Social media marketing is a great tool for any business or brand. You might be stressed out to hear about yet another thing to add to your to do list. But actually you’re probably already doing some form of it! Social media marketing is the practice of using social media to promote your brand. It’s a way to connect with your audience to build brand awareness, increase sales and drive website traffic. But it’s also a more personal way to communicate directly with your target audience. The great thing about social media is you can connect in live time with your customers or audience.
What makes social media marketing such a unique way of marketing is you can make it as structured or casual as you may like. For small businesses or brands who don’t have powerhouse marketing teams, this means they can just as well get in on the action. Using social media to market your brand involves generating and publishing content and engaging your followers. You can easily take it a step further by planning campaigns and even using advertising tools available on most social media platforms.
Beyond the complexity of your efforts, it’s all about choosing a social media network that will work for you. When determine where you’ll put your energy too, it’s important to consider where you audience and overall industry is active. For a fitness trainer, you might want to consider using Facebook and Instagram. However someone in the food space might decide to use Instagram and Pinterest. However don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning don’t feel pressured to join every social media network. Keeping your social media marketing efforts modest will help you to stay consistent.
Why is Social Media Marketing Important?
There is no denying that social media rules everything. In today’s world consumers rush to platforms like Instagram to research brands and find the latest products. So if you don’t have any presence on social media you’re missing huge opportunities to attract new customers. Social media is should especially be a priority of yours if you’re looking to connect with the younger generations.
Your current customers also play a huge rule in why using social media is important. Everyone wants to feel like an influencer of some sort. And at the very least they like to support their favorite businesses by tagging them on social media. Think of this as the new form of reviews and referrals. It’s not uncommon to gain a new customer because a loyal one tagged you on Facebook or Instagram.
The 5 Steps to Social Media Marketing
When it comes to social media marketing there are really 5 steps to the process. These steps can be as rigorous as you want them to be, but it’s important to include them all in order to be successful.
You could just start randomly posting on your social media accounts. But that might not get you the results you’re looking for. The foundation to any successful social media marketing efforts is having a strong strategy. To start you need to determine what your goals are. These goals can very well change as your business or brand progresses, and grow with it. But it’s always important to work towards something so you can measure your success over efforts.
Asides from your goals this might be the time where you evaluate what social media platforms you plan on using. The major social media platforms that people use for marketing are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube. TikTok is also a platform that is starting to emerge as an option, especially those looking to reach out to the younger generations.
Generally, social media strategies are planned out as an entire year, and then broken into quarters and then months. The more time you spend to put together a full year plan, the easier managing your social media marketing will be. Looking at your strategy quarterly can then help you plan campaigns and content revolving around the seasons, holidays and other key dates within your industry.
Finally, you’ll plan out your content schedule. Meaning the dates when you’ll be posting content across all your platforms. Start by determining how many days a week you can commit to posting on your social media channels. Then you might was to research the best times of the week and day in terms of getting the most reach with your posts. Last you’ll set your schedule whether it be in your calendar or by using planning apps like Hootsuite.
Creating & Publishing
Once you have a strategy in place it’s time to get to creating. You can either choose to develop content yourself, use someone on your team or hire a freelancer to help with the process. The best advice for content creation is to schedule a day to shoot multiple images or video as required. That way the time alone that it takes to set up, is time well spent. Depending on if you want to create graphics for your social media or not, you might want to hire a graphic designer. However if you are feeling creative, there are plenty of apps you can use like Canva that can help you get the job done.
Part of creating your content is coming up with your copywriting, also known as captions. This part of your social media marketing is just as important as your creatives. This couldn’t be more true for platforms like Twitter, where written communication is it’s basis. Don’t forget about your use of hashtags either, which play an important role in expanding your reach.
When all parts of your content are ready to now you’ve got to publish. Some apps like Facebook offer the ability to schedule your posts, which make managing your Page that much easier. Other apps like Instagram require manual posting. However some tools like Hootsuite and other feed planning apps allow you to schedule reminders and manually push posts through their platforms. This helps to keep you on schedule and posting consistently.
If you’re just posting on social media and that’s it you’re doing great harm to your social media marketing efforts. It’s extremely important that you spend time daily engaging on each of your account. You definitively want to reply to comments and messages and look for any mentions or tags to interact with. You also want to take time to show love to your followers, target audience and even other brands or businesses in your community.
Beyond being good social media etiquette it’s about boosting your exposure. The more you are active on social media the better the odds of people paying attention to you. On some platforms like Instagram it can even help you benefit from their algorithms. See an account that just posts on social media 3 times a week, without engaging could look like a bot account. Meaning it’s not used by an actual person, but programmed to post. So if you’re not using your account like the average user, where they engage and post your content could be suppressed.
Within the mix of posting and engaging on social media you should also be keeping an eye on how your performing. A big part of social media marketing is analyzing your insights to see how your content is performing, and how you can improve. Many social media platforms provide their own built-in analytics especially if you have a business account. Instagram for example gives you great insights into not only your content and profile insights but also key demographics into your followers and audience. However there are also a bunch of great 3rd party tools that you can use to build reports and analyze information.
Social media has always been known as a free way to advertise. But for those who are looking to take their social media marketing to the highest levels, you might want to consider paid advertising. While this does require a budget it is a great way to boost your reach even more and better the odds of you content getting in front of your desired audience. Paid advertising on platforms like Facebook allow you to tailor each advertising campaign to a specific set of criteria that you set. This can be things like areas of interest like fashion or cooking, to targeting users in a certain city or age range. Paid advertising is a great way to promote sales, new launches and even help boost under performing content.