Marketing your business via social media is one of the most powerful ways a company of any size can connect and reach out to potential customers or clients. These potential customers are interacting already with companies and brands through their social media accounts. If you are not already speaking, interacting and engaging directly with your audience via social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, then I hate to say it but you are definitely missing out!
Social Media Marketing done well can be a huge asset to your business, driving leads and sales and creating devoted advocates of your brand.
So, lets get down to business. What exactly Is Social Media Marketing?
SMM or Social Media Marketing, is a form of digital, or internet marketing that basically involves creating content and then sharing this content across various social media platforms and networks in order to reach your branding and marketing goals, and potential clients.
Social media marketing includes things such as posting written updates, image updates, videos, and other content that is relevant to you and your brand and interesting enough to drive your audiences engagement. This along with paid social media advertising is pretty much the basis of social media marketing.
Posting “Like for Like” or “Follow for Follow” posts on your social media accounts is NOT social media marketing or any other sort of marketing come to think about it. It is pointless and these types of activities are certainly NOT good for your business. Having hundreds and thousands of likes and followers across your social media may make you look popular but that is pretty much all it is, an image. Stop looking at the numbers and look at the quality of your likes — quality over quantity wins every time.
So, unless you are a Kardashian with very little or no depth, then you need to up your game and come up with relevant, interesting, engaging posts that will get potential customers and clients wanting to know and see more of what you do. THAT is social media marketing.
This guide should be able to provide you with an introduction to social media marketing and includes some hints and tips that will, hopefully, improve your businesses presence on line.
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. One of my favourite sayings and definitely one that rings true, especially when it comes to Social Media Marketing…
Start With a Plan
When you’re going on a road trip, you don’t just jump in the car with no pre-planning and just go. The same could be said about social media marketing campaigns.
Even before you start thinking about creating a social media marketing campaign you need to sit down and consider your business goals.
Starting any marketing campaign, particularly one on social media that has the possibility of reaching a particularly large audience, you need to have a strategy in mind, even if it is basic. If you just jump in with no format or structure it would be much like wandering around a jungle with no map — you might start off by having fun, but eventually you will get lost.
When you are defining your social media marketing goals ask yourself these questions:
Who is your target audience?
What do you want to achieve?
Does your target audience use social media?
And most importantly, what message are you trying to relay to your audience?
The type of business you have will change your strategy and not every social media platform is right for every type of business. For example; a photography business or a holiday business would involve a lot of images and visuals so you would benefit more using platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram; both of which are highly focused on images rather than the written word. Whereas an accountancy firm or marketing company would fair better on platforms such as Twitter, Linked in and Facebook.
How can Social Media Marketing help you meet your business goals
Social Media Marketing can potentially:
Increase website traffic
Create a brand identity
Raise brand awareness
Improve communication and interaction with key audiences
The size of your social media audience and how much engagement there is with them on the various social media platforms will make it easier for you to achieve other marketing goals on your list.
Before you start here’s a few points you need to consider — remember, social media marketing is like writing a book, you’ve got to have a plan to start with or you’ll just fall flat on your face.
Social Media Content Planning
Building a social media marketing plan is essential. Look at keyword research and also competitor research, what are other businesses in your own industry posting and what sort of reaction are they getting? Have a brainstorming session with yourself and list content ideas that will interest your audience. Don’t just post sales and special offers and talk about yourself and your own business. Post interesting articles that others have written. Humour helps as well. I am not saying post constant memes but mix it up a little. No one likes a barrage of boring social media posts, no matter what industry they’re in.
Great Social Content
Content is king remember. Make sure you post on a regular basis and make sure that your content will be of interest to your target audience. The content that you share on your social networks can include images, videos, infographics, how-to guides (a bit like this one) and so much more. Again, mix it up. Boring social media posts will lose you followers and customers.
Social Media for Content Promotion
Using social media platforms for marketing is perfect for sharing your best blog content and website content with your readers and followers. This is why it is so important to get people following you on social media that are actually interested in what you do. The thousands of likes you got when you did a “follow for follow” or “like for like” on a Facebook or Instagram post were more than likely people in the same industry, your competitors, not potential clients or customers. So think about this next time someone suggests this kind of “marketing”. I’ll say it again — Quality over quantity.
Once a true following has been built up on social media you will be able to post all your new content so your readers can find new stuff easily. Content marketing and social media marketing complement each other perfectly and don’t forget Content Marketing is also known as, and doubles up as off-page SEO so your Google and Bing ranking should improve over time.
Always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing when it comes to their social media. This is extremely valuable for keyword research and other social media marketing insights. If your competitors are using a particular social media platform and technique that is doing wonders for their business then definitely consider doing the same just do it better. Obviously make sure everything you post is original, Google and the majority of the social media platforms takes um-bridge to plagiarism and you will be penalised, which is the last thing you want to happen.
So. Are you up for some social media marketing?
Here’s an outline of what social media platforms are out there and what business they are most suited to.
Using Facebook for Social Media Marketing
You need to have a good social media marketing strategy if you’re going to post on Facebook for your business. Facebook is a casual, friendly environment where people go to relax and chat with friends so keep things light-hearted and pay careful attention to layout and of course make sure you use visuals as this is a key aspect when using Facebook for marketing purposes.
Organic reach on Facebook can be quite limited, so it’s worth considering a cost-effective Facebook ad strategy, which can have a big impact on your organic Facebook presence as well!
Using Pinterest for Social Media Marketing
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media marketing trends. As Pinterest is very much an image-centred social media platform it is ideal for retail and e-commerce businesses.
Businesses are able to showcase their product offerings on Pinterest by way of unique, eye-catching pinboards which also helps with developing your brand personality.
Using Twitter for Social Media Marketing
Twitter is one of the most popular of the social media platforms and is the social media marketing tool that lets you tweet to the world via the web.
Using Twitter as a social media marketing tool very much revolves around and relies on communication. It is very time consuming and quite addictive but you do need to interact as much as possible to nurture and build your following. Word count is limited though so be sure to include links to your website, blog or even a landing page if you’ve got a lot to say about something.
Using LinkedIn for Social Media Marketing
LinkedIn has been defined as one of the more professional social media marketing sites. I’d suggest that you do not use LinkedIn for posting selfies to get likes, it’s very unprofessional and it really won’t do you any favours.
Using YouTube for Social Media Marketing
If your industry can be summed up in a video then YouTube is one of the best places for creating and sharing video content with your audience, making it a very powerful social media marketing platform to use.
Consider posting “how to” videos or a video offering advice on a certain subject matter. This is great for your business and consumers love this kind of personal connection with a company.
Using Tik Tok for Social Media Marketing
Tik Tok is another video-centric and image based social media platform that is very much on trend at the moment and it’s fast becoming You Tube’s biggest rival with it’s bite size videos. It’s quite a “young” platform aimed at Millennials so consider who your target audience is before you decide whether to use this platform for your social media marketing.
Using Instagram for Social Media Marketing
Like Pinterest, Instagram is very much centred around images. Although Insta is particularly popular with celebs and wannabes and full of self-promotional ego-driven selfies it is also a great platform for image based businesses. Estate Agents, Photographers, Graphic and Web Design, Crafters and E-Commerce businesses could get great value from posting on Instagram and using it for a social media marketing platform.
Using Reddit for Social Media Marketing
If your business relies on the written word then Reddit should definitely be your “go to” social media platform. Reddit has incredible social media marketing potential, and the platform has over 2 billion page views a month. Reddit is a great platform and the reach is amazing but marketers should be warned that only truly unique, interesting content will be welcomed.
Posting on Reddit can be like playing with fire. If you submit content that is too sales-centric or super spammy then you and your business could get berated and publicly ticked off by this extremely tech-savvy community.
If you have content you believe the Reddit community (the majority of whom are young, geeky, liberal, and internet-obsessed) would enjoy, you could reap tremendous benefits and earn valuable traffic to your website
Using social media for your marketing does not only improve site traffic and help businesses reach more customers; it provides a valuable venue for better understanding and learning from your target audiences. Something that we must all do, at all times. Audiences change and as business owners our marketing and content must change with them. Getting stuck in a rut and doing the same thing day in day out is not good for business.
The only downside to social media marketing is that if you’re not careful you will spend all day doing it and not get anything else done, which is essentially the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve here..
To make sure your social media marketing is done effectively, it’s important to either put aside a certain amount of time each day to market via social media and stick to it, have a designated member of staff to carry it out for you. Alternatively, and one of the more popular options that a lot of business owners are leaning towards nowadays is to outsource your social media marketing to an expert. They will be able to create interesting and relevant content, post it for you and also engage with your readers and followers, leaving you to run your business.
So there you have it — social media marketing in a nutshell. It’s great when it’s done correctly but can have the reverse effect when done badly so do your research, plan everything and think before you post anything.