Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is the use of Social Media platforms to connect with your audience to build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and increase sales. This process involves publishing quality content on your Social Media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analysing your results, and running Social Media advertisements.
The major Social Media platforms, currently, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
There are also a variety of Social Media management tools available that help businesses to get the most out of the Social Media platforms listed above. For example, Buffer is a platform of Social Media management tools, which can help you achieve success with your Social Media Marketing.
The 5 Core Elements of Social Media Marketing
Before you get ahead of yourself and publish something on Social Media, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first step of SMM is to think about your Social Media Strategy.
What are your goals?
How can Social Media help you achieve your business goals? Some businesses use Social Media to increase their brand awareness, whereas, others use it to drive website traffic and sales. Social Media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a channel for customer support.
Which Social Media platforms would you like to focus on?
The main Social Media platforms, mentioned above, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There are also smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, TikTok, and Anchor, and Social Messaging platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. When you’re starting off with SMM, it’s better practice to pick a few platforms that you think your target audience is on, rather than being on all platforms.
What type of content do you want to share?
What type of content will attract your target audience the most? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it entertaining or educational content? A good way of starting is to create a marketing persona, which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be permanent; you can always change your strategy depending on how your Social Media posts perform.
Social Media Marketing for small businesses usually starts with with having a consistent presence on Social Media. Close to three billion (3,000,000,000) people use Social Media. By being active on Social Media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by any future customers.
Publishing to Social Media is as straightforward as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a Social Media platform. It’s just like how you would share any content on your personal Facebook profile, however, you need to plan your content ahead of time, rather than creating and publishing content spontaneously. Furthermore, to ensure that you are maximising your potential reach on Social Media, you need to publish quality content that your audience likes, at the correct timing and frequency.
There are now a multitude of Social Media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that enables you to publish your content automatically at a time of your choice. This not only saves you time, but also allows you to reach your audience at times that they are more likely to engage with your content.
As your business and Social Media following increases, conversations about your brand will also grow. People will comment on your Social Media posts, tag you in their Social Media posts, or message you directly.
People may even talk about your brand on Social Media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor any mentions of your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and excite them. Alternatively, you can offer support and correct a situation before it worsens.
You’re able to manually check all your notifications across all the Social Media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’ Social Media profile. You can instead use a Social Media listening and engagement tool that collates all your Social Media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’ Social Media profile.
Along the way, whether you’re publishing content or engaging on Social Media platforms, you will want to know how your Social Media marketing is performing. Are you reaching a more people than last month? How many positive mentions have you received in a month? How many people have used your brand’s hashtag on their Social Media posts?
The Social Media platforms themselves provide basic levels of analytics. To receive a more in-depth analysis or to easily compare across multiple Social Media platforms, you can use the wide range of Social Media analytics tools available, e.g. Buffer or Hootsuite.
When you have more funds to grow your social media marketing, a potential area to consider is social media advertising. Social media ads give you the ability to reach a wider audience than those who are already following you.
Social media advertising platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviours, and more.
When you are running many social media advertising campaigns at once, you can use social media advertising tools to automate processes, make bulk changes, and optimise your ads.