Social media has become the most influential and important virtual space where the platform is not only used for social networking but is also a great way of digitally advertising your brand and your products.
Hence, social media marketing is always changing, too. We want to help you stay up-to-date with all the latest changes and strategies to succeed on social media. If you’re new to social media platforms, the thought of establishing your brand presence on various sites can be daunting. To get you started, we’ve compiled this list of social media marketing tips that will get you up to speed quickly.
How Social Media Marketing (SMM) Works
Social media has changed the way we function as a society, including the way we connect with one another. As platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram took off, businesses also took notice. They began to use these sites to further their interests through social media marketing. That’s because these sites are able to change consumer behavior.
Social media websites allow marketers to employ a broad range of tactics and strategies to promote content and have people engage with it. Many social networks allow users to provide detailed geographical, demographic, and personal information, which enables marketers to tailor their messages to what is most likely to resonate with users.
According to Buffer, there are five key pillars of social media marketing:
- Strategy: This step involves determining goals, the social media channels to be used, and the type of content that will be shared.
Before you dive right in and publish something on social media, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first step is to think about your social media strategy.
What are your goals? How can social media help you achieve your business goals? Some businesses use social media for increasing their brand awareness, others use it for driving website traffic and sales. Social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for your customers.
Which social media platforms do you want to focus on? The major social media platforms, mentioned above, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There are also smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor, and social messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. When starting out, it’s better to pick a few platforms that you think your target audience is on than to be on all platforms.
What type of content do you want to share? What type of content will attract your target audience best? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it educational or entertaining content? A good place to start is to create a marketing persona, which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be fixed forever; you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform.
Fortune Magazine uses social media to grow its brand.
“The main objective we have is to grow our brand. Social is a place where we can own our brand and promote it.
We pay a lot of attention to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote our content and to break news, basically to get our stuff out there.”
- Planning and Publishing: Businesses should draft plans of what their content will look like (i.e. will there be videos? Photos? How much script?) and decide when it will be put out on the platform.
Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on social media. Close to three billion people (3,000,000,000!) use social media. By being present on social media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by your future customers.
Publishing to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a social media platform. It’s just like how you would share on your personal Facebook profile. But you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, to ensure that you are maximizing your reach on social media, you need to publish great content that your audience likes, at the right timing and frequency.
There are now a variety of social media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.
Car Next Door schedules content to maintain a presence across a range of social media platforms with minimal time and fuss.
- Listening and Engagement: Monitoring what users, customers, and others are saying about the posts, brands, and any other business assets. This may require the adoption of a social media engagement tool.
As your business and social media following grows, conversations about your brand will also increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly.
People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and delight them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it gets worse.
You can manually check all your notifications across all the social media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. You can instead use a social media listening and engagement tool that aggregates all your social media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile.
1Password engages and connects with its customers through social media.
“Today, it’s more important than ever to meet customers where they are. We live much of our lives on social media and expect the brands we use to be there too. Our customers are as global as our far-flung friends and family and the same tools that help us stay in touch with our loved ones, help 1Password stay engaged with the people who interact with us.
Engagement is more than just marketing. It’s lending a helping hand when things go awry, keeping the conversation going when problems are solved, and spreading the good word about what we’re up to and where folks can come say hi.
- Analytics and Reporting: Part of being on social media is knowing how far posts are going, so reports of engagement and reach are very important
Along the way, whether you are publishing content or engaging on social media, you will want to know how your social media marketing is performing. Are you reaching more people on social media than last month? How many positive mentions do you get a month? How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts?
The social media platforms themselves provide a basic level of such information. To get more in-depth analytics information or to easily compare across social media platforms, you can use the wide range of social media analytics tools available, such as Buffer Analyze.
Foster Coffee Co. uses social media analytics to guide their content decisions.
“One of the things that I really like about Buffer is how I can build out as far as I want into the foreseeable future, but really start to tailor campaigns if we see certain trends within the industry. We can get ahead of that and it’s really easy to customize the publishing schedule afterwards.
We want to know our top performing posts for the year, we want to know what content was in those posts, so that way we can build a better model moving forward of content that generates more engagement.
- Advertising: Purchasing ads on social media is a great way to promote and further develop a brand. 1
Because audiences can be better segmented than more traditional marketing channels, companies can ensure they focus their resources on the audience that they want to target using social media marketing. Some of the metrics used to measure the success of social media marketing (which is also known as digital marketing and e-marketing) include:
- Website reports, such as Google Analytics
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Customer response rates or the number of times customers post about a company
- A campaign’s reach and/or virality or how much customers share content2
People appreciate a human touch even in the digital age, so don’t just leave things up to social media to get the word out.
When you have more funds to grow your social media marketing, an area that you can consider is social media advertising. Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience than those who are following you.
Social media advertising platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.
When you are running many social media advertising campaigns at once, you can consider using a social media advertising tool to make bulk changes, automate processes, and optimize your ads.
Buffer uses social media advertising to promote blog posts and reach a wider audience.
“We use Facebook ads to promote our blog posts. Facebook’s powerful targeting options mean that we have been able to show our ads to only people that we think would be interested in our content. And the results have been great. We have been getting a sizable amount of traffic each month for as low as eight cents per click!
A major strategy used in social media marketing is to develop messages and content that individual users will share with their family, friends, and coworkers. This strategy relies on word-of-mouth and provides several benefits. First, it increases the message’s reach to networks and users that a social media manager may not have been able to access otherwise. Second, shared content carries an implicit endorsement when sent by someone who the recipient knows and trusts.
Social media strategy involves the creation of content that is sticky. This means that it gets a user’s attention and increases the possibility that they will conduct a desired action, such as buying a product or sharing the content with others in their own network.
Marketers create viral content that’s designed to spread quickly between users.3 Social media marketing should also encourage customers to create and share their own content, such as product reviews or comments. This is referred to in the marketing industry as earned media.
How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Meet Your Marketing Goals
Social media marketing can help with a number of goals, such as:
- Increasing website traffic
- Building conversions
- Raising brand awareness
- Creating a brand identity and positive brand association
- Improving communication and interaction with key audiences
The bigger and more engaged your audience is on social media networks, the easier it will be for you to achieve every other marketing goal on your list!
Social Media Marketing explains how businesses, brands, and organizations can effectively use social media marketing to achieve their marketing objectives. This course focuses on the key skills needed by marketers to create high-performing social media marketing campaigns. With a specific focus on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram—the most popular social networking sites—you will learn how to create a social media strategy, build brand awareness and loyal followers, and measure and improve the effectiveness of your efforts so you can keep your social media marketing plan on track.