These days, social media is ubiquitous. Everyone is commenting on Facebook, scrolling Instagram, pinning, tweeting, tiktoking, you name it. If businesses want to reach their customers, social media is where they need to be.
There’s a big difference, though, between using social media for fun and using it for business. The latter requires planning, strategy, and expertise. There’s more to it than just making a business profile and posting your hours or when you have a sale.
The most successful organisations know how to leverage social media as the powerful tool it is. When done correctly, social media marketing can enhance your brand, foster connections with your customers, and drive real results for your business.
Start by learning what exactly social media marketing entails and how to make it work for you.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the strategy of using various social media platforms to promote your business and support your brand. There are hundreds of social media networks but the “big 6” are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and Tiktok.
Of course, these change as new platforms develop and popularity grows or fades. Other platforms to keep in mind include LinkedIn, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Unlike other forms of marketing, social media marketing is a very interactive and relationship-based medium. Brands not only post to share information, but can comment and engage with other content. They can communicate directly with consumers and listen to gain valuable feedback.
The most successful organisations know that effective social media marketing is a seamless blend of all these actions.
Organic social media is what probably comes to mind first when you think of social media marketing. Organic posts are content that a company shares to its followers without any promotion or ad spend behind it.
For example, Starbucks posting a picture on Instagram of their new frappuccino flavour is organic content. These posts are great for staying in front of your consumers, adding value, and strengthening your brand.
Paid social, on the other hand, is promoted content. It usually follows a pay per click (PPC) model to show ads to an audience that you target.
This content tends to be more promotional in nature. Companies may use it to promote a new product, an event, a sale, or generate leads. For example, if you view a pair of shoes on a website, you may later see an ad on Facebook for those same shoes you were looking at.
Paid social media ads can be very effective for ecommerce companies looking to boost their sales. Because social media platforms often have a lot of information on their users, they are uniquely positioned to target ads to interested customers.
Like any good relationship, communication between you and your customers should be a two way street. Many people use social media to share the brands they love and share with brands the things they don’t love. That’s all incredibly valuable information for you.
Based on what customers post, you can get ahead of potential problems, get new ideas, learn what’s important to your users, and even stay informed on your competition. The more you listen, the better positioned you’ll be to thrive in your market.
There’s a reason it’s called social media – it’s supposed to be social! Don’t just hit publish and log off. Social platforms are the perfect place to engage directly with your customers and strengthen that relationship.
Responding to comments, re-sharing user content, chiming in on relevant hashtags, these things all add a human element to your brand. When customers see this, it increases their trust and is a powerful component of loyalty.
Especially today, customers choose to buy from companies not based on what they sell, but on how they make them feel. Building a community on social media creates those positive feelings consumers want.
Top Social Media Marketing Tips
Clearly, social media marketing is no small task. It is worth it, though. 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform. On Facebook, 66% of users visit a local business page at least once a week.
Even if you’re only on one or two platforms, an investment in social media marketing can equal big success for your business. Here’s how to make sure you’re taking advantage of all social media has to offer.
- Fully understand each platform you are on and why
Don’t just join Tiktok to jump on the latest trend. When you join a platform, you should have a purposeful strategy behind that decision. What audience will you reach there? What type of content performs best? Do you have or can you create content that aligns with that? How will you measure success?
- Customise your content for each platform
It’s easy to program one post and hit publish to five different platforms, but easy isn’t always best. Each platform has their own best practices that you should understand and follow. Change image sizing to fit the platform, or switch to a gif or video if that performs better. Update the text content for that platform’s audience. Adjust your hashtags and links.
- Quality over quantity
It might be nice to post on Instagram every single day, but that’s not always realistic. Only post when you have actual value to add with your content. Take the time to create quality content that your audience wants. If that means only posting twice a week, then only post twice a week.
- Take advantage of platform features
Social media platforms share some similarities, but they also each have unique features that their users love. Post fun Reels on Instagram and share to your stories. Go live on Facebook. Try a Snapchat filter to promote a new product. The platform algorithm is likely to reward you by promoting your content.
- Have a strategy
Social media moves quickly, but you should never just “wing it” with your posts. Developing a strong strategy from the beginning is a good way to make sure you stay on track. Many people find that this is the hardest part. Working with a trusted social media marketing agency makes it easy.
Our experts are knowledgeable across platforms and can help with everything from content creation to scheduling to analytics. Talk with our social media experts to get started with a custom social media marketing strategy today.