Social media has become an important part of our lifestyle. It is now the main medium we use to communicate and access information.
Social media marketing remains an essential component of any digital marketing strategy campaign.
Below are the various ways businesses can use social media for their marketing campaigns.
First, what is Social Media Marketing?
Social media refers to the communication channels available online which allow users to interact, create content and have it shared across those channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Social media marketing is the process of gaining website traffic through the sharing of that content using these social media channels mentioned above.
A number of activities such as blogging and online discussion forums have been attributed to the growth of social media.
What the Numbers Say
It is said that numbers don’t lie. Statistical data available shows that social media plays a critical part of any digital marketing strategy.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 95% of adults with an online presence aged between 18 – 35 years are more likely to follow brands via social networking platforms; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
Facebook is the most used social media platform across all ages with 65% of its membership between the ages of 50 – 64.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media posses the ability to push and promote brands across regions using very minimum budgets, making them compete effectively with large multinationals having big budgets.
Below are some of the benefits that a social media marketing strategy can provide your business.
• Enhances Brand Promotion
The marketing rule 7 states that a brand needs to engage their target audience at least seven times before they can convert them to buyers of their products.
It enables businesses to have their brands in front of millions of people. This increases their visibility resulting in an increase of conversions.
• Improves Brand Image
A bad review or perception by users towards your brand can destroy it within minutes, while a positive one would take your brand to an extraordinary level.
Social media platforms provide the necessary tools to track and respond positively to any negative information out there before it can dilute your brand’s image.
• Business Competition
A customers’ first point of call when searching for product information is usually on the main search engines.
Businesses with active social media channels generating web traffic through content sharing are usually ranked on the first pages of Google. This makes them more visible to users searching using their business focus keywords.
• Improves Relationship With Target Audience
Social media platforms provide analytical tools which your business can use to monitor and get a better understand your customers.
This enables your business to provide more personalized customer engagements with your target audience.
• Cost Effective
The free features provided by social media platforms are quite effective and have the potential of increasing conversions for your business.
They also provide affordable marketing services; you can get Facebook advertising plans for as low as $5.
• Improves Conversion
It involves the creating of relevant content which is then shared within the brand’s social media network.
Shared content consisting of mentions of your brand increases your conversion rates and engagements within social media platforms.
Social Media Marketing Strategy: Step by Step Guide
The success of your social media marketing strategy will largely depend on its implementation and execution plan.
Below is a step by step guide in coming up with an effective social media marketing strategy.
• Identify Your Goals
Goal setting is an important element before embarking on any campaign.
Your goals and objectives will determine the appropriate marketing strategy to undertake.
The use of SMART an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely is recommended.
• Identify Your Target Audience
You may have a good product but if you’re offering it to the wrong customers, you’ll definitely fail.
Build a buyer persona of your target audience. A buyer persona will greatly assist you in coming up with an effective marketing strategy.
• Identify an Appropriate Social Media Platform
I recommend that you settle for one or two social media platforms with the most promising stats instead of trying to work across multiple platforms.
How do you know which is the most appropriate social media platform for your brand?
Check and see which social media platform your brand has the most followers and receives the most engagement and purpose to concentrate on it by pushing all resources towards scaling it up.
You would also spy on the giants in your industry and get to know which social media platforms they are most active on and borrow some tips from their strategies.
• Optimize Your Social Media Profile
Once you have settled on a social media platform of your choices, your next step will be to optimize your profile on it.
Some of the creative ways you can use to optimize your profile include:
- Use a professional photo or a professionally designed business logo.
- Describe your business niche and type of content your users should expect to receive.
• Get A Qualified Social Media Manager
Social media management requires diverse skills to succeed.
However, most businesses look for agencies or social media managers with the cheapest rates.
A savvy social manager needs to have good marketing, branding and content skills.
• Integrate Your Social Media Platforms Into Your Website
Your social media profile is an extension of your brand’s outlook and the platforms on which it is on should be incorporated within your website or blogs.
All social media platforms have got unique logos, button, Plugins, and API which can be used to integrate your business website with the social media features.
• Deliver Interesting Content Regularly
Your business should strive to roll out interesting and catchy content across multiple platforms such as video, text, and audio on a regular basis.
Share content that provides value to your audience and reduces over-posting content containing CTAs enticing readers to purchase items on your website, as it makes it sound too much of a sales pitch and readers don’t like that.
• Follow Influencers In Your Niche
Network and build relationships with influencers within your reach.
Twitter recently did a survey and reported that at least 49% of consumers rely on influencers to make purchase decisions.
• Grow Your Audience
Aim to increase your audience, as the more eyeballs engage with your brand, the more conversions you’ll get.
Some of the ways your business can grow its audience are by making sure your current customers are happy, having paid ads on authority online resources, etc.
• Engage Your Audience
For your business to remain relevant on social media you must constantly engage your audience.
There are a number of innovative ways you would use, this include; quickly responding to their online enquiries, tagging followers interested in certain topics whenever you post those topics and linking to relevant content whenever you’re posting that content.
• Measure Your Results
It is said that whatever can’t get measured, doesn’t get done and that holds true with social media marketing strategies.
A number of social media applications are available which are able to analyze and provide businesses with progress reports on its performance.
Social Media Marketing Platforms: Business Features
Facebook is the largest social media platform with over 2.27 billion monthly active users as the 3rd quarter of 2018.
Facebook has grown to be much more than a meeting place for friends, to become a formidable business platform having a number of business features such as:
• Facebook Business Page
This is a great place to develop your brand identity.
It has also a forum to interact with your target audience and customers by sharing multimedia content (Images, Videos, Text) in a hilarious and laid back style.
• Facebook Advertising
Facebook ads are purchased on an auction basis where advertisers are charged on the basis of clicks, impressions or actions taken by a user.
You can either choose to create an ad by yourself or hire a digital marketing agency to manage your Facebook advertising campaign.
Facebook adverts either belong to sponsored articles or ads as outlined below:
1. Events Ads
These are ads which can be placed anywhere. They provide users with the ability to join the event resource directly from the ad.
2. App Ad
These types of ads are set for applications.
3. Domain Ad
These ads appear on the right-hand side of Facebook and take the user off the site when clicked.
4. Mobile Ad
These types of ads only appear in the news feed of mobile devices.
When clicked they will take you directly to Google play store or Apple store depending on your mobile phone operating system.
5. Promoted Ads
Also referred to as Page Post Ads, these ads are sponsored so as to increase their reach.
6. Sponsored Stories
It displays a user’s interactions such as which posts that user has liked or shared to the user friends. This is meant to encourage users friends to do the same.
7. Facebook Open Graph
It lets businesses label a user’s action with their app. When the user interacts with the app they are provided with interaction options such as listen, taste, read, etc.
8. Facebook Exchange (FBX)
It provides ad retargeting on Facebook to advertisers in real-time.
When a user visits a product page on a retailer’s website but doesn’t make a purchase, FBX can later display that specific ad on Facebook when the user logins into Facebook.
WhatsApp is a free mobile application that allows you to chat using text and video with other WhatsApp users for free as long as you got access to an internet connection.
In February 2014, It was acquired by Facebook for an estimated 19 Billion USD.
WhatsApp accounts are tied directly to a single mobile phone number and you can only send messages up to 256 messages at a time.
WhatsApp launched a business version which they incorporated a number of business features which include:
1. Professional Outlook
This version enables users to create profiles that contain their contact data such address, website, phone number, email address, etc.
Businesses are able to organize their chats and contacts with labels making data retrieval very easy.
3. Message Analytics
It provides businesses with statistical data on messages such as messages successfully sent, delivered, read and not opened.
4. Smart Messaging Tools
‘Quick replies’ lets businesses save and re-use frequently used messages to reply to frequently asked questions – saving time and resources.
‘Automated messages’ tool lets you send an away message when you’re unable to respond immediately.
It was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for an estimated fee of $1 Billion in cash and stock options.
Instagram App is available for download from the Google Play store for Android phones and the App Store for iOS devices.
The app enables users to upload and edit photos or videos and even allows them to edit them before sharing the content with other users using the app.
Instagram is a highly visual application that holds massive opportunities for e-commerce businesses which rely on images to sell their products and services.
The Instagram business account offers a variety of features tailored for businesses which include:
1. Contact Button
A contact button is situated on your Instagram page that lets users get in touch with your business, similar to the contact form that appears on your website.
2. Instagram Insights
It provides your business with statistics on the impressions of your posts.
3. Carousel Feature
It enables your business to showcase multiple sponsored ads, pushing your brand to the next level.
4. Instagram Stories
These are posts that are displayed in a slideshow format and only last for 24 hours.
The good news is that they can be saved on any of your devices and re-used again multiple times.
Among the most popular ways that brands can push their products to wider audiences is by partnering with influencers with large followers on Instagram.
This strategy has worked wonders for brands as many people purchase products based on what they see in the posts or stories of their celebrities whom they follow religiously.
The key thing is to identify influencers who have audiences that are relevant to your products or services.
LinkedIn has grown become one of the most sought platforms for brands who wish to connect with the people within the corporate space.
The platform consists of a number of innovative features such as:
1. LinkedIn Learning
It provides links to the editor’s picks, courses, and current trends within various industries.
2. Career Advice
Mentorship is at the cored of LindekIn’s growth plan. Career advice feature matches people searching for mentorship opportunities with other experienced users.
3. Active Status
LinkedIn members can tell when one of their connections is online if they see a green dot on the connection’s profile. This lets members chat in real-time.
4. Advanced Search
Scrolling through a list of search results can be time-consuming. LinkedIn offers users the ability to refine their search through its advanced search bar by including filters that appear instantly once you submit a search term.
5. LinkedIn Publishing
Creating and sharing posts on LinkedIn has always been there.
LinkedIn publishing takes content sharing which includes text, images, and video to another new level.
It allows users to refine their target audience of who can view the content: private or public. The public option lets your content be viewed by people outside of LinkedIn.
It opens up new conversations which can eventually lead to new conversions for your brand.
With over 325 million monthly active users, Twitter has evolved during the last few years to become a formidable force in social media marketing.
Twitter is incorporate with exciting features designed to push your brand out there such as:
1. Top Twitter Stories
This is where you get the tweets directly to your inbox of trending stories and those from people that you’re connected with. It is presented with an avatar that upon being clicked will take you to the actual story.
It’s a handy feature for marketers since they can use it to sell their products and generate leads.
2. Conversational Ads
These ads have a CTA call to action button included in the tweet. Some conversational ads even have buy buttons after the tweet.
3. Tailored Trends
This feature lets you stay informed by sharing posts with you based on your location, the industry you’re in or whom you follow. You can also customize this feature by changing your location or industry if they have changed.
4. Follow Suggestions
It enables you to get suggestions on people to follow based on the people you’re already following. It’s quite an innovative way to expand your network by following people in your industry.
Social media marketing is an essential component of any digital marketing campaign strategy.
Its ability to make small brands operating in from the backstreets to compete on the global stage with large multinationals is definitely a game changer in the digital marketing space.
Any business worth mentioning should have a social media marketing strategy in place.
Which social media platform do you use most to promote your business? Is there any social media strategy that has performed well against you?