Most companies these days use some form of social media marketing. But if you’ve never been involved in that aspect of the business, you may not know much about the use of social media for marketing purposes. To help you get started, we’ve outlined some of the basics below!
What is Social Media Marketing?
When people refer to social media marketing, this is the act of using social media and social networks to market and promote products or services. It’s essentially a way for businesses to engage with their customers in an informal setting, as well as reach a wider audience.
An important aspect of social media marketing is getting your brand out there. While social media won’t necessarily get you a huge amount of sales or site traffic straightaway, though that is the eventual goal, you should be able to get people interested in your business. By discussing your overall mission and company culture, as well as using the appropriate tone, you can develop a good rapport with your customer base.
Another great thing about social media marketing is that you can easily track the success of your campaigns. Social media channels each have their own purpose built analytics tools, which allow you to easily see your progress, and make adjustments as needed.
The launch of social media changed the way people talk with each other, not to mention the way they connect online. As platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram gained traction, marketers began to realise the potential of social media marketing. Such sites allowed businesses to interact with consumers in a new way, with a particular focus on tailored content.
Because users can filter by a huge range of specifications, such as particular demographics, geography, and personal information, they can create bespoke content. That way, marketers can tailor messages so that they are most likely to resonate with different audiences.
According to Buffer, which is a social media scheduling site, there are five main pillars of social media marketing. These are strategy, planning and publishing, listening and engagement, analytics and reporting, and finally advertising. We’ve explored each of these in a little more detail below:
As the name suggests, this pillar involves determining the goals of your overall marketing plan, such as increased engagement or more site traffic. At this stage, you should also work out which social channels to focus your efforts on, as well as the type of content you intend to share.
2. Planning and Publishing
Once you’ve worked out your goals and objectives, you can start to plan your content. For instance, you may wish to consider creating content around big events and holidays, as well as milestones in your company’s timeline. Think about the medium you’ll be using too, from text to videos and images. Then decide when you’ll publish your content on social media.
3. Listening and Engagement
After publishing content, it’s important to monitor what people are saying about your posts. One of the easiest ways to do this is through social media engagement tools, like Sprout Social and HubSpot.
4. Analytics and Reporting
Analysing the results of your social media campaigns is one of the most crucial steps to any successful social strategy. Make sure you know how many people you’re reaching, and what this audience looks like. You can then use this data to work out how to improve your results in your next campaign.
Unfortunately it’s not always easy to get a lot of reach on social media organically, so you’ll probably need to pay for some ads. Advertising on social channels can be an effective way to promote and further develop your brand.
Social Media Sharing
One common strategy used by a number of businesses is to try and develop content that will be shared with friends and family. While this strategy can rely on word-of-mouth and current trends, which are hard to predict, the benefits are often huge. Not only would shared content drastically improve your reach, it also carries implicit endorsement. People are more likely to engage with something if it has been sent to them by someone they know and trust.
It’s for this reason that social influencers can be a great marketing tool. Influencers are people that already have a large following, and promote particular products to this audience. Their followers already have a certain level of buy-in, so may be more inclined to purchase the endorsed product.
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
One of the limitations of social media marketing is that while it’s possible to get high engagement levels, this won’t always translate into sales. This is particularly true if the products or services your business sells are less quirky or interesting than others. For instance, if your company were marketing antivirus software, it may be more difficult to see results from social media marketing than if you were selling organic chocolate.
Another downside of social media is that a business may encounter issues that they may not have otherwise faced, were they not promoting themselves on social platforms. An example of this could include a viral post sharing negative reviews of your company. Even after refuting the allegations, the post would have undoubtedly harmed your brand’s reputation.
Start Building Loyalty
While there are some disadvantages to social media marketing, most businesses seem to agree that the pros outweigh the cons. So if you’re ready to start building your customer base, and encouraging brand loyalty, it’s time to get serious about social media marketing!
A few simple ways to achieve customer loyalty include offering discounts and promotions to returning customers, as well as holding giveaways. These don’t have to be expensive items either – people just like free stuff! And if you’re able to give out branded items as prizes, such as stickers or tshirts, that’s another way to get your name out there.