You need to market where the people are, so…where are they? Today everyone is on social media to communicate, collaborate, entertain themselves, and shop brands. You can cancel the newspaper ad and radio commercials, because just having an active Facebook business page will take you to the moon.
Social media marketing (SMM) is one fast and simple way to make human connections with consumers whether by responding to tweets or by implementing a targeted ad campaign. A glass screen is all that separates your ideas, services, and thought leadership from potential customers.
What is Social Media Marketing?
SMM is a form of B2C marketing through social media networks. Advertising teams research which social media channels their ideal demographics regularly use. With that valuable information, they increase their social media presence with posts, video content, polls, surveys, and ads placed on the social media site itself.
Some marketers also utilize influencer marketing, where content creators are sponsored by a company so they can then inform their followers on their social media channels. It’s particularly effective if business owners choose influencers applicable to either their product or target audience. This type of social media marketing strategy is especially popular on video content sites like YouTube, which is the second most popular social networking site in the world.
The social media platforms with the highest traffic include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Facebook has the highest traffic of all, with almost 3 billion active users (with the additional 2020 spike from the pandemic). It’s no surprise that Facebook ads are extremely popular in digital marketing, and remain 92% of Facebook’s revenue.
Social media advertising may be the way most social platforms make bank, but it’s not the only option for small businesses to increase their website traffic and conversion rates. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing organic traffic from search queries on Google, with your social media posts.
This means adding relevant keywords, improving your language, and using analytics tools to see what social media content does or doesn’t work. With that kind of information, you can figure out what hashtags, keywords, and optimal posting times for your brand.
If you follow SEO best practices for your posting content, then you can be more visible to search engines and as a result, possible consumers.
Why is Social Media Marketing important?
Social media content marketing can increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your landing pages, and help you make meaningful connections with consumers. The main benefit of social media marketing campaigns include:
- Social listening
If you’re present on social media, you’ll be able to observe general sentiment around new products and your overall brand. You can implement surveys and polls, or post in general about topics you want social media users to weigh in on. This is also important for staying on top of complaints.
- Consumer support
Successful social media marketing doesn’t have to be a series of ads or posts. Sometimes it can be just responding to inquiries, complaints, and general comments on your marketing channels. You can make strong connections with consumers with an active social media presence.
- Real-time metrics
Social media metrics can reveal a huge amount of important information about your social media campaigns’ effectiveness and reach. Even without popular marketing tools like Google Analytics, you can learn valuable insights like engagement, impressions, and response rate just from posting regularly on your platforms. The engagement that you track can also help you determine the best social media network for your business.
- Brand awareness
Visibility should be one the most important aspects of your social media marketing plan. If you’re not frequently posting and engaging with consumers, you won’t be able to make connections. There’s nothing worse than liking an ad for a product than seeing their Facebook pages has zero engagement. Not comments from satisfied customers or posts in the last few weeks. It makes your brand look retired.
- Low budget
It doesn’t cost money to have a social media account or business page and it certainly doesn’t cost money to learn and utilize SEO. You don’t have to run an ad campaign, especially if your budget isn’t ready. Instead, all you need to do is stay present and relevant with consumers.
What Types Of Social Media Sites Are There?
There are about 6 categories of social media platforms depending on where you look, some count social news and social review sites. Our list looks at 6 types of content creation and sharing sites.
- Media Sharing
- Social Networking
- Community Blogs
- Blog Forums
Media sharing sites are the home of virtual entertainment. They are designed for collaboration and the high speed sharing of multimedia formats. Platforms in this category include YouTube, TikTok, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and many, many more.
Social Networking sites can include media sharing, but it’s not the main focus; networking or connecting with other users is. This will include behemoths like Facebook, along with professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
Microblogging is a new art form, or disaster, for sharing thoughts or moments with a character limit. Other media can generally be shared as well including videos and images. Twitter is the most popular example where even the actions you take on the site have their own names.
A tweet is one post, and the act of using the site or sending a thread of posts is called tweeting. We recommended businesses never tweet without a specific strategy in mind because Twitter is fickle; you could get zero engagement or go viral by the afternoon. Tweet with caution.
Community blogs are an amazing way to engage with specific audiences. In a community blog you can share your ideas, images, and video content with like-minded people. Functions on these sites can include upvoting and downvoting as well as replies to your posts to create threads. Reddit, Medium, Blogger, are all good examples.
Blog forums are very similar to community blogs, but the focus is on specific discussions. Many community blogs include forums as well, such as Reddit. Another perfect example of the format is Tumblr, but Tumblr is dead so don’t bother making an account.
The best Bookmarking site example is Pinterest. It’s a site centered around sharing media, mainly images, and categorizing the media with bookmarks to go back to it. We highly recommend branding your photos or infographics on Pinterest because it’s easy to share without crediting the source. You want users to know you’re the source of amazing content. Twitter, Dribble, Reddit, and Slashdot are other platforms that fall into this category.
There are so many places to share and monitor your content it’s seriously overwhelming. The bright side is in the last few years there’s been a boom in social media management platforms and tools.
What Kind Of Tools Are There?
If you want to have an active social media presence, you can work with management software. There are applications that you use to schedule your content to post at high traffic times. Hootsuite and Later are good examples of this. You can create content ahead of time and put them in slots for the week, as well as actively posting but setting it to share on multiple platforms.
We recommend not going overboard with post scheduling because it tends to look generic and inauthentic. Even if you’re just trying to be active, it should look like your brand is present and full of knowledge and media rather than a bot.
Hootsuite and similar platforms like Sprout Social are social media management tools that also offer analytics like hashtag trends, engagement, and conversion rate. You can also use software designed with just metrics in mind such as the giant Google Analytics.
Google Analytics has incredibly in-depth reporting for your website and social media metrics, including session times, source of traffic, bounce rate, and more.
Your Resource Guide!
For those of you excited to find the right software to help you grow your business, we have some great options for you. We have software lists for social media management, social media analytics, and social media publishing tools.
If you want to do more research concerning statistics and trends around social media networks, Hootsuite and Sprout Social provide illuminating lists. Then there is the absolute powerhouse in customer relationship management (CRM) HubSpot, which has an amazing blog on topics like marketing. They offer a great social media marketing guide right here.
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