In-Depth Starter Guide to Social Media Marketing
Must-Know Laws, Benefits, Main Tools, Platforms and much more…
Last updated: September 19, 2017
If social media were a country, then Facebook would rank on top at the population level. With over 2 billion active users, Facebook is close to joining the world population rate of 7.5 billion. The figure proves the impact of social media today. It has created the greatest history in the world. And to overlook the power of social media is likened to jump of the cliff deliberately!
The purpose of being active on social media today transcends its original course of action – communication and connection. The platforms are being used to create dialogue, opinions, form opinions, promote brands, tap on opportunities and even change the world order (example, the recent US Presidential Election).
If you have a business or brand and are yet to tap into the countless benefits of social media, then I would suggest you should jump on the bandwagon immediately.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is one of the avenues of digital marketing that works with the process of creating and channeling content on social media platforms to drive traffic to websites and digital channels, increase engagement to products/service, draw attention to brands and access and connect with a broad range of audience in real-time. The goal of social media marketing rests on the process of producing engaging and shareable content to grow brand presence and boost customer reach.
What are the benefits and goals of social media marketing?
#1. Increase brand loyalty
Social media is the most efficient and inexpensive platform to connect with your customers. It is also the channel via which your audience converse and discuss your brand.
A decade ago, consumers believed and acted based on word-of-the-mouth brand promotion. But today, customers take valuable purchase-oriented decisions by a brand’s value and presence on social media. According to Forbes – millennials – 35% of them rely on online forums, blogs and reviews to make the necessary online purchases. They rely on reviews, previous customers, and peers to determine the brand’s quality.
Thus, social media marketing – when done right – helps in building a brand loyalty. If your products/services are of high value, your customers will pass on the message to other prospects via social media – which will create a chain of positive impact on your brand/business.
#2. Boost brand awareness
Social media helps in promoting brand awareness. Facebook today has over 2 billion active users – that’s a majority of the world population. Other social media channels too, have millions of users – from Twitter, SnapChat to Instagram. It only proves one point – An expansive audience reach.
You can use social media marketing strategies to reach out to these users and promote your brand. It is the best way to access new audience and build a solid brand awareness.
#3. Access incredible customer insights
Another benefit of social media marketing for your brand is that you get a great source of customer insights.
Social media is a lucrative tool to learn a lot about your audience, its behavior and listen to your users’ problems, issues, and queries. You can use the customer insight to enhance your product/service and deliver the best solutions.
#4. Generate leads that convert
Social media marketing not only increases brand awareness and presence but also paves the path for lead converting opportunities. Content that you share – images, blog posts, videos, audios, etc. – on social media sites might drive your target audience to your site and generate website traffic.
Once your users are on on the site, you can further maximize the power of communication and content to transform the leads into potential sales.
#5. Create super targeted ads and drive real-time results
Another benefit of social media marketing is that you can access and drive real-time results via targeted ads. Social media sites, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are a bank of user data. Using these channels for advertising will provide you access to in-depth audience insight, targeting, as well as, compartmentalization.
Most social media sites provide advertising platforms where you can target your audience based on their behavior, interests, and other relevant details. You can reach out to customers who would want to purchase or be interested in your brand.
#6. Boost traffic to a website
Social media drives a higher percentage of site traffic than any other platform. Adding relevant and high-quality content on your site and sharing the same on social media, will enable you to capitalize on different social media channels.
#7. Increase SERP
Social media marketing helps in improving SERP (Search Engine Result Pages). Sharing content on a regular basis via social media – increases website traffic. And optimizing your content, as well as, social media account for the search engines, will improve search engine rankings.
#8. Deliver message to the right audience
Great source of communication and networking. You can use the platforms to create a unique voice for your brand and give a human emotion to your company. Doing so will help you connect with your target audience.
#9. Address customer problems and offer instant solutions
Social media paves the path for a two-way source of communication. As a result, you can gain the power to access customer opinions, problems and queries and at the same time, answer the questions and deliver solutions.
Social Media Marketing Statistics 2017
- 71% consumers recommend brands to others based on their experience with the concerning brand on social media.
- Facebook – in 2015 – influenced 52% consumers’ purchases – online and office.
- 78% online users use Twitter to communicate (positive and negative) about brands with the expectation of getting instant response.
- Top brands are experiencing 4.21% higher per-follower engagement rate on Instagram – which is higher than both Twitter and Facebook.
- More than 50 million businesses use Business Pages on Facebook – as of – 2017.
How To Choose a Social Media Platform That Is Right For Your Business?
- Determine your audience and find where it is most active:
It is crucial to know on which platform your target audience is most active. Doing so will help you to reach out to the right users and get the desired message out. You can ask your previous and existing customers questions related to their social media activity – like – which social media channel they spent their time the most? Which network do they like the most? Why do they like the chosen platform?
- Determine your goal:
What is the aim of your social media marketing campaign? Is it to increase engagement? Build brand presence? Drive website traffic? Once you have answered all these questions, you can focus on a social media channel that will help you meet the goal.
You can start by experimenting with multiple channels and find out which platform is delivering the best results. After analyzing and getting a clear picture, you can invest your time, effort and money on the platform that is driving the desired results.
- Track your competitor’s social media marketing efforts:
You not only need to analyze your target audience, social media marketing goals, and objectives but also your competitors. Doing a competitive analysis on your competitor’s activity on different social media sites – from their posts, regularity of publishing content, engagement acquired via the content to their engagement strategies with users – you need to access critical insights and replicate or better – try doing it in an enhanced manner to achieve success.
- The number of channels you can manage:
With the presence of numerous social media channels, it becomes a daunting task to manage accounts effectively in each one of them. Most brands make use of at least two social media channels. If you choose to use each and every one of them, then you will end up exhausting your time, efforts and creativity.
The best thing to do is use social media marketing management tools to work on multiple channels. You can use HootSuite or Buffer to create, schedule, distribute, manage, as well as, track results of content shared in various social media platforms – from Facebook, Instagram to Twitter.”
Great overview of active user in Social Networks by Smartinsights
How to start advertising on different social media platforms?
We have researched and compared many different “How to get started” guides. Based on results data, we selected out the top best ones.
Social Media Marketing: 5 Must-Know Laws
Gaining the required impetus on social media requires more than just creating and sharing content. There are certain rules, do’s and don’t’s that you should follow to leverage results via social media marketing.
And there are 5 Cardinal Laws of Social Media that one must always adhere to.
Law of Listening
Listening is crucial for social media marketing. Social media – came into existence and remained unbeaten till date because it created a channel and environment where people from different backgrounds and walks of life could connect, communicate and hear each other out.
If you want to make the best use, you need to respect and follow the law of listening. Listen to what your target audience is asking for your brand/business. Get actively involved in their discussions on social media networks, hear their issues, problems, opinions and even feedback. Doing so will help you create a constructive and cohesive social media marketing strategy and deliver solutions that your audience requires.
Law of Influence
Social media plays a crucial role in influencing the audience, inspiring them, creating dialogues, forming opinions and driving users to take the desired actions. And there is a new pack of online influencers who can help you promote, market and get your business right to your target audience.
Invest time and effort to reach out to the right online influencers who can collaborate with you in reaching out to the right audiences.
Connect with the influencers, work together and generate benefits from each other.
Law of Focus
Social media marketing will leverage your brand value, business growth, and conversion rate, if it is combined with the right social media platform and content marketing strategies. Thus, the initial effort should be processed on developing a focused strategy and plan. And continue it with the flow chart of your social media marketing purpose.
Law of Reciprocation
The reason for the increased rise of social media is reciprocation. Social media has changed the way brands used to communicate with their audience. It has paved a two-way communication path. And reciprocation will leverage your social media marketing efforts. You cannot resort to sharing your content and talking about your business/brand every single time.
Social media is used as a channel to collaborate and promote others content too. So, share other’s published work, as well, to make the communication bond stronger than before.
Law of Quality
There are many businesses that go after generating hundreds and thousands of likes, followers, et al. But it is always fruitful to get quality likes and followers that will help your brand/business than acquire a crowd of fans with whom you don’t share similar interest or invoke engagement and build long-term relationships and customers.
How To Start With Social Media Marketing?
Every marketing process – be it online or offline – starts with an effective plan.
Whether you are starting an email marketing campaign, search engine marketing or even content marketing campaign – you have to lay out a blueprint – which is called the plan. Same for social media marketing – it should involve planning a course of action and execution intend to implement on the chose social media networking sites.
For every like, reply, post and comment, you must have a well-laid out plan directed to drive business growth or realize your business goals.
Analyze your objectives and goals
It is crucial to find out what you want from social media. Whether you are looking for conversions, lead generation or direct sales or trying to build a strong brand presence – you need to determine the objective beforehand.
Assess and weigh on your resources
Working on a social media marketing campaign is a challenging task. You can do it on your own, but it will be more efficient if you collaborated with a team of experts and utilized the best resources available online.
Analyze your audience
Social media has transformed the way brands and audience communicate. It makes it a source of two-way communication. So, before executing the plan and implementing the necessary techniques, you must research and find your target audience.
It is important to know who your audience is and what your users like. Doing so will enable you to create social media content and campaign that will drive results.
Create awesome, relevant and engaging content
After determining your target audience, you need to invest your efforts and time in creating and curating content that your audience will like, share, notice and engage with. This process involves a continuous flow of work. You cannot end it at a point.
Offering your audience with relevant, high-quality and solution-oriented content, via social media will keep the conversation, interaction, and engagement alive. It will also build a healthy relationship between you and your audience.
Read forward about how to start with content marketing.
Put in effort on quality and not quantity
Don’t get lost in the number game. You might get hundreds and thousands of followers and fans, but will they prove to be your loyal customers? Can they help in driving sales and conversion?
It is better to have a limited number of followers – who are loyal, engaged and favorable towards your brand/business than thousands and millions of users who are disinterested in your product and will add no value to your social media marketing efforts.
Get acquainted with the 80-20 rule and use it
What’s the 80-20 rule?
It is an incorporation of 80% and 20% effort and time. Invest 80% time on non-promotional activities and content on social media and 20% on self-promotional components. This will help in creating a good and less-forceful bridge between you and your audience.
Social Media Marketing Plan
A social media marketing plan is an overview of everything you will be doing on social media to achieve the desired results. The method comprises of creating accounts on chosen networks, auditing existing profiles, using various tools and resources. Before starting with the plan, you need to get acquainted with the SMART goal of a social media marketing program.
How to set SMART GOALS
When integrating your social media marketing campaign with SMART goals, make sure to start with a basic and broad range of achievable goals. Also remember to align them with your company’s current annual goal and mission statement.
You don’t have to follow other’s system or methodology. Some companies opt for setting up specific goals for specific social networks. What might work for one brand, might not prove to be best for your company. So, stick to your agenda.
The best thing to do is follow up with a few goals at the beginning – inclusive of the primary goals – which can be – boosting brand awareness, sales, etc.
Doing so, will help you to analyze and track the results in real-time and enable you to try, test and improve on the way.
Steps to create a social media marketing plan
#1. Work on social media audit
The first step to creating a social media marketing plan, is doing a thorough review of your existing social media and its every component – from target audience engagement, market users to a comparative analysis of competitor social media presence.
The social media audit will enable you to understand the relationship between your social media platforms and your business. You will get a clear picture – which will further help you to utilize social media to grow your business.
#2. Create specific, measurable, and attainable goals and objectives
The second step involves the process of establishing social media targets and goals, within the realm of SMART plan – which is – Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Time. Establish the goals and objectives based on your business requirements and expectations.
#3. Create social media accounts or enhance existing ones
The third step is to create social media accounts or improve the existing ones. The step involves the analysis of social media websites and determines which one is capable of meeting your objectives and goals.
You can use LongTailPro to research for keywords, etc.
#4. Create a content marketing plan
Content is the primary pillar of a social media marketing campaign of any business/brand. The key to a successful campaign has excellent, shareable content. Thus, you need to create a content marketing plan – which is inclusive of developing content strategies, curating and creating content, building a content calendar and more.
#5. Build a social media editorial calendar
The fifth step to creating a social media marketing plan is to create a social media editorial calendar. The calendar should include a schedule of content that you will publish on various social media sites. The material in question will be a mix of images, GIFs, videos, links, and blogs.
#6. Don’t stop, continue with evaluating your social media marketing plan and testing the same
Creating and executing your plan should not end.
It is a progressive and continuous process. You need to test and evaluate your social media marketing plans and efforts regularly. Make sure to use analytics to determine the campaign reach and results. You can use Facebook Insights, Google Analytics or HootSuite for it.
How To Choose Social Media Marketing Tools For Your Business Or Brand?
Tools offer numerous benefits. First and foremost, they make the process of developing strategies, implementing and executing the same – smoother and easier. The tools not only automate your efforts, but also give you ample of time to analyze and get results in real-time.
When it comes to choosing specific social media marketing tools and resources – you might get lost amidst a sea of options. The internet is flooded with hundreds and thousands of devices – but only a few are loaded with super cool and compelling features and functionalities.
However, you need to choose tools that will help you meet your social media marketing goal and objective. For making best choices. we have a made a great list of top digital marketing tools, including social media tools.
Here’s a part of our complete tools list – 10 best social media marketing tools
HootSuite is a SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) tool in the field of social media marketing. It is used for managing social media accounts, as well as, influencer identification and social listening.
Buffer is another social media management tool that allows users to automate the scheduling of posts. It comes with browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
Snappa is an awesome platform for creating visuals and images to be shared on social media channels. It is a great tool for non-designers and designers as well.
Colibri is another tool that you can use to promote sites in search engines. It helps with the keyword research, backlinks and competitor analysis.
GetStencil is another awesome tool for creating images, designing graphics without any hassle.
LongTailPro is an Adobe Air desktop app that makes use of Google Keyword Planner to access keyword data.
Social Clout is an analytics tool that is designed and developed to track and analyze engagement, calculate the same for generating ROI.
Canva is a super useful tool for social media marketing. You can create the best images to share on social media sites. It comes with multiple options for colors, fonts, and templates, as well as, a drag-and-drop feature.
Feedly is a favorable content curation tool. You can access information, competitor content, trends and other information relevant to your business and create social media content based on them.
Socedo: is a Business-to-Business demand generating tool that offers features related to automated lead generation, targeted lead acquisition via social media channels and more.
Social Media Marketing will drive the best results if you work on implementing effective and cross-examined strategies at a continuous pace.
Many business owners, marketers and individuals – apply the requisition marketing efforts for a limited period of time – without realizing the fact that social media marketing will only reap beneficial results – when given a longer time-span.
Remember to use specific growth hacking methods, if you want to get the best out of your social media marketing efforts – for example – host unique social media events, use the best of images for social media posting, reach out to influencers in your niche and connect with them. Make them your brand’s voice. Focus on social media channels, where your customers are most active. Connect with your LinkedIn connections and more.