What ls Social Media Marketing?
- Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media websites and social networks to market a company’s products and services.”
- But this definition is missing something really important. Let’s make it more simple and clear:
- Social media marketing is the process of creating tailored content for each social media platform to drive engagement and promote your business.”
- Social media marketing is all about connecting with your audience or customers and helping them understand your brand better. It is incredibly beneficial to your business growth.
- Imagine you’re going to meet someone for the first time with an intention to build a good relationship.
- What should you do to make that person like you instantly because you’re not going to get a second chance? Will you succeed if you meet that person and say things that are boring or meaningless?
- People tend to like you more when you make them happy, no matter how you do that.
- Just like the offline world, your social media marketing success largely depends on your ability to find and make your target audience happy so that they like your brand and share your stories with others.
- Your social media marketing efforts will produce no results if your story isn’t worth sharing.
The Pillars of Social Media Marketing
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.
2. Planning and Publishing
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.
3. Listening and Engagement
As your business and social media following grow, 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.
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.
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.
Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
The concept of social media marketing has evolved over the years. A few years ago, the sole purpose of using social media channels was to generate website traffic.
Today, it has developed into something more than just a place to broadcast content.
You can have a social media marketing strategy in place to achieve a broad range of benefits from creating two-way conversations with potential customers to expand the reach of whatever you’re selling. I am going to mention the top 5 benefits of social media marketing:
1. SMM Consistently Warms Up A New Audience For Your Business
There’s nothing worse than facing a cold audience or people who haven’t interacted with your brand before.
Social media marketing opens up doors to tools and tactics that make it easy to warm up a new audience for your business.
Facebook and other social platforms allow you to use content to connect with the potential audience and warm them up. While it’s hard to get people’s attention, you can easily break through the noise with engaging content.
For example, creating an interesting Facebook video ad can drive people to know more about you.
2. SMM Builds Stronger Relationships With Customers
If you think social media marketing is all about selling and promoting, rethink.
Successful brands connect and engage with their social media audiences to build lasting relationships.
For instance, when they share something on a platform, they respond to whoever leaves a comment or question to provide them any assistance they may need.
Rather than selling your products or services, you can simply ask your social media followers questions about your products or share something that could make life easier for your audience.
This way, you build trust and show them how much you care about their needs and opinions.
It’s always a must to serve people first before asking them to invest with you.
For example, one of our best social media strategies that we use is our Entrepreneur Cooperative Facebook Community.
We use this Facebook group as a place to talk about life and business, share cool thoughts and strategies, and really just get to know other like-minded people like us.
A Facebook group is a great way to use social media to grow a loyal audience of people who will advocate for your business or brand for a lifetime.
3. SMM Generates More Leads & Conversions
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin allows companies to generate leads. You can use a mix of paid and organic tactics to boost conversions.
Video marketing, paid ad campaigns, giveaways, and email opt-ins are some of the leading strategies to get prospects into your sales funnel.
For example, running a giveaway campaign on Facebook can help you boost your list of qualified email addresses.
Since everything happens online, SMM is a measurable, quicker, and easier way to build a database of prospects. With increased visibility, your business finds plenty of opportunities for conversion.
Compelling content can lead your social media followers to your company’s website and turn them into loyal customers.
4. SMM Gives You A Leg Up On Competitors
There’s a lot to learn from your competitors’ social media presence, especially if you have just started exploring social media and lack good marketing ideas.
Progressive companies always monitor their competition to see what’s working for them and whatnot. Tracking what your competitors are up to should be a key part of your social media marketing strategy.
You can start experimenting with things that are working for your competitors.
For example, if paid Facebook ads are generating good results for your competitors, you should try it too. However, you shouldn’t copy your competition in a way that could hurt your reputation. Make sure to stand out.
If you would like to see what type of Facebook ads your competitors are showing their audience, you can see everything they are doing by visiting Facebooks ad library, here.
The ad library provides advertising transparency by offering a comprehensive, searchable collection of all ads currently running from across Facebook apps and services, including Instagram.
5. SMM Is Cost-Effective
Social media marketing is probably the most cost-efficient and diverse way of promoting a business.
It doesn’t cost anything to create a profile on most social networking sites. In case you want to run a paid campaign to boost your content, the cost is relatively low as compared to other advertising platforms.
When done well, your chances of producing greater returns on your investment are higher. If paid advertising is a part of your social media marketing strategy, be sure to start small and work your way up as you become more comfortable.
There’s always something you can do to improve your digital advertising results. One of the benefits of social media marketing is that it allows you to track your performance and fine-tune your strategy using real-time data.