May 03

What Is Social Media Marketing?

As we get increasingly digitalised, technological innovations are allowing us to become increasingly social as well. Social media marketing has become mainstream as many social media platforms are sprouting out every other day, and we are accepting them with open arms. It is in human nature to seek social acquaintances, and this is the driving force behind the billion-dollar industry. Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Quora, Twitter, YouTube, etc., are overflowing with marketing potential that all marketers need to tap into.

Social Media Marketing

As such, no marketer can ignore digital marketing’s role in today’s marketing. Awareness of digital marketing and how to make a strategy for it is imperative for any business to stay competitive today.

What is Social Media Marketing?

This is the latest addition to the marketing mix program. If you already have been doing SEO & SEM, now is the time to look into SMM. It involves utilizing social media sites as marketing platforms. A social media platform allows you to connect with and market to a target audience on the network. As such, companies open social media pages not only as a public relations tool but also to increase their brand awareness. This is accomplished by communicating to their audiences through content, videos, discussions, vines, polls, quizzes, etc.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing

As we speak, over 2.8 billion people are currently signed up for and using the various social media platforms. Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin are all growing exponentially and with no signs of slowing down.

Even though social media platforms are different with each site attracting a specific kind of user, it does not mean that digital marketers need to pick or choose; you need to target the 1.65 billion individuals on Facebook as well as the 300+ million Twitter users. Admittedly, you will need a different strategy for each platform, but that’s just how it is.

Dilbert SMM

The main benefit of social media marketing is that it makes the relationship between the brand and the consumer a little more intimate thus resulting in a closer relationship. Businesses are able to gather consumer feedback in real time without investing resources. It creates a win-win scenario since the company gets to know about their customers’ wants and needs while the consumers get better products as a result.
Other benefits include:

Increasing Web Traffic

Creatively crafted social media posts will increase the number of users visiting your site. As such, you need a good content creation strategy as well that will make your audience share and as-a-result invite their friends over to your page. This will see your brand getting more recognition and increasing its conversion rate.

Additionally, linking your social media page to your website will boost your site’s SEO. If your social media pages are getting a lot of traffic due to an exceptional content strategy, search engine crawlers will take note of this and improve your actual website’s ranking on Google. Consequently, this will increase even additional traffic to your site. There is no way your business does not benefit from this.

Learning from consumers and industry leaders.

When done right, social media marketing leads to close relationships. Social media platforms are unique in that they give you a bird’s eye view of your audience’s daily lives – what they like doing, their feelings about various issues, and other insights – this feedback is essential when designing a product strategy.

Also, social media allows you to see how competitors and leading brands in your niche are tackling issues and what is leading to their success.

Also, note that most social media participants do not view these platforms as marketing machines. As such, they are less likely to view your posts as advertisements and will be more willing to listen. Again, killer content should be your number one priority on social media if you want a bigger audience. Cards from the current president of the US to demonstrate a thing or two about marketing.

Allows for targeted marketing

A platform such as Facebook allows you to customize your ads and target a certain segment. For instance, you can customize your Facebook ads to target consumers based on location, purchase history, education level, and even the pages that they’ve liked. Also, you can re-target users that have previously visited your page – they are the most likely to get converted.

Get media coverage

This is the sole purpose of social media marketing; to garner recognition. As such, involving your business in nonprofit activities every once in a while will put you in a positive light among your audience and is likely to get the mainstream media’s attention.

Brand Image

Any problem that consumers may have with your product is going to be responded to immediately with the help of social media. Consumers certainly appreciate a brand that responds immediately to their complaints. Companies with a strong social media presence tend to have more loyal customers. 

Staying ahead of your competition

Well, your competition is looking to slay you. As a result, over 90% of businesses have more than one social media site. Therefore, you cannot afford to give them such an advantage. Getting into the game early is less expensive than playing catch up. If the competition actively uses social media and can seduce all your potential customers, it will be hard to get them to ditch your competitor. As such, be the first to get those friends and followers.

Also, even though some brands may have more money to throw around on marketing, this is not the case in social media marketing; it is an even playing field. Here, getting leads and converting them to customers is all a matter of wits and consistency. Provide value to your audience through valuable content on a regular basis while being entertaining and see what happens. People are attracted to personality and not brand names.

As such, you will need to outwork, outwit, out the network, and out write your competitors to increase your traffic and sales.

The importance of social media to your business cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, a single Facebook page does not count as social media presence; you need to be represented across all social media platforms in which you regularly interact with your audience.

Social Media Marketing Strategy

So, we now know social media marketing is the best thing after sliced bread. But do you know how to go about it? Here’s what you need to include in a social media marketing strategy to successfully connect with your audience:

Identify Business Goals

Insta Goals

The social media strategy is meant to be among the tools that help you achieve your goals; it is not a goal by itself. As such, you need to know what you’re working towards.
Analyze your business’s overall needs and see how social media can assist you to meet them. Even though goals may vary between individuals, there are a few that cut across the board, and they include:

• Increasing brand awareness
• Retaining clients
• Cutting marketing costs

Nevertheless, do not get caught up in pursuing too many goals, rather, have a few main ones as they will be easier to focus on.

Set Marketing Objectives

Social Media marketing objectives

Your goals will not mean much if you do not have parameters for defining whenever you accomplish one. For instance, if generating leads and sales is among your primary goals, then how many leads or sales do you have to make for you to consider that goal to be a success?

It is marketing objectives that enable you to move from an uncompleted goal to a successfully accomplished one. As such you need to make your objectives S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

Using the SMART approach for our previous example, for instance, means the following.

• You will need to set a specific marketing objective, say increasing leads by 50%.
• You will need tracking and analytics tool to help you measure your progress.
• Your objective shouldn’t be to increase your sales by 1000%. That is just setting yourself up for failure. Be reasonable and set objectives that are achievable using your current resources.
• Ensure that your objectives are relevant to the company’s vision.
• Attach a timeframe to your objectives. This will help you focus as you will be working on a deadline.

Identify Ideal Customers

If you are experiencing low engagement rates on your social media pages, you are probably targeting the wrong audience.

You need to be aware of buyer personas to get the accurate and ideal customer profile. This way, you will use the right message to target the correct audience, at the right place and at the right time.

As such knowledge about your target audience’s occupation, age, interests, income, problems, pains, likes, habits, obstacles, objections, and motivations is essential to being able to create a social media presence that will attract your ideal customer.

Research your Competition

Keeping track of your competition’s social media activities is not petty; it is a necessity. You need to see what’s working for them so you can incorporate it into your strategy while steering clear of their online shortcomings.

As such, begin by making a short list of your main competitors. Look into their various social media profiles; check out their content strategy, their number of followers, their posting frequency, and the time of day they post.

Pay keen attention to their content material. Is it entertaining, promotional, or a blend of both? How do they respond to their audience?

Also, check their fans’ engagement rate. This is the ratio of the number of comments, likes, and shares to the total number of followers. Use this ratio to see how you all stack up against each other.

Choose Channels and Tactics

Granted you should be on all social media platforms, but you need to invest your time in each wisely. For example, if after analyzing your buyer personas you realized that most spend their time on Instagram and a little bit of it on Twitter; the bulk of your marketing efforts should be on Instagram. Also, each social media channel has the specific tactics that work best for it. Study and apply them.

Create a Content Strategy

Content is synonymous with social media. Social media is pretty much useless without great content. The reverse is also true. Therefore, you need to invest in your content strategy. Nevertheless, a successful social-media-content-marketing strategy has the following elements:

• Type of content
• Time of posting
• Frequency of posts

The content you post depends majorly on form and context. Form implies to the means you use to put up that information – images, text, videos, links, etc.
Context depends on how your brand is perceived. This will direct whether the information will be serious, funny, educational, etc.

The time you post is also crucial. Obviously, you do not want to upload content when everyone’s sleeping. You will research to know when your audience is most active.
Also, you need to find the optimum posting frequency.

Allocate Budget and Resources

You need first to review the tactics you have chosen to accomplish your goals to be able to assign a social media marketing budget. Therefore, create a comprehensive list of all the tools you will need. After that, estimate the cost of each.

This will give you a rough estimate. If the strategy requires more than what you have, prioritize the tools that offer the fastest ROI.

Assign Roles

You need a team to launch a successful social media marketing campaign. Therefore, everyone needs a specific role to avoid confusion and overlapping efforts. For instance, you could have the following roles:

• Visual content creation
• Social media management
• Advertising
• Social referrals
• Customer service

When everyone is aware of their role, begin planning the execution process. The plan should be reflective of your goals.

Ensure that the content you create and the social media marketing is to the point. Creating spammy and non relevant content can lead to increased misalignment of your subject and even penalty from Google.

Social media allows brands to connect with their customers on a personal level. These platforms demystify the ‘corporate persona’ and make the product more relatable to the consumer. Upcoming businesses should also seek to raise their brand awareness through targeted marketing. Social media marketing is a dynamic environment where wits and consistency are highly rewarded. Ensure you apply the above tips and more if you want to stay competitive.

About The Author

Ajay Chavda is the co-founder of Weboptimizers, an SEO agency in Melbourne and has been involved with SEO for over 15 years. Between the digital properties and security forums he has managed, his articles have been read by approximately 50 million unique visitors.

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