Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements.
The major social media platforms (at the moment) are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
There are also a range of social media management tools that help businesses to get the most out of the social media platforms listed above. For example, Buffer is a platform of social media management tools, which can help you achieve success with your social media marketing. Whether you want to build a brand or grow your business, we want to help you succeed.
Social media marketing first started with publishing. Businesses were sharing their content on social media to generate traffic to their websites and, hopefully, sales. But social media has matured far beyond being just a place to broadcast content.
Nowadays, businesses use social media in a myriad of different ways. For example, a business that is concerned about what people are saying about its brand would monitor social media conversations and response to relevant mentions (social media listening and engagement). A business that wants to understand how it’s performing on social media would analyze its reach, engagement, and sales on social media with an analytics tool (social media analytics). A business that wants to reach a specific set of audience at scale would run highly-targeted social media ads (social media advertising).
Ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few social media marketing tips to kick off your social media campaigns.
Social Media Content Planning — As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other businesses in your industry doing to drive engagement on social media? Great Social Content — Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing.
Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. The content that you share on your social networks can include social media images, videos, infographics, how-to guides and more.
A Consistent Brand Image — Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’s core identity, whether it’s friendly, fun, or trustworthy, should stay consistent. Social Media for Content Promotion — Social media marketing is a perfect channel for sharing your best site and blog content with readers. Once you build a loyal following on social media, you’ll be able to post all your new content and make sure your readers can find new stuff right away.
Plus, great blog content will help you build more followers. It’s a surprising way that content marketing and social media marketing benefit each other. Sharing Curated Links — While using social media for marketing is a great way to leverage your own unique, original content to gain followers, fans, and devotees, it’s also an opportunity to link to outside articles as well. If other sources provide great, valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, don’t be shy about linking to them. Curating and linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return. Tracking Competitors — It’s always important to keep an eye on competitors—they can provide valuable data for keyword research and other social media marketing insight. If your competitors are using a certain social media marketing channel or technique that seems to be working for them, considering doing the same thing, but do it better!
Ready to figure out your social media marketing strategy?
If you’re overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, you’re definitely not alone.
Because social media isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Not by a long shot.
From choosing the right channels to figuring out your content strategy, analysis paralysis is a serious problem for marketers today.
That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide to creating a social media marketing plan from scratch.
A succinct strategy will help your brand tackle its goals with a sense of purpose.
First things first: you need to figure out what you want out of social media at large.
Because coming up with a social media plan means having an end-game in mind.
Whether that means more dollars and cents from your existing social presence or amping up your reach with new followers is totally up to you.
What matters is that you set realistic social media goals. We recommend tackling smaller objectives that allow you to scale your social efforts in a way that’s both reasonable and affordable.
Below are some sample goals that businesses of all shapes and sizes can divide and conquer. Based on data from the Sprout Social Index, these are the top priorities for marketers today.
To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid solely publishing promotional messages. Instead, focus on content that emphasizes your personality or values first.
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Generate leads and sales. Whether online or in-store, followers aren’t going to make social purchases by accident. For example, are you about alerting customers about new products and promos?
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Grow your brand’s audience. Bringing new followers into the fold means finding ways to introduce your brand to folks who haven’t heard of you before.
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Growing your audience also means discovering conversations around your business and industry that matter the most. Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
Find ways to grab the attention of your current followers. This means experimenting with messaging and content. For example, does your brand promote user-generated content and hashtags?
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Even something as simple as asking a question can increase your engagement rate. Your customers can be your best cheerleaders, but only if you’re giving them something to do.
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The world of social media is changing incredibly fast. So when you’re just starting out, start with the ones that have been around for years.
Betting on “the next big thing” can pay off if you’re right. But, if you’re just getting started on a social media strategy, you can’t afford to not have a Facebook page or a Twitter account since we’ve already seen how effective they are.
Let’s look at some key social media terms.
Content is whatever you are posting. It can be a Facebook status update, a photo on Instagram, a tweet, something to pin on a board on Pinterest, and so on.
The graphic already showed you that content comes in many different forms and that you need to custom-tailor it to each platform. What’s even more important than content, though, is context.
Gary Vaynerchuk said that if content is king, then context is god. You can have a great joke, but if you place it somewhere inside a 3,000-word blog post, very few people will see it. On Twitter, however, that same joke as a tweet might crush it.
And, the opposite is also true. And that brings us to hashtags.
By now, they’re a very common form that people use to add meta information on almost all social media channels. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all use hashtags to let you describe the topic of your content or mark it as part of current trends.
They make your content easy for users to discover and therefore more likely that they’ll share it.
Shares are the currency of the social media world. Shares are all that matters on social media.
People will keep talking to you about impressions, click-through rates, and potential reach. But none of these tell you whether people actually pass on what you have to say.
When people engage and interact with your content, that’s good. But, when they share it, that is the time when you celebrate.
The more shares, the more people love your content. It’s the best form of engagement that people can have with it.
This is a general term that means that people interact with the content that you produce. It can be a like, a reaction, a comment, or a share. All of these are good, but the shares are where it’s at.
Now that we’ve covered some definitions, let’s take a look at some social media marketing trends.
The social media world changes faster than any other online space.
And keeping up with it isn’t an easy task.
So here are a few trends you’ll want to keep in mind. Most likely, these trends will impact not just this year, but also the future years to come.
Here’s what they are.
Once upon a time, a social media user could post compelling content and easily grow their social media following.
After a few months, they’d receive loads of friend requests, comments, shares, and “likes,” all because of their amazing content.
But today, that’s not so much the case.
In fact, most social media platforms are making it increasingly difficult to build an organic following.
And it’s not unintentional.
As the ability for organic superstars to shine goes down, something else goes up.
You guessed it: ad spend.
Of course, that’s just Facebook. But the truth is that it’s the same for every social media platform. They make it more difficult for users to grow their own organic platform so that businesses spend more money on advertisements.
Creating your social media marketing strategy doesn’t need to be painful. Social media marketing is the sure-fire way of getting free and paid traffic to your website and products. Get started now!