The Basics of Social Media Marketing
In a world where a billion people are on Facebook regularly and Instagram boasts 100 million users on their platform monthly, there is no question that it makes good business sense to connect with clients and potential customers through social media.
What’s the best way for a business to take advantage of social media for marketing? You can keep it simple by asking your customers to “like” or “follow” you on Facebook and Twitter and managing regular posts in-house. Or, you could invest in a more comprehensive social media marketing campaign orchestrated by social media marketing expertsthat gets people excited about your products and services with elements such as social media contests or social media advertising campaigns.
However you approach social media marketing for your business, one thing is certain: You’ve got to do it to stay competitive! Using social media well can really make a difference for your brand. Some people are skeptical that posting on social media accounts can translate into business success, but there’s a reason why North American companies spend billions of dollars trying to capture consumer attention online: It works.
Here’s some data that proves engaging in social media marketing makes business sense:
- 57% of consumers say they’re influenced to think more highly of business after seeing positive comments or praise online.
- 90% of young adults (ages 18 to 29) use social media
- 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile.
- 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels
- 38% of organizations plan to spend more than 20% of their total advertising budgets on social media channels in 2015, up from 13% a year ago
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
- In 2015 Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases
Do you have to spend a fortune to make social media marketing work for you? No, of course not. It’s not what you spend, it’s what you have to say and how you choose to say it, so don’t fret if your business is new and your online marketing budget is small. In fact, the arena of social media represents a coup for small businesses. In the old days, only the big companies with the big budgets could carry out the big promotional campaigns. Today, thanks to social media, everyone can play (and win!) and big budgets no longer dictate
Steps you can take to get started or to improve your social media marketing results:
- Develop a budget and strategy: Review your budget and create a plan. Stay true to your company’s mission/vision and decide how you’ll support your social efforts. (An online advertising campaign? An in-store promotion tied to your social efforts? An online contest or sweepstakes? An email marketing campaign?) Then get started!
- Pick your audience: Do a thorough analysis of your target market. Who’s your target client/customer and where are they congregating online? That’s where you’ll want to start.
- Choose social networks wisely: You want to choose the social networks that your target audience uses regularly. There is a lot of good information online about the demographics of users for the top social networks, which you can use to reach particular age and gender groups. The last few years Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest have dominated the Internet.
- Update your website: You want to use social media marketing to drive traffic to your website, so make sure your website is in tip-top shape. It should be useful, user friendly, and represent your brand well as it showcases your products and services.
- Create great content: It’s quality, not quantity. While social media posts can be done quickly, you want to create great content that is highly shareable and includes great visuals. Experienced social media writers are a good investment because they know how to write content that is interesting, relevant and timely (plus they use perfect grammar and spelling to reflect the highest level of professionalism). They also know how to employ keywords, keyphrases, and links to attract new traffic from search engines but still dazzle your readers.
- Build relationships: Think beyond promotional posts and a barrage of advertising copy. Social media marketing is truly effective when it builds trust for your brand and community among your target demographic. A savvy and skilled social media writer will know how to leverage content that will be useful or interesting to your audience and get them to share or comment on posts. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Social media marketing at its finest is helpful, informative, fun, meaningful, and responsive.
Social Media Monitoring
Through Social Media Monitoring you can hear what your customers are saying about your brand (and your potential customers, as well as competitors and industry insiders), analyze trends in online feedback, and then respond to it in a way that will drive sales and grow your business—perhaps by re-branding, changing service/product offerings, or refocusing targeted marketing campaigns.
Today there are a multitude of social media monitoring tools that will monitor internet traffic to social media sites, gather information, and produce reports for your analysis. (Most businesses will require the help of an online marketing agency to help analyze that data and recommend campaign changes to respond to any issues.)
Social media marketing (SMM) return-on-investment (ROI) isn’t an exact science you can start by looking at the kind of ROI you’ve been getting for your SMM efforts so far. When you start a fitness routine you need to know your starting stats so you can really see how far you’ve come. It’s equally important to track your baseline for SMM and watch your progress so you can stay on top of your game and ahead of your competitors online.
Keep track of the following:
- likes, fan, and followers
- retweets, reposts, shares, and comments
- website traffic, leads and sales referred from social networks
Do you see growth? Can you attribute growth at certain times to specific social activities? Is the growth meaningful? That is, are new fans and followers members of your target market, potential partners, and industry insiders? If yes, you’re doing something right.
Make use of easy-to-navigate reporting tools like Google Analytics and measure the data they provide against annual sales volumes and new lead counts to show both campaign success and results.
Great Social Media Campaigns
Our friends at Hubspot interviewed several small business marketers and found 10 common traits among those enjoying success in social media.
Here’s what the successful small business marketers all do:
- Commit weekly resources to creating content and engaging in social media
- Have methods in place to understand how social media activity impacts business results
- Regularly generate content using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or other social platforms
- Focus their resources on the platforms and channels that drive the best results (they don’t use every platform available!)
- Use social media to drive participation in offline events
- Set clear expectations for customers regarding frequency and types of social media interactions
- Leverage social media to position their company as a thought leader within their industry
- Provide clear calls-to-action and opportunities to general leads using social media
- Use information and data from social media to drive business strategy
- Balance paid and organic search engine traffic
We hope you find these tips helpful, let us know! And if you are looking for help with your social media management be sure to check out Liked Lab for Business.
Plus check out our other posts about social media marketing for businesses, such as Which Social Media Platform is Best for You Business.