What is social media marketing and why should I use it?

Social media has undoubtedly changed the way the world communicates. Since so much interaction is happening in this digital space, it’s crucial to use social media for your business. As we’ve mentioned before, providing updates through social media builds engagement, increases your reach, makes your customer feel more connected, builds trust, and ultimately, increases sales.

To reap all these benefits, you’ll need a killer social media marketing strategy. Don’t panic – it’s not as daunting as it sounds. We’re here to walk you through the basics of this marketing tactic and how it can help your business.

Since social media is a tool most of us use in our personal lives, you may already have a great understanding of how these platforms work. Business owners who’ve done their homework have likely even studied other brands to watch how they engage with their customers to learn a thing or two. The difference between personal social media and social media marketing is that content should be uniquely tailored to the platform and have a specific goal of increasing engagement and brand awareness.

Take eyeglass brand Warby Parker, for example. As an e-commerce website selling eyeglasses, they knew they needed to build credibility and understand their customer to be successful. They positioned themselves as a fashion brand first, utilizing Instagram as their primary social media tool. Photos of attractive models wearing eye-catching Warby Parker lenses took off. Quickly, Warby Parker was valued at over a billion dollars and has since opened up storefronts across the U.S. and Canada of their fashionable lenses, thanks in part to a specific and tailored social media marketing strategy.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

  • Increasing brand awareness: Due to the sheer amount of people on social media, sharing content from your business has significant potential to improve brand awareness. Your posts, branded with your logo, have the potential to be seen by millions of users on the Internet.

  • Forming relationships: Promoting social engagement (such as comments, likes, shares, and re-posts) leaves a memorable impression. By connecting socially with a group of dedicated and potential customers, you’re building that sense of brand loyalty. It’s like having a live focus group at all times that you can rely on for feedback, questions, and ideas.

  • Observing the competition: Likely, your biggest competitor is using social media, too. By keeping tabs on their interactions with customers, you can observe what is and isn’t working for them, giving you inspiration for your own content. You can also check your posts against your competition to make sure your content is unique and stands out from the crowd.

  • Boosting Sales: In addition to the simple exposure of social media, you can generate more leads by taking advantage of social media tools. You can communicate promotions such as digital coupons, exclusive sales and discount codes, even sweepstakes and giveaways, all through your social media accounts. Many social sites have selling channels built right into the platform, like Facebook’s shop section or Instagram's shopping feature, where customers can buy your product without ever leaving the app.

Types of Social Media Marketing

  • Content marketing: The biggest type of marketing across any type of social media platform is content marketing. Content marketing is focused on creating valuable content to attract an audience. This simply means that the posts you make are useful to your customers, showing that you understand what they need. In its essence, content marketing is all about storytelling, providing a relatable, human connection to your brand that lets your customers feel seen and recognized within your brand.

  • Community management: It’s not enough to just post content – you’ll need to be engaged with your customers, too. Community management is where you focus on interacting with your followers, having conversations, and solving their problems. Here is where you’ll track your likes, follows, and comments and respond accordingly. This type of marketing is all about making sure your fans know their voices are being heard.

  • Advertisement: In addition to sharing content and connecting organically, you’ll also want to take advantage of paid opportunities (if it’s within your budget) to increase brand awareness. Consider utilizing tools such as Facebook ads to reach more customers. This type of social media marketing is all about using analytics tools and paid opportunities to see direct results.

Setting up your social media marketing

Do your research.

Of course, before you market to your customers, you need to know your customers. The first step is to understand your audience. Think about the people you’re trying to reach and why, and how you would classify them. Are they millennials? Working mothers? Entrepreneurs? It’s great to have several different groups, as long as you adjust your content for each group you’re trying to reach.

Determine which platforms to use.

After you’ve defined your audience, research the platforms they use the most often. Your strategy will differ based on which social networks your audience spends their time on. For example, do you really need to consider both a LinkedIn and TikTok strategy? This will all depend on the demographics of your targeted audience. To help narrow it down, here are some facts about the most common social media platforms, based on new social media demographics for 2021:

  • Facebook is still the most used platform with 2.7 billion monthly users. Due to its sheer size, it makes sense to have a presence on Facebook, as it’s seen as most user’s “home base” on social media.

  • Youtube is the second-largest platform, with 2 billion monthly users. 72% of its users are female. The age range is also the youngest on the Internet (15-25 years old).

  • Instagram is another channel that engages a younger demographic (25-34-year-olds), with 1 billion monthly users.

  • While Youtube has a largely female audience, the primary audience on Twitter is male (68%). Twitter’s limited character count allows for more concise messaging, as the average user only spends about 4 minutes on Twitter each session.

  • LinkedIn is geared toward your professional audience, making it a useful tool for both B2B and B2C marketing. LinkedIn’s audience is higher-educated and older (46-55-year-olds).

How to implement your social media marketing plan

With your research complete, it’s time to roll out your plan. You’ve made your accounts across the platforms you’ve identified, you’ve uploaded great images, logos, and filled in your profile information completely. This is already a great step to helping customers find you online.

Next, you might be wondering how often to post content on your feeds. Typically, you should only post when you have quality content to share. Overposting becomes annoying, but under-posting leads to potentially being forgotten about. Both situations could lead to losing customers.

How do you avoid this issue? To start, there are also plenty of resources available that help shed light on social media post frequency standards by industry. Try observing the times of day your audience is online and what sort of content gets their attention the most (for example, beautiful images win on Instagram, but an infographic may work better on LinkedIn).

For more guidance on what kind of content to share and how often, consider Margo’s ACES framework for posting. In short, the ACES framework promotes action, community, expertise, and sales. In this model, 90% of content should fall into the first three categories, and only 10% should focus specifically on driving sales.

Next, implement a schedule for your posts. Most companies consider a weekly or monthly calendar of content, but if there is an immediate or time-sensitive post to make, ensure that it gets seen immediately. To make scheduling simple, Margo also offers a customizable social media content planning template.

Expanding your social media marketing

Of course, there are more complexities to social media marketing than introduced here. Social media metrics are the first tools to help in expansion. You should be tracking your engagement on each platform and see which strategies have worked the best for you. For example, should you consider a more aggressive community management approach, or would a paid advertisement be a better use of your time?

There are several social media management tools to save your time and allow you to focus on other tasks. Some tools help you prepare your photos, videos, and captions, as well as monitor engagement. Sites like HubSpot, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite offer social media management platforms for all of your content. Margo has also collected a variety of other tools you can use to promote social shares, automate tracking, and more.

In addition, many social websites have metrics built into their platforms, such as Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, and Instagram Insights. These built-in tools give you a better understanding of what your followers and audience respond well to and what you should consider modifying.

You can also expand your social media marketing by ensuring your team is knowledgeable about the field. In addition to hiring a dedicated social media manager, you can take training courses online or become certified in social media marketing. Sites such as Lynda serve as educational resources for tutoring and training in social media marketing.

You can always lean on Margo to help you expand your social media marketing efforts. Margo works with experienced marketing leaders, such as social media marketing strategists, to create content and support founders in building their businesses. From designing graphics to copywriting and video production, Margo can support any of your marketing strategies based on your business goals and budget. Consider Margo’s network of experts to find the right specialist to fit your needs.

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