Social media marketing (SMM) can help businesses connect with potential customers like no other channel.
In its early days, social media marketing was more about publishing, but modern platforms now allow you to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and boost lead generation through a set of dedicated features.
Developing a robust social media marketing strategy can help increase sales and establish your company as an industry leader. But, the only way to build a solid marketing plan is to understand the different social media platforms and the way people behave on each individual network.
Let’s take a look at the social media marketing definition, why you should promote your solutions on these platforms, and the different steps you need to follow to create a successful SMM strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Before going any further, we need to answer the question “what is social media marketing?”
Social media marketing can be defined as the practice of promoting your solutions through social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Like digital marketing itself, there are many different ways to promote your solutions on social media. But, in most cases, companies will have to develop and publish valuable content, monitor how your audience responds, and make the right adjustments to improve campaign performance.
There are many different platforms that can help you connect with your audience, all of which require tailored content, appropriately-sized images, and a custom posting schedule. Managing all of these can easily turn into a full-time job, so you need to leverage the tools at your disposal to streamline and automate repetitive tasks. Additionally, you can also partner with a knowledgeable social media marketing agency that can help you build a successful social media strategy from the ground-up.
Businesses can employ different social media marketing techniques depending on what they want to achieve, but most of these usually fall under lightning and engagement, social analytics, or social media advertising.
Listening and Engagement in Social Media Marketing
Social media listening and engagement is the practice of monitoring conversations and determining how people feel about your company. In addition to monitoring, you should also respond to relevant mentions, especially if they are from people who’ve had a negative experience.
Listening to your target audience and keeping these users engaged is a way to create a good reputation for your brand, plus you’ll also get valuable insights to help you deliver better solutions to your customers. This is the most basic form of SMM, but it’s necessary because it’s impossible to create a scalable leads machine without knowing what people are saying about your company.
Social Media Analytics
When companies want to understand how they are performing on social media in terms of reach, popularity, and trendiness, they focus on the analytical side of marketing. Social media analytics can help a company measure the extent of their reach, how engaging their posts are, and how many leads/sales are being generated on a monthly basis.
All social media platforms provide in-house analytics features that give you a good idea of the performance and popularity of your posts. You can also turn to third-party analytics tools, but make sure you only use reliable platforms like Buffer Analyze or Sprout Social.
Social Media Advertising
We’ve gone over the definition of SMM, but what is social media advertising?
In simple terms, social media advertising is the practice of promoting your company through paid social network ads. Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to place ads in user feeds and other areas in order to boost the results you get from your content.
Users proactively provide extensive information to social media platforms, including demographic and preference data, which companies can use to tailored campaigns for each target audience. Plus, many people that use social media are actively searching for interesting content, so it’s much easier to create engaging content for potential customers.
Why Market Your Services on Social Media?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is social media marketing?” we need to discuss the importance of implementing SMM into your marketing mix.
Social media networks have become a global phenomenon and they’re now a crucial part of daily life for billions of people across the world. But, how effective is social media marketing? Can you actually make a good profit from Facebook and similar channels?
Unlike the early days, 54% of social media users use these platforms to conduct product research and communicate with the brands they’re interested in. And, because some social networks allow users to rate businesses according to the quality of their services, people are more inclined to contact a company that is active and has a good reputation on their favorite platforms.
The truth is that meeting your customers where they want to be at the right time is the key to success in SMM, meaning that you have to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and develop a strategy designed to connect with potential users during crucial stages.
Which is the Best Social Media Platform for Marketing?
The importance of social media goes beyond brand awareness, but businesses need to identify the best platforms to market their products. Although choosing new platforms may seem like a good idea, you’re better off investing in proven social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and other known options, especially if you’re looking for faster results.
Content is important for virtually all social media platforms, but the networks and strategy you use will vary depending on your target audience. As part of your marketing strategy, you should create buyer personas, which are detailed descriptions of your ideal customers. These will help you define the segments you want to attract and create better marketing materials to attract each specific target audience.
There are dozens of established social networks and even more up-and-coming platforms, but the leading networks have developed powerful marketing features to help companies promote their solutions. At the time of writing, the list of leading social networks for B2C and B2B companies include:
Most people on Facebook are consumers in their early-20s to early 50s, so it’s a suitable choice for any company that wants a solid cornerstone for its social media strategy.
At 330 million, Twitter only has a fraction of Facebook’s reach, but this doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to promote on this social media platform. Many businesses have used Twitter for brand awareness campaigns successfully, but the platform claims to have more than 145 million users that could potentially be monetized so it can actually become a valuable source of leads as well.
Twitter users are known for being ultra-engaged, with link clicks representing more than 92% of interactions on the platform. And, according to some observations, people are more likely to remember content seen on Twitter than during conventional web browsing.
Instagram is one of the three traditional social media networks to have topped 1 billion users, half of which use the platform on a daily basis. Anyone who has used Instagram knows why it’s a good platform for content promotion — it allows users and companies to share high-quality images, videos, and live streams that tend to have high engagement rates.
Up until the beginning of 2020, Instagram was the fastest growing social media in terms of global adoption. This is the reason why 7 out of 10 US companies use this channel as part of their social media promotion plan and the same reason why you should also use it to promote your content.
Unlike Facebook and other conventional platforms, it’s impossible to qualify YouTube as a traditional social channel, but the platform has many elements that make it a great place to promote products and services. The video giant is the second largest search engine in the world and people use it to find entertainment, functional information, and news updates, among other things.
About 50% of all people want to see companies produce more video content and YouTube is by far the best place to publish these materials on. In addition to creating a company profile, you can create playlists and organize your content so it’s easier to find and digest.
Even if some of them are a good source of B2B leads, most social media networks focus on connecting people rather than businesses. LinkedIn is the leading B2B social media platform and it has more than twice as many monthly active users as Twitter with 706 million. Although it was started as a more casual platform, LinkedIn is considered the best place to build B2B relationships, search for business opportunities, and focus on company development.
One of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn is that the platform allows you to reach B2B prospects of different ages and positions. Members of this social media platform mostly from the Millenial, Gen-X, and Baby Boomer generations, plus the network also has more than 100 million influencers or decision-makers amongst their users.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing success requires extensive research, but it can bring a number of great advantages that help fuel business growth.
For consumers, social media networks have replaced a large number of face-to-face interactions, including exchanges with businesses. Having a solid social media presence can encourage potential customers to trust your company and learn more about the solutions you have available.
Marketing on Facebook and other social media networks also allows flexibility in almost all senses. From the type of content you want to share to the size of your budget, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to develop a solid plan with the resources you have available and grow your efforts gradually.
Some of the best social media marketing benefits include:
Increase Web Traffic
Using social media to promote your services and products can exponentially increase web traffic, which in turn can improve the results you get from the rest of your online marketing efforts. Because users are ultra-engages, social media is the perfect place to share your content and entice readers using catchy headlines as well as other effective techniques.
With the right features in place, boosting web traffic will help you collect more data from potential customers. For example, you can create blog posts that promote an ebook or another form of downloadable material and ask each user to leave his or her email address in exchange for the resource you’ve created. Then, you can use this information to tweak your campaign and develop additional materials that have a higher chance of success.
Improve Conversion Rates
It’s logical to think that with more people on your site, your conversion rates should drop. However, sending engaged users that already got a taste of your content through their favorite social media channels is very different from redirecting search engine traffic.
Social media platforms can send many people your way, but these networks also help filter out uninterested users because they allow you to provide more information than, say, search engine results. Therefore, the vast majority of visitors you get from social media marketing will have a higher chance of leaving information, contacting your company, and becoming a conversion.
Enhance Communication with Your Audience
Before the internet, the only communication options available to consumers were phone and mail, which left a lot to be desired in terms of service quality. Today, companies can set up a variety of digital communication channels including email, live chat, and of course, social media.
Social media marketing can help companies establish new lines that result in seamless communication, which is a great way to share content and build a strong connection with their audiences. Some companies have even gone a step further, also making social media platforms their preferred internal communication channels.
Generate More Leads and Sales
Despite the fact that some campaigns are designed to improve brand awareness, the goal of all marketing teams is to generate more business for your company. The good news is that social media platforms have become functional tools that help users find relevant companies in a wide variety of industries.
From a business perspective, Facebook and other social media platforms are now a reliable source of quality leads that have a high chance of becoming paying customers. And, due to the nature of social networks themselves, they can also help you monitor satisfaction, ensure customers are delighted, and increase the chances of getting referrals or recurring business.
How to Implement Social Media Marketing
Social media networks may have humble beginnings, but these Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have ingrained themselves into our identity as humans.
Deciding to use social media as part of your digital promotion strategy is a great start, but you need to take an organized approach and set aside the time to plan your activities in advance. If you don’t have an idea of how social media ties in with the rest of your marketing, it will be impossible to produce engaging content that produces the results you want.
The first step before developing social media marketing strategies is to determine the goals you want to achieve. General goals are fine to start with, but you need to be more specific than ‘lead generation’ so make sure you develop a set of measurable objectives. You should ask yourself questions like:
- What audience do I want to attract?
- Which goals do I want to achieve in the short and long-term?
- What marketing message do I want to send across to my audience?
Additionally, remember to keep your industry and specific niche in mind to help you make the best possible decisions.
Develop a Tailored Strategy
Creating social media marketing materials without a strategy is like trying to find a black cat in a dark room. Even though you may feel like you’re making progress, most of your actions will lead to frustration. Instead, you should assess your goals, examine the resources at your disposal, and develop a detailed strategy that allows you to craft and publish valuable content for your audience.
As part of your strategy, you should also identify the best social media marketing platforms that give you a higher chance of success. Also, make sure to research your audience thoroughly because this will help you during the content and schedule creation processes.
Craft Valuable and Attractive Content
Understanding what type of content resonates with your audience is the key to developing resources that engage potential customers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so you have to study your current customer base and learn as much as you can about the buyer’s journey.
Once you have a good understanding of the different steps most leads to through before becoming customers, you can create a plan to craft your content. Aesthetics and readability are crucial, but the most important element will be the value of your content. In other words, whether your blogs, posts, and other pieces of content deliver useful information.
After outlining the different posts, sequences, and schedule, you can start crafting your content. You won’t be able to create all of the content you’ll use at once because the materials may change according to different factors, but get a head start and take the time to craft resources for the next few weeks.
Ensure a Consistent Branding Message
Companies that have conflicting or inconsistent branding messages tend to confuse users, especially if there are multiple social media profiles with different information. In order to use social media channels to their full potential, you need to ensure a consistent branding message across all channels, including your website, local directories, and other platforms.
Keep in mind that your company’s branding goes beyond the logo and color scheme you use. Always aim to maintain the same tone of voice and overall company identity, especially when you post on social media. And, you should also make sure that all promotions as well as deals are readily available through any channel that people may potentially choose.
Work on the Publishing Schedule
There are many successful social media marketing examples out there, but one thing all of them have in common is the development of a content posting schedule. Although it may seem random on the surface, a company’s social media posting schedule should be specifically designed to match peaks in relevant user interactions.
For example, if a company provides products for adult consumers, scheduling posts for mornings, noon, evenings, and weekends can help amplify the amount of exposure they receive. However, the only way to craft a tailored schedule is to understand how your audience behaves. So, you need to analyze the different trends and figure out when your potential customers are online.
Listen to and Engage Your Audience
Some companies focus almost entirely on social media listening and engaging because this approach can uncover valuable details about their audiences. This allows them to create new marketing materials that directly address relevant issues and have a higher chance of attracting potential customers.
Monitoring social media channels manually is difficult even for small companies, so you need to have a dedicated team constantly listening to feedback on these platforms. Some social media management tools include features to facilitate monitoring and improve engagement, but working with an experienced agency will allow you to focus on delivering superior service to your customers.
Analyze the Competition
If you don’t have experience with social media marketing or digital promotion techniques as a whole, finding a winning combination will likely be a gradual process. Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you can analyze the leading competitors and find inspiration for your campaign.
Take note of the wording, posting schedule, as well as other variables and compare your findings to use as an outline for your initial stages. Remember, you don’t want to copy the competition’s content or the entire strategy. On the contrary, look at the elements that the leaders have in common and work on creating new, higher-quality content.
Track, Monitor, and Optimize
As with other types of digital strategies, you need to track, monitor, and optimize your social media marketing campaign.
Each social media platform allows tracking features, but you can also use third-party monitoring tools like Google Analytics to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. By analyzing the results you’re getting, you can see which elements are producing the best results as well as the parts that are not producing the results you’re looking for.
In addition to reallocating your resources, the data you collect can actually help you build better marketing materials. For instance, you can determine which Facebook headlines grab the most attention or the keywords that have the highest conversion rates and build new content based on this data.
Create a Social Media Crisis Plan
Facebook and other social media networks are amazing platforms that let you promote your services in a cost-effective way and it can also help boost your overall digital strategy. But, it’s important to remember that things don’t always go as planned, so you should develop a social media crisis plan that tells your team what to do in case there is an unforeseen emergency.
There are many things that can be considered a crisis in your social media marketing plan. This includes potentially offensive posts that got under the radar, sharing tasteless content, and bad customer service stories, just to name a few. Deciding what to do in advance if/when these situations come up can save you a lot of hassle and prevent you from making the wrong decision under pressure.
Add Social Media Advertising to Your Mix
Your entire digital marketing plan should work in unison to help you achieve the goals you set at the beginning as well as your new objectives. Social media marketing is no exception to this rule, so you should figure out how your social media promotion efforts fit into your overall strategy and implement this new type of content in a cohesive way.
Facebook, Twitter, and other channels may seem irrelevant to the rest of your campaign, but you need to put yourself in your audience’s position. From this perspective, your social media marketing activities should be aligned to provide a consistent experience across all channels, so take the time to figure out how it all fits together.
Tips to Maintain a Solid Social Presence
Establishing and maintaining a good social media presence will help you gain your audience’s trust, but this process doesn’t occur overnight. Publishing valuable content on a regular basis is a good start, but you need to keep your company’s unique requirements as well as the platform you’re using in mind.
For instance, building a solid presence on Facebook or Twitter usually requires regular content posting and fast responses, which tells your audience that you’re readily available to answer any questions.
In addition to the above, you should also:
Stay Ahead of Consumer and Technology Trends
Consumer patterns and technology trends are two elements that influence your campaign, but these are constantly changing. Rather than taking a reactive approach, you should stay ahead of these changes and make the right adjustments to help minimize their negative impact on your social marketing plan.
Learn How to Measure and Interpret Social Metrics
Simply tracking and measuring social media metrics doesn’t mean the optimization process will be straightforward. Companies need to figure out which metrics will help deliver the most value and learn how to interpret the data they collect in order to transform it into actionable information.
Take Advantage of All the Resources Available
Your social media marketing campaign can take a variety of different forms and feature various elements, but you should always make the most of the resources you have available. From free courses to tools like Facebook’s Ad Library, there are dozens of different platforms that can teach you about social media promotion and the best methods to reach your audience.
Want to Implement Social Media Marketing? Get in Touch with Fannit and We’ll Be Happy to Assist
For many people, social media is a crucial part of their daily routine. In addition to entertaining content, news, and new connection updates, social media platforms now allow users to find reliable businesses in their area, making them a great place to promote your services.
Are you ready to implement social media into your marketing mix? Our team of experts can help you identify the best platforms and ensure that your company is easy to find in the most relevant social media channels for your industry.
To learn more, contact us today and we’ll be happy to discuss your project.