You don’t have to be a marketer to use social media. With this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about social media marketing so you can start growing your business today.
Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to promote your products and services. It allows you to target your audience at scale and build lasting relationships with current and potential customers. Social media platforms provide you with a variety of tools that allow you to connect and impact your target market on a deeper level than ever before.
How Social Media Works
Social media can be used for many different purposes. Some of the most popular uses include building brand awareness, increasing website traffic, generating leads, nurturing leads, and building communities. Social media is the number one channel for marketing in the 21st century. No wonder all marketing strategies rely on it to network and increase brand awareness.
Social media advertising is the easiest way to reach prospective customers. With a social media strategy, you can easily connect with an audience of people who are likely to be interested in your services.
A social media strategy is the process of creating and implementing a set of tactics that help your brand engage with your customers. This may include advertising on your own brand page, or posting content on a partner's page.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a tool used for sharing information. It is a very broad term, and a lot of people associate it with Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. The most recent Pew study shows that 72% of Americans use social media and over half have some kind of profile on a social network.
A common misconception about social media is that it’s all about creating social networks or following celebrities on Instagram. However, the goal of social media is to help you create a brand that will engage with customers and gain new leads. In order to achieve that goal, you have to be very careful about what you post, because your content could have a tremendous impact on how your audience feels about your company and its products.
Social media platforms have different features and functions, which can sometimes cause confusion. This guide will give you a basic overview of the most common features of all the major social media networks.
Why Social Media is Important
Social media marketing is quickly becoming an integral tool for businesses to get their name out there. It is a medium where you can interact with your audience directly and where you can get in front of people who might be interested in your products or services. It is also a channel where you can showcase your products, your employees, and your brand in a professional manner.
Social media marketing has been proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies around. Here are 5 reasons why social media marketing is a valuable tool for your brand:
1. The “Real-time” Effect
Social media users are able to communicate with each other in real-time, which means that a company can gain immediate access to potential customers. People who like a business’s page can provide direct feedback that helps a company improve its product or service.
2. Better Quality Traffic
When a company engages with its customers on social media sites, it can create a sense of loyalty. As people are already connected with the company on social media, they’ll be more likely to purchase their products or services.
3. Direct Connection with Customers
By building a strong social media following, a business can better connect with its target market. This allows the company to reach out to the people who are actually interested in what services it offers and build a community around their brand.
4. Increased ROI
Studies have shown that companies who invest in social media marketing are able to see a higher return on investment than those that don’t. One of the main reasons is because of the “real-time” nature of social media. When a business posts something on a social media site, customers can engage with the post and share the content with others.
5. Better Brand Awareness
Businesses that are active on social media sites can build a strong brand identity. A company that has a strong social media presence can be seen as more legitimate than other organizations that don’t have any social accounts.
You probably use Facebook at least once a day. It's one of the most known social media platforms with a huge impact on our every day life.
A lot of companies don't realize the impact it can have on their bottom line. They fail to recognize the value of their Facebook fans and followers. It doesn't matter if you're a B2C or B2B company. If you're not on Facebook, then you need to re-think your marketing strategy.
If you want to be successful on Facebook, it’s important to follow these best practices:
Make sure your ad images look great. This isn’t a place to post a low-quality picture. Make sure it’s clear, and that you follow the Facebook guidelines for size, resolution, and composition.
Choose the right campaign ad format. The platform allows businesses to select among different types of ads:
- Image ads
- Video Ads
- Carousel Ads
- Collection Ads
- Lead ads
- Messenger Ads
- Conversion Ads
There are also options to include location targeting and other features.
You can choose to pay per click, per view, per install, per lead or per conversion.
Monitor the performance of your ad campaign.
Use analytics to analyze the performance of your campaign.
Improve your content and increase engagement.
The Facebook algorithm changes frequently. This means you need to update and improve your content frequently. It’s a good idea to create unique content for your audience, and to use Facebook groups to communicate with your customers and community.
With more than 1.2 billion users, Instagram is a social platform that allows you to share your pictures and videos in a visually-engaging environment that keeps your viewers engaged throughout the post.
To maximize engagement, make sure to upload content that’s related to your brand or products. Use hashtags, like #brandname, to help people find you and not your competitor. Include links in your captions, such as #link and #website. The more you include, the better the chances of getting likes, comments, and reposts.
In addition, by tapping into influencers, celebrities, and public figures, you can reach the right people at the right time to build your following. The key is to keep your followers engaged with content that relates to their interests and this way you can build a community that will support your brand in the long-term.
As with any social media platform, on Instagram it's best to keep your posts consistent. Avoid posting too many updates throughout the day or else you risk annoying your followers and driving them away. Instead, consider scheduling your posts a few times a week so your followers know you're there.
Twitter is often overlooked as a social media tool, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to generate leads and improve conversions. Many companies still don’t realize how effective the 280-character microblogging platform can be for brand awareness and customer engagement.
People are increasingly interacting with brands through Twitter. So what should you include in your tweets?
Twitter is a great place to showcase your business. Share interesting facts about your company, your products or services, your industry, and anything else that will be useful to it's users.
Keep it professional. Be aware of your audience’s expectations. If you’re tweeting about a product or service, make sure your tweets are helpful and clear about what you’re offering.
Be careful about replying to other users. Unless it’s a public figure, refrain from engaging in conversations or arguments on Twitter.
Keep your tone friendly and professional. When replying to a question from another user, address him/her by name, use direct language, and keep your message light-hearted and positive.
For those who haven’t heard of it yet, TikTok is a “social video sharing app.” It is different from Instagram and Snapchat in that it’s very short videos (usually only 15 seconds long), where users dance, lip sync, sing, rap, do acrobatics, or perform other activities to music. There is no limit to what can be done, which makes the app so popular for its “quick hit” style.
In fact, TikTok offers you a great opportunity to reach new people and increase your engagement with the community. It can be a winning marketing strategy if you are able to create content that puts your brand in a positive light.
The main difference between TikTok and other similar social platforms is that you are able to edit the videos before uploading. This makes it possible to add text, effects or cut the existing video and only keep a few seconds. The editing option also allows users to use multiple videos or even create image collage videos from the photos you already have in your phone.
When you are first starting out, it’s important to use high-quality videos to get the attention of the audience. You should be careful at the lighting and create a professional set-up that matches your brand identity and the type of work you are doing.
Do not include too many hashtags.
Hashtags are used to categorize posts. You want to use them sparingly, because adding too many hashtags to your videos can make them difficult to find.
It is important to make sure you are using the right hashtags. Hashtag is a keyword that is assigned a number. When you add a hashtag to a video, you are telling the platform that you are looking for something specific.
For example, #tiktok is a hashtag that you would use when searching for tik tok content. However, if you added #tiktok to a video where the content was about another topic, you might be missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
Add images and graphics.
In order to make your videos stand out, you can add images and graphics.
This is especially true for your first few posts. The goal is to have your followers notice your brand and understand who you are.
Make sure to use clear imagery and colors in your videos. This will make them more appealing to your followers and make them want to watch the rest of your content.
Create trending videos
A good tip and strategy for those that are looking to make a career on TikTok is to create videos based on the trending videos in your niche. You can improve a trending video and make it in your own style or simply choose a trending song and create your own content.
Following trends is not a bad thing and especially if you post daily, you are guaranteed to eventually go viral with one of your videos.
LinkedIn is one of those social platforms that you need to be on. A lot of businesses consider LinkedIn as their best social media option due to the ability to network with like-minded professionals. LinkedIn offers a lot of value to companies looking to connect and engage with their audience.
Don’t spam your LinkedIn connections. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t send out mass emails or messages to your contacts. For example, some LinkedIn users do not want to be disturbed.
Create a user account for your company. Once you have a LinkedIn account, you need to create your profile. Your user profile should contain information about your company, industry, and services/products.
If you’re a B2B organization, be sure to mention that in your user profile.
LinkedIn is also a great platform for marketing and recruiting. Create a job listing and invite relevant industry professionals to apply. This is a great way to hire qualified employees, but it’s also an excellent way to generate leads.
Pinterest is a social media site, built around visual posts and images, where users can “pin” items, websites, etc. on their personal profile page. People also have boards that they can create for topics of interest. These boards are similar to how Facebook groups work. When someone pins an item, a URL is added to that post that takes the user directly to that content.
When it comes to getting traffic from Pinterest, the first step is to create a business account and build your profile with images and your website or blog URL. The next step is to pin your own content to Pinterest. You can also pin other people’s content using the Pin It button at the bottom of any content page on Pinterest.
Once you have your Pinterest profile set up, you can start promoting yourself to Pinterest users. A good marketing strategy is to create informative content and showcase your brand and products.
The key to growing your Pinterest account is to have high quality content, either images or text, and promote that content to your followers. If you have your content pinned and liked by others, this will allow you to reach new people and drive traffic to your website and business.
To maximize your reach, be sure to create the content for your Pinterest profile and your boards, and include your website or blog in the description.
Once you’ve created the pins for your boards, be sure to comment and pin other's content as well.
Idea pins are also a very popular new way of sharing information and Pinterest is promoting this type of pins more on the app. Creating this type of pin can be a great marketing strategy for your brand.
How Do You Build an Audience?
There are many different ways to grow your audience. Many companies are turning to social media marketing to reach their public. The biggest question is: how do you build an audience?
Building a social media audience starts with identifying the right marketing channels for your brand. Once you decide which social platforms you want to use, your next step is to develop a marketing strategy. Some questions you should ask yourself before starting to build an audience are:
What is my business trying to accomplish?
What is the best way to reach my ideal customers?
Am I focusing on social media marketing too much?
Should I focus on a paid or organic social strategy?
Which of my customers would benefit the most from social media?
Once you have answers to these questions, you are ready to plan your content calendar and marketing strategy.
Social media marketing requires an ongoing effort. Your content has to be consistently produced to be effective.
To help you build your social media audience effectively, I've outlined a few tips for managing a social media presence:
- Stay consistent
- Build a marketing strategy
- Manage your content calendar
- Identify who your influencers are
- Be creative
- Follow and interact with your audience
- Monitor your results and competitors
Creating a Content Schedule
There are several key things you should be doing on social media platforms to maintain a regular content schedule, but how do you actually manage all of it?
Here are the top 10 ways to ensure your social media marketing content is planned well:
1. Be specific.
Your content should provide specific benefits or solutions to your audience. If you’re posting a photo of a sunset, don’t just post it on your feed. Provide a caption describing what it looks like, why you like it, and where you like to go to see it.
2. Make sure you’re sharing content relevant to your audience.
Asking the question, “Who is your audience?” is a good place to start when determining what types of content you’re sharing.
Think about who your audience is, and make sure you’re focusing on the things that resonate most with them.
3. Be consistent.
You should be consistently creating content and sharing it with your followers on social media.
To accomplish this, think about how you can maximize your presence. What social platforms do you post on regularly?
Once you have an idea of what platforms you’d like to focus on, make a list of everything you want to post on a given day.
4. Create a posting schedule.
Create a schedule that works for you, and stick to it.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the content you need to create on a daily basis, but it’s important to prioritize, organize, and plan accordingly.
5. Set a posting frequency.
How often do you plan to post?
The answer to this question will dictate how frequently you share content.
6. Create a content calendar.
Keep track of your social content.
A content calendar helps you to see your posts in the context of other posts. This makes it easy to see what content is scheduled next, as well as how to prioritize your content creation and distribution.
7. Determine the timing.
When is the best time to post?
The answer to this question will dictate the exact hours when you share the content.
8. Find the right balance.
How much of your content should be text, and how much should be visual?
Incorporating visuals with your content is a great way to catch the attention of your customers and have a bigger impact on how they view your brand.
Visuals also give you more flexibility when deciding on the best time to share your content.
9. Make the most of your content.
Consider the purpose of your content.
Do you want to engage, inform, or educate your followers?
By asking yourself these questions, you can find the best content to share each social account. Also, you should re-purpose and recycle your content so that you can share it on multiple social media platforms.
10. Use tools.
Tools can be extremely helpful when it comes to managing your social media content.
For example, you can use social media templates that will help you create the posts quicker or tools that help you schedule the content on a specific day and time.
How to Create Awesome Social Media Content
Social media is a powerful tool for growing your community, engaging with current followers, and creating new leads.
But before you can actually build and impact a community, you have to create content that people will want to share. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a social content strategy.
1. Be human, not a machine
When creating social content, remember that your audience isn’t tuning in just to read a well-written blog post. They’re looking for someone to connect with.
Your job is to make sure that your messages and interactions are as human as possible. Even when creating content for your brand or company.
2. Show, don’t tell
People spend more time listening to you than reading what you write.
Show the value of your message through your use of visual assets like posts, stories, carousels, infographics, and videos. Let your content speak for itself.
3. Be timely
Asking people to wait for you to post content may be fine for an email newsletter, but it’s not an effective strategy for social media. People want to share content that is relevant to their lives, and that’s not always going to be immediate.
4. Focus on sharing and less on selling
Share your expertise through helpful and informative resources.
Don’t try to sell something to your audience. Instead, give them something to take away from the conversation. This is always a better marketing strategy and it will show in your metrics and impact on the conversion rate.
Tip: Informative Instagram carousels and Pinterest Idea Pins are a must-have in your content marketing strategy.
5. Keep it consistent
When you’re starting out, it’s easy to post multiple versions of the same content to try and drive engagement. However, with time, you might run out of ideas for your content. In this case, you can find inspiration by checking the top competitors in your niche and see what trending topics they are approaching.
Consistency is the key to keeping people interested and to building a community. This is why, you need to create a strategy and plan your content in advance, so you can always be on top of your future content.
6. Consider your audience
Think about who you’re targeting and what type of content they’re likely to respond to.
If you’re focusing on B2B businesses, then be sure to focus on messaging that aligns with their industry. On the other hand, if your are a B2C business, you need to research and see to what your audience is responding to, what social media platforms they use and what their interests are.
7. Be authentic
Be true to yourself. While that can be scary at first, if you’re authentically you, your audience will recognize the difference and stick with you. In these times, people appreciate honesty above all and that is how you create a community that respects and values your service.
Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
A well-developed social media marketing plan outlines a strategy that is designed to achieve your business goals, which may include increasing the number of fans, followers, engagement, leads and new sales. Your marketing strategy should include key objectives such as boosting brand awareness, promoting sales and driving traffic to your website.
To develop a social media marketing strategy, consider these questions:
1. Which social media channels do you want to focus on?
2. Where can you find your target audience?
3. What type of message do you want to share?
4. What’s your budget for social media marketing?
5. How often should you post?
6. Do you want to use any paid advertising methods?
7. How will you measure success?
8. Should you develop a social media analytics program?
9. If so, what will you be measuring and why?
10. How will you communicate the results to your social media audience?
The goal of a good social media marketing strategy is to ensure your social media content is aligned with your business goals and you are able to measure its success.
It is important to remember that a good social media marketing strategy is one that evolves with the changing market. It is imperative that you monitor your social accounts closely and adjust your strategy accordingly.
How to Manage Your Social Media Accounts
Managing social media accounts is a huge job, but the good news is there are lots of options out there for helping you automate what you need to do. For example, Buffer or HootSuite give you a simple dashboard to manage multiple social media accounts, all in one place.
The first step to managing your social media accounts is to create a business account. Every social media platform has its own login and dashboard. After you’ve logged into your platform, you’ll want to create a business profile. You’ll need to do this in order to create a page for your business, post content, and respond to comments.
Once you’ve created a business profile, you can add a social media account manager to Buffer. After this, the social media dashboard will be updated to show a list of your business accounts and the posts that you’ve scheduled. This is where the magic happens. Once you’ve added Buffer to your social media dashboard, the rest of the work is pretty simple.
There are also third-party apps that do similar things, like Trello, for example. These tools can give you a better way to view your different social media channels. They can also help you automate a few of the tasks that you might do manually for your social accounts.
It’s always helpful to see results in the data.
Posting on Social Media
A lot of people feel overwhelmed when it comes to how much to post on social media. In reality, there is no "magic" formula. What matters most is that your audience understands and sees the value you are providing. When people interact with your content, it gives them insight into the type of person you are and the type of message you want to communicate. It builds a social reputation for you, so people will want to engage with your company.
There are many ways to post on social media and they don't have to be done at the same time. Scheduling allows you to plan out your posts to maximize your exposure and reach. This is especially helpful for companies that sell products. It lets you know when your customers will be interested in your content and what times of day are best for you to share. The key is to post regularly on social media and to be engaging with your audience.
Moreover, you can also benefit from using ready-made social media templates that allow you to quickly create posts by adding your own photos, text and colors. This way, you are able to create enough posts for a week with just a few minutes of editing. Check out our ultimate bundle kits and get instant access to hundreds of Canva templates that can help you create content for the whole year!
Using Social Media to Drive Traffic
One of the greatest misconceptions about social media marketing is that it’s a quick and easy way to drive targeted traffic to your website. And while that may be true in certain circumstances, there’s a whole lot of work involved to drive real results and it all requires a marketing strategy.
The good news is you don’t need a fortune to get started on social media and there’s a lot you can do for free! Here are seven easy things you can do to get your social media marketing efforts up and running quickly:
1. Share relevant and engaging content regularly
It sounds simple but sharing content consistently is key to building an engaged audience. Post at least once a week on your site and at least once a day on your social media accounts. If you post on social media consistently, people will know that you are an active company that is there for them in case they need to reach out.
2. Join communities and comment
Even if you’re a relative newcomer to the world of social media marketing, it’s a good idea to start commenting on sites and groups where your target market hangs out. Not only will it be a great way to connect with others, you’ll likely learn more about their needs and interests and can use this information to inform your future social media content.
3. Create relevant hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to get the attention of influencers and trendsetters. Just be sure to create hashtags that accurately reflect your niche. It’s not uncommon for companies to get caught in the middle of trending topics that they don’t necessarily support or have any interest in promoting. Research and create a strategy that includes a list of keywords that you need to use.
4. Engage with your followers
People love being recognized and appreciated. Make it a point to interact with your followers regularly, especially those who have been around the longest. Remember, people’s tastes change, but not their needs and wants. If you’re interacting with someone you’ve met before, ask for their advice. Offer a freebie if they mention your brand or provide valuable feedback.
5. Add visuals
While content is important, it’s often the images that grab people’s attention. Use images and infographics to explain your content in a visual way. If you can, try to use multiple images in each post to make it visually interesting.
6. Encourage your team
Social media is a team effort. No matter how many hours you put in, there’s no one way to succeed. It takes time, patience and persistence. If you have a team member who is taking the lead in social media, let them. If you have other team members who are willing to give it a try, get them involved.
7. Take notes
Even if you don’t plan on spending your social media budget on paid advertising or sponsored posts, it’s still a good idea to monitor your performance. Once a month or so, take a look at what the budget spent, content produced and what results it generated.
How to Measure the Success of Your Social Media Efforts
One size doesn’t fit all with social media, and it’s very easy to create a social media plan that isn’t effective. You must have goals and metrics in place to determine whether you are succeeding or failing.
The following are tips for measuring the success of your social media efforts, regardless of which platform you use:
1. Use metrics that will provide a good understanding of the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
What you track and how you measure your efforts will vary. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Number of followers
- Engagement with posts: likes, shares, comments, clicks etc.
- Page likes
- Amount of content created and shared
- Amount of interactions with other users on your social platform
- Time spent on each channel
2. Set up your social media strategies around goals. Do you want to:
- Increase engagement?
- Increase awareness?
- Drive traffic to your site?
Once you’ve identified what it is you want your social media strategy to accomplish, you can work backwards from that goal.
3. Take time to analyze the data that you’ve collected over time.
It’s critical to analyze the data that you collect and then look at it over time to determine whether the strategies you implemented are working as expected.
Here are a few things to consider when analyzing the data you collect:
- Which campaigns are producing the best results?
- How are your strategies performing compared to others?
- Are there any opportunities for improvement?
4. Look at your overall performance and then use that to set new goals.
This is a bit of an art, but setting the right goals is the first step in being able to measure the success of your social media efforts.
5. Use this data to help identify ways to improve.
Don’t just track the metrics and sit back. This is a process that needs to be continuous. You need to keep testing new types of creatives, copy and content in order to find out what works best for your brand.
6. Adjust and/or repeat as needed.
Social media strategies and execution will always change and evolve, and your social media metrics will follow suit. So don’t just measure and track what works, measure what works and track it again.
7. Keep your eyes open for changes that could be a sign of an issue.
If your social media numbers are fluctuating or dropping off, or you begin to see a sudden increase in views or engagement, you need to identify the change and adapt accordingly.
In conclusion, a social media marketing strategy must encompass several components such as your target audience, the platform or channels that you want to use, the timing, budget and goals that you want to achieve. It’s crucial to know who you’re trying to reach, what platforms are best suited to your message, when you’ll launch and the metrics you want to track to measure the success of your campaign.