Whether you run an online business or you want to grow as a social media influencer, your biggest goal is to increase your engagement with your customers and consumers. However, it isn’t easy to boost brand awareness without effective social media marketing. If you’re struggling to know how to get followers or increase your presence on social media, then perhaps you need to re-assess your social media marketing? In this piece, we’ll revisit what social media marketing is, how it can benefit your brand or business and how to develop an effective social media strategy for your business.
What is social media marketing?
We’re sure you know what social media marketing is, but we’ll just do a quick recap so it’s high in mind.
Social media marketing relates to content designed especially for social media platforms. That content is specific to promoting your business, whether it’s product led, or service led. It is also there to build engagement and connection with your audience, create a community and generate leads. Social media constantly evolves and that means that any social media marketing must also grow and change with it.
Consider the word social. That’s what it’s all about, it’s about being sociable and staying in touch with your audience. What’s great about that is that you can be yourself or create a brand identity that resonates with your audience. Of course, each social media platform is different so while you should have one “voice,” it may have to slightly change depending on the platforms you use.
Before we move on, if you’re busy deciding which social media platforms are best for you, let’s quickly check out what’s available.
Facebook has almost 2 billion active users across the globe. Those users access Facebook every day. The most active users are Gen X and Millennials, and it is very much a business to consumer platform. If you use it for social media marketing, it’s also got access to Facebook analytics so you can track how your posts perform.
This relatively new social media platform has grown in popularity in the past couple of years and boasts 1 billion global users and these are active users. The audience is younger, consisting mainly of GenZ and Millennials. TikTok is ideal for both B2B and B2C, use TikTok for short video content and creating a buzz around your brand. TikTok now sits just behind YouTube for video content, and it may well overtake YouTube in the next couple of years. If your brand targets a younger audience, you should definitely consider it.
This popular social media platform has over 1 billion monthly active users and is mainly the choice of Millennials. Use this for B2C purposes and posting images, videos, stories, and adverts. Of course, you can always buy views, if necessary, which helps to increase your engagement. Instagram is one of the best social media platforms around, if you want to showcase visuals, we advise setting up a social media account on Instagram. It’s easy to use, for businesses and consumers and the ideal place to get noticed by your target audience.
Twitter has over 200 million daily users across the globe and is another Millennials’ favorite. It’s used for B2B purposes and B2C. Lots of brands and businesses use Twitter for their social media customer services channels and it’s also ideal for brief messages. While you can post images and videos on Twitter, it’s really the place to go for words, but not for longform content – keep it brief, that’s the key. The platform is also favored by men.
This B2B social media platform has approximately 780 million users across the globe and has a wider audience, namely Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials. It is a professional platform, for people wishing to network or seek out new job openings.
The video platform has more than 310 million people using it every day across the world and is popular for Millennials, although most age groups access the channel. Brands use it for B2C and B2B, instruction videos, how-to-do videos and for displaying entertaining content using video. It is the second most visited website in the world and a superb place to build up a community.
This is a relatively young social media platform that’s only been going for 10 years. With over 300 million users every day, it’s the most popular platform for Gen Z and is mainly used for B2C.
This platform has approximately 440 million active users every month across the globe and is favored by Millennials, Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomers. The online storyboard platform, it’s a wonderful place to display inspirational products, especially for home and fashion.
Hopefully, the above overview of each of the biggest social media platforms will help you to decide which could work for your business but before you make that decision, let’s think about the benefits of social media marketing.
Reasons why you should use social media marketing
We believe there are four convincing arguments why you should use social media marketing, no matter what business you’re involved in.
It grows brand awareness
If you’re not using social media marketing, you’re missing out on reaching thousands of people, potentially millions so you need to be on at least some of the platforms. Social media marketing has the ability to drive traffic to your website and one of the quickest, easiest ways that you can do this is by adding links to your website through your profile, your posts and in your bio.
It generates leads and helps to convert to sales
By promoting your products, services or other through social media you get access to leads, and you can convert these into sales. See it as a means to advertise to your audience because when people follow your account, they see your posts and there’s an opportunity to engage. There are lots of exciting ways to promote your business through social media marketing:
- Develop competitions.
- Link your website.
- Highlight exclusive offers.
- Create live videos to share news about what your company is doing.
- Devise a social media marketing campaign on one platform or across your platforms.
- Sell your products using social media, such as the Instagram shopping area or using Facebook Shops
When using social media platforms, you engage with your following and this means you can build up lasting relationships. There’s plenty of opportunity to interact with your consumers and customers, reply to their comments, answer their questions, and even ask your own questions. It’s about generating a conversation. This makes you more accessible to your customers and builds trust. It also shows how much you value their opinions, and your audience can give you so much insight as to what they want from your business – use social media marketing to extract information.
Keep an eye on your competition
Using social media, you can also stay abreast of the competition. What do your competitors do well? What do they do badly? What can you learn from them? What’s their social media strategy? By understanding your competition, you can build your own brand and get insights into what you should be doing – as well as what you can do better than your competitors!
Developing an effective social media strategy
Once you’ve identified the social media platforms you should use, and what your competitors do, you can start to think about your strategy. To do that, there are a few steps you need to take, beginning with researching your buyers, your audience and using that information for the social media platforms you want to use. That’s the first step. Next, you need to create your content and you need to spend time on this to get it right. Once you have a list of suitable posts, create a schedule for each. It’s similar to a marketing strategy except it’s focussed on each channel.
Know your audience
For effective social media marketing, when thinking about your audience, understand who they are and how you reach them. You need to know the demographic, who your products or services appeal to and then you can create the right content for your audience. Go back to the social media platforms and be sure that those you choose to use align with your audience. Use the right platforms for your audience and see where your competitors post. If their posts perform well, then you should use the same social media platforms.
Get your content right
The next step is of course, creating that all-important social media content. You need content that stands out from the crowd and gives people a reason to follow you. It’s not easy but once you know what works for you, it does become easier. Think about why you follow social media accounts, what is it about them that makes you want to view their content? What is their brand voice? What type of content do they post and why do you like it? Those are the rules you need to apply to your content. Understand what your audience like and what they want to know about. Don’t forget to use the features available on your social media platform of choice. For example, stories on Instagram, live videos on Facebook, customer services on Twitter. You can also repost content from other users and tag their brand name. So, when other users search that tag, they will hopefully be directed to your post and that’s an opportunity to collect new followers.
Keep an eye on new trends
Don’t be afraid to use new social media trends. When a new platform appears, it’s wise to get to grips with it and build a profile to see how it works. If you think it could work for your business, use it. If you find after a few weeks that it’s not generating as much interest as other social media platforms that you use, you can always deactivate your account.
Schedule your posts
Once you’ve created a series of posts, you should schedule them. There are lots of different scheduling tools available online that allow you to develop your posts in advance. You can use captions, get your images ready and even record videos for use in the future. Once you’ve set your schedule up, you don’t need to worry, it will all be done for you. These scheduling tools free up your time to concentrate on other aspects of your business so they’re well worth researching. They’re even more useful because they give you insights as to your posts’ engagement and performance, so you see what works and what doesn’t work. We’d recommend www.hootsuite.com as a great starting point.
How often should you post on social media
Don’t be tempted to post all the time because people do get bored of seeing post after post only. It’s best to post when you have something valuable to share. You need a reason. Of course, it’s great to share social media every day but don’t do it for the sake of posting! Remember, it’s quality and not quantity. Your audience will notice your posts much more if they’re engaging, exciting and worthy. They’ll soon grow tired of seeing dull posts that don’t deliver any value, so be choosy. We’d suggest that you post two or three times a week, and if something crops up in-between, by all means post it, especially if it’s newsworthy content.
Analysing your social media marketing
To determine whether or not your social media strategy is working, you need to use the analytical tools available. The beauty of online social media marketing is that you can do this easily. Whereas it’s much harder to analyse offline marketing. To analyse your social media marketing, you need to use social media metrics which means the data related to your posts’ success rate, how your audience engages with what you post and whether or not they boost your leads and sales. Here’s more on what you should track:
- The Engagement. This relates to likes on Instagram (and other platforms), views, comments, clicks and replies to your posts.
- The Reach. This relates to the number of people who view your content.
- Your Followers. How many people have followed you after you’ve posted content? This is a very important metric as the ultimate goal is to have as many followers as humanly possible!
- The Impressions. This means the amount of times a post is viewed, regardless of whether or not it’s clicked on. It’s when a person scrolls through their news feed and sees your post – they don’t necessarily click on it, but they’ve seen it, nonetheless.
- Video Views. This relates to the video channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube) and how many views your video receives.
- Profile Visits. This relates to the amount of people who open up your profile page after viewing a post.
- This is how many times your profile has been mentioned by others.
- Tags are when people who follow you add your name to another post.
- Similar to tags, this is when one of your audience posts some of your content on their own profile.
- This is how many times your post is shared by your followers to their own network.
To measure your metrics, you should use the analytics available on your social media platforms of choice. For example, you can use Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics and Facebook Analytics. Google Analytics is another tracking tool which helps you to track both your website and social media use. There are other tools available online that do all of the aforementioned in one place.
Do use the resources available because they’re there for a reason, to grow your presence on social media and build your brand. So many billions of people use social media every day, it’s vitally important that you use at least one to get your brand noticed. For those of you just starting out with social media, use one platform at a time so you really gain a thorough understanding of each. If you try to do too many at once, it could get confusing, and you won’t do your social media justice. Make a list of those you are interested in and prioritise them. Once you’ve mastered one, move onto the next. Don’t forget you can link your social media as well, so you post to all of your channels at once, although some posts are better shared just on their parent channel as each social media platform is different.
We hope this post proves useful to you and grows your audience so in turn, you grow your business.