Enough has already been said about social media, how it reshapes consumer behavior, and how organizations can use it to turn the wheel of fortune in its favor.
Despite the massive amount of information on the web, so many businesses struggle to wrap their head around “social media marketing” and how it works.
So, I decided to come up with a comprehensive guide that will simplify social media marketing for those struggling to develop successful marketing strategies.
Social media is a network of over 3.5 billion users that just love to share, seek, and create information.
As a marketer or business owner, how could you utilize this network in a way that produces great results for your business?
Social media channels have rapidly become an inseparable part of business development strategies. You can’t overlook the impact of “social” when it comes to building meaningful connections with consumers.
Here is how Investopedia defines the term:
“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.
Today's consumers rush to browse social media when they want to know more about an organization or product because that’s where they’ll find others talking about that business.
What if you don’t have a social media presence? You’ll miss a great opportunity to make an impression.
Take a look at these stats from Oberlo to have a feel of why having a sound social media marketing strategy is imperative to business success in 2020 and beyond:
71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.
90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users.
Facebook alone has over 2.7 billion monthly active users.
Your customers and prospects are using social media channels every single day, multiple times a day. Check out this blog to know how much time an average person spends on social media.
Social media is an ideal place for brands looking to gain insights into their audience’s interests and tastes. The way experts see it, smart companies will continue to invest in social media to achieve sustainable business growth.
Whether you want to launch a new product or a business, social media is the perfect launchpad to create a buzz around your initiatives. As we move further into the future of e-commerce, it’s clear that social media marketing isn’t just an option.
In an increasingly competitive environment, your business can’t afford to miss out on social media.
It's especially competitive in the social media influencer space, where there are thousands of new influencers starting a brand every day. If you're trying to build more of an online presence to become a social media influencer, make sure to read our comprehensive guide.
Similar Post: Importance 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:
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.
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.
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.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin allow 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.
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 Facebook's 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.
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.
While social media can produce numerous benefits for businesses, it’s important to have a result-oriented strategy in place.
Before we dive into explaining how to create a successful social media marketing strategy, let’s find out what #R3MAT has to do with your marketing efforts.
Today, digital marketers have to create personalized experiences across channels. While growth possibilities are endless, you have to consistently deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time (#R3MAT).
Your marketing efforts could go down the drain if you fail to deliver the right context.
As mentioned earlier, more than 3 billion people use social media around the world. These people have dozens of moments that create billions of signals which include both context and intent.
To be more relevant and effective, you need to make sure the context is clear. In other words, you need to understand the psychology of what people do when they use a particular platform. People use different social media channels with different mindsets.
What is your audience looking for when they are on Facebook? Does your content on Facebook reflect your audience’s needs and interests?
Be sure to take into account the context when creating content, and don’t interrupt the user experience. Reach people at the right time and with the right message in a way that adds value to their overall experience.
Social media is big. It’s not as simple as it might look.
One can easily get overwhelmed when figuring out a strategy to promote one’s business. Nonetheless, creating a successful social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Your strategy is like a plan that covers everything from your goals to actions.
The more clear your plan is, the more result-oriented it will be. Plan things in a way that is attainable and measurable.
And once you have a clear plan in place, it is crucial to have an all-in-one ecosystem that will run your online business smoothly.
What do you want to gain from your social media presence? Whether you want to increase your reach with followers or earn more dollars and cents, clearly define your goals and metrics.
Why is your company active on social media in the first place? Without having a clear goal in your mind, you won’t be able to determine the right direction.
Therefore, set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T goal framework, which means each of your goals should be:
Specific: the more specific you are with your goals, the easier it will be to set a clear strategy and expectations. If you want to increase brand awareness, be specific on how you want to do that. Let’s say your goal is to increase your Instagram following by 250 new followers per month.
Measurable: When you set specific goals, it becomes easier to measure your success. If you’re not getting 250 new followers per month, you can tweak your strategy to improve results.
Attainable: Sometimes companies get too ambitious and end up setting unrealistic, unattainable goals. Be sure your target is achievable given your resources. Now, it’s quite attainable to generate 250 new followers on Instagram.
Relevant: How your social media marketing goals are going to impact your bottom line? Will increasing your Instagram following help you achieve your business goals? Relevant goals are aligned closely to a business’s objectives.
Time-bound: Make sure to set deadlines. Again, be realistic when doing so.
It might be difficult to find out how much value the increase in your social media following would bring to the table. Therefore, it’s advisable to focus on metrics like conversion rates, click-through, and engagement.
You may set different goals for each social media network and track your performance accordingly.
Learn as much about your audience as possible.
Your social media target audience is a group of people who are most likely to be interested in your business. They would share common demographics and behaviors.
As you research your target audience, don’t hesitate to be highly specific. It will allow you to get into finer details and craft relevant content.
You can’t target everyone. Or, your target audience is not everyone active on social media, especially when you run a small business.
Here are a couple of steps to identify and target the right audience:
Create audience personas
Creating audience personas is about developing a fictional representation of your ideal customers. In other words, personas draw a clear picture of your perfect customers.
Whether your audience is baby boomers or millennials, high school students, or senior citizens, create a persona to hone in on a more actionable, focused strategy. Use factors like age, location, language, average income, interests, spending power, and pain points.
Let’s say your audience is a group of single moms in their late 20s who live in big cities and do a full-time job. Take these abstract collections of demographics and characteristics to create a persona.
Don’t just assume things when researching your target audience. Instead, use data to make well-informed decisions.
Let’s say your target audience is millennials.
Now, use data to select the right social media channels for your strategy.
Social media analytics gives you tons of actionable information about who your followers are, what they do, where they live, and how they interact with businesses on social media. Use these insights to better identify your audience.
Your competitors are using social media.
Dig deep into what your competition is up to.
You can gain valuable insight by simply reviewing your competitors’ social presence. Competitors' analysis tools can be of great help in this regard.
Conduct a competitive analysis
There’s a lot you can learn from your competitors; for example, what strategies are and aren’t working for them.
A competitive analysis not only identifies your competitors but also gives you a good sense of what you can expect from your social presence.
Follow these steps to have a clear picture of who you’re competing against:
Identify your competitive keywords: prepare a list of relevant keywords with data on competition and search volume. These keywords will help you narrow your definition of competitors.
Find out who’s ranking for your targeted keywords: Select the top 10 keywords that are most relevant to your business. Plug them into Google to find your top competition.
Browse social using your keywords: Now use your top keywords to see who comes up top in social results. For instance, plug those keywords in the Facebook search bar to see who shows up.
Find out brands your audience is following: Twitter Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights help marketers find what other brands their audience follows.
You would be able to build a long list of potential customers after trying these techniques.
However, narrow your list down to only five brands that are most closely competing with you on social media.
And then you can perform a SWOT analysis to analyze your business and the competition in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Analyzing the way your competitors are using social media to boost business growth will help you spot opportunities. This doesn’t mean you need to copycat your competitors.
If your competitors focus largely on Facebook, for example, you might try other networks where your audience is underserved.
Pro Tip: Watch the comments and reviews of your competitors’ social media pages to see what their customers are complaining about or requesting. Social listening is an effective way to keep an eye on your competition.
When you figure that out, go and create content on those specific requests and close the gap. This gives you a major advantage over your competitors.
As discussed earlier, not all social channels are created the same.
Each platform has its own rhythm and a particular set of users with their own characteristics as to how they interact with content.
A person using YouTube to watch their favorite show might not use Linkedin for the same reason.
Since there are hundreds of social media platforms out there, you can’t just include every platform in your strategy.
Also, you can’t publish the exact same content on every platform. So, it’s important to do some homework when choosing the ideal platforms for your marketing strategy.
Here are some tips for selecting the right social media platform:
Consider audience demographics
What do you know about your customers? Are they younger, older, male, or female? We’ve already covered how a brand can develop a better understanding of its audience.
When you study demographics, you’ll be able to identify the platforms that fit your strategy.
For example, developing a Snapchat presence for your business might not be a good idea if your largest customer segment is 60 years or older women. Likewise, Building a presence on Pinterest would be a waste of your efforts if your target audience is only men.
In many cases, Facebook and YouTube will deliver the best return; in others, it might be Google or Linkedin. Again, data is your best friend when it comes to finding out what social media platforms your target audience loves to spend time on.
Align on your business goals
It’s also crucial to consider your business goals when adding social networks to your strategy. For instance, you can prioritize Twitter to improve your customer care efforts. If you want to show your offerings in a visually compelling way, Instagram would be a great choice.
The key here is to align platform benefits with your business goals.
Pro Tip: Find a happy medium between where your customers are and what you’re comfortable with using or advertising on.
At this point, you should have a good idea of what platforms to cover. It’s time to talk about content and how to make it more relevant and engaging.
Creating shareable and enjoyable content boils down to understanding the psychology of your audience. You can then understand exactly what makes them happy and excited.
Content is whatever you post: a tweet, a photo of your product on Instagram, a Facebook status update, a blog post on LinkedIn, and so on. You need to custom-tailor your content to each platform AND keep it relevant to your audience.
Similar Post: What is a Content Creator
Perform keyword research
While keyword research and analysis are critical to achieving success with search advertising, conducting keyword research can dramatically improve your visibility on social media.
Whether your target audience is on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, determine which keywords your audience use to find their favorite content on social media.
It will enable you to uncover the wants and needs of your audience.
Researching and identifying the right social media keywords will give you a clear idea of how to structure your message effectively.
The process guides you across activities from optimizing videos to image tagging.
Let’s say you want to create a blog post. Keyword research will help you create exactly what your audience is searching for. There are a bunch of amazing keyword research tools that can make your life easier.
You want to create content that people need and want. So, spend some time finding the exact phrases your social media audience is using to find content.
Setup social media pixel
A pixel is a code that you place on your website to track users as they interact with your Facebook ads and website.
This will help you track conversions from Facebook Ads, optimize ads, remarket to your page visitors, know which pages they have visited, and to see if someone has completed your desired action.
You can install Facebook pixel even if you're not using Facebook ads.
It will start gathering data right away so that you don’t have to start from scratch when creating your first Facebook ad.
And if you need more help setting up your Facebook pixel, I can walk you through the steps here
Pro tip: Context is more important than content.
It’s hard to get your content noticed on the web, especially on social media where almost half of the content gets zero shares.
To make the most of your social media, follow the 80/20 rule which says, “spend 20% of your time creating content and the rest (80%) promoting it”.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “If the content is king, distribution is queen”.
Content creation is a time-consuming process. If you create great content in the first place, it would become a lot easier to drive engagement. Unfortunately, most people don’t post high-quality content and end up producing nothing for their business.
So, first of all, your content should offer exactly what your audience is looking for. And then you can boost engagement and visibility using paid social.
Most of the leading social media platforms allow you to run advertisements. You can run paid social campaigns to meet specific business goals at a relatively low cost.
Pro Tip: When creating ads, create different versions of ads with different messaging to ensure the most and best engagement. This helps you speak to each person individually.
Your social media marketing strategy is a major part of your overall marketing plan. It’s hard to get it right the first time.
As you start to implement your strategy and measure performance, you may find that some of your tactics don’t work as well as anticipated.
Therefore, it’s essential to analyze your results so that you identify and fix issues.
From post engagement percentage to follower counts, social media metrics can be confusing. However, you must determine and track the right metrics based on your goals.
For every goal, you need a related metric.
Let’s say your goal is to increase conversions from social by 25% in a 2-month span.
To achieve this, you launch a campaign that includes ads and influencers. To analyze your results, you need to look at the social traffic and conversion rate metric in your website analytics.
Metrics that really matter:
Volume: How many people are talking about your brand or campaigns? Volume is the easiest metric to measure. Facebook Insights, for example, measures how many unique users have posted something to their walls that talk about your brand.
Reach: It is a measure of potential audience size. It answers how far is your content disseminating.
Engagement: What is your audience doing to engage and spread your content? Facebook shares and Twitter retweets tell you who is spreading your content, while likes, comments, and reactions are helpful to know who is responding to your content.
Influence: Is your social media content powerful enough to encourage your followers to actually do anything? Having millions of followers is one thing, creating an impactful social media presence is another.
Share of voice: What percentage of the overall conversation about your industry talks about your business compared to your leading competitors. Share of voice is a key metric if you want to know how well your social media marketing strategy is doing.
It’s important to re-evaluate your strategy regularly based on data and insights. You can also use analytics to test things against one another.
Refine your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not.
If you post too infrequently, your followers will forget your brand. If you post too often, they might find your brand overcrowding their feed.
On Facebook, businesses with less than 10,000 followers that post more than 60 times a month receive 60% fewer clicks per post than those companies that post 5 or fewer times a month.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with content. Be selective about what you’re sharing.
Let’s put it this way: creating a single loveable video is better than stuffing your audience with 100 videos that don’t deliver any value.
Pro tips for creating the best social media experiences for your audience
Be responsive: Engage with those who respond to your content or share something on your pages - responsiveness encourages more conversions.
Have clear goals: Make sure you know what you’re going after.
Be consistent: Post often and at a comfortable rate. Schedule your posts in advance if possible.
Have a theme: Choose themes for specific days of the week to boost engagement.
Tell a story: Engage customers on social media with brand storytelling.
Do it with passion: Or not at all.
Communicate: Share everything with your team; goals, FAILURES, and success.
Be a trendsetter: Don’t just follow trends, be a source of inspiration for others.
Use remarketing audiences: Don’t forget to use your remarketing audiences.
I hope this guide will help you finally create a social media marketing strategy that works.
There are over 200 social media websites. Build your presence on at least a few of them. Be where your audience is. Stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and technologies to succeed.
There’s no better growth strategy for your business than social media marketing that is incorporated with a killer influencer marketing strategy.