Social media is the boom of the century, and it seems like all the craze and obsession around it isn’t going away anytime soon as the power of social media keeps growing at the speed of light. Whatever the niche, if a business wants to swim in the digital landscape instead of float, it needs to leverage this new-age marketing technique in the best way possible.
As a cost-effective way for businesses to get all eyeballs and ears on them and the ultimate platform for brand building, customer service, and conversion, social media marketing can bring remarkable success to any business – but only if done right.
From social media 101s to practical tips, tricks, and tools you can leverage on your way to digital heights, this practical, all-in-one guide is here to show you how to do social media marketing in a way that delivers tangible results for your business and helps you tame the wild social landscape beast.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
For the first time in human history, we have technology that allows us to maintain rich connections with many people in real-time – social media, aka social networks. Intrusive, traditional marketing went out the window a long time ago. The edge social media has over traditional media lies in its unprecedented capacity in three key marketing areas – connection, interaction, and customer data.
Social media is any digital channel, tool, or platform that allows people to create and share content, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube – some of the most popular social networks today. Social media marketing can help businesses reach a wide audience and advertise their brand, products, or services to an almost infinite pool of both present and potential clients and customers.
If leveraged smartly, it can result in enormous benefits, such as increased brand awareness, brand loyalty, rankings, and organic traffic, and allows for creating crowdsourced and user-generated content (UGC) and using customer feedback which ultimately leads to higher conversion rates.
Different Types of Social Media Marketing
As digital technologies and the prevailing use of mobile devices have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives, social media has become one of the main communication channels of choice – and the place to be if effective digital marketing is what you’re after. Although complex, social media marketing can be broken down into three main categories:
· Organic media: Free advertising and content that gains attention naturally
· Paid media: Sponsored content that costs money to post (paid social media posts, search engine ads, banner ads, native ads)
· Earned media: Promotional content that has been given freely by the audience in the form of shares, likes, and comments, like customer-created product reviews and recommendations.
How to Use Social Media Marketing to Propel Your Business
Done correctly, social media marketing can be a winning long-term solution for the success your brand has been struggling to attain. But is being on social media enough? Of course not! Winning the social media marketing game is easier said than done, and to see any results, you need to push all the right buttons the right way.
Great social media is like any other marketing strategy – carefully crafted, measured, managed, and founded on a strong and clear plan. It might seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance and insights, your business can flourish by reaping all the benefits of having a strong presence on consumer-favorite social media platforms.
1. Develop a Killer Social Media Marketing Strategy
Over one-third of the world’s population is on social media, so it’s quite obvious it’s where the majority of the global citizenry is. But while you might be tempted to post on as many social platforms as possible, more doesn’t necessarily mean better regarding your social media marketing strategy. Only well-researched and thought-over social media marketing strategies are rewarded by consumers.
To deliver on your strategic vision, you must be up-to-date with the latest trends and practices. When creating social media strategies, focus on where your target audience spends most of their time, what platforms are popular in your industry and where your competitors are gaining a significant following and clout. Consider aspects like business domain, future plans and goals, end customers, and audience nature.
2. Custom-Tailor Your Strategy Around Your Audience
Without the support of the right crowd, your social strategy will be in vain. Your target audience will help you figure out everything and guide your way from the social media platforms you need to be on to every piece of content you’ll ever create.
Once you narrow down the social media platforms you want to use, you’ll need to determine what type of content you want to share on those platforms. Different types of content appeal to and engage differently with different people, so experimenting to see what works best for each platform and audience, then tailoring your content accordingly is essential.
3. Devise a Detailed Social Media Marketing Plan
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you even know when you get there? To excel in social media marketing, it’s important to create goals that will guide your efforts. Your social media marketing plan is the road map for carrying out your strategy – it helps you keep your eyes on the grand prize and create content that aligns with your marketing goals and business objectives.
Structure your efforts and clearly define your goals so you can easily measure your success down the road, ensuring you spend your time, money, and effort where it matters most. Having helpful frameworks in place, like setting SMART goals, OKRS and KPIs, will light up the road ahead.
4. Track Your Success
One of the best things about social media? It’s loaded with valuable data. Many factors affect social media marketing, and analytics can help you assess tracking metrics, optimize campaigns, and create new goals. Unlike traditional marketing forms, social media has in-built data analytic tools allowing you to review your performance, track the success of your efforts and identify even more ways to engage without much time or resources on it.
The ever-changing digital times call for adaptable methods. So, the final and most important step in any social media marketing strategy is measurement. Use each platform’s analytics to monitor your marketing campaigns, identify which posts generate the most engagement, and tweak them as necessary. Scale up what works and stay away from what doesn’t.
Best Social Media Marketing Tools to Leverage
Without an arsenal of powerful social media marketing tools that align with your business goals, your social strategy may fall flat before being given a chance. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of both free and paid tools available that can help you win the social media marketing race. Whatever you set out to market, social media tools make staying active and engaging on social media easier, offer key analytics, and pave the way for greater impact.
Each social media tool offers specific features that best serve different social platforms and purposes. If you have a clear social media marketing strategy and plan in place, you’ll know exactly what you need from each social media tool to execute them.
Consider adding the following to your social media marketing toolkit:
Social Media Analytic Tools
In a data-driven digital era, knowledge is success. If your data is off, so will your social strategy – you can’t get the full, clear picture of your social media marketing efforts without the relevant tools to analyze each piece of the puzzle. Luckily, a well-designed social media marketing (SMM) plan lets you tap into an invaluable resource – customer data.
SMM analytics tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite Analytics, HubSpot, and Brandwatch can do the math for you – they have the capacity to extract customer and performance data and turn this informational gold-mine into actionable market analysis and easy-to-read reports that can help you gain insights into valuable metrics to tailor and crowdsource new strategies upon.
Social CRM Tools
Compared to traditional marketing, one of the advantages of social media marketing is that it has two kinds of interaction that enables targeted customer relationship management (CRM) tools: customer-to-customer and firm-to-customer. Unlike tracking customer value by simply capturing purchase activity, SMM can track customer value directly (through purchases) and indirectly (through product referrals).
A social CRM tool like Salesforce Social Studio, HubSpot CRM, and Sprout Social acts as a sophisticated address book – it lets you store a plethora of customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage social media campaigns across various social channels, all in one location.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
Consistency is key with social media content, yet it can be an uphill battle if you manage multiple social networks. Luckily, there are different types of social media management tools for everything from composing posts to queuing and organizing them, with one common goal: saving time.
Using a Social Media Calendar or any other type of scheduling/management tool can help you plan posts in advance while ensuring you stay organized and keep track of the various moving parts of social media.
Social Media Engagement & Automation Tools
Social media engagement and automation tools help you set your brand to excel in responsiveness and efficiency. Engagement tools like Talkwalker, Zoho Social, and Hootsuite help you unify all of the messages from every platform, notify you when there’s a sharp increase in mentions, assign messages to individuals on your team and show you the full social media history of someone reaching out to your handles.
Automated social media marketing is all about dealing with repetitive social media marketing tasks that can be automated to maximize your time and performance without compromising the user experience. Automation tools can automate content promotion, streamline customer service and increase your response rate.
Social Media Advice from the Pros: Practical Social Media Marketing Tips & Tricks
To help you cut through the digital noise, we’ve asked some of our savvy marketers to share some inside scoop with our readers. Here’s what they had to say about the latest secret ingredients of social media marketing you should be tapping into:
1. Keep the Wheels Turning
Few things move faster than the speed of social media, which is why a half-hearted commitment to social media marketing is the equivalent of failing. Social media marketing is not a one-and-done thing, and if you’re not at the right place at the right time – you’ll soon fade into the noise.
Post frequently and consistently, and actively engage and interact with your followers – and yes, that includes responding to negative feedback, too! After all, social media is a cross-functional platform that also acts as a customer service portal. Use it to your advantage.
Yes, social media might be an ever-changing landscape you constantly need to keep up with, but what will never change is the human desire to connect. So you can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them.
2. Never Forget that Content Is King
Valuable content is at the core of social advertising and has the power to make or break your social media marketing efforts. One of the best ways to sabotage your social media content is to keep it salesy and fail to tie it to your goals or custom-tailor it to each social media platform and its audience.
Know why you’re creating content in the first place, and ensure each piece of content is equally engaging, compelling, and formatted to suit the channel outlines and its audience. Does your content lead readers on a journey, or does it merely stuff them as leads into a pipeline? Does it answer your customers’ problems and needs? Does it naturally fit in its surroundings so it does not disrupt users’ browsing experience?
Whatever the platform, nobody counts the number of ads you run – they just remember the impression you make. People don’t want to be sold to; they want to establish real connections and trust the brands they engage with. Emotional attachment and a humanized brand voice go a long way – it’s what builds long-lasting relationships and cultivates customer interaction and loyalty.
3. Use Smart Incentives
Boost your social media reach and following with contests and sweepstakes – most people will jump at the chance to get some free bees. Organizing giveaways for your products or services is an easy win-win – a great way to boost engagement rate and have a well-motivated audience encouraged to share your posts and, thus, get your brand, products, or services out there.
4. Take Advantage of Video Content
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know how powerful video-based content has become – especially in social media marketing. It’s become the most engaging type of content marketing with an unmatched ROI that offers the opportunity to tell a story, plus it provides amazing actionable insights. So, ensure you jump on this 21st-century marketing bandwagon and harness its power to the fullest.
Social Market Your Way to Digital Heights
Creating a highly-targeted and effective social media marketing strategy will improve your online performance. Utilizing tools to manage your social media presence and interact with your audience will increase your reach and lead generation and cultivate customer loyalty. And most importantly, tracking and analyzing your social media performance metrics will help you stay on the right track and path to success.
A marketing professional’s job is never done – marketing is about perpetual motion and continuous innovation. Use social media marketing as an idea generator, cutting-edge trend mapper, and strategic advertising compass for all your digital marketing ventures, and your brand will become a household digital name in no time.