Social Media is fast becoming the most powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach customers and prospects. Most (if not all) of your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you aren’t taking advantage of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to market your business then you are falling behind.
Quality marketing on social media can bring enormous success for your business at very affordable prices compared to traditional media. The main goal of any social media strategy should be to create brand advocates and therefore drive referrals and recommendations, and ultimately drive new business to increase revenue.
Social media marketing, or SMM, is an internet marketing strategy that involves creating and sharing content on the various social media networks in order to drive brand awareness, reach a wider audience, and achieve your marketing goals.
This includes actions like posting creative text, images, videos, competitions and other content that drives people to follow and interact with your brand and over time turn them (and their friends/family) into customers. This can be done with a dedicated content strategy involving daily posts, sharing and interaction as well as by taking advantage of the very powerful paid social media advertising options.
In this article we will be giving you the basics, as well as sharing some expert tips and training to improve the online presence of your business.
Start With a Plan
Always consider what your business goals are before you begin creating a marketing campaign. If you start without a clear social strategy then you will soon end up lost and frustrated.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating your goals :
- What specific goals do you want to achieve for your business through social media marketing?
- Who is your target audience?
- How does your audience use social media and what channels are they active on?
- What message do you want to convey to your audience that will compel them to follow, recommend and ultimately visit or purchase from you?
Your strategy will depend on the type of business you run.
Pretty much all businesses will benefit from a quality presence on Facebook, the most popular and widely used social network, but certain businesses will lend themselves better to other social networks. For example, a business that relies on highly visual advertising such as clothing, travel and e-commerce will benefit greatly from platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
For business-to-business, or B2B, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn would be more beneficial. This isn’t to say that other networks should be ignored, each business is different, but being informed will allow you to better understand where to put the majority of your time, money and effort.
How Can Social Media Marketing Help You Achieve Your Marketing Goals?
You can achieve a wide variety of goals but some of the more common goals include :
– Building brand awareness
– Increasing website traffic and clicks
– Finding new leads and prospects
– Creating a solid brand identity and positive brand association
– Interaction and communication with your target audience and people in your community
The more people that follow your social media channels and interact with your brand, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.
How To Use Social Media for Marketing
It’s time to get started creating a social media marketing strategy for your business. Here are some valuable tips to get you going.
The key to a successful social campaign is to start with a clear content plan. There are a few ways to help you stay on point with your content such as keyword research, competition research and trend evaluation. The simplest way to generate quality content idea’s is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Think about what will interest your desired audience and catch their attention.
Create Quality Content
As with most areas of online marketing, content is king! Social media marketing is one of the most visual forms of advertising and competition is fierce. Make sure you post daily and offer valuable, interesting and eye-catching content. Anyone can share an article or picture on social media, but if you really want results, take your time and put in some effort. Share and create content that is relevant to your audience and encourages them to engage. Custom designed images, videos, info-graphics and valuable articles will keep your audience interested and engaged.
Measure Your Success With Analytics
The best way to determine the success of your strategy is to track the huge amount of data available to you. Each social platform has various analytics options and insights that can help you optimize your strategies. Make sure you become familiar with the analytics of your campaigns so that you can continually improve and save time and money. Google Analytics is also a great tool that will enable you to measure the most effective strategies and ensure that you don’t waste time on less successful strategies. Make sure that you attach tracking tags to all of your campaigns and monitor them closely.
Create a Consistent Brand Image
Social media marketing allows your business to reach millions of people and project your brand image across multiple social media networks. Although you should change your content type and strategies to suit the advantages of each social network, the core identity of your business should stay the same. You should always aim to be fun, friendly and trustworthy and your content should reflect that where possible.
Share Relevant Links
Using social media for marketing is a great way to share your own unique content to gain fans, followers and influencers. It’s also a great opportunity to share content from other businesses that your followers will find interesting. The key is to make it relevant and valuable to audience and consistent with your brand message. By sharing the content of well established sources you will increase your trust and reliability as well as building potentially valuable relationships with other content creators. They may even share your content to their followers in the future which will increase your reach and audience in turn.
Promote Your Content
Your social media marketing channels are a great way to promote the content you have created on your website or blog to attract people and sell your product and service. Once you have build a loyal following on your social media networks you will be able to make sure that the right people see your content and potentially share it with others. Use your social channels drive people to your website and blog so that your content marketing and social marketing compliment each other.
Track Your Competitors
One of the best ways to gain valuable data is to keep an eye on your competitors. This has many advantages and will allow you to better shape your own social media marketing strategies to effectively compete with them for business. If your competitor is using a certain network or a specific type of content, take note of it and make sure that you position yourself to do it better. You can never have too much information about your competition and social media is a great way to gather information.
Public Relations and Crisis Management
Things are not always going to go perfectly, it’s a good idea to have crisis management plans in place for any mistakes or public relations issues. If you know what you’re doing, your social media channels provide a great platform to communicate directly with the public and address any issues that may arise.
How to Choose the Best Platforms for Your Business
Here is an overview about social media for marketing on based on each platforms unique aspects and environment. Each platform requires a different approach suited to its audience and layout.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform with over 2.2 billion active users. It is generally the best place to start when setting up a social media presence for any business.
Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy. When setting up your Facebook business page you will need to focus on the layout. As with most social media platforms, the visual component is a key part of the Facebook user experience. Make your page a reflection of your business by using consistent brand colors, images and content.
Above all Facebook is a place for people to connect and chat with friends, share interests, life events and content. Keep your tone light and friendly, sell your product or service using great content instead of direct sales posts. Remember, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, so keep that in mind when creating content for your Facebook business page.
Another aspect to consider when using social media for marketing is that generally, organic reach is limited. You will need to create a Facebook paid ad strategy to compliment the daily content you post on your business page. Paid advertising on Facebook is very cost effective and has the potential to produce a massive return on investment when done correctly.
There are over 800 million people using Instagram – more than 500 million of whom use Instagram every single day. Instagram has huge potential for social media marketing as it has some of the highest engagement rates compared to other social media platforms. This means that more people will see and interact with your content organically.
Instagram for marketing requires more than just posting a few pictures and asking people to buy from you. As with all marketing, strategy is key. In order to create a successful Instagram marketing strategy you will need these basic 4 elements.
– Clear Goals
– Familiarity with your target audience
– Clear visual style
When these elements are combined, Instagram can be an extremely valuable marketing platform for your business. Consistency and visual appeal are probably the most important elements when starting out with Instagram marketing. Take your time and put in some effort creating bright, colourful and interesting content and make sure you post daily.
Twitter is a great way to use social media for marketing no matter what your goals are. There is a strong focus on dialogue and communication, so in many ways, Twitter is the best platform for customer service and building reputation. With over 300 million monthly users and a strong emphasis on more professional topics, a strong Twitter presence will give your business a great platform to share news, specials and fun brand-building tweets.
The first thing you will want to do is create and optimize your profile. Add your location, create a fun and informative profile description, and design an eye-catching cover picture. Make sure to add your Twitter handle to all your other marketing materials to make it as discoverable as possible.
Get verified! Getting that valuable blue tick next to your account name will boost your validity to Twitter users and earn their trust. Take advantage of the huge potential Twitter provides for social listening. Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes explains, “For businesses that pursue social listening seriously, the benefits can be significant: real-time intelligence on competitors; instant feedback on how your own brand is being perceived; and actionable data for designing or tweaking marketing campaigns.”
The more you know about your social media community the better you can position yourself to market to them effectively. What are they interested in? What kinds of content do they respond to best? Who or what are they talking about? What brands are they engaging with? These are all important questions to consider when implementing social listening into your wider social media strategy.
As one of the fastest growing social media platforms, Pinterest provides great potential for marketing your business on social media. Pinterest is a very image-centered platform, meaning that it is great for retail, fashion, arts and crafts and pretty much any business that benefits from visual content for marketing.
When creating your Pinterest account and planning a social media marketing strategy keep in mind that the majority of twitter users are female. Make sure your bio contains keywords that are relevant to your business and conveys the personality of your brand. A great way to stand out on Pinterest is to add custom covers to your boards, you will need to design these covers but it will give your brand a custom and cohesive look.
To increase your visibility make your boards as descriptive as possible so that people can find them when searching for topics on Google and Pinterest. You can even do some SEO research to gather the best search phrases. Optimize your website so your products can easily be pinned and remember to be active. Schedule some time to post daily on Pinterest and make sure the content is high quality and eye-catching.
LinkedIn is the most professional social media marketing platform. The vast majority of LinkedIn users are working professionals who use the site for networking, learning, sharing content related to their industry and job searching. LinkedIn really shines as a business to business advertising platform, with 93% of B2B marketers agreeing that LinkedIn is the best place to gather high quality leads.
When creating your profile make sure that it looks professional and is clear about what your business does. Create content that potential customers will find interesting and useful and your follower count will grow steadily. Remember to ask for LinkedIn recommendations from your customers so that your brand maintains and grows its credibility on LinkedIn.
Probably the biggest advantage that LinkedIn holds over other social media platforms is its highly sophisticated paid ad option. Get to know the different targeting choices and do some research on creating effective ads and LinkedIn could become your most valuable social media marketing channel.
Youtube has been investing huge amounts of money into making their platform the new television, and soon it will be. It’s almost inevitable that Youtube will become the most powerful video platform for marketing.
Video marketing without a strategy can be a colossal waste of time and money so before you start creating video content for marketing, make sure that you have a solid strategy in place. Users make up the heart and soul on all social media platforms but a subscriber on Youtube is far more valuable than a follower on Facebook or Instagram – and far harder to get.
Nearly 85% of adults in western countries consider themselves a “regular” Youtube user.
Here are a few tips to consider when creating your Youtube content :
– Create content regularly – At least once a week
– Keep videos short – The average video is around 4 minutes long
– Research your competition – Look at what they are posting and create better content
– Give your videos a good description – The title and description for your video can help bring in search traffic both on YouTube, and through search engines.
– Use your other social media sites to promote your channel – This gives your other social media accounts some variety, since you are posting a video, and it will direct people already interested in your business or website to YouTube, where they may become subscribers there as well.
When starting out with YouTube, you will probably find that promoting your videos is going to be the hardest part. Over time, as long as you keep adding quality videos, it will start becoming easier as more people see and share your content.
Location-Based Social Media Platforms
Yelp for Social Media Marketing
Although Yelp doesn’t really qualify as a ‘Social Network’ in most peoples minds, it still provides a powerful platform for businesses to reach new potential customers. A lot of good reviews can help sway prospective visitors to choose your business and you can use Yelp by showcasing your good reviews and engaging the users who have taken the time to review your business.
If you run a local business like a restaurant, Yelp should be an essential cornerstone of your online presence. Always take your time when creating your Yelp profile. Include a link to your website and menu/product list. Add quality photos that will attract people, and respond to all reviews.
Many business owners don’t know that you can actually advertise your business on Yelp. Paying for advertising on Yelp has a few pretty awesome advantages such as:
Removal of competitors’ ads on your business page
You could also run a Yelp Deal, which allows you to offer coupons to your Yelp audience. Although Yelp keeps 30% of the discounted price, Yelp Deals make your listing more attractive to visitors, and could prove to have a solid return on investment.
Google My Business for Social Media Marketing
Much like Yelp, Google My Business doesn’t really qualify as a Social Media platform but can definitely be useful for your online marketing efforts. Google My Business is an extension of its former service (Google Places), which now allows business owners to control their appearance on Google Search and Google Maps.
An optimized GMB page helps Google understand more about your business: who you are, what services/products you sell, where you’re located at, and what your website is (so they can crawl it for more info).
Some benefits of Google My Business Include:
– Increased visibility in search
– Better experience for buyers/visitors
– More traffic to your website, social channels, and front door
Having some good reviews and some attractive photo’s on your Google My Business page, as well as links to your social media channels can make your business far more discover-able and attractive to potential customers.
In conclusion, social media provides the absolute best and most cost effective way to market your business in 2019 and beyond. We know that all the options and constant changes in social media marketing can be daunting, and that’s why we offer a fully managed service. If you are looking to grow your business using social media but don’t have the time to do it yourself, contact us!
You focus on running your business, we will take care of the marketing.