Social media marketing is making use of social media platforms to build a brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.
It provides a unique opportunity to connect with a target audience where they are already spending time, build a relationship with them, and ultimately get them to buy.
The most popular social media platforms are currently Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Snapchat and Pinterest are also on the list, and the list is always growing.
How to Do Social Media Marketing
It is easy to get started using social media as a business, but it might not be very effective without a very clear strategy for doing it right.
Here are some social media marketing tips:
Social Media Strategy
Any good social media strategy will begin with identifying clear business objectives, which usually involves some version of raising awareness for the brand or increasing engagement with the target audience.
Ultimately every business wants to increase sales so it is typically one of the objectives. Another objective might be to simply provide better service to customers through social channels.
In addition to clearly identifying the objectives, a sound social media strategy is very intentional about defining the audience and which platforms it will use to reach the audience.
Not every platform is a good fit for every business type because the audience and/or user intent on different platforms varies.
Social media strategies should also include a definition of the brand persona for online interaction.
Having a clearly defined personality for the brand and platform helps to drive the content for that channel and creates a consistency the target audience grows to trust and engage with.
Social Media Planning
With a good strategy in place, it’s time to plan out the content.
Frequency and consistency are key to success!
It doesn’t have to be daily or multiple times a day, but it should be at least weekly (depending on the platform) and it should be done consistently.
Many businesses do this effectively by planning ahead on a spreadsheet or other way of organizing content, like an editorial calendar.
Having a place to capture ideas is also very helpful.
Establishing a workflow for creating the text and images (where applicable) can also make the planning efforts more efficient.
Another very effective practice for social media management is to use the available scheduling tools.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have built-in scheduling functionality for businesses so content can be intentionally posted at a set frequency and consistency. There are also other third-party tools which provide scheduling functionality.
Social Media Engagement
It isn’t enough to simply post content and then forget about it, to then just hope sales start rolling in.
Remember, the purpose of doing social media is to build relationships which ultimately lead to sales. Relationships are built on two-way communication!
Don’t expect sales conversions without meaningful conversations.
Engaging on social media can include liking people’s comments, or better yet responding to those comments.
Another way to engage is to tag other people in posts, or encourage the audience to tag people in comments. There are a lot of ways to encourage engagement and conversation.
It’s also important for businesses to listen to feedback customers might be providing on social media and respond accordingly.
Giving shoutouts to happy customers or addressing the needs of unsatisfied customers can send powerful signals to the rest of the world about what to expect from your brand.
Social Media Metrics
Next, it is important to know how effective social media efforts are as you set out to publish and engage on various channels.
Some of the most meaningful metrics include the number of impressions, or reach, and the number of interactions, or engagement. Interactions can include anything from video views to post likes and comments.
Another indicator of effectiveness is how many followers a business is gaining from their social media efforts.
Obviously, growing the audience should increase the rate of sales either directly or indirectly.
Social Media Advertising
After a brand has established itself on social media there might be good reason to enhance that presence with social media advertising.
Paid social media ads can be created for the purpose of gaining more reach, encouraging more engagement, converting more sales, and other objectives depending on the business and its goals.
Ads can be created to target new audiences or to stay in front of existing audiences with new offers.
Social media advertisements can target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and even behaviors.
Follow up, or retargeting, campaigns can also show specific audiences different ads based on ones they’ve seen or engaged with before. It can be a very complex strategy but it can also yield quick results.
Social Media Best Practices
Here are some additional best practices to keep in mind for social media:
- The Right Content – Produce content your target audience finds valuable. Sure, include some fun or heartfelt here and there. Be human. But also be helpful. If your audience doesn’t have something to gain from following you then long term they won’t.
- Consistency is Key – As stated above, consistency of posting is important, but the consistency of brand image is also incredibly important. Stay uniformly consistent with how the brand is presented both visually and vocally. Looking and sounding one way today shouldn’t be contradicted by looking and sounding a completely different way tomorrow.
- Sharing is Caring – Social media is a great place to share your own content such as blog articles from your website or product pages which should be featured, etc. But it can also be very powerful to share other people’s or companies’ content from your social media.
- Watch the Competition – It is also a good idea to monitor what competitors are doing on social media. The competition can give you ideas about tactics you might not have thought of, audiences to target, keywords to use, etc. Just be sure to stay true to your brand and voice and avoid becoming a copycat of the other guys.
Social Media Marketing Is Dynamic
Social media can be a very powerful form of marketing for any business.
It is, however, important that it be very well thought out and executed. Many businesses abandon their social media efforts when they fail to do it well.
We encourage you to stick with it. It’s better to fail a little and learn to improve than to give up and miss out.