Social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) are used by billions of people all over the world. Almost half of the world’s entire population is using social media making it an ideal place for businesses to connect and engage with their target audience.
Businesses use social media sites to drive traffic, engage with their audience, generate leads and sales, and boost brand awareness. A clear understanding of what is social media marketing and how it works are the basics that every business (and marketer) must know today for survival.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing refers to creating, publishing, and sharing content on social networking sites to promote business, products, or services. In simple words, it is marketing that’s done on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others.
Businesses use social media marketing to achieve different goals including brand awareness, sales and lead generation, community engagement, brand audience, and website traffic:
There is no single best way to use social media to market your products and services. However, content publication is a must-have as all social networking sites are driven by content be it text, images, videos, or any other.
Instagram, for instance, is all about photos, LinkedIn is known for professional content, Facebook works for all types of content, Twitter is text-focused. Creating and publishing content on your target social media platform is the most essential part of the process.
Why Social Media Marketing?
What makes it so important for your business? Why not go with other marketing channels such as SEO or content marketing?
Social media marketing is the #1 marketing channel for businesses of all sizes for several reasons:
- It has a global reach. Over 3.6 billion people in the world have access to social media and the figure is expected to cross 4.41 billion by 2025. You can reach your target audience in any part of the world easily via social media.
- It is cost-effective. Social networking platforms don’t charge you a single penny. The only cost you incur is related to creating, running, and managing a social media account provided you have hired someone to do it for your business.
- People want their favorite brands to be on social media to connect with like-minded people. You have to use social media marketing to meet consumer expectations.
- You can rank in search engines like Google and social media platform’s internal search for your brand name. This improves your business’s reach and credibility.
- Build community. Social media marketing helps you connect and engage with your ideal customers. You can build and grow your community easily.
- Your target audience feels more connected to your brand if a CEO is actively using social media.
- You can share news updates, product information, and helpful content with your followers on social media. Meantime, you can drive traffic to your website at no cost whatsoever. Simply sharing a link to your blog post is enough to generate traffic instantly.
How to do Social Media Marketing
There are two ways to do promotion on social media. First, create accounts on leading social media sites, post content randomly whenever you get time, and log in to your accounts to keep them active.
Second, create a social media marketing strategy, have a plan, publish content strategically, be part of the social networking platform, and grow your business.
Ironically, most of the businesses go with the first option. Being inactive on social media does more harm than not having an account at all. When your ideal customer visits your social media account and notices that you posted content 3 weeks ago, it will ruin your brand image and credibility. It shows you aren’t interested and don’t publish content.
People won’t connect and might not return ever.
If you want to do it, do it properly with a plan. Here is how to create a social media marketing strategy:
- Define goals
- Identify social networking platforms
- Publish and schedule content
- Track and improve
1. Define Goals
You must have clearly defined goals that you want to achieve with social media marketing. You need to identify a clear purpose and goal. For example, your goal could be to improve brand awareness, generate sales, send traffic to your website, etc.
Setting clear goals gives you a direction and makes it easy to track performance.
2. Choose Social Media Sites
There are 32 social media platforms in the world with at least 100 million active users. It gets hard to identify the right ones for your business needs. Each social platform targets a specific need and caters best to one particular area. For example, LinkedIn is best for professionals, Instagram is used by teens and is focused on photo sharing, YouTube is ideal for video content, etc.
You need to pick one or more social media sites based on the following criteria:
- It must be used by your target audience
- It must help you achieve your social media marketing goal(s).
If it meets these two criteria, go for it.
3. Publish and Schedule
It is time to start creating content for your target social media platform(s). What content to create and publish depends on the social networking site, your social media marketing goals, and target audience preferences.
You can create a social media content calendar to manage content publication and scheduling. You can create your calendar in Excel like this:
Or, you can use Trello or any other project management app:
4. Track and Optimize
If you are using a social media management app, you can use its analytics to measure the performance of individual posts to get an idea of what type of content your audience loves engaging with.
Or, you can use the social media platform’s built-in analytics. All the leading platforms provide in-depth analytics to their users.
Look for opportunities. Analyze data and reports regularly as it helps in decision-making and planning.
Marketing without social media is incomplete. Now that you know what is social media marketing, it is time to practically start doing it. Having knowledge about something is useless if you don’t utilize it for your benefit. Start investing your time and resources in social media marketing, it will never disappoint you.
Featured Image: Pexels