Social media marketing is like the ring to Gollum of digital marketing strategies. You may hate it, but you know you need it in today’s world. You know it, I know it, they know it, everyone knows that social media platforms are powerful tools you can use to connect with your clientele.
By using the thing you might hate you’re able to promote your products, services, and build brand awareness. Social media marketing is the perfect companion for your business.
It connects all the puzzle pieces in your strategies and gets you more business by getting those leads you desperately crave! In addition to creating and sharing content, you can interact with followers and analyze your campaigns.
Social media is popular (duh) and only increasing in popularity. Twenty years ago there were hardly any social media platforms, the only big one was Myspace. Now there are more platforms than you can count and they all have benefits you can’t ignore.
When you understand the current trends, you can stay ahead of the competition and maximize your online presence. This article will provide you with insights and information about the current trends, along with tips you can use to enhance your social media marketing strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
So what is the technical definition of social media marketing? Well it involves using social media platforms to promote products and services and engage with the target audience, but you already knew that of course. So you’ve heard it by now, it helps you build awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads…blah blah blah is probably what you’re thinking right? Well then why aren’t you using it to its full advantage! When you utilize these platforms (you know the ones Facebook, Instagram, etc.) you connect with your potential customers, which creates meaningful interactions, which gets you business!
School time, let’s look at an example:
A funny dog tag company uses Instagram to showcase their latest Halloween collection, they comment back to followers, answer direct messages, and put the “link in bio” that drives the traffic to their website. They post their new collection with funny Halloween sayings consistently for the months of September and October, and they also use the analytic tools Instagram provides to measure their performance. By doing all of this they are perfecting their social media strategy and they’ll be on their way to achieving all of their marketing goals.
You may be thinking social media marketing is just about posting content and gaining followers, which is slightly true, but it’s also about building a strong brand presence and building relationships with your followers. It can require you to understand the unique features and demographics of each platform, as well as the interests and preferences of your intended customers.
So what do you need to do? First you’ll need to tailor your content to resonate with your audience plus leverage the many engagement tools provided. This will let you be effective in connecting with your audience and drive those meaningful interactions you need to help your business succeed.
The Essential Pillars of Social Media Marketing
Strategy: Develop a clear strategy for yourself. A good thought-out strategy will outline your objectives, target audience, content themes, and key performance metrics. It helps you stay focused and that your social media aligns with your marketing goals.
Consistency: It can be a pain we know, but those pesky algorithm overlords love consistency. Posting and engaging regularly builds your online presence and brand loyalty (we know you love that). It keeps your audience engaged and interested in you. Don’t think you have to login in and think about it everyday though, take a day or two and plan out your content, use a content calendar, such as Ocoya, Hubspot, even Canva has tools, all of these will help ensure you keep a consistent flow of posts.
Engagement: Engage the public! Interact with your followers, respond to their comments, converse with them, show that you care about building a community around your product and this will strengthen the relationship between you and your customers. When you engage with followers you build trust and loyalty. So make sure you are monitoring your social channels and responding to comments and messages to create a positive brand image.
Data and Analytics: The numbers…unless it’s 0’s at the end of a check no one really likes looking at numbers. However, monitoring and analyzing metrics can provide you valuable insights to how your audience behaves, content performance, and campaign effectiveness. Using this data will help you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategies. You can use tracking metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversions, to help you see what is working and what’s not.
Commercial Ads: Using paid social media advertising will help you reach a wider audience, target a specific demographic, and drive conversions. By running target ads you increase your brand visibility and reach. Understanding advertising options and targeting capabilities of each platform will help you maximize the effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns.
Social Media Marketing Platforms and Tools
Let’s run through the obviously popular platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Now each of these platforms are unique, with their features, audience demographics, and ad capabilities. Take Facebook for example, it is used for its advanced targeting options, while Instagram is used for its visual nature and influence opportunities.
There’s many tools that can help you streamline content scheduling, monitoring, and analytics. We’ve mentioned a few for scheduling earlier but there’s also Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social. There’s also tools like Canva and Adobe Express that can help you create visually appealing and engaging graphics for the algorithm overlords. Then to help you with analytics you have tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights to give you the valuable data on your audience, engagement, and traffic.These tools will help you manage multiple social media accounts, automate posting, and track performance metrics.
There’s a lot of different platforms and tools out there you can use for your business but it is important to consider your target audience, marketing goals, and budget. Do your research and understand each platform’s features and capabilities so that you can spend your money and time on the right platforms for your business.
Best Practices for Social Media Marketing
When it comes to social media marketing, following best practices can help your business achieve optimal results:
Define clear goals and objectives: If you don’t have a clear plan of attack you’ll be going into the trenches of social media fumbling around and blind. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or generate leads you need specific goals to guide the strategy. Be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) about your goals, these will help you stay focused and allow you to measure the success of your campaigns.
Research and understand your target audience: It’s obvious to you because you’re an expert of course but for the newbies, know who your audience is! If you are a baby bottle company and advertising to single college students you’re going to fail. It’s crucial to do your research and understand how your target audience wants to receive their content. Know their preferences, interests, pain points, everything you can find out and understand about them can help you tailor your content to resonate with them. Do audience research, use the analytics, anything that gives you insight in your audience’s behavior and preferences.
Develop a content calendar: How many times can we say it? Plan and schedule your posts out. This will help with consistency and staying organized so you can focus on the more fun and important things of your business. Content calendars will allow you to plan your content as far out as you can/want. It can also help you align your content with relevant events, holidays, or marketing campaigns.
Use visual elements: No one likes to read that much…you’re probably getting bored reading this article, but what if we threw in an image here
Focus is back. Images, videos, infographics, anything you can think to grab someone’s attention. Now obviously Instagram and TikTok are almost fully visual but for the rest of them incorporating visually appealing content helps your posts stand out in users’ feeds. Use high-quality images and videos that are relevant to your brand and audience. And once you’ve got the hang of it, start experimenting with different visual formats and styles to keep your content fresh and engaging.
Engage with your audience: I know I know…but you’ve got to do it! Hire an intern to do it, when you’re done for the day watching TV do it, sitting in the bathroom avoiding Becky from HR, wherever just do it! You will build those relationships, foster the sense of community, create a positive brand image, you also set yourself apart from the competition by being responsive and approachable. So encourage the discussions, ask questions, and seek feedback from your audience (free metrics anyone?), create a two-way conversation and you will see your business grow.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing offers several benefits for businesses:
Cost-effective advertising: Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media marketing can provide you with more cost-effective advertising options. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience and target demographics with less of your marketing budget. Since you’re able to reach the most relevant audience for your business and optimize your ad campaigns based on performance metrics you won’t be wasting any time or money targeting the wrong audience.
Increase brand awareness and recognition: Some studies say it can take anywhere from 3 to 10+ exposures to an ad before it’s effective and remembered. So what does this mean for you? Well what we’ve been saying the entire time you’ve got to post you’ve got to be consistent and engage with your followers, this is how you’ll establish yourself as an “industry leader.” Social media also provides you the opportunity to go viral as the kids say, but also word-of-mouth marketing, which further helps your brand visibility and recognition.
Directly engage with the audience: Social media marketing enables businesses to engage directly with their audience, build relationships, and provide customer support. By responding to comments, messages, and inquiries, businesses can foster a loyal customer base. Engaging with your audience on social media humanizes your brand and creates a personal connection, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy.
Drive website traffic and generate leads: When done strategically, social media marketing will drive website traffic, generate leads, and increase conversion. It’ll take those casual scrollers that come across your ad and direct them to your amazing landing page or product page and boom you have a new (or returning) customer. By providing your valuable content and incentives you can capture those leads with lead magnets, contests, and gated content, and nurture them down the sales funnel.
Gain competitive advantage: Obviously, you want the competitive advantage, social media marketing allows you to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies. You can snoop and spy, I mean monitor your competitors’ social media activities, strategies and audience engagement, and learn from their successes but also their failures. You can also use it to your advantage by keeping up with industry trends, and identifying opportunities for innovation.
Social Media Marketing Statistics
You don’t have to just take our word for it, look at the statistics on the effectiveness of social media marketing:
- According to a study, 73% of marketers believe that social media marketing has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.
- Research shows that 54% of social browsers use social media to research products before making a purchase decision.
- Around 90% of marketers found that their social media efforts have increased exposure for their business.
- Statistics reveal that social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past two years.
- Engaging content on social media generates 32% more engagement compared to non-engaging content.
Social media marketing is crucial for your business and connecting with your audience. Hopefully by now you’ve got a grasp on why social media is beneficial, the essential pillars, and how you can grow and achieve all your marketing goals.
So, be strategic, do your competitor research, and analyze those metrics of your social media channels. Most importantly stay informed about the latest trends so you can stay ahead of the competition and build your strong online presence.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with, and if you need help managing your social media look at our services and see how we can help you!