The capacity for social media to influence consumer behavior is recognized globally, and many businesses and organizations turn to it for better visibility and improved sales. Social media is an enormous network of billions of users that search for or furnish information to others; it also poses an incredible opportunity for marketing products, services, and a myriad of other missions.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Simply stated, SMM involves the use of social media platforms, websites, and networks to market services and products. More specifically, though, SMM involves creating specific content to be used on various social media platforms to promote a business or organization through engagement.
Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in that, to be effective, it’s critical to connect with customers or an audience to marketing on social media facilitate their understanding of a brand or mission; done well, it’s a phenomenally powerful instrument for business growth.
Success at social media marketing will depend on an organization or company’s ability to determine a target audience and meaningfully engage with this group. If your or your brand’s story is not , engaging, interesting, relevant, or generally worth sharing, it’s unlikely that SMM will produce the desired results.
Top Social Media Marketing Platforms
Although there are more than two hundred platforms out there, the most popular include:
With over two billion users daily, Facebook has an audience that includes Millennials, Generation X, boomers, and more. Effective for both advertising and brand awareness, Facebook is the most established and largest social media network.
With officially more than one billion users monthly and climbing, TikTok caters mostly to Generation Z and Millennials. It’s an ideal platform for short video content, brand awareness, and user-generated content.
This platform also has approximately two billion users monthly, although the audience is primarily millennials. A great venue for quality photos and videos, Instagram profiles cater to advertising and user-generated content, and are particularly popular with brands, offering advanced e-commerce tools.
Twitter (soon to be rebranded ‘X’), boasts approximately 200 million users daily, of which the majority are millennials. This platform is strong when it comes to building community, public relations, and customer service. Twitter focuses on words and offers tools such as the Twitter Spaces audio tool, Twitter Communities, and Twitter Moments.
With over 900 million members globally, this platform is ideal for business development, relationships, and social selling. LinkedIn’s audience is clearly defined, catering primarily to professional networking.
Boasting more than 2.6 billion monthly active users, this platform caters above all to millennials, but does engage a strong audience regardless of age and gender. YouTube offers entertainment, how-to videos, brand awareness, and more – and it’s easy to find yourself down a rabbit hole of virtually any topic under the sun!
Snapchat boasts around 347 million users daily and has an audience that is primarily Gen Z; it works well for brand awareness and advertising.
This platform has a solid audience that spans Gen Z, Gen X, and even the Boomers, with over 440 million people tuning in monthly. It can be both inspirational for new projects and effective for visual advertising.
Is SMM Really That Important?
In a word, yes. Social media marketing is very important because today, almost everyone tends to browse a variety of social media platforms, especially if they want to know more about an organization or particular product; social media platforms allow for handy discussion among consumers. Today, a social media presence is necessary for companies and brands as consumers, including potential customers, use social media daily, and typically many (many, many) times a day.
Social media platforms also permit companies and brands to gain insights into what customers want, as well as their tastes, and interests. It’s become an indispensable tool for sustainable business growth and an ideal method to launch new products and create interest in initiatives.
For e-commerce, SSM is no longer optional. That said, social media marketing is highly competitive, with new brands and influencers appearing daily, so you’ll need to put your best foot forward, starting with an appealing logo and engaging, on-brand content. If you haven’t created a logo yet, there are free logo services you can use to start bringing your brand to life.
Social Media Marketing Benefits
Initially, social media platforms were utilized to promote traffic to websites; today, social media is no longer used merely to publicize brand content. Investing in a solid social media marketing campaign can result in enormous benefits for companies and brands, including expanding customer base and engaging directly with clients.
This version of marketing can drum up a new audience or customer base for a brand, using tools that warm up new audiences to products and services. Platforms such as Facebook permit content, such as engaging videos, to attract attention and cut through the competition.
SMM Facilitates Direct Customer Engagement
Marketing via social media is by no means limited to promotion and sales; highly successful brands leverage the power of SMM to engage with customers and build lasting customer bases. These companies will respond to comments by users and/or answer questions posed – they assist their audience members.
Down The Relentless Sales Tools
One great factor with SMM is that you don’t have to concentrate solely on selling to obtain results. You can directly engage with your audience by asking them questions or requesting feedback from them about your services or products. You can also post demos or info videos to make using your product easier and more efficient, reinforcing that you care about your customers and what they think. Treating and serving people well is vital to building a loyal customer base.
Paid Ad Perks
SMM also offers the possibility of generating leads by signing on for paid ad campaigns, video marketing, email options, and giveaways. Because everything happens on the internet, actions are measurable and much faster so it’s easier to create a database.
SMM allows you to monitor the competition in real time, and keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing can be a profitable learning experience. Observing what they do should be a fundamental part of your social media marketing strategy; what works for the competition may work for you as well. If paid ads are generating sales for a competitor, you may want to consider using them as well; the idea is not to copy competitors but to use effective, proven tools.
Social Media Marketing is Cost-Effective
SMM is probably the most diversified yet cost-effective method for promoting a brand or company. Creating a brand profile is free and paid ad campaigns have lower costs than other advertising methods – as a result, returns can be higher.
If you are just starting on your social media marketing journey and want to invest in paid ad campaigns, start small and evaluate your results. SMM permits you to track how your marketing strategy performs in real time, so learn what works as you go.
Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
For all the simplicity that social media seems to afford, with billions of users it can be quite overwhelming; getting a great message to the right audience at the best time can be challenging. Similarly, delivering that great message at the wrong time or to the wrong target group can waste all your efforts.
For your marketing strategy to be effective, you need to determine who your target audience is and understand the psychology of this target group. People tend to favor specific platforms, and each group using a platform will have a unique mindset.
When you create content for your product or brand, think about its context and relevance.
When creating a social media marketing strategy for your brand, you must:
Establish Your Goals
What do you hope to achieve (be reasonable and specific)? Make sure that your goal is measurable, so you know if you are achieving your objective and set a time frame
Research Your Target Audience
The target audience is the group of people on social media that are most likely to be interested in your product. Generally, members of target groups share commonalities like demographics, activities, mindsets, and behaviors.
- Be specific in your research; you will not be able to target everyone on social media, nor will everyone that potentially belongs to your target audience be active on social media platforms
- Use data that is available to make informed decisions; if your target is boomers, use data to select the best social platform for that demographic group
Observe the Competition Closely
Check to see if your competitors are using social media and investigate what they are doing; the competition can provide you with valuable insight as to what is working in your field and what isn’t. Furthermore:
- Analyze the competition, because it can give you an idea of what to expect when creating a social media brand presence, and make it a point to research effective keywords, and how these words rank
- Plug the most relevant keywords for your brand into Google and you’ll see who your competition is. Analytics can assist you in discovering other companies that your target audience follows
- If your target group uses one platform more than another, you may want to build your presence on platforms where the group isn’t well-served
- Check out the complaints your target audience posts about the competition as this can provide you with an advantage
Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms
Each social media platform has specific characteristics that appeal to a specific set of users.
- You will not be able to include every platform in your marketing strategy, nor should you try to
- You also cannot expect to use the same content on all platforms
- Research the platforms to choose the best ones for your marketing strategy and to determine what works on individual platforms; if you want to use a visual approach, opt for Instagram, or if you want to spotlight customer care, try Twitter
- Consider how each platform aligns with your target demographic as well as your business goals
Make Engaging Content
To create relevant and engaging content, you need to understand your target audience’s psychology. This will help you identify what interests or excites them.
Tailor content to the individual platform and create it specifically for your target audience. Have difficulty creating new content regularly? Consider AI-generated social media content
Advertise Your Posts
- Many successful social media marketers follow the 80/20 theory: 20% of your time to create content and 80% of your time to promote that content
- Content needs to be high-quality and relevant; it should be just what your target audience is looking for
- Promote your content by using paid social media tools
- Create several versions of your ads with a variety of messages to increase engagement and allow you to speak to a wider selection of audience members individually
- Track your results. Not every aspect of a marketing strategy will perform as desired. Measure the performance of your social media marketing and if certain things don’t produce as hoped, change them
How to Track SMM
Social media metrics can be challenging and frankly, confusing, to decipher. Nevertheless, it isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little homework on your part. You need to be tracking metrics that are aligned with your business goals. Important metrics include:
- Reach: points to the potential size of your target audience and how much your content is disseminating
- Volume: indicates how many people are accessing and talking about your brand or product
- Engagement: Is your target audience sharing your content? Retweets, shares, likes, comments, and reactions indicate who is responding to or engaging with our content
- Influence: Can your brand make a difference? Followers alone will not make your company have an impact. Are your followers interacting in a meaningful way?
- Voice Share: Your brand’s voice share refers to what percentage of industry conversation is about your brand especially when compared to your principal competitors.
Posting too infrequently can cause your target audience to forget your brand – a classic case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Posting regularly is important but over-posting can also be counterproductive. Overwhelming your target audience with content can cause your audience to lose interest. Be selective about what you share and make sure it has value; content without value can damage your brand’s marketing. Additionally:
- Post often, but at a comfortably paced frequency, and schedule posts ahead of time
- Posts should reflect your goals and deliver specific content on specific days to increase engagement
- Make it a point to respond to those that interact or comment on your posts
- Have a story to tell that includes your brand’s successes as well as your failures: people identify with difficulties that have been experienced and overcome
- Inspire trends, don’t necessarily follow those of others – be the trendsetter!
Final Thoughts for Marketing on Social Media
There are upwards of two hundred social media platforms, so when you decide to market on social media, it’s prudent to select more than one for your marketing strategy. Choose social media platforms where your target audience is, and stay ahead when it comes to trends, new technologies, and new tools offered by platforms. Finally, if you want to succeed with social media marketing, consider finding a popular influencer and make them a cornerstone of your social media marketing strategy.