Social media now plays a vital part in connecting businesses with new and existing customers. Billions of people around the world actively use social media to socialise and find information, opening up an opportunity for businesses to increase their brand awareness and capture the attention of their target audience.
Creating a social media marketing strategy is at the core of gaining a competitive advantage and reaching company goals. Here is our guide to social media marketing and why it is such a vital part of a business’s advertising campaigns.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing involves the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest, to connect a business’s products and services with their target audience to achieve developmental goals. Effective social media advertising includes the creation and upload of quality content such as photos, videos and information to engage potential and existing customers online.
If the content a business shares online is engaging and informative enough, people will pay attention to the brand and be more likely to convert with them. This is why a social media strategy is important to track goals and help a company to find out what is and what isn’t working for them on social media.
Which are the Most Popular Social Media Platforms for Marketing?
There are a variety of popular social platforms used by a huge range of people. In order to create effective social media campaigns, businesses should know which social networks to target; each social network has a different demographic and target audience. It is crucial for a company to put their marketing efforts into the right social media platform for their goals. The most popular social media platforms are:
Primarily used for business-to-consumer marketing (B2C), the main age group for Facebook is 18 to 44 years.
Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer marketing can take place on Twitter with the average age of consumers at 18 to 50 years.
B2C, with a younger demographic of 18 to 34 years.
B2C, a wide range of age groups use YouTube from 18 up to over 70+ years.
B2B, with an older age group of users at 21 to 54 years.
What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?
Using social media as part of a marketing strategy reaps a huge number of benefits for a brand. Creating a social media profile for engaging and quality content will help you to build your business, no matter what your goal.
Increased Brand Awareness
Creating social media content can help you to build increased brand awareness so that more people not only see your brand online but are more likely to use you in the future. Social media marketing is a great way to get your name out there and you could even go viral, which sends your brand name out to a mass number of potential customers. You will only achieve increased brand awareness if you adapt your content to appeal to your audience. We are inundated with advertisements and posts on social media in the present day, so businesses need effective marketing strategies to stand out amongst competitors.
Advertising your business on social media with content that is informative to followers will increase your engagement rates so that you can reach a larger number of potential customers. Social media marketing will give you the opportunity to capture more customers and bring them on board with your business.
You need to make sure you choose the right social platforms that will give you the best chance of gaining these new customers, whether that be through a Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter profile.
Social media marketing is a highly cost-effective way to reach an audience; if you have an in-house digital marketing team then there may be very little cost associated with creating social media content. Uploading content on social media is completely free, but paid ads and PPC (pay-per-click) are also an option.
Paid ads on social media can send your content out to a larger number of people and are a great way to expand your audience online. No matter what you choose as part of your social media marketing strategy, advertising online can be a lot more affordable than traditional methods of marketing such as radio and TV campaigns and print publication.
Increased Website Traffic for Better SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is so important in the world of digital marketing, it allows a brand to gain organic, free traffic online by appearing higher on search engine pages. Social media marketing helps with SEO as you will have business links on your social media profiles which means there will be an increased number of website views and traffic.
Increased traffic to your website shows Google and other popular search engines that your website is informative and is likely to have high-quality content, which will work in your favour when it comes to SEO.
Other benefits to social media marketing include retaining clients by having better customer service and updated information, being able to keep an eye on what competitors are doing and finding out which content your customer base reacts best to.
How Do I Create an Effective Social Media Marketing Plan?
Effective social media marketing needs a plan with realistic goals that you can work towards, as well as the ability to track your business progress. Every business will have a different social media marketing goal, depending on the audience they want to reach and the product or service they offer.
If you are going to use social media to benefit your brand, you will want to focus on the following steps when creating a strategy.
Set Realistic and Specific Goals
The very first thing you should do before creating any advertising plan is to set out your goals so you know what to work towards. Your goals should be more specific than to “get more sales”; how can you get more sales? This may be setting a starter goal to gain 1000 new followers within a month or double your website traffic. Use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals to help you with your social media marketing aims.
Choose Which Social Media Platforms You Will Use
To decide on the social media channels you want to market through you will need to ensure you understand the demographic of your audience and which social media platforms they use the most. For example, there is no point in putting time and effort into creating engaging content for LinkedIn if your audience are private consumers in a younger age group.
Decide which social media platforms you will create an account on or grow your presence if you already have an account.
Research Your Audience
One of the most vital steps to social media marketing is to understand what your audience wants to see so that your posts get engagement. You can do this by researching your audience, and competitors, and finding out which content gets the most engagement and which posts are worth forgetting.
For example, a video upload on Facebook with real clients reviewing your product or service may work better than a graphic with a text review. Various social media platforms have different content that followers and users engage with; it may not be the same across all social media, so make sure you research what your audience wants to see on each individual platform.
Create a Content Calendar
Once you know which content gets the most engagement with the audience you want to capture, you can create a content calendar to plan out what you will upload, when. Factors such as the time of day and day of the week can affect how much engagement your content gets online, so you will want to find out which times are best to post. If you want to set up social media ads, you can also schedule ad campaigns in your content calendar. Staying organised is key to mastering social media marketing.
Begin Producing Quality Content
Once you have researched which social media content gets the most engagement, you can begin creating your own quality content for social media. Remember that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms have different dimensions for images, video content time limits etc. so bear this in mind when producing your content.
Your posts should work towards the goal you set for the brand, so give your followers a link or something to do when you upload online. Users are more likely to take action on a post that asks them to!
A good way to increase your website traffic and optimise your site for SEO is to create blog posts on your website that you can link to your social channels. For example, uploading an informative blog post on your website and then posting about it with an eye-catching graphic on Facebook or Twitter with a link. This will mean that your followers are going over to your website to read the blog post.
However, depending on users, this may not always work in your favour as they may be less likely to engage with the post if they have to leave the social media platform. This should all be established in your research where you can list the best post ideas for increased engagement.
Track Analytics and ROI
Another crucial part of social media marketing is to track results and ROI on your campaigns and posts. Most social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have insights feature to find out the metrics you need to know, such as your post engagement, reach, impressions, your followers, profile visits, website visits, shares, tags and more.
A huge part of using social media to develop your business includes monitoring the things that are helping towards your goals online and finding out what may be hindering them. The same insights will be available for ads on social media, where you can find out if your ads are working towards your goals.
We can help
Social media marketing can make your business a leading competitor within its industry if used correctly. There are so many different courses available online and in-person to help you with reaching your goals and talking to like-minded people can help show you the benefits of social media marketing.
Here at The Social Network, we offer Facebook and Twitter training to help get your business off the ground in the social world. We can also help with social media management if you lack the time or expertise to help your business to reach its goals.