Social media now becomes the standard for a business’s digital presence. People tend to engage with and buy from brands with credible and consistent social content. For this reason, social media marketing plays a critical role in the success of every business.
As of 2022, there are approximately 4.59B social media users around the world. That’s more than half of the world population! In the upcoming years, this number is projected to increase even more. So how do you get started and leverage social media marketing to grow your brand and engage your buyer?
In this article, you will learn what social media marketing is and how you can leverage it to grow your business.
What is social media marketing and why is it important?
The implementation of strategies on social media to increase brand awareness and market products and services, and drive website traffic is called Social Media Marketing (SMM). Tapping into the social media powerhouse is the best way to reach as many people as possible and create meaningful touch points with new and existing customers.
The power of social media marketing is driven by its increasingly innovative features of social media in three core marketing areas: connection, communication and customer data.
Connection: Social media offers a variety of mediums–from content platforms (like Youtube and TikTok) and social sites (Like Facebook and Instagram) to microblogging services (like Twitter)–for businesses to reach and connect with their target audience locally and globally. Social media marketing allows businesses to connect with their customers throughout their customer journey.
Communication: While traditional marketing only offers one-way communication–from business to consumers, social media marketing creates engaging conversations for all parties involved. As social media strategy allows user-generated and community-based content creation and sharing, businesses can leverage the power of the online communities and free advertising opportunities from electronic word-of-mouth (wEOM) recommendations between existing and potential customers
Customer Data: In addition to providing companies with a way to engage with existing customers and reach new ones, social media marketing also provides built-in data analytics that allow marketers to track the success of their campaigns and identify more opportunities to engage. Most social media tools have the capacity to extract customer data and turn them into actionable market analysis for businesses to generate the most optimal solutions.
All of the key features of social media marketing mentioned serve the ultimate purposes of driving traffic back to your website and increase sales through strategically promoting products and service.
Planning a Winning Social Media Strategy
A social media strategy is a document outlining your social media marketing goals, the tactics you will use to achieve them and the metrics you will track to measure your progress and success.
A good social media marketing strategy should start with defining your brand positioning to your target audience so that you can identify the invaluable resources that only you can provide to your audience and potential customers.
Understanding your brand tone and personality and expressing them strategically across all platforms will help you attract and nurture the right audience for your brand.
Understand your target audience
The key to success for many brands on social media is to attract the right audience. Learning and understanding your target audience can help you create relevant and valuable content and grow a strong audience base.
Determine the demographics of your customers such as age, gender, and location by asking what they do, where they live, and what social platforms they are on. It is also important to find out what their interests are and what topics they mostly talk about.
Social listening can help you discover what your target audience is talking about. Without social monitoring, businesses usually exercise their effort aimlessly and are more likely to fail to make any return on their investment in social media marketing.
Understand your brand tone/persona
Brands’ social media accounts tend to have some personality. For some, it’s professional and informative and for others, it’s witty and humorous.
If you already have a brand voice established for your overall marketing strategy, you can extend that to your social media marketing strategy with a tailored approach by social platforms.
Since social media is predominantly content-oriented, visuals, captions and related copy are crucial pieces of branding your social media posts. The content usually shares the same voice and tone guide, which should embody the brand philosophy, personality traits and vocabulary.
If you have multiple people managing your accounts, having a guide to reference keeps your team aligned so it doesn’t seem like your company is writing from different perspectives.
Data collection is key when it comes to social media marketing because your knowledge on your target audience will define the right social media marketing strategy for your business.
Social media advertising
Identifying the type of social media marketing as part of your strategy will help you effectively structure your budget. Paid and organic social advertising are both powerful tools best harnessed for different goals. Understanding the pros and cons of each type will help you create a holistic approach that balances awareness with conversion.
Organic social media
Organic social media refers to the free content (posts, photos, video, stories, etc.) that all users, including brands and their audience, share with each other on their feeds.
As a brand, when you post organically on your account, you can expect reach and engagement from the following sources:
- A percentage of your followers
- Your follower’s followers (if your followers decide to share your post)
- People following any hashtags you use.
Non-paid social organic advertising can also come from your brand advocates in the form of user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is any form of content, such as images, videos, test, and audio, that is posted by users on online and social media platforms.
In a gigantic sea of information and new content rolling out every day, authentic social content is the floater for content creators to stay afloat. People are more likely to trust and buy products recommended by people who have no affiliation to the brand. Incorporating authentic social content into your social media strategy will help you increase your brand trust and credibility.
Paid social content
On the other hand, paid social content refers to content shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc with specific new targeted audiences when brands pay money to these platforms.
Paid posts are the best way for brands to target new audiences on social media and convert them to customers. Business and organizations use paid promotion on social to:
- Raise brand awareness and attract new followers in a shorter amount of time compared to organic non paid content
- Promote their newest deal, content, event, etc
- Generate leads
- Drive conversions
NOTE: Paid social media marketing generally does not include influencer marketing, which is typically arranged directly with the influencer on a particular platform. For more information on influencer marketing, check out our key strategies for influencer marketing.
Building Your Social Media Marketing Calendar
Advanced planning and scheduling are extremely important parts of a successful social media strategy to ensure every step leading up to and after content posting and engagement is implemented timely and smoothly. A social media marketing calendar can help you visualize all your planned posts for the next weeks or months ahead.
Here are some factors to consider for your social media marketing calendar:
Frequency and Consistency
Frequency indicates how often you post on social media and consistency is the quality of always behaving or performing in a similar way, or of always happening in a similar manner.
To maximize the effectiveness of social media marketing, you need to be strategic with the frequency and consistency of your content.
For each social network, there is an approximate frequency of posting that optimizes your ability to connect with your target audience. In addition, you must be consistent in tone used, the way you communicate online, the types of content you share and your posting schedule, so that people can better recognize and remember your brand.
Original vs. curated content
One of traditional marketing’s common practices was to create as much original content as possible. But creating original and engaging content on a daily basis is a time-consuming task, if ever possible.
Marketers now depend on other sources and other companies for ready content and simply share them from time to time. This has given rise to content curation.
Contrary to content creation, which means that you create original content that is unique to your brand, content curation is the process of gathering existing information related to a topic relevant to your niche and sharing it with your followers.
While original content is important when it comes to building a unique voice for your brand, it can be time-consuming and challenging to upkeep on a daily basis. Generally, curated content takes less effort than creating fresh new content. However, you need to be mindful of competition and your own reputation when using curated content.
Considering the pros and cons of each type of content, it is best to use a blend of original and curated content. Both are powerful methods for your social media strategy and calendar and can aid your brand’s growth.
The rule of thumb is to start off sharing 40% created and 60% curated content and adjust it from there according to what resonates with your audience.
Caption with brand tone and relevant hashtags
Caption is an essential factor of social media marketing, which can define the success of your social media strategy. While it is true that most social media platforms are visual-oriented, the most impressive visual is incomplete without an engaging story to go along with it. The caption of the Instagram post tells the audience the story behind the visual, adding context to the post. Besides, an effective caption offers an opportunity to spark conversations and trigger desirable actions. It also allows you to connect with your community.
In addition to engaging captions, attaching relevant hashtags to your post will help increase your exposure and chances of getting discovered by new audiences. All of these factors are needed to beat the Instagram algorithm and ensure the success of your social media strategy.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating captivating captions and using hashtags:
- Keep it simple
- Be authentic
- Create an attention-grabbing opening line
- Use power words
- Include a question and call-to-action
- Add some humor
- Don’t over sell
- Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags to create visibility for your content. People can find your content through hashtags. Hashtags also help you touch on the interests of your target audience.
Measuring Your Success (Analytics/ROI)
As you plan your social media marketing campaign and calendar, you need to determine how you will evaluate your success. Without metrics to track the progress of your social media strategy, it’s hard to know which efforts are paying off and how to optimize your resources.
The number of followers alone is not always a good indicator to reflect the level of your success. There are other more reliable indicators that you should take into account when tracking your social media marketing efforts.
Here are some common KPIs you should pay attention to:
Engagement is, by far, the most important social metric of all. The more engagement your post receives, the higher your viral reach is likely to be.
Consistent high engagement means your audience knows and trusts you. It’s an indicator that you’ve created a community around your brand.
When measuring engage, here are some common metrics to pay attention to:
- Likes and shares: From Facebook to YouTube, liking and sharing are universal actions users can take to express appreciation and interest in your content
- Audience growth: the rate at which your followers grow in a given period of time. This indicator can inform your posing schedule and consistency.
- Followers/following ratio: Your follow ratio indicates your credibility on social media. If you follow 500 people but only 90 follow you, it may turn people off from following you.
Impressions and reach of social media platforms tell you very different things about the performance of your ads and content. Impressions calculate how many times your content is displayed no matter if it was clicked or not. If an ad pops up on people’s screen a total of 300 times, the number of impressions for that ad is 300.
Reach is the number of people who have seen your content. If 100 total people have seen your ad, that means your ad’s reach is 100.
There are 3 types of reach on most of the major social platforms:
Organic reach: refers to the number of unique people who saw your content organically (for free) on their feed or explore page.
Paid reach: is the number of people that see a piece of content that has been paid for, like an ad. It’s often determined by factors like budgets and audience targeting.
Viral reach: is the number of people who saw your content because one of their friends interacted with it by sharing, liking, or commenting on.
Conversion KPIs measure how many social interactions turn into website visits, newsletter sign-ups, purchases or other desired actions. Conversion metrics reflect how effective your social media strategy is and whether it’s leading to actionable outcomes. This KPI group usually include:
This indicator refers to the number of users who perform the actions outlined in your social media call-to-action, such as visit your website or landing page, subscribe to a mailing list, make a purchase, etc.) compared to the total number of clicks on that given post. A high conversion rate shows that your content actually delivers value which makes the client want to take action.
Click-through rate (CTR)
CTR is the percentage of people who view and click on your post CTA (call to action) it included.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who click on your post, but then shortly leave the page without engaging or taking action.
Cost per click
CPC is the amount you pay a social media platform per every time someone clicks on your paid social media post.
Flourish on social media and grow your business
While most businesses choose to refuse to take action, you have the opportunity
Since the rise of social media and in influencer marketing, the dimensions of social media marketing have completely shifted. Use this blueprint to distance yourself from all the noise and to connect and engage with your target audience.
Now the time has come to take matters into your own hands and create your own influencer marketing strategy. If you can’t find the time and resources to do the work, it’s wise to partner with a team of brand and design experts. Either way, your business will flourish on social media.