Introduction to Social Media Marketing

The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate and the possibilities are endless when it comes to social media marketing.

Social media marketing is a strategy to implement online platforms to reach your target audience in order to create effective brand exposure. 

Likewise, social media marketing is driving experience sharing and brand loyalty among consumers. 

In this digital age, your customers research before they buy; it is important they find your business on top of search engine results using social media channels. 

Today’s businesses stand out among their competitors using powerful social media marketing strategies.

This guide will help you learn to navigate social media effectively and attract the attention of your target audience.

A little about social media

Well, we all know we love to post pictures and comment on photos of our loved ones, right?

Social media is much more than Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. Social Media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. 

Also, social media refers to an online platform where individuals and brands connect with each other.  

It is used by marketing companies, businesses, organizations, etc to publish content, engage with an audience and market their products and services. 

A brief history of social media

Everyone knows what social media platforms are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But have you ever wondered how these networks got started? 

The history of social media is a long and eventful one. As we learn about the world of social media, we can understand the various benefits of using it.

Social media has been around long before the invention of the radio in the 1890s. Yet, it wasn’t until the 2000s that it took hold. 

It all started with the birth of the world’s first communication device that enabled a person to send and receive messages without any mediators. 

It developed in ancient times when people started using smoke signals, drums, fires, burning mirrors, and other ways to communicate around them.

These days, social media have the potential to connect businesses with customers in dynamic new ways

It is no wonder that Social Media Marketing has become an important tool in your business strategy.   

The two-way conversation between you and your followers has opened up a window to explore new options in marketing while challenging your business model.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing (SMM) is the process of driving traffic from social media sites to a website or blog. It includes any type of content creation and sharing on social networks. 

Also, strategies that engage existing fans and followers to attract new ones. Businesses and entrepreneurs can use these sites to share information and build trust. Furthermore, it strengthens relationships with potential customers. 

Two main forms of social media marketing include:

  • inbound marketing (wherein people approach you based on your content) and 
  • outbound marketing (wherein you approach people).

SMM can include creating original content, engaging audiences, and encouraging them to take the desired action.

What social media platform do you need to know as a marketer?

Social blogging 

Social blogging platforms are geared toward casual users and bloggers writing for friends, family, and fans. 

These networks offer features that help users easily organize and share their content with others. Examples of such platforms include WordPress and Tumblr etc.

An effective blog can help your business gain visibility and generate leads. It does this by staying top of mind with the people who are likely to be the most interested in what you do. 

Social networking sites

Social networking sites have become the most popular of all the social media channels and they hold a great opportunity for small businesses.

These sites are great for engaging with your existing customers and new prospects. 

You can create interactive and informative content, sharing links to articles, and interact directly with your followers!

There are hundreds of social networking platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each one will work differently for your business, depending on what you want to achieve and who you want to target.

Social community and discussion sites

Social community sites come with a few unique benefits, but more than anything else, they generate easy traffic. 

The social community has prospered thanks to the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Websites such as Reddit and Quora have exploded due to their commitment to sharing important information with the masses. 

These sites allow marketers to build communities and engage in social conversations with customers. Furthermore, they also lead those conversations in directions that help promote their market.

Image sharing & messaging sites

The rise of visual content has been driven by a number of platforms, including photo and video sharing sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook. These platforms are filled with millions of users who are looking to engage with content that presents an immediate problem or solution and an opportunity to learn something new. 

Marketers should take advantage of the massive opportunity that image-based social media platforms offer. Such sites provide marketers with a host of powerful features, such as sophisticated audience targeting and advanced analytics. Of course, visuals aren’t the only key to success on these platforms.

Video sharing sites

Video is the bread and butter of all things social. Social media platforms with video features are an important place to start for any social media marketing campaign. 

Video sharing sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo, allow you to upload video content and share it with a massive audience. 

Video marketing is a great way to captivate and connect with your audience while expanding the reach of your business. By varying the way you use video-sharing sites, and integrating these videos into other social media platforms, you can connect with your audiences in new ways.

Should you start social media marketing?

The short answer is yes – but there are a few factors to consider. Social media marketing can be a useful tool for your business. Besides, it can also be effective in engaging with your target audience. 

With a high percentage of adults ages 18-29 using social media platforms regularly, social media marketing is a smart decision for businesses, provided they have clearly defined objectives and a well-constructed strategy.

When social media became a big thing, the internet was flooded with different, new, and exciting information. All this info made us feel like we are living in the digital world, where everything really exists. In other words, it is possible to build your own small world. 

Social media marketing is a proven method for building brand awareness and customer loyalty. Also, for creating buzz about new products and services, and for providing target marketing campaigns to reach out to customers. 

What are the benefits of social media marketing?

Faster and easier communication

Social media marketing provides faster ways of exchanging information. It is a faster and simpler way to obtain information regarding products, competition, or jobs. 

Social media platforms allow us to send messaging or post comments instantly. The online platforms also help in sharing images, videos, and status updates with the large cohort of people available on the platform.

It allows users to keep connected with what is happening around the world without any hassle.

Multichannel campaigns

No matter what tactics you use for marketing, you cannot beat multichannel campaigns.

Multichannel campaigns are the way to go if you wish to maximize your efforts and reach. Thanks to social media, you will be able to reach a broader audience.

A marketer can now promote one brand simultaneously across multiple platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Take advantage of this affordable way for brands to reach their target market.

Brand awareness

The reason that businesses invest in social media marketing in the first place is brand awareness. 

Social media platform works in attracting customers, increase your business, and get more sales. All business owners should know the importance of marketing. 

Social media marketing is very effective to a business’s success because it builds trust among the consumers. It helps in spreading the word about your latest products to people in your target market.

Cost-effectiveness 

One of the major benefits of social media marketing is that it is cost-effective. This is because everything needed can be offered for free. 

It is a way for any business or company to reach their potential customers and get them interested in what they have to offer on a low budget.

You do not have to spend thousands of dollars on traditional advertising or television commercials. Social marketing is much cheaper. Besides, it will still yield the same results or more if done correctly.

Increased website traffic

Social media marketing is a primary traffic driver for your website. This means you’ll have more people checking out your content.

Not only does it allow you to attract customers and build awareness, but it also makes it easier to convert visitors into customers because of its low cost and inherent virality.

This means more sales, leads, and profits for your business.

Increased brand authority

Brand authority is someone who has the ability to steer followers and attract admiration on a social media platform. They are the people who act as brand ambassadors.

Social media marketing increases the authority of brand names, tangible products, and services. This added authority gives consumers more trust which increases the chances of sales. 

For example, an auto dealer can showcase a new SUV on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.

This encourages likes from people interested in the vehicle, who often share it with others displaying their trust for the brand.

Top 7 social media marketing platforms for your business 

1. Instagram

Instagram is a great marketing platform for any business. Furthermore, the platform has over 1 billion active monthly users

Due to the high percentage of active users, this is a no-brainer of a platform for a business that has amazing visuals and wants to build its brand’s presence via social media.

Businesses can share their digital marketing strategies, promote new products, or profile the company. 

Many business owners started using Instagram professionally to market, and this helps to drive more traffic to their website.

Suitable for:

  • Brand building 
  • Real-time updates
  • Image sharing

2. Twitter

Twitter gives your company the opportunity to tell your story and interact with audiences around the world. Besides, it is a dynamic way to communicate directly with customers, engage advocates, provide customer support and build a loyal following. 

Although some may see Twitter as a platform to share and look for funny memes, it is one of the most essential marketing tools any business owner can leverage on.

Twitter is one of the most visible and active platforms for businesses today. On Twitter, you can promote yourself, your products, your website, and your brand. 

With real-time updates on anything and everything, you can connect with anyone and everyone. This includes celebrities, thousands of potential customers, and more.

Nearly 353 million advertising audiences use the site each month, so it’s a perfect place to reach your audience.

Suitable for:

  • Real-time update
  • Brand authority building

3. Facebook 

Facebook is a top social media platform. With 2.8 billion active users you can reach a large audience that has already engaged with your brand. 

Facebook users are 8 years old and older, but most of the users are mostly between 18 to 34. 

What’s more, Facebook ads can target very specific audiences and have been proven to be the most effective way to generate new customers. 

This is an advantage for businesses targeting their potential customers since those who make up the total demographics will be able to relate to the audience.

Yet, when marketing your products or services on Facebook, it’s important to be strategic. Facebook is not your traditional e-commerce website. You have to get personal and friendly with your customers. 

Build a community of people who enjoy reading about your business. This can help you create trust with them and motivate them to buy from you or read more about your company.

Suitable for:

  • Audience engagement 
  • Review collections
  • Advertising
  • Customer service

4. YouTube 

YouTube is a powerful marketing tool if used correctly. It is the second most-used search engine after Google. Businesses use Youtube to make money and generate leads.  

YouTube is a popular destination for video and offers your business a chance to reach some of the most engaged social media users. 

It’s where videos go viral and where you can feed your business’s need for exposure. If your company is looking to step up its online presence, YouTube is the perfect place to do so. 

By creating videos, you can connect with viewers on an emotional level. You can also build a following, which gives you more exposure to the people in your target audience.

Suitable for:

  • Visual demonstration
  • Tutorials
  • Highlights of a company or business culture

5. Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks out there and is more than just a messaging app. It’s a way for you to connect with your audience in an authentic way, on their terms. 

You can post a quick selfie or behind-the-scenes video from your phone, which disappears after 24 hours, so users never feel pressured to keep up with your posts. This sense of ephemeral urgency creates an air of exclusivity around each Snap you send. 

This could be great for businesses that want to reach an audience in a unique and memorable way.

Suitable for:

  • Real-time updates
  • Promotion of events

6. LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is the most professional social network. With over 760 million active users, LinkedIn is a must-use social networking tool for all businesses, both big and small.

Promoting your business or service on this platform will help you gain trust and authority in the eyes of your potential customers. It also helps generate leads and show your expertise in your industry. 

It is also used as a common recruitment tool by corporations.  LinkedIn enables users to create profiles and connect with other users in an online social network environment. 

Suitable for:

  • Reaching potential clientele
  • Reaching B2B possibilities

7. Pinterest

Pinterest is a photo-sharing application that allows you to collect and organize images into different themes called “pinboards”. Being visual in nature, garners a lot of attention among the users.  

The app makes using images to benefit user interests more powerful by allowing users to share their collections with others. If you are an internet marketer or have a business, this platform is essential. 

As it supports everything from blogs, photos, videos, and more, it is worth the time investment to learn to use Pinterest properly. At its base level, Pinterest is free for public use. In addition, Pinterest allows other individuals to view the shared posts, rates them, comment on them, etc. thus enhancing the social aspect of the app.

Suitable for:

  • Sharing products
  • Brands with image-focused contents 
  • Advertising especially for women products

8. WhatsApp 

No one would have thought a messaging app can turn out to be a great business platform until Facebook made it happen. WhatsApp has turned out to be one of the best ever-growing social media yet. 

Every minute, billions of messages are being transferred and now with businesses vies for attention, the number of messages is increasing at an unthinkable rate. 

WhatsApp Business is the official app for businesses to quickly and easily create a presence on WhatsApp. Use it to send professional-looking photos and videos, engage with customers, manage inquiries, send messages instantly, and more.

Suitable for:

  • Bespoke communication with customers
  • Sharing product or service information 

10 social media marketing skills you should have 

Social media marketing is used by everyone and anyone who wants to effectively communicate with the public. There are many skills that you will need to possess in order to be successful.

1. Excellent communication

Being able to clearly communicate with your audience is incredibly important. This will help your content get a wider reach. It will also keep people coming back to your social media platform and engaging with you as well.

2. Creativity

The world where social media marketing takes place is highly dynamic in nature. The audience tends to get bored easily and you have to find new ways to keep them entertained.

Creativity is a must-have social media marketing skill. It allows you to come up with unique, effective, and interesting posts. 

Creating awesome content is the best way to get your audience involved in social media. Besides, it helps to build a good relationship with audiences.

3. Writing ability

Ability to convey your message clearly is a skill that will help you in the social media world. Yet, it’s not about writing alone, what you write must engage your audience. 

People tend to neglect reading. But, a well-written piece is likely to influence people to follow you. Furthermore, they may share what you have posted on their timeline.

4. Content curation

Content curation is the act of organizing and sharing existing content. When done effectively, it can help you drive traffic to your website. Besides, it builds awareness about your brand.

5. Aptitude to learn

You need to be able to learn fast. Social media is constantly changing. There are new tools that you can use to better market yourself. 

Also, there are always new ways to target your audiences. You need to be aware of this if you want your company to succeed.

6. Project management

Project management skills are crucial for social media marketers to properly handle project-based work. 

It’s easy to come up with a new marketing campaign quickly in this age. But, it’s much more difficult to get it done on time and in an organized manner. 

Also, these types of skills are essential for dealing with clients and others involved in the marketing process.

7. Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most important social media marketing skills you should have. You have to be able to adjust your social media marketing approach depending on the market situation.

8. Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is one of the quintessential skills in social media marketing. 

It helps you determine 

  • what content you need to create
  • where you need to post it, and 
  • who it needs to be aimed at

In an era of split-second decisions, marketers need to have the ability to take a look at what the competition is doing. Also, figure out how they can beat them with a better approach.

9. Relationship building

Social media is all about relationships. At the end of the day, if you can’t build relationships with your customers, you won’t be able to sell to them.

It takes time to build these meaningful connections. But, once you do, it will pay off in the form of increased traffic and followers. Furthermore, a higher engagement and better sales.

10. Analytical skills

Analytical skills are essential to succeed as a social media marketer. 

You need logic and reasoning to collect, analyze and interpret your data to decide the next move in your campaign.

Have a monthly plan to review your information and goals.

5 Tips for Social Media Marketing

1. Strategize

Strategizing is the first step in any social media marketing approach. If you don’t know where you are going, it is unlikely you will get there.

Take time to think about what your overall purpose is through social media and any goals you hope to accomplish. 

Make sure your goals are stated clearly, as they should reflect what you want to achieve.

Decide on which social platforms you want to focus on, as well as the goals for each channel. As you plan your strategy, make sure to prioritize the goals for your business.

With the right strategy, you can start building your audience. Furthermore, you can start interacting with others within minutes.

2. Research your target audience 

To develop a successful social media marketing plan, you must know your target audience inside and out.  

Who will be reading your posts? What social platforms do they use most often? Are they interested in learning more about your industry? or are they only passing through to get updates from their favorite brands?

Once you clearly define this demographic, it will be easier to determine the tools you should use to get your message to them.

3. Analyze your metrics

Social media marketing allows you to analyze a lot of data about your business. 

Some metrics to measure are the number of followers, likes, shares, and reposts that your campaign has received. These numbers can indicate how much exposure your campaign got.

Analyze your analytics for what types of content are most popular with your audience. Also, how they’re interacting with it. 

Use this information to understand what types of content your audience is looking for on social media. Researching your most frequently engaged pieces of content will help you determine how to best engage your target audience.

4. Build an audience 

Got a profile? Awesome. But to create authentic, meaningful connections (and attract your target audience), you need followers.

You have the ability to promote your product to thousands, even millions of people. 

The secret to a successful social media marketing strategy is to build a large audience. These are the people that will buy products or services that you offer. 

Each social network has its own community with certain likes, dislikes, and ways of communicating. It is important to be involved in each community and build relationships with the members of the community.

5. Understand your platforms

Social media marketing can be complicated and intimidating. But, learn the basics of each platform and use them to your advantage.  

Learn how to make the most of each platform on your own terms. Before beginning a social media marketing campaign, understand what your audience uses, or what is most popular among your target market. 

For example, Instagram makes up 89% of influencer marketing campaigns because it allows content to be more informal and user-generated. 

How to measure the success of your social media campaign

Social media marketing is a strategy that companies have embraced in an effort to reach out to customers, bolster their brand’s image and grow their business. 

Unfortunately, many businesses fail in the social media space because they focus on a strategy instead of what works. The results of your social media campaign will depend on you and your audience.  

It’s important to keep track of all the relevant information and have a plan in place for analyzing your data.  

By applying some basic tips to improve your social media campaign, you are sure to see results sooner as well as better define your target market.

FAQs

What can I get out of social media marketing?

There are many reasons that someone would choose to utilize social media marketing over traditional forms of advertising. 

Social media marketing can help leverage audience attention to generating leads and sales for your business. Brands that are savvy about social media know-how to identify ways to connect with their target audience.

It helps you to foster a community around your business where followers will feel like they belong and are interested in your updates.

What should you post? 

Almost anything and everything that links back to your business. This could include interesting facts, stories, images, quotes, or a recent article. Posting content that others find interesting is the key to gaining traction on social media.

Which social media platforms should my brand be present on?

The best way to answer this is by identifying and describing your brand. Once you have a description of your brand, it is easier to work out where it should be present on social media.

There are so many audiences for your business out there. Today’s social media marketer needs to be candid about the demographics they are trying to sell to. 

But, in any case, you want to be present on the major platforms that have a wide audience that is more likely going to buy from you. The more specific you get with your marketing the bigger the sales will become.

How to handle negative comments on social media?

It’s inevitable that at some point, your Social Media Account may receive a negative comment from a customer or client. It’s important to be prepared for these scenarios.

The reality is that you are not going to avoid negativity. No matter how much positive content and engagement you produce, there will always be negative feedback and criticism. 

It’s important to realize though, that these types of comments do not necessarily represent your actual audience/customer base.

The best way to handle negative comments on social media is to not ignore them. You need to address the issues in the comment and apologize. Show that you care, which goes a long way.

How often should I post?

There’s no average number of times per day you need to post. It entirely depends on the nature of your business. Also, what your goal is for social media. 

For example, if you’re a retailer and looking to boost sales, you should be posting consistently throughout the day.

 If you’re using social media as more of a news source for your audience, you may want to post once or twice a day. 

Be sure to post interesting content though and not just ‘post because I said so’!

Should I talk about one topic only when I post?

Social media is not a place for being spammy. Think of social media as having a party at your house. You wouldn’t talk about only one topic that you are interested in while neglecting the rest of the guests right? 

Since you are sharing different content than the “main course” you want to mix it up. Make sure you’re talking about all of them, pouncing on different surfaces when needed. 

But, always keep in view that you are welcoming someone into your home and treat them like they belong.

The bottom line

Finally, remember that the success of your campaign is not only measured in numbers. Measuring the success of a campaign should also be measured with quality.  

If the audience has one eye on your content and another eye on their phone, then that message has failed to catch their attention.   

The overall goal of social media marketing is to inspire people and encourage them to engage in your brand and business.   

If you can catch their attention amongst all of the other noise out there, then you have achieved success!

This post gives you all the information you need to market with social media. Types of social media platforms for marketers are covered as well. Also, tips and skills you need to manage these platforms effectively.

All the best!