Results
The importance of social media comes down to creating a space for you to review and analyze the results of your work with impeccable detail and data! Easily evaluate tracked metrics to your original goals.
Checking up on your social media’s data and statistics is a great way to re-evaluate if you are meeting your original intentions. You will be able to easily see trends in your data and start to see where you may need to tweak aspects of your campaign.
Social Media Marketing Resources
In today’s modern world, you know that having your finger on the pulse of the digital world is crucial to success. You require to be constantly learning and acquiring the latest skills. But allocating the time to learn & master those new skills, can indeed be a challenge.
To help you out, we’ve gathered a few valuable online resources so that you can stay ahead of the curve and better connect with your customers
Pinterest has a huge library of social media marketing tools, e-books, articles and other tremendously treasured resources. We recommend searching for “social media marketing” and saving your favorite, go-to resources as Pins to a Pinterest Board.
MarketingProfs is a one-stop shop for today’s modern marketing tools. The site offers online training, strategies, articles, digital seminars, and forums for marketers looking to up their game. The materials incorporate support and real-life solutions, directed by industry experts.
The Online tool Klear allows you to find influencers through a targeted search of over 500 million profiles across all social networks. You can then analyze these profiles and create private lists.
Social media marketing tools
Looking for a bunch of power-packed tools to augment your social media marketing result game?
Let us help you discover a few important tools to help with social listening, content creation, and campaign management.
- BuzzSumo – Discover trending topics, keywords, and key influencers with the analysis solutions from BuzzSumo. Find out how many links have been made to your website’s content, as well as how evergreen your content has proven to be. You can utilize these insights to emphasize on future content and to separate areas in which it can be improved upon.
- SEMrush – An all-in-one marketing calendar, SEMrush provides content auditing, topic research, lead generation, and marketing calendar tools. Use SEMrush to consolidate multiple campaigns in a single platform or track the performance of your content.
- CoSchedule – Billed as the “#1 marketing calendar,” CoSchedule provides a single consolidated dashboard for tracking your marketing efforts. Share your CoSchedule calendar with your team so you can coordinate your work while ensuring that nothing is missed. Blog posts, project meetings, social media posts, email marketing etc. can all be integrated into a single dashboard.
How to create a social media strategy?
With all the latest gizmos and platforms continuously emerging, it’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of pondering about social media via a calculated prism instead of a strategic one. The top social media strategic campaigns are tool-agnostic and set based on objectives and statistics that crossover any specific social venue. Let’s look at the perfect way to build a winning social strategy.
Step 1: Build Your Cross-Functional Team: The fundamental step in this process is to build a cross-functional team to assist in conceiving and operating the remainder of the strategy. Decide who will be incorporated, including sales, marketing, customer service, content and more.
Step 2: Set Your Objectives: Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. But the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a narrower rationale for social. For what do you mainly want to utilize social media? Is it awareness? Or sales? Retention? You pick one and manage in relevance.
Step 3: Listen to Your Audience and Competitors: Evaluating how and where your niche is naturally basing their digital conversations could save you tons of trouble. Instead of beginning from scratch, discover channels where you can communicate with audiences who are currently talking about your brand.
Step 4: Identify Your Audience: What are the demographic and psychographic traits of your recent or potential customers? Constructing audience personas, incorporating their online behavior, ethics and challenges, will aid you determine not only how to communicate to your audiences but also where to carry forward these conversations. Audiences of certain demographics and behaviors are more easily activated on some channels than others.
Step 5: Select Success Metrics: How are you going to determine whether this is making a difference in your business? Opting for KPI’s (key performance metrics) sets organizational hopes about how the ROI of your social media works will be evaluated.
A social media strategy is a plan of exercise, not a quick-fix. Thoughtful KPIs and realistic quantifiable quarterly goals are necessary in maintaining leadership buy in for the long haul.
Step 6: Create a Channel Plan: Lastly, your channel plan should aid you in understanding with which audience you want to interact, your content plan & editorial calendar, any required resources and how you’ll monitor the effectiveness of each platform, specifically. This plan should be diverse, in that you have a precise, invulnerable reason for contributing in each.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
The benefits of social media can be defined in many ways. This is due to the value of social media which is often examined from numerous perspectives. Below is a combination of the prime benefits you can expect to obtain from the usage of social media for your brand.
- Direct Access to Customers: Social media permits you to associate with your target audience, prospects, and consumers at any time. In fact, some platforms allow you to import your contacts into your account to connect with them. You can use this to instantly inform your customers on current promotions, special offers, new products, and more. And best of all it’s free.
- Brand Awareness: Social media permits you to advertise your business to plenty of people worldwide, at any moment. There is no boundary to the location, type of consumers or demographics that your brand can reach. Every time a person shares one of your posts, your reach keeps extending.
- Lower Advertising Cost: It costs more to print flyers than to make a post on social media. There are Facebook Ad campaigns that influence more people than billboards. YouTube, being the 2nd largest search engine across the world, can be highly cost-efficient than network TV advertisement. Social media permits brands to be highly focused and splurge less on advertising.
- Increase Leads & Sales: They are tweeting right now about a specific need they have. Brands who interact with this audience on a day-to-day basis may convert leads. A percentage will transform into sales and the foundation will be apparent. Probably you have a great website, but what you precisely require is qualified traffic to transform them into sales. Social media can aid you in generating the traffic you require.
- Social media marketing tips from Studio3Digital
Your business type should help you decide and drive your social media strategy.
For instance, an e-commerce or transport business, being highly visual, can get a high value from a robust presence on Instagram or even Pinterest. A business-to-business or marketing company might find more leverage on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Once you have decided on your objectives, audience, message and social platforms it’s time to implement. Here are a few tips to help you kick off your campaign.
- Social media content planning – Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other firms in your industry undertaking to drive engagement on social media?
- Great content – As with most online marketing activities, great content is the key to successful social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and provide valuable information that your customers find helpful and interesting. The content that you share online must go beyond the written word; consider video, imagery and info-graphics as part of the mix.
- Brand – As your social media is expressing your business message, make sure your branding stays consistent across all platforms and posting activity.
- Social Media for sharing content – If you are creating content on your website make sure you utilize your social media platforms to share and amplify your content to a larger audience.
- Sharing content from other sources – The purpose of this activity is to create trust and credibility around your business. This helps build your audience and community on the social platforms and introduces new audiences to your digital presence. It also opens you up for collaboration if applicable to your company.
- Tracking competitors – Social media offers tools to monitor your competitors and their activity. You can find posts and content that resonate with their audiences and use this to adapt your strategy.