What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is using social media platforms and social channels to promote a business’s services, products, and it’s brand.
Social media marketing has established itself as a vital part of any modern digital marketing strategy.
As social platforms have grown to amass large audiences, the need for having a proper social media marketing strategy has arisen to be very crucial when building a successful business online.
Social media marketing includes both free and paid methods of promotion and can offer the business’s unique approaches when it comes to gaining online traction for their offerings.
By definition, social media marketing is a social endeavor, and not using its social functions is not beneficial. Every action within social media is a social behavior of target audiences online.
To increase your results from social media, you have to create engaging content that your audiences enjoy. No matter the platform in question.
We will dig deeper into what is social media marketing through its core benefits it can provide your business.
Social Media Marketing Benefits
- Increase Online Traffic With Social Media Marketing
- Global Reach And Visibility
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Engaging Content Marketing
- Engaging Customer Service
- Increase Sales, Leads, And Conversions
- Keep Ahead Of The Competition
- Social Media Marketing Cost
- Social Media Marketing Strategies
- Connect With Your Target Audience With Effective Targeting Options
- Advertising And Retargeting In Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Marketing Analytics & Insights
Increase Online Traffic With Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an essential method to increase your online traffic to your website, landing pages, blogs, and more. A well built and executed social strategy will help you establish a constant flow of traffic to your target sites.
Gaining constant online traffic from social media marketing efforts is also a cost-effective strategy for companies to utilize. Diversifying your sources of online traffic creates a sustainable online business that is less subjectable for changes in the future.
Using social methods to grow your business online with other traffic generation methods, you will create a strategy that gives you more opportunities for growth.
The benefit of social media marketing for other traffic generation methods are abundant. Increasing your online presence that is a lively and interactive will, improve your results from search engine marketing or search engine optimization. As more touch-points you have online, the more opportunities there are for customers to engage with your business.
For instance, if you make your brand seen in the social networks, your customers will start to research more about the brand through other channels, such as Google search, and if they can find the brand there too, it increases trust in your business and will more likely lead to a conversion.
Combining different online marketing techniques to create a complete experience and a funnel where a customer sees and engages with the brand on multiple fronts, the more sales and leads you will have.
You want to maximize your brands reach everywhere your target audience is.
Utilizing well-planned paid social ads, organic posts, and influencers, you’re maximizing your traffic potential from your target audiences. The great thing is that social channels provide traffic for you in many different forms, which allows the testing of a variety of traffic generation methods from social media.
While organic traffic from social sources can initially be hard, by investing time to learn your audience’s needs and creating engaging content for them is a sure way to discover growth for your website and business.
Global Reach & Visibility
Social media marketing is global, and from the billions of users, you can extract your specific audience from anywhere in the world.
The many social media platforms allow you to reach a more extensive and larger audience online. Every platform functions a bit differently from each other, others being more general and others offering a more niche approach, but choosing the right platform that fits your brand and your audience is a benefit of social media marketing.
As of April 2020, the most important social media platforms and their estimated number of active users:
- Facebook, 2 489 million
- Youtube, 2 000 million
- Instagram, 1 000 million
- TikTok, 800 million
- Reddit, 430 million
- Snapchat, 398 million
- Twitter, 386 million
- Pinterest, 366 million
- LinkedIn, 310 million
While many platforms do have overlapping users, the opportunity on a global scale to grow your business is enormous.
By understanding your core demographic better, you will discover what the best social media platforms to target them are.
Social networks are gaining in importance regarding increased search terms, which makes them alternative search engines as well. The use of hashtags in your posts strengthens your global reach. Also, using locally relevant hashtags can increase your local visibility as well.
As ever-growing audiences acquire new tastes and ways of interacting with different social platforms, new growth avenues become available for companies to try fresh ideas online.
Even the smallest businesses have the chance to gain significant reach with social media marketing without massive budgets. It will be harder to gain free visibility than for larger companies with more resources, but as social media platforms are free to engage with, there’s always a chance for free promotion, hence worth a shot.
For example, smaller businesses can use their local knowledge to cater to their local areas with content that is highly localized to gain more customers nearby.
Social media marketing reach in the world is vast, and it’s growing every day, and new opportunities from new social channels become available as they grow in importance.
Increase Brand Awareness
Social media marketing is all about presenting your brand the best way online as it should be. Increasing positive brand awareness through social channels is one of the best strategies to achieve long-term success for any company or brand.
By controlling your brand image through social networks, instilling an image of your company that you want, and engaging with your target audience, you will receive the desired results and benefits of social media marketing.
With social media marketing, you are increasing and controlling the conversation around your brand and connecting directly with your target audiences’ needs in real-time. By listening to your audience and being available and seen, you’re building a more approachable brand that customers want to engage with.
What social media enables is the creation of a story, a story that brings results from your marketing efforts. A good story that resonates with your customers to build a brand online should be one of your goals when designing your social media marketing strategy.
Building authority, increasing social proof, and managing brand reputation has many benefits for any company wishing to grow organically through social channels.
When you establish authority in your industry through the creation of a strong brand on social media, you’re eventually going to achieve more sales, leads, conversions.
Increased brand awareness is a way to make sure customers remember you when they are ready to purchase your products. A memorable brand can benefit from past customers that are engaging with your business online, and through social proof, new customers will be more likely to purchase from you as well.
Engaging Content Marketing
Social media marketing strategies should be included in your content distribution plan as it’s an effective way to publish a diverse set of content.
Using many content types allows building a more wholesome content strategy around your brand. In many cases, you can reuse a lot of content you’ve already created for other channels, as long as the content fits the platform.
Original and creative content that matches your audience’s wants will work the best in social channels. It’s essential to keep every piece of content relevant to the audience at all times. As content that is unoriginal and doesn’t resonate with your customers won’t work, and the results will be rough.
Utilizing strong storytelling around your brand enables customers to keep engaged with the content you’ve created. A right content mix that includes images, videos, infographics will be more beneficial. Only through testing your content mix, you would learn what types of content work for your audience in particular.
Take every chance there’s in social media marketing to improve your content to fit your customer’s needs.
The common challenge in content marketing is to find the right content types and forms that will bring the most results for the time invested.
Learn and get inspired by watching competitors and the industry as a whole to see what others are posting to which platforms if you’re unsure what would work. By looking at stats like views, comments, shares, you will have an idea of what might work in your industry. Start from there and keep developing further your social strategy.
Social media presents an opportunity to easily showcase customer-generated content across social channels to grow social proof around your products and services.
Engaging Customer Service
A great benefit of social media marketing is that you can combine your customer service and support into your marketing strategy. Providing the best support while combining it into your marketing enables you to help your customers while promoting your products and services.
People tend to use social media channels to get help regarding your business, and not offering support through social media can hurt your business. Offering quick help and answering questions as soon as possible through channels your customers use, will create a better experience of your brand.
Excellent customer support and services increase customer loyalty, which in turn increases repeat business you will have. Customers who have had great experiences tend to leave good reviews and feedback that could be turned into a positive marketing channel by itself.
If your company will enable customer support through social channels, make sure to have the profiles attended appropriately as social channels enable bad experiences to spread quickly too.
Running social accounts allows managing the conversation around your business, and by listening to visitors, followers, and customers, you can quickly react to positive and negative notions about your business. Through listening, you can improve your business for the better.
Social media is an engaging and fast method of communication between a business and its customers, and every company should be aware of how to use it to its benefit.
For example, you are communicating business updates and informational posts to keep every customer updated about your business.
Increase Sales, Leads, And Conversions
Without social media marketing, you will lose sales and leads to your competitors, and without it, it’s hard to achieve any significant growth online.
Compared to other marketing channels, social media marketing is a powerful way to increase sales, leads, and other conversions online. Whether you use social media to grow organically or via paid advertisement, it should be an integral part of your overall growth strategy.
While building your organic traffic from social media in most cases will be slow, utilizing paid social media marketing strategies allows you to grow and scale your business quickly with effective ad campaigns.
With social media marketing, companies and brands can build cost-effective advertising campaigns for their benefits. Advertising on Facebook and its network, on LinkedIn or Youtube, can expedite the scaling of your business.
The use of paid ads helps you create profitable sales funnels from the get-go, and using campaign data can improve your overall conversion rates in your business.
Social media marketing can provide local businesses with much-needed publicity to increase their sales. For example, a real estate business can scale their sales through the use of local social media presence and by being active on different platforms.
Companies looking to generate qualified leads profitably can use LinkedIn and Facebook ads to support their sales teams.
Keep Ahead Of The Competition
Understanding what your competitors are doing online and in social media enables you to compete with them directly and more efficiently.
Seeing what types of ads, and posts your competitors are publishing, and especially what ads and posts are doing exceptionally well, will help you create better campaigns yourself.
Are you looking for ideas and different angles to use in your marketing? For example, using the Facebook Ad library enables you to check all the ads your competitors are running now. Using the data to create better campaigns or to benchmark your ads against your competitors will keep you better informed of what’s working right now in your industry.
Social data from competitors unlock opportunities that you might’ve missed before, such as finding new influencers to expand your reach. Always include available social data into your competitive analysis.
Directly copying won’t get you far in social media marketing, but it can lead to you creating better content for your strategy. Always create unique approaches to attract your audience.
Researching through LinkedIn posts, and through Twitter’s tweets, you can learn more about what’s trending in your industry to keep your strategy fresh at all times.
Social Media Marketing Cost
Social media marketing costs include the cost of managing social media accounts, the creation of content, and paid social ads.
Depending on your goals of social media marketing, the cost will vary a lot.
For example, a smaller company just using Facebook to facilitate customer support, and the occasional promotion, you could get away with not spending much time, therefore, money into social media.
If you’re trying to achieve an active presence and grow an audience for your brand online, the necessity of investing more time into social media marketing becomes essential. The larger the goals and budgets will require more people involved in the process, which increases the costs.
For those looking into maximizing their social media marketing efforts investing in a dedicated team, an agency, and tools might be a good idea.
Overall, time and money invested into social media marketing can have benefits to a company’s bottom line, as it is a cost-effective way of marketing and offers higher return-on-investment(ROI) when done optimally.
While calculating ROI is easier for paid campaigns, it can be harder calculating it for other social media activities. Important is to have clear goals and subgoals to measure social media activities profitability. For example, what’s the benefit and worth of long-term increased brand awareness for your business?
As a benefit of social channels is that they are free to operate, which means any company can start their social media marketing efforts for free and gradually start scaling when results are positive.
A good thing to remember is, organic social traffic and visibility can take time and has not any guarantees of success, which can make the initial investment into it hard. But over time, with better data, you can improve the results of it.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
What is an excellent social media marketing strategy? In short, a good plan uses the right social platforms for the right audiences, and it has data-driven goals for measuring the success of any social campaigns.
Creating a social media marketing plan that works for your business the best requires researching the best strategies that would work the best for you. Every unique business will need a custom strategy to achieve the most results out of a social media marketing strategy.
Gladly, a benefit of social media marketing is that there are multiple approaches to grow a business with social media: For large multinational campaigns, for increasing sales for an online store and even a small business without a marketing budget.
By setting achievable goals and benchmarking the results of your strategy to those goals will advise you on how to modify your strategy to gain the most results.
It might seem more obvious and just say that you want to achieve everything from brand awareness to sales with social media, but that will lead to bad habits and optimizing the wrong things.
It’s crucial to have a clear goal in mind that benefits your business when creating your plan.
A good strategy utilizes both free and paid social media marketing methods to its benefit. It’s possible just to run paid ads to your website, but by nurturing your whole funnel, you’re going to maximize the potential of any given ad.
Understanding how to reach your audience is key; for example, developing a multi-channel presence to build personalized experiences or creating online communities online, services your business’s growth on social media.
Only with social media marketing is content able to go viral. A single viral post can achieve more than years worth of content marketing and even paid advertising.
The more people are liking, sharing, and commenting on your posts, the more likely it is that your post will achieve virality. When a user likes or shares, it’s potential to be shared to the user’s network grows, and if the network themselves engage with the post, sharing it even further, is when it has reached virality.
Carefully designed posts that match audiences’ interests will have a better chance of going viral and bringing extra visibility from a single or a series of posts.
Engaging content that is easy to share, like or comment should be in your mind when planning your next content. Sometimes a subtle call-to-action can have a positive impact on how the content will spread around social media.
Achieving cross-platform virality requires more thought in how to implement cross-platform features that every platform can deliver. For example, utilizing a common hashtag in every platform to achieve your goals or publish similar content to the original post in other platforms as well.
While it’s hard to plan and achieve a viral post, if your post goes viral, you have to manage the increased visibility properly. Poorly managed viral posts will go to waste, and to gain that opportunity again is hard.
For example, let’s look at a give way post that went viral for a small online store. The post itself gathered more reach than the online stores’ ads received in the last month. While the added visibility for the online store was great, it wasn’t optimized to facilitate the growth. In the ending, the post itself gained a boost in traffic for one day only.
It’s crucial to take the gains from virality and turn into a more long-term generator of word of mouth to your business.
Connect With Your Target Audience With Advanced Targeting Options
Targeting the right people at the right time is your primary goal when using social media marketing to promote your business.
For example, using Facebook Page Insights to understand better who are your followers and likers, you can create more suitable content for them—analyzing what content has garnered the most engagement to keep creating similar types of content.
Try to understand why certain content worked better than the rest: was the difference in style, form, or targeting in general?
Many platforms do have overlapping users, as users have different uses for many platforms. Understanding how your target audience uses each network allows you to cater to your audience on every platform the right way.
If you’re unsure what your target audience is or you don’t have enough data to paint a full picture. Using advanced targeting options through paid social ads, you can test different audiences and see what content works best going forward.
Within social ads, you can create efficient lookalike audiences that help you scale your advertising profitably. A lookalike audience helps you discover a broader audience that might be interested in your offerings.
For example, utilizing lookalike audiences from parts of your sales funnel will improve your results from advertising. Having data from lookalike audiences enables us to create highly specific goal-based campaigns. When we want awareness, we can create a lookalike audience that increases the most awareness, and when we want sales, the same will apply.
Finding your core audience and engaging with them will keep you ahead of your competitors.
Advertising and Retargeting in Social Media Marketing
Advertising plays the most prominent part in social media marketing, as it’s the most controlled aspect of it. Controlling the flow of traffic to landing pages, websites, and social profiles, you can engage with more potential customers than ever before, and it’s fast.
Advertising in social media is a necessity when it comes to gaining traffic and sales from online, and it’s grown to be a significant part of any successful venture.
Organic growth through social channels will be harder to attain. Still, through effective ad campaigns, any company can reach its goals for brand awareness, online traffic, and eventually, sales and leads.
Most social media platforms allow advertising on their platform, as it’s the common monetization model for them.
Social advertising campaigns are a powerful marketing strategy from which every company can benefit.
The flexibility of the advertising grants businesses to expedite their social media strategies to achieve their goals faster.
For example, if you are looking to grow a sizable audience on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, with the use of ads, you’re going to reach audience-based goals quicker, if you have optimized ad campaigns for such use.
But ads in social media are much more than just growing followers on any given platform. It will create effective sales funnels and lead generation opportunities that companies who are lagging in their use, will find it harder to compete with those who use them.
If we look at online marketing as an ecosystem, the social ads go hand-in-hand with search engine ads creating a dynamic competitive-edge to grow your business.
Most essential social media platforms which you can advertise on:
Using Social paid ads enables you to create remarketing campaigns to target audiences who have acted upon different signals on your websites or social profiles. Retargeting is a key social media marketing strategy that can have a considerable impact on your results from it.
Warming cold traffic into customers is a process where we create engaging retargeting campaigns to target those who acted in a predetermined way.
For instance, let’s look at how an online store would benefit from a retargeting ad: Your initial social campaigns would generate a lot of interest around your products, to increase sales you would want to retarget those who had grown interests in certain products.
A cold visitor that is initially interested in a product will be more likely to convert if the visitor has seen the product a couple of times more.
The way an online store would benefit from the use of retargeting is targeting visitors and customers who have dropped from its sales funnel. Let’s say a customer adds to cart a few products but later abandons it never to return. With a retargeting ad, you would show these products again to the customer, in the hopes of converting them. To make converting easier, you can have special incentives to convert the customer, like with special discounts.
In a nutshell, using retargeting in paid campaigns can increase your conversions, therefore, improving your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Social Media Marketing Analytics & Insights
The process of analyzing and measuring data from social media channels such as traffic, conversions, engagement, and audience-based data, is what makes social media marketing an effective method for growth.
As everything is measurable, succeeding will not be down to luck. The key is to understand why something worked or why it didn’t.
Web analytics in social media marketing makes success into an actionable plan. Choose a goal and measure everything that matters to that effect.
Analytics makes reporting the results of social media methods easier. Insight’s on how well the implemented strategy worked will make replicating a successful strategy possible.
At first, as personalized data isn’t available, try seeking out what worked for competitors in the past and develop the plan according to your personalized data as you go further.
Analytics helps you discover new opportunities all the time, whether its new ads and post ideas, content concepts, or a new type of customer to target you never thought would’ve been interested in your products in the past.
Social media platforms offer in-depth analytics tools to improve your organic reach and results and tools to optimize your advertising campaigns. Use third-party tools to gain more insight from audiences, competitors, or to obtain more ideas.
Introducing analytics into your social media marketing workflow will create a more cohesive experience for your audience in the end.
For improving your content’s engagement metrics, the profitability of your ads through improving conversion rates, or finding a better audience to target, through sufficient A/B testing of variables, you will discover what actions work best and in what situations.
Learn more social media marketing statistics to see what opportunities it can bring your business.
Social Media Marketing Analytics Tools
Most social networks provide their built-in analytics dashboards that are free to use. The free analytics tools are excellent for optimizing content and its engagement, measuring social activity in your channels, and for learning more about your followers.
Social media marketing opposes an opportunity to grow online for companies if they are willing to invest in their social presence. The many benefits of social media marketing have for companies small and large, can have a positive impact and differentiate them more against their competitors.
Not using social channels will negatively impact businesses in the long term, even if it might seem that your business doesn’t need it now. Eventually, it will hurt your bottom line.
Investing and researching early on proper strategies will help you discover new opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. The power of gaining a new way to reach new customers and showing your brand to new audiences is vital for success.
Most industries can benefit from social visibility, and the key is to find the right social media approaches as every business is unique, and every strategy won’t fit everyone.
To grow on social media, you need to have a solid strategy to base your actions on, and by measuring every step, you can replicate the most successful actions to keep growing.